Klarc Wilson has brought a new cool to the Prince George Cougars.
The Cougars latest acquisition, picked up before the Western Hockey League trade deadline last week from the Edmonton Oil Kings, was named after his maternal grandfather Don Clarke, with a twist.
"[My parents] kind of switched the C and K around," said Wilson. "When people see it for the first time usually their first reaction is 'Wow, it's spelled pretty cool.'"
Wilson's grandfather was the first general manager of Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton when it opened in 1974, holding the position for 10 years, while his dad, Ray, is a member of the Edmonton Police Service.
Despite leaving his hometown, Wilson said he was excited when he heard he was traded from the Oil Kings to the Cougars.
"Just coming here with the opportunity that I'm getting with a lot more ice time and the ability to play a bit of a bigger role, hopefully I'll work on my game and become that complete player that I want to become, that natural power forward," said Wilson.
The 19-year-old also has the wisdom from playing in the Memorial Cup last year to pass on to his new teammates.
"I'm going to try and bring some of that knowledge over and the leadership that I have from playing with the Oil Kings," said Wilson. "I'm going to try and be a leader because this is a young team. Hopefully, I can be an older leader kind of guy on this team and bring a little bit of everything."
Wilson was drafted by the Brandon Wheat Kings but traded to Edmonton during his rookie season in Dec. 2009. The six-foot, 205-pound right-winger has played 229 games, accumulating 23 goals, 78 points and 332 penalty minutes. He has played in 18 playoff games, picking up a goal, five assists and 21 penalty minutes.
In his first two games with the Cougars, Wilson lined up alongside centre Troy Bourke and left-winger Chase Witala. Cougars head coach Dean Clark said he liked the chances the trio generated against the Kamloops Blazers.
"I thought they had some chemistry," said Clark after last weekend's games. "We haven't had a chance to practice yet so I look forward to them getting even better once they get to know each other a little bit better."
Clark added he liked Wilson's "smarts" on the ice, but after struggling to earn playing minutes on an Oil Kings team with a lot of depth the new forward is still getting used to the is the ice time he received in his first two games in Prince George.
"He's got to get used to that," said Clark. "I thought at times he was a little bit winded but he made some great plays."
Wilson said coming to the Cougars was made easier because he already knew two of his new teammates, having played with Caleb Belter on the Knights of Columbus Pats in the Alberta Midget Hockey League and, briefly played with defenceman Dallas Ehrhardt during their short stints with the Wheat Kings.
"It makes it a lot easier coming into a new team," said Wilson.