Nick King and Christian Propp are two names Battalion fans will not soon forget.
The two Kingston Frontenacs overagers spent the last two seasons with the Troops. Barring a playoff matchup, Thursday’s 1-0 loss to North Bay was likely the last time the two will step on the ice at Memorial Gardens as OHL players.
King, acquired by the Troops in 2017 from the Owen Sound Attack for a conditional 15th round pick in the 2018 OHL priority selection, went on to score 61 of his 88 career points to date in Battalion green. The sturdy defender went on to play six more games with North Bay this season before being shipped to the Limestone City for a 12th round pick in the 2021 draft.
“The two years was good here,” King explained. “It was good playing here a couple of games this year as well. It’s been a good journey so far and I am going to miss it for sure, but the fans are still the same after all these years so it was nice coming back for one last run.”
Propp originally joined the Battalion at an interesting time. North Bay had missed the playoffs the year prior for the first time since the team moved to the Gateway City, and had started the 2017 season slowly. Netminders Julian Sime and Mat Woroniuk had lacked consistency, which prompted the Troops to make a deal for the goaltender.
Starting the ‘17 season with Barrie, the Colts dealt him to the Attack for three draft picks, before Owen Sound flipped him to North Bay the same day, along with a 10th round selection in this year’s draft for Brady Lyle and a seventh in 2020. His first game with North Bay ended abruptly as he was injured and missed a month, before returning and with a .908 save percentage in 32 games, led North Bay back to the postseason.
It’s in the playoffs that Propp might best be remembered. In the 2018 series against the Fronts, Propp faced 77 shots, saving 71 of them in the fifth game when North Bay was eliminated 6-5 in triple overtime. The next year, in the five-game series against Niagara, Propp once again stood on his head with a .929 save percentage.
“It’s been a pleasure,” Propp said. “Kind of at a loss for words, to be honest. Incredibly grateful and thankful for the opportunity to play for the Troops.”
“I’m forever in debt to guys like Scott Wray, Stan Butler, and Adam Dennis,” the netminder continued. “Those guys brought me in as a kid and when I left here, I left as a man. I know part of that is me, but a big part of that is the environment I was put in and I am forever grateful for that.”
The Troops traded Propp to the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds to make way for netminders Joe Vrbetic and Christian Cicigoi. From there, Propp landed in Kingston in November. Once there, Propp reunited with King.
“It really helps knowing someone,” Propp said. “I didn’t know a lot of the boys except for Nick so it was nice to have a face show me the way and the Kingston culture. He and I are two peas in a pod, like we were here.”
“It’s good, we’re living together so you can’t ask for much more,” King added.
In his short stay with the Fronts, King has really enjoyed himself.
“It reminds me a lot of my hometown of Waterloo,” he explained. “I still miss North Bay and all the people here, but Kingston has treated me well so far.”
While looking back, the pair took time to look ahead as Kingston is currently embroiled in a playoff hunt for the eighth and final spot in the big dance. With eight games left, the Frontenacs are tied with Niagara with 42 points, while North Bay is behind with 38.
“I’ve always played on teams that have kind of been the underdog,” said King. “Throughout North Bay, we were always kind of the sixth, seventh, eighth position and the same with Kingston. We really have to grind now; we have some hard games coming up. North Bay was probably our easiest and they got a win out of us so we really need to focus and get a couple of points here.”
“It’s been a pleasure,” Propp added. “It’s all about being comfortable and stopping pucks.”
For Battalion fans, if the team misses out on the playoffs, it’s not a stretch to pick which team they will be cheering for.