Photo: Trent Rolfe
For the third straight season, the Powell River Kings will list a ‘C. Buono’ on their playing roster as the team has committed to 2000-born forward Christian Buono for the 2018/19 season.
Buono, a 5’11, 195lb forward from Burnaby skated last year with the Vancouver NW Giants of the BC Major Midget League, and is the younger brother of former Kings defenceman, Carmine. In 35 games with the Giants, Buono led the team in scoring with 16 goals and 28 assists winning the team’s top forward, and playoff MVP awards. In a busy season, Buono also dressed in 4 games as an affiliate with the Kings, collecting two helpers.
“The experience will definitely help,” said Buono on his time in the BCHL, which also includes 11 games with Coquitlam in the 2016/17 season. “When I came up, I just wanted to keep it simple and now I’m with the Kings full time I can show what I can do out there and showcase my game a little more.”
Buono follows in the footsteps of his older brother Carmine, who played 145 career regular season and playoff games with the Kings between 2014 and 2018.
“Carmine talked a lot about his time in Powell River, which really helped me make my mind up on where I wanted to play Junior,” said Buono. “He was a huge help when I AP’d last season, all the guys were great too, welcoming me into the room. They were all dialed in, wanting to win every night and that’s going to be a huge help to me early on.”
Kings General Manager and Head Coach Tyler Kuntz describes Buono as an offensively gifted forward with good hands around the net.
“He plays with a lot of fire, he’s a competitor,” said Kuntz, who also spoke on his desire to respect the family lineage in hockey. “With Carmine playing here, I think it’s very important that if you’ve got a player like Christian who can play in the league, that’s from the family, I think you’ve got to look at that and you’ve got to honour and respect that. Any Junior hockey family gives something to the organization, and I think it’s important for teams to respect that and that we do right by the families.”
Buono has recently begun detailed off-season training in the lower mainland to prepare for the grind of Junior hockey. For Kuntz, Buono’s role has been clearly defined ahead of next season.
“He’s going to start as a young player on a team that has lots of returning players, but I’ve told him that his job is to take an older players job,” said Kuntz. “Don’t be happy with just being here, go take someone’s job. That pushes our older guys to produce and makes everybody on the team better.”
Buono will join his new team mates in Powell River in mid-August, ahead of Main Camp beginning in Powell River on August 19th.