Kings Return McBean to Junior League

Wayne McBean, the fourth player picked last June in the National Hockey League draft, has been returned by the Kings to his junior team at Medicine Hat, Canada.

McBean, 18, was one of the youngest players in the league and had trouble adjusting to the pace of the NHL. He had no goals and 1 assist in 27 games.

And there was a fear among management, General Manager Rogie Vachon said, that spending the rest of the season with the last-place Kings might further erode McBean's confidence.

"It's dangerous to let an NHL player on the ice who's lacking in confidence, especially at Wayne's age," Vachon told the Medicine Hat News.

McBean, who was expected to play for Medicine Hat Tuesday night at Saskatoon, told the newspaper: "I wasn't sure of myself in L.A., and I was getting burned by opposing forwards."

Vachon, though, said he has not lost confidence in McBean.

"He's going to be a great player," Vachon said. "He got caught in a bad situation. The way the team has played, it's not very good to have an 18-year-old kid in the lineup.

"He needs to play all the time to get better. So we said, 'Let's send him back and get him ready for next year.' "

Except under emergency conditions, such as a rash of injuries to the Kings, McBean cannot return this season to the NHL.

Under NHL rules, the Kings paid $20,000 to Medicine Hat when they kept McBean past the second Monday of the NHL season. They will not recoup any of that payment by returning him.

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