Sept 25,2014(ISN) – The 2014-2015 Victoria Royals start their home schedule with a pair of
games Friday and Saturday evenings vs. the Kamloops Blazers.
The Royals have high expectations this season after their breakthrough season
with 48 wins and a total of100pts. This year they hope to have a healthy
Joe Hicketts patrolling the blue line after an injury filled season last year
where he only played in 36 games. He is just back from a free agent tryout
with the Detroit Red Wings where he scored a game-winning goal against
the St. Louis prospects in rookie camp. He impressed Detroit’s General
Manager so much as a free agent that he just signed a 3-year deal with
the Red Wings. Travis Brown (defence) was invited for a tryout with the
Ottawa Senators. Look for big things from Hicketts and Brown this season
now that they are back from pro camps brimming with confidence.
Goalie Patrick Polika has left the team as he signed a pro contract in the
Czech Republic leaving the crease to Coleman Vollrath who at times last
season played better as a backup with 20-8-2 record. Vollrath’s backup will
be 6’6 Evan Smith from Colorado. This year the team is much deeper in
Offensively the Royals have lost some depth up front with the graduations
of Ben Walker and Logan Nelson, but they expect young stars like Tyler
Soy who starred over the summer at the Ivan Hilika U -18 Memorial
Tournament leading Team Canada to a 7th straight gold medal at this
competition. His showing there earned him an early c ranking in the NHL
Central Scouting Bureau’s rankings for the 2015 entry draft. Look for him
to get at least a 2nd center role after being the Royals Rookie of the Year
in 13-14 where he had 30 points. Soy had a strong 2nd half last year
including playoffs helping the royals to a 1st round sweep of the Spokane
Chiefs. This was the first series win in Royal’s history.
This season will be a big one for coach Dave Lowry and General Manager
Cam Hope as last season after the best season in franchise history.
Lowry and Hope won Coach and Executive of the year awards for the
WHL respectively and set the standard by raising the bar for the Royals
franchise for many seasons to come. Lowry was rewarded by receiving a
well earned contract extension through 2017 by GM hope and given the
honour of becoming the first in Royals history to be named as an Assistant
Coach for Team Canada during the World Junior Tournament December
26 to January 5th.
This season the Royals might not score as much as they did last season
but should continue with a strong defence and work ethic under the eye of
Lowry, which led the Royals to be 2nd in defence last season. If the young
forwards like Dante Haunoun step up I’m expecting a 3rd place finish in the
WHL Western Conference.
Season opening games are Friday September 26th
& 27th at Save On Foods Memorial Center. Game time 7pm
And that’s the view from my chair My Chair