Our View: Royals connect us to rest of Canada

There is more to the return of the Western Hockey League than Victoria welcoming another sports franchise into the fold.
The Royals have a chance to become a touchstone for citizens of this region, no matter how far they find themselves from Greater Victoria.

There is more to the return of the Western Hockey League than Victoria welcoming another sports franchise into the fold.

The Royals have a chance to become a touchstone for citizens of this region, no matter how far they find themselves from Greater Victoria.

Unlike the Salmon Kings, who toiled in the pro hockey underworld that is the ECHL, Victoria’s WHL club is part of a storied league that in many ways is interwoven into the fabric of many cities across Canada. This is more true today than it was for the former WHL Cougars, who called Victoria home from 1971 to 1994.

The Canadian Hockey League, an umbrella organization for the WHL and its major junior counterparts in Ontario and Quebec, is a magnitude more sophisticated than it was two decades ago.

Songs have been written about the Wheat Kings. Sault Ste. Marie still makes hay from the fact Wayne Gretzky played one spectacular season there, and Rimouski Oceanic jerseys with Sidney Crosby’s name on the back still sell well across the continent.

Being connected to the CHL is what separates the nascent Royals from so many of the other legendary sports clubs that call Victoria home.

Fans rightfully love such local institutions as the lacrosse Shamrocks and rugby’s James Bay Athletic Association. We also have our share of individuals who have gone on to represent the Capital Region at the highest level of amateur and professional sport, not to mention the world of entertainment.

But, given time, a team playing in the WHL has an opportunity that is simply not available to any other club or athlete.

Major junior hockey is one of the few enterprises present in most major communities from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Because of that, individual teams can enter the national consciousness. It will be much easier for other Canadians to recognize our city because we now have something tangible in common with theirs.

But first, for the Royals to truly become a symbol of our community, this season needs to be the first of many – not just a temporary fling.

Of course, if the team wants to speed the process of ingratiating itself with Victorians, they can do something the Salmon Kings struggled with: win games.

We look forward to seeing them try.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke’s Paul Laroche gold snipes along Sooke River, a process in which he uses a mask and snorkel to find pieces of gold. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Hitting the jackpot: Sooke man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Laroche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Sooke Road incident snarls evening traffic

Two-vehicles involved in rear-end crash Wednesday evening

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read