Second-year pro defenceman Joe Hicketts (left), seen here during his Victoria Royals days, will play his first NHL game tonight. He’ll suit up for the Detroit Red Wings in New Jersey against the Devils. Don Denton/Black Press

Second-year pro defenceman Joe Hicketts (left), seen here during his Victoria Royals days, will play his first NHL game tonight. He’ll suit up for the Detroit Red Wings in New Jersey against the Devils. Don Denton/Black Press

Former Victoria junior Hicketts making his NHL debut tonight

Second-year pro, Kamloops native, called up from Grands Rapids of the AHL

Former Victoria Royals captain and two-time Team Canada junior defenceman Joe Hicketts is set to make his National Hockey League debut tonight (Jan. 22) with the Detroit Red Wings against New Jersey.

The compact, 5-8, 180-pound Kamloops native has been toiling the past two seasons with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins. He got the call Sunday from the Griffins’ coach that the parent Red Wings needed his services due to an injury to Trevor Daley.

Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill said Hicketts’ speed should allow him to exploit opponents.

“When you’re a smaller defenceman, you’re at your best when you’re moving up the ice and you’re playing offence,” he said Monday. Hicketts is expected to be paired with Jonathan Ericsson, a 6-4, 220-pound veteran.

The rookie has two goals and eight points in 43 games with Grand Rapids this season, after totalling an impressive 34 points as a professional rookie last year.

Hicketts previously played four seasons with the Royals, totalling 32 goals and 173 points in 224 games.

editor@vicnews.com

NHL HockeyVictoria Royals

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