Royals acquire Russian sniper in time for season opener

Victoria Royals open WHL season with a home-and-home series against the Vancouver Giants, Sept. 21 in Vancouver and Sept. 22 in Victoria

Russian import Alex Gogolev brings an elite skill set to the Victoria Royals this year. The Royals traded Zane Jones

Russian import Alex Gogolev brings an elite skill set to the Victoria Royals this year. The Royals traded Zane Jones

Victoria Royals general manager Cam Hope is the first to admit he can’t count to 10 in Russian.

Hope and Jeff Harris, the director of hockey ops and communications, picked up the Royals newest player, Russian import Alex Gogolev, from the airport on the weekend.

“Alex tried to teach us to count to 10 in Russian, and even with a 30 minute drive we couldn’t get it, so it’s safe to say his English is much better than my Russian,” Hope said.

Though his English is still improving, Gogolev can at least count to 57. That’s how many points the slick skating forward totaled as a 19-year-old rookie with the Calgary Hitmen last year, as he scored 25 goals and 32 assists.

The 20-year-old was acquired by trade on Saturday in exchange for forward Zane Jones, 18, and a conditional sixth round pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. The Royals also got a fourth round pick in the 2013 draft.

Gogolev became available because of the WHL numbers game. The Hitmen had five over age players, with just three spots, and three imports vying for two spots.

“Gogolev is very skilled, but he was a two-spot player, a 20-year-old import,” Hope said. “We’re getting a player who is exceptionally smooth, a smart player with an excellent shot who can be a game breaker.”

And to get, you have to give.

Jones was one of the few promising 18-year-olds developed in the Royals/Bruins system. Last year as a 17-year-old he recorded 14 goals and 32 points, and was one of the Royals best players in all four playoff games.

Discussions between Hope and Hitmen GM Kelly Kisio began during the WHL GMs meetings in Calgary last week and carried on until Saturday.

“You never want to give up a younger guy who you haven’t seen his best yet, which is why the trade took a whole week,” Hope said.

“But it was tough to get (Kisio) interested in someone else, he had his mind set on (Jones).”

With Gogolev, the Royals are now at their cap for overage spots with three 20-year-olds, Jamie Crooks and Tyler Stahl being the other two. Goalie Patrik Polivka is the other import.

Gogolev will be in the lineup for the Royals first game of the regular season in Vancouver on Friday (Sept. 21), and the first home game, Saturday night, 7:05 p.m. versus the Vancouver Giants.

The Royals won the final preseason game, and the only one held in Victoria, 4-2 over the Giants on Saturday. Logan Nelson, Brandon Magee, Jamie Crooks and Ben Walker (empty net goal) scored for the Royals.

Royals reshape, move Kade Pilton

Two days prior to Zane Jones departure was the trade of big defenceman Kade Pilton. The Parksville native, still 17 years old, is already 6-foot-5, 186 lbs. But with the influx of 16-year-old talents Joe Hicketts and Jack Walker, Pilton was traded to the Regina Pats. In Pilton’s rookie year of 2011-12, he scored five goals and 13 points.

In return, the Royals got the rights to forward Demico Hannoun (1995) and a conditional draft pick from the Regina Pats. Hannoun is from Delta and was a B.C. Hockey League rookie with the South Surrey Eagles last year, scoring 12 goals and 26 points in 49 games. Hannoun, 16, is 5-foot-11 and 175 lbs.

Czech protector

Rookie goalie Patrik Polivka’s save percentage of 0.963 and goals against average of 1.41 per game are the best among all WHL goalies with 120 minutes played in the preseason.

Stalled out

Defenceman Tyler Stahl won’t be available as he’s serving a six-game suspension for a checking to the head penalty against the Kelowna Rockets on Sept. 7.

See the Royals for $5

Every Monday prior to a home game, a limited number of $5 tickets will be available at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre box office, starting at 9:30 a.m.

Just Posted

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Gorge skull fragment could bring closure to one Greater Victoria missing person case

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

Victoria police will be working to arrest as many people with active warrants as possible during #VicPDWarrantWednesday May 12. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police aim to make sweeping arrests during #VicPDWarrantWednesday

Officers working to locate people with active arrest warrants

Patrick OLeary won $1 million in the March 24 draw of the Lotto 6/49. (BCLC image)
Sooke man cashes $1-million lottery ticket

The excavator operator had to look twice to confirm the win

According to Statistics Canada, Greater Victoria’s unemployment rose half a per cent to 6.2 per cent in April 2021 compared to the previous month. (Black Press Media File)
Unemployment in Greater Victoria continues to rise

April figures peg local unemployment at 6.2%

Rendering of a possible amphitheatre on the bluffs at the south end of the Royal Beach development. (Seacliff Properties image)
Colwood signs development agreement for Royal Beach at old quarry

Plan includes 18 hectares of park, 2,850 homes and lots of retail

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered on remote road near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

Vancouver court on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Defence lawyers call foul as Crown counsel granted access to COVID-19 vaccines

Defence attorneys are pushing the province to extend inoculation access to workers in courtrooms across B.C.

A Nanaimo RCMP officer is recovering after his patrol car was hit by another vehicle at an intersection on Monday, May 10. (Photo courtesy Julia Rose)
RCMP vehicle broad-sided in Nanaimo intersection crash

Police officer recovering at home following collision Monday

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. Indigenous leaders are calling for an investigation into the conduct of Mounties on Vancouver Island after two police shootings of members of a small First Nations community in three months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Indigenous leaders call for clarity, investigation into RCMP after B.C. shooting

The RCMP declined to comment on the requests by Indigenous leaders

Colleen Price, Vancouver Island University’s bachelor of science in nursing program chairperson, says she is impressed with how students have persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Next generation of B.C. nurses already showing resilience

University program head says learning had to be adjusted amidst pandemic

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old B.C. bike rider already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Most Read