Royals harkens heritage: WHL name ties in well with Victoria’s British history

#yyj, Victoria WHL team, Victoria Royals, junior hockey, Victoria Cougars, Chilliwack Bruins,

The Victoria Royals name and logo is in the bank.

Officially released on Monday, the Royals title and its lion-crested logo was chosen as the “best fit” by the brass at RG Properties to lead Victoria’s return to the Western Hockey League.

“We wanted a lion or some formidable beast, to be aggressive in the logo, more than the Salmon Kings (crest) was,” said team president Dave Dakers.

Added Dakers, Royals outlasted Destroyers, Eagles, and Capitals, bringing the most natural fit and tie-in with Victoria’s roots to the British Monarchy.

So far the reception has been a positive one. But if there is one drawback, it might be the fact New Westminster has used it off-and-on since hockey came to B.C. in 1911.

However, as someone who played in some heated matches for the 1950-52 Victoria Cougars against the New Westminster Royals in the minor-pro Pacific Coast Hockey League, Reggie Abbott is okay with Victoria taking it back.

“Royals doesn’t bother me. We never gave the name much thought, it was all about the city, be it New West, Seattle or Portland,” he said.

“It’s an appropriate name for (this city).”

General manager Marc Habscheid also announced a team partership with Vic High, where the high school aged players will attend. Habscheid also said the team has enlisted police to oversee all 200 billet applications in time for the Aug. 20 training camp.

The team also “signed” Marty the Marmot to a new contract – whether it’s a verbal contract or on paper is yet to be determined. Neither fish nor lion, Marty returns to lead Victoria in the WHL while representing the endangered species of loud-drumming marmots.

Early Royals

“(Likely) the first Royals team in Victoria was the 1908-13 Royals Athletic Association lacrosse team,” said Victoria sports historian Dave Unwin. “But the war came and that ended them.”

The farmer’s field leased and fenced off by RAA was later named Royal Athletic Park after the lacrosse organization.

Since then soccer, fastpitch and baseball teams all used the name, the longest running being the senior men’s Cosmo Royals soccer team. The group of ex-pat Brits lasted from 1970 to 1990 (approximately).

Royal company

The semi-pro Victoria Royals soccer team played in the 1970 and 1971 summer seasons of the Western Canadian summer soccer league. That club was coached by Welshmen Brian Hughes, who later coached at the University of Victoria.

Around town there are plenty of royal landmarks: The Royal B.C. Museum, Royal Victoria Yacht Club and Royal Colwood Golf Club, all of which earned official Royal designation from the crown of England. Royal Athletic Park did not.

Royal tie-in

Using the Bruins name was out of the question. The Victoria Cougars and New Westminster Bruins held plenty of WHL wars during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

However, “everyone knows New West as The Royal City,” Unwin said. “They were the Royals when we were the Victoria Senators in 1912.