Victoria Royals general manager Cam Hope talks about the Western Hockey League team’s season end and what’s in the cards for next year. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Royals management already started on next season

Fans will see quite a different team hit the ice in September

Victoria Royals general manager Cam Hope joked that he’d rather be “anywhere but here” as he conducted season-end interviews outside the team’s dressing room at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

“I think it always feels the same this time of year, for all but the champion your season’s going to end in disappointment,” said Hope, whose Western Hockey League team was packing up after losing four straight in the Western Conference semifinal to Tri City. “But this year in particular I thought we had a team that was really going to be able to do something special and we were defanged toward the end and not able climb that last hill.”

The Americans closed out the series last Wednesday at home with a 5-3 win. Tri City’s other victory margins were 7-0, 4-1 and 6-5.

The timing of injuries to key players, forwards Tyler Soy and Tanner Kaspick and defenceman Scott Walford for the entire Tri City series, not to mention other assorted games lost to injuries, didn’t help as the Royals attempted to match up with the powerful Americans.

While admitting that having Soy, Kaspick and Walford in the lineup would have changed the complexion of the games, first-year head coach Dan Price said he was proud of how the players who were in the lineup stepped up and gave it their all right up until the end.

He called the past season of working with the players, fellow coaches and other staff probably the “best year of my life.” Price spoke of how close the team is and the message the staff had for them after the game 4 loss and at Friday’s clearing out day.

“We told them it’s worth it at the end of the day. There are many, many people that would trade places with us even though it’s disappointing that we aren’t still playing,” he said. “It’s a real special place here and a real special group and the fact that we went through all of those things, the good things and the tough times, they were very much worth it because we got to do it together.”

Hope was asked how tough a job it will be to replace upwards of half the roster next season.

“That’s junior hockey, the rosters turn over somewhere between a third and half every year anyway. That process has already started,” he said. “The bantam draft is two and a half weeks away now, we’re focused on that, and the import draft and all those things that are coming up. The rebuild starts.”

WHL rules only allow teams to carry three 20-year-olds – for next season that’s 1998-born players, of which the Royals had 10 to finish this year.

“These things tend to take care of themselves,” Hope said, noting that seven Royals are drafted and/or signed with NHL clubs already and might not be in the picture for next season anyway.

Speaking about the job his rookie head coach did this season, Hope said he expects that Price will be moving up the coaching ladder before long.

That wasn’t exactly evident when Price was asked if he’d like to come back.

“I love it here, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Oak Bay mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Jury to make recommendations based on death of Elliot Eurchuk, 16

Derelict trimaran removed from Oak Bay waters

Boat has been aground near Oak Bay Marina for over five months

Confusing parking lot blamed for cars tipping into flowerbeds at Peninsula Canadian Tire

Tow and repairs cost thousands, engineer says drivers’ responsibility, Canadian Tire stay quiet

Victoria Ska and Reggae Festival returns to its roots, 20 years in

Longstanding music event brings together myriad talent in various genres

Saanich says it will take months to fix a sink hole that appeared during ‘Snowmaggedon’

Roads closed in the area after the sink hole first opened in early February

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Most Read