Last week it was practice, this week it’s for real, as the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants play a home-and-home series to start their respective Western Hockey League seasons.
The Giants host the Royals Friday (Sept. 18) for the first game and the two teams return to Victoria for Saturday, a 7 p.m. start at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
"It’s good to get the season going, it’s been a long couple of (preseason) weeks and any hockey player just wants to get out there and play," said Royals defenceman Joe Hicketts after Thursday's practice.
The Royals swept the Giants in preseason 4-3 in Victoria on Saturday and 3-1 in Ladner on Sunday. The latter game featured a number of game misconducts, indicative of referee trying to calm the hungry emotions of two teams champing at the bit.
"In any hockey game there’s going to be a little bit of (rough stuff) but we’re going to try and play between the whistles," Hicketts said. "We know they’ll try and drag us into the scrums after the whistles and we have to be disciplined and stay out of there."
The Royals reassigned 16-year-old prospect Matthew Campese to the Okanagan Hockey Academy, where Hicketts played as a 15-year-old.
Rookies in this year's lineup include 16-year-old forwards Tyler Soy and Reagan Nagy, and defenceman Chaz Reddekop, all of them highly touted prospects, as well as 17-year-old Landon Welykholowa