With a list 12 items long, it might have been better to let the town crier bellow each and every detail at the Victoria Royals monster press conference this week.
The Royals made so many announcements they even issued a press release about it.
The team confirmed the many outstanding details around the 2011-12 return of Western Hockey League to the Island with two new associate coaches, two new communications staff members, a radio play-by-play man, a variety of mini-pack ticket deals, the training camp schedule, news of an intra-squad game on Aug. 31 and a garage sale and arena tour on Sept. 17.
Marc Habscheid’s coaching staff will feature returning assistant Enio Sacilotto, with newly added video coach Ben Cooper and assistant coach Craid Didmon.
Sacilotto coached with the organization last year and will be on the bench this season with Cooper, who comes from Hockey Canada. Cooper provided video analysis for Canada’s hockey teams at the world juniors for three years, the world championships in 2009 and the 2010 Olympics.
“Ben’s been exposed to the coaches’ meetings and game plans at all those levels and brings that understanding and experience to our club,” Habscheid said.
Between games, Cooper will provide video analysis for the team. During games, he’ll be on the bench wearing a headset, communicating directly with Didmon.
“The key thing will be making in-game adjustments based on what we see,” Cooper said.
During the regular season Didmon will be the eye-in-the-sky, though he won’t travel for much of the road games. Choosing him was easy, as he’s local and has an enthusiasm for the game, said Habscheid.
“Craig’s a hockey junkie, he loves the game and loves teaching young players,” Habsheid said.
Didmon previously coached the Victoria Cougars to a provincial junior-B title before joining the Victoria Grizzlies for two years, helping the Grizzlies to first place in the standings.
In joining the Royals Didmon steps down as head coach of the South Island Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget League, though he’ll continue running the day-time hockey academy for Spencer middle school and Belmont secondary students.
“Being involved with the major midget league I dealt with the WHL, who watch our players closely. I’ve watched Marc in his career and thought, what an opportunity to work with a world class coach here in Victoria,” Didmon said.
T-birds assistant coach Max Young was named Didmon’s successor on July 29.
On the radio
The Zone @ 91.3 radio station and the Royals have hired Marlon Martens, a veteran play-by-play voice to lead the team’s live broadcast. Martens did play-by-play with the Lethbridge Hurricanes from 2005 to 2007.
The Sept. 17 garage sale is notable because it will feature discounted merchandise from the Victoria Salmon Kings, the ECHL club that folded at the end of last season to make way for the WHL Royals.
Season tickets are approaching 3,000 sold, said Devin Mazur, Royal’s director of ticketing.
It’s nearly double that of the ECHL Victoria Salmon Kings’ season ticket base from 2010-11.
The Royals also released a variety of mini-packs, ticket packages starting at $87.
Single game tickets for the 2010-11 season go on sale Aug. 31, though mini-packs holders will have first dibs on tickets for the Sept. 24 home opener against the Vancouver Giants.
- Royals players began arriving this week in preparation for training camp. All on-ice sessions are open to the general public with free admission.
- Drafted players camp is Aug. 21 to 23, from 10 to 11 a.m at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
- Rookie camp is Aug. 25 to 28 and will feature eight teams competing in scrimmages from 8 a.m. to 10:15 p.m., at SOFMC.
- Main camp is Aug. 29 to 31 with scrimmages each morning between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., followed by evening scrimmages from 5:15 to 10:15 p.m. Camp on Aug. 30 will take place at Bear Mountain Arena.
- Admission to the Aug. 31 intra-squad game is by donation, 7:05 p.m. at SOFMC.