The Victoria Royals’ 2020-21 Western Hockey League season still sits in COVID-19 limbo waiting for a start to the season.
On Jan. 8 the WHL announced it was committed to having a season this year but had still not worked out the details to allow playing to begin leaving Royals’ players benched until further notice.
With the Royals’ future on hold, here’s a look at a few players from the past and what they’ve been up to since leaving Victoria.
Scoring star Matthew Phillips, 48 goals and 64 assists in his final season (2017-18) here has spent the last two seasons with the Calgary Flames’ American Hockey League affiliate the Stockton Heat.
Former Victoria defenceman Joe Hicketts has continued his career since leaving Victoria after the 2015-16 season mainly in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins but has had call-ups to the big leagues with the Detroit Red Wings for a few games each season.
Many WHL alumni end up playing in the university system and Tyler Soy, after scoring 66 goals in 2017-18, tried 19 games with the Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL before taking his deft touch around the net to the University of Alberta for the past few seasons.
Noah Gregor who stopped in Victoria for 30 games during the 2017-18 season has done well, staying with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.
What about goalies? Griffen Outhouse, from the tiny town of Likely, BC, left the Royals after 2018-19 and then spent last season stopping pucks for the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose in Winnipeg.
Playing careers have their ups and downs and big defenceman Keegan Kanzig has seen some changes in his pro hockey life. He was traded from Victoria to the Calgary Hitmen after four seasons here. He did well in Calgary but struggled after being promoted to the AHL playing just a handful of games. He then moved to the ECHL for four seasons before moving back up to the AHL for the 2019-20 season with the San Diego Gulls.
Travis Brown, another defenceman, spent four seasons bouncing between ECHL and AHL teams after leaving Victoria following the 2014-2015 season. He ended up last year playing in Denmark for Esbjerg EFB Ishockey.
The strangest hockey trip has perhaps been for Royals’ fan favourite Brandon Magee. Magee arrived in Victoria when the former Chilliwack Bruins franchise was moved here and played here through the 2014-15 season. He spent the following season in the WHL before leaving pro hockey and playing two seasons for the University of Alberta Bears. Last year (2019-20) he returned to pro hockey, in of all places Beijing, China, where he played for the Kunlun Red Star team, the only Chinese team in Russia’s Continental Hockey League.
Hopefully, 2021 will see a return to the ice for the Royals and then we can catch up with our current roster of players.
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