|“Teams are definitely looking at the CSSHL very closely"|
The Western Hockey League’s Victoria Royals could ice a lineup in the 2013/14 season with four former Canadian Sport School Hockey League products.
Tyler Soy (Okanagan Hockey Academy), Matthew Campese (OHA) and Chaz Reddekopp (Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy) are primed to join former OHA star Joe Hicketts on the Island next season.
With the CSSHL entering its fourth season, more and more alumni are popping up on major junior and junior “A” rosters, with a select few already moving on the NCAA or hearing their names called at the NHL Entry Draft.
Grant Armstrong, the Director of Player Personnel for the Royals, says teams are looking at the CSSHL to find potential stars for their clubs.
“Teams are definitely looking at the CSSHL very closely,” said Armstrong. “The development model at the Sport Schools is what our hockey club is seeking in our prospects. It is very important for the players to get quality of coaching and lots of skill development and this is happening at the CSSHL level.”
Hicketts spent the 2011/12 season with the OHA after being selected by the Royals in the first round, 12thoverall, in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft, posting 12 points (6-6-12) in 12 games. The Kamloops, BC, native registered 24 points (6-18-24) in 67 games this past season with the Royals, while also captaining Team Pacific at the World Under-17 Hockey Championships. The speedy defenseman was also a late cut as an underage player on the Canadian Under-18 team this spring.
Royals fans got a good look at Soy last season, as the Surrey, BC, native suited up in 13 games as a 15-year-old with the Royals, including six games in the post-season. Soy posted four points (2-2-4) in those 13 games, along with 19 points (10-9-19) in 12 games with the OHA Prep team. The crafty forward was the eighth overall selection by the Royals in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.
Campese and Reddekopp both saw action in one game last season with the Royals, making their WHL debuts on March 6, 2013 against the Kelowna Rockets.
Campese, a 5-foot-11 forward, led the OHA Prep team in goals last season with 14 in 12 games, to go along with three assists and 52 penalty minutes. The Prince Albert, SK, native was the Royals third-round pick (49thoverall) in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.
Reddekopp, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound defenseman, led the Pursuit of Excellence Prep team in scoring with 13 points (3-10-13) in 10 games during the 2012/13 season. The Westbank, BC, native was a 13thoverall selection in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.
Armstrong says all the Royals players that have attended Sport Schools have come to Victoria prepared for the rigors of the WHL, both on and off the ice.
“Our Royals players that have attended the Sport Schools have come to the WHL prepared for the rigors of the league,” said Armstrong. “The players are mentally and physically ready to start in the WHL. The players have balanced their school work and developed good time management skills. With the practice to game ratio to be very high, the players are much more skilled then when they entered the school programs.
“Good practices really do make the difference.”
-Photo credit: Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist
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