Saturday, 24 May 2014


WHL Players Take Home Four Awards

London, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the 10 national award winners for the 2013-14 season including Anthony Mantha of the Val-d’Or Foreurs who earned Sportsnet Player of the Year honours.  The awards were presented as part of the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup festivities at The Grand Theatre in London, presented by The London Free Press.

2013-14 CHL Award Winners:

Jack Link’s Top Prospect of the Year: Sam Bennett (Kingston Frontenacs):
Sam Bennett is listed first overall by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters in their Final Rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft which takes place June 27-28 in Philadelphia.  The 17-year-old forward from Holland Landing, ON, tied for ninth in OHL scoring with 91 points including 36 goals and 55 assists in 57 games for the Kingston Frontenacs recording a plus-minus rating of plus-34.  Finalists for the award were top WHL prospect Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice ranked third by NHL Central Scouting, and top QMJHL prospect Nikolaj Ehlers of the Halifax Mooseheads ranked at number 13.

Chrysler Dodge Top Scorer: Connor Brown (Erie Otters):
Connor Brown led all CHL players in scoring with 128 points including 45 goals and 83 assists in 68 games establishing a new team record the Erie Otters who had their best season in franchise history with 52 wins and 106 points.  The 20-year-old Toronto native is a Maple Leafs prospect selected in the sixth round of the 2012 NHL Draft.  Finalists for the award were top QMJHL scorer Anthony Mantha of the Val-d’Or Foreurs with 120 points in 57 games, and top WHL scorer Mitch Holmberg of the Spokane Chiefs who recorded 118 points in 72 games. 

SUBWAY Scholastic Player of the Year: Connor McDavid (Erie Otters):
Connor McDavid achieved a 92% average during his first semester attending McDowell High School in Erie and currently carries an 87% average in his final semester of Grade 11.  On the ice, the 17-year-old from Newmarket, ON, and Canadian National Junior Team member scored 99 points in 56 games for the Otters.  He becomes the second member of the Otters to win the award following Brad Boyes in the 1999-2000 season.  Finalists for the award were Jeremy Gregoire of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, and Nelson Nogier of the Saskatoon Blades.

Cooper Tires Humanitarian of the Year: Sam Fioretti (Moose Jaw Warriors):
Sam Fioretti made a big impact both on the ice and in the Moose Jaw community in his fourth and final WHL season.  The 20-year-old captain from Calgary, AB, was the driving force behind the Warriors’ partnership with the Moose Jaw Police Service to visit local schools to speak out against bullying.  He also made it a goal to help educate area students about the importance of physical activity and was a key participant in the club’s Read to Succeed Program.  He is the second member of the Warriors to win the national award in four years following Spencer Edwards in 2010-11.  Finalists for the award include Charles-David Beaudoin of the Drummondville Voltigeurs, and Scott Simmonds of the Belleville Bulls. Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year: Sam Reinhart (Kootenay Ice):
Sam Reinhart finished tied for fourth in WHL scoring with 105 points including 36 goals and a team record of 69 assists in 60 games recording just 11 minutes in penalties for the Kootenay Ice.  The 18-year-old captain from Vancouver, BC, also represented Canada at the World Junior Championship and is a top prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft helping the Ice to a WHL-record 15th consecutive season with a record of .500 or better.  Finalists for the award include Frederik Gaudreau of the Drummondville Voltigeurs, and Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters. 

Old Dutch Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year: Eric Veilleux (Baie-Comeau Drakkar):
Eric Veilleux led the Baie-Comeau Drakkar to first place in the QMJHL standings in just his second season behind the team’s bench finishing 2013-14 with 99 points including an overall record of 47-16-2-3.  Finalists for the award were D.J Smith of the Oshawa Generals, and Dave Lowry of the Victoria Royals. 

BMO Rookie of the Year: Nikolaj Ehlers (Halifax Mooseheads):
Nikolaj Ehlers finished fourth in QMJHL scoring with 104 points including 49 goals and 55 assists with an incredible plus-minus rating of plus-65 in only 63 games for the Halifax Mooseheads.  The 18-year-old native of Denmark is eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft and is the top rated QMJHL prospect listed at 13 by NHL Central Scouting.  Finalists for the award include Travis Konecny of the Ottawa 67’s, and Nick Merkley of the Kelowna Rockets. 

Vaughn Goaltender of the Year: Jordon Cooke (Kelowna Rockets):
Jordon Cooke posted a 39-7-0-4 record including four shutout victories in 51 appearances for the WHL’s first place Kelowna Rockets.  The 20-year-old from Leduc, AB, finished second among WHL netminders with a 2.28 goals-against-average and fourth with a save percentage of .922.  Finalists for the award include Zachary Fucale of the Halifax Mooseheads, and Alex Nedeljkovic of the Plymouth Whalers. 

Arctic Spas Defenceman of the Year: Derrick Pouliot (Portland Winterhawks):
Derrick Pouliot scored 17 goals and added 53 assists for 70 points in 58 games with a plus-minus rating of plus-40 for the Portland Winterhawks who captured their second straight U.S Division title during the 2013-14 regular season campaign.  The 20-year-old from Weyburn, SK, represented Canada at the World Junior Championship and is a Pittsburgh Penguins prospect selected in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft.  Finalists for the award include Guillaume Gelinas of the Val-d’Or Foreurs, and Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts.

Sportsnet Player of the Year: Anthony Mantha (Val-d’Or Foreurs):
Anthony Mantha led the QMJHL in scoring with 120 points in 57 games played averaging an impressive one goal per game along with 63 assists during the 2013-14 season for the Val-d’Or Foreurs.  The 19-year-old from Longueuil, Quebec, is a Detroit Red Wings prospect selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft and played for Canada at the World Junior Championship.  He becomes the second member of the Foreurs to earn Player of the Year honours following Simon Gamache during the 2000-01 season.  Finalists for the award were Connor Brown of the Erie Otters, and Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice.

The 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup is proudly supported by MasterCard, title sponsor of this event for 16 straight years.  Associate sponsors include Bank of Montreal, SUBWAY, Old Dutch,, and broadcast partners Sportsnet and TVA Sports.   

For more information please visit  

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Royals 2014 Bantam Draft Recap

Press Release Below...
Audio from GM Cam Hope and Dir. Player Personnel Grant Armstrong:

The Victoria Royals made 9 selections at the 2014 Bantam Draft in Calgary on Thursday.  They chose 4 forwards, 4 defensemen, and 1 netminder.  Victoria also selected a pair of Island born forwards, who both hail from Duncan and played for Cowichan Valley .

Overall, three are from British Columbia, two from Alberta and Saskatchewan, while Manitoba and the USA provided one player.

The Royals traded '94 born defenseman Brett Cote to the Red Deer Rebels for a 2nd round pick (31st overall).

1st Round - 18th overall, D SCOTT WALFORD
6’0 185 lb 14yrs OHA, from Coquitlam 59 (12G 39A) 51pts, 38 pims

“A nice addition to our skill group.  An offensive defenseman who likes to get the puck of the ice to support the rush.  Will do a great job of allowing our transition game to pick up.  Good size player that likes to crash and bang in the corners.” – Grant Armstrong, Director of Player Personnel

The Royals then acquired a 2014 2nd round pick (31st overall) from the Red Deer Rebels for ’94 born defenceman Brett Cote.

2nd Round – 31st overall, C RYAN PECKFORD
5-11, 174lb center who skated with the Parkland Athletic Club Saints.
Scored 60 points (28g-32a) in 33 games.

“Highly skilled centerman, really good in the faceoffs, works real hard at getting pucks to the net.  He’s a little bit slippery for a guy with his size, good ability to fend off checks, supports the puck well…he’s got great hands, and as Ryan grows and gets stronger he’s going to be an offensive force.”

2nd Round – 40th overall, D BRAYDAN PACHAL (pah-hall)
5-11, 160lb defenceman who scored 27 points (14g-13a) in 31 games with the Estevan Bruins.

“He’s got a lineage.  His grandfather was a real good hockey player, and his Dad’s played the game.  Another offensively gifted defenseman, real mobile, he’s got good size.  He takes a lot of focus on defending as well.  Good all round defenseman, plays both ends of the rink well.  With his skating ability he’ll be a tremendous addition…”

3rd Round - 57th overall, F BARON THOMPSON
6’5, 210 lb right winger from the Omaha Lancers. Born Lakeville, Minnesota

“A lot of people have said he has the ability to be an Eric Lindros at some point, that’s a lot on a young guy.  We wanted to get someone who can get a little gritty at times and have the skill to play the game.

At this point we thought we needed to add size and grit to support some of our guys coming through next year like Hannoun and Phillips.

A good addition, he’ll probably be a 6’7 guy when he stops growing.  We’re really excited because I think he’ll be able to patrol the wing, and with his skill set he’s going to be real tough to contain.”

6th Round - 112th overall, G DYLAN MYSKIW
Winnipeg Hawks posting a 14-2-0-0 record, along with a 2.57 GAA, a 0.913 SV% and two shutouts.

“Dylan is a very athletic goaltender,” Armstrong said. “He moves well and he has good size. His strengths are his stick and his glove.”

7th Round – 140th overall, F BEN BERARD
5-8, 170lb winger from Cowichan Valley
*Duncan, BC native 3rd island player drafted by the Royals in team history.

7th round - 150th overall, D DAMIAN GORECKI
5-10, 150lb Calgary Wranglers. Scored 32 points (16-16a) in 25 games

8th round - 161st overall, F DAWSON FRANK
5-8, 150lb winger played for Cowichan Valley; 151 points (69g-82a) in 62 games.
*2nd island player drafted...From Duncan

8th round – 172nd, D KEEGAN RANDELL
    5-11, 178lb Saskatoon Maniacs. 26 points (9g-17a) in 31 games

The Royals then traded their 9th round, 194th overall selection to the Prince Albert Raiders for their 2015 9th round selection.

Victoria takes four forwards, four defenceman and one goalie at annual draft.

For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 1, 2014

Calgary, AB – The Victoria Royals are proud to announce the selection of nine players at the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft in Calgary, AB today.

Of the nine players drafted by the Royals, three hail from British Columbia, with two calling Vancouver Island their home. Alberta and Saskatchewan both contributed two players each, while Manitoba provided one player and the United States supplied one player (Minnesota). By position, the Royals picked up four forwards, four defencemen, and one goalie.

Round 1

The Royals used their first pick, 18th overall, to select Scott Walford from the Okanagan Hockey Academy. Walford, a 6-0, 185 lb defenceman, suited up in 56 games and amassed 48 points (12g-36a) and 35 penalty minutes last season. The Coquitlam, BC native also helped lead his team to a gold medal at the 2014 John Reid Memorial Tournament.

“We’re very excited to have selected Scott today. He is an intelligent hockey player, he skates well and he has a physical side to his game,” said Royals’ Director of Scouting Garry Pochipinski.

Round 2

Victoria sent overage defenceman Brett Cote to the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for the 31st overall pick which was used to select Stony Plain, AB native Ryan Peckford. During the 2013-14 season, Peckford skated for the Parkland Athletic Club Saints in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League (AMBHL). The 5-11, 174 lb center appeared in 33 games for the Saints and scored 60 points (28g-32a) to go along with 44 penalty minutes.

“Ryan is a highly-skilled centerman who is good in the face-off circle and works hard to get pucks to the net,” Royals’ Director of Player Personnel Grant Armstrong said. “He is slippery for a player of his size and he has great hands. As Ryan grows and gets stronger we believe he will be an offensive force.”

The Royals used the 40th overall selection to pick 5-11, 161 lb defenceman Brayden Pachal. The Estevan, SK native played with the Estevan Bruins of the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League (SBAAHL) and collected 27 points (14g-13a) to go along with 66 penalty minutes in 31 games last season.

We think that Brayden has tremendous upside. He is an offensively gifted defenceman, mobile and has good size,” Armstrong said. “Brayden also places a focus on defending and plays both ends of the ice well.”

Round 3

With the 57th overall selection, the Royals chose Baron Thompson from the Omaha Lancers of the North American Prospects League U16. Thompson, listed at a hulking 6-3, 225 lbs, is a right winger from Lakeville, MN and skated in 10 games with the Lancers where he collected six points (3g-3a) to go along with eight penalty minutes.

“Baron’s size is obviously attractive,” Armstrong said. “We wanted someone that can be gritty as well as have the skill to play the game and Baron certainly provides that.”

Round 6

The Royals used the 112th overall selection to pick 5-11, 148 lb goaltender Dylan Myskiw. The Winnipeg, MB native spent the 2013-14 season with the Winnipeg Hawks of the Winnipeg Bantam AAA Hockey League. Myskiw posted a 14-2-0 record with a 2.57 goals against average and a .913 save percentage as well as two shutouts in 16 regular season games last year.

“Dylan is a very athletic goaltender,” Armstrong said. “He moves well and he has good size. His strengths are his stick and his glove.”

Round 7

Victoria grabbed Vancouver Island product Ben Berard with the 140th selection of the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. The 5-8, 170 lb winger from Duncan, BC played with the Tier 1 Bantam Cowichan Valley Capitals last season where he racked up 239 points (122g-117a) in 62 games. Berard becomes the third Vancouver Island resident to be selected by the Royals in team history.

“Ben is a top-end offensive player,” Pochipinski said. “He has great speed, great skills and he can finish.”

The Royals used the 150th overall selection on Calgary, AB native Damian Gorecki. The 5-10, 150 lb defenceman skated for the Calgary Wranglers this past year and posted 32 points (16g-16a) in 25 games.

“Damian has been a pleasant surprise for us,” Pochipinski said. “He is a compact, physical defenceman that skates well and sees the ice. He makes great decisions and has offensive upside.”

Round 8

The 161st overall selection saw Victoria take another Islander in 5-8, 150 lb winger Dawson Frank. The Duncan, BC native played with the Tier 1 Bantam Cowichan Valley Capitals last year as a teammate of seventh round pick Ben Berard and posted 151 points (69g-82a) in 62 games.

“Dawson is a young player with raw offensive talent and instincts that we saw rapidly developing throughout this past season,” Royals’ General Manager Cameron Hope said.

With the club’s final selection of the day, 172nd overall, the Royals picked Keegan Randell from the Saskatoon Maniacs of the SBAAHL. Randell, a 5-11, 178 lb defenceman from Saskatoon, SK, skated in 31 games and scored 26 points (9g-17a) to go along with 42 penalty minutes last year.

“Keegan is a steady, smart defenceman,” Hope said. “Keegan is reliable and can play a physical game as well.”

Victoria traded its ninth round pick this year to the Prince Albert Raiders in exchange for the Raiders’ ninth round pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft to close out the team’s activity for the day.

The WHL Bantam Draft is an annual event in which the clubs of the Western Hockey League select players who have graduated from bantam. For the 2014 draft, players born in 1999 are eligible. Draft order is determined by way of points in the regular season, with the exception of teams that missed the WHL Playoffs which are placed into a draft lottery for the first round only. With the exception of the lottery results in the first round, teams will select in order of fewest to most regular season points.

During the bantam draft, players from Western Canada and the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming are eligible to be selected.

Season ticket packages for the 2014-15 season are on sale now! Call 250-220-7889, visit, or head down to the Victoria Royals ticketing office at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre for more information.