Head coach Dave Lowry of the Victoria Royals won’t let on just which youngster has a chance to crack the lineup this fall.
The Royals preseason continues against Kelowna in Maple Ridge on Friday (Sept. 7), in Kelowna on Saturday, and back to Victoria against the Vancouver Giants on Sept. 15.
“Right now I’m not singling anyone out,” Lowry said the day prior to starting the preseason on Aug. 30. “Some guys have earned their right to play some exhibition games.”
The former Calgary Flames assistant coach also wouldn’t dispel a scenario, however, where both 16-year-old defencemen Joe Hicketts and Jack Walker could make the team. The speedy blueliners are equal parts flashy, yet undersized.
“It’s going to be a good battle and I’ve said before, age is nothing. If you’re good enough, that’s what will determine who makes the team.”
Last week the Royals made some key signings, led by that of Czech import goalie, 17-year-old Patrik Polivka. The club also inked four 16-year-olds, forwards Brandon Fushimi and Michael Bell, defenceman Ryan Gagnon and goaltender Michael Herringer. As well, the team received commitment from first round 2012 Bantam picks Tyler Soy and Chaz Reddekopp, second rounder Reagan Nagy and third rounder Matthew Campese.
Fushimi, from Colorado, stands out as the only non-drafted player. After impressing at last year’s rookie camp Fushimi was protected on the Royals’ 50-man list. Paired on a line with Tyler Soy, Fushimi led tied Soy in scoring during this year’s rookie camp.