With core changes happening to the Victoria Royals and the Victoria Grizzlies, and one of Saanich’s own getting drafted to the NHL, it’s like hockey season all over again.
In the span of three days, from June 20 to 22, Memorial Cup winner Marc Habscheid resigned as coach and general manager of the WHL Royals; B.C. Hockey League legend Bill Bestwick was appointed as coach and GM of the Grizzlies; the Vancouver Canucks selected Saanich’s Wes Myron in the sixth round (177th) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft; and two Royals were also drafted, Steven Hodges to the Florida Panthers, in the third round (84th) and Logan Nelson to the Buffalo Sabres in the fifth round (133rd).
Hodges joins a long line of Royals/Chilliwack Bruins to be drafted, including a handful of Bruins who’ve dressed for NHL games, while Nelson wears the badge as the first player drafted from the Royals who didn’t play for Chilliwack.
For Myron, getting drafted to the NHL is an extension of his sensational start to the 2011-12 season with the Grizzlies. If anything, the Lambrick Park grad should be seen as a poster boy for the benefits of a heavy offseason workout regime.
Myron was near the top of the BCHL in scoring when he left for a school tour of Boston University and other NCAA universities in October. He came back just in time to help Team Canada West win the World Junior A challenge in mid-November, and then committed to Boston University. A shoulder injury ended his season 26 games in and was the beginning of the end of the Grizzlies’ season. But the Canucks and Boston University saw enough of what they liked.
Habscheid’s resignation comes as a surprise. His family relocated to Victoria in 2011 so he could continue his role with the Royals, although he is not leaving the Royals’ family per se. He has taken an executive role as an advisor with GSL Holdings Ltd., which owns RG Properties Ltd. (owner of the Royals), Officepools.com, a successful hockey pool website, and the chain of Planet Ice community rinks in B.C. His successor will likely be named within a month.
Across town, local finance man Ron Walchuk took majority ownership of the Grizz and hired Bestwick.