Royals settling into new Memorial home

South Island Royals major midget team through first half of season under the WHL Royals brolly

South Island Royals forward Cole Pickup

Just past the halfway point of the season, it’s safe to say the South Island Royals of the B.C. Major Midget League have settled into their new home with relative success.

The Royals (7-11-5) hosted and split the weekend’s two game set with the Greater Vancouver Canadians (11-8-2) at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, winning 5-1 on Saturday afternoon and losing 3-1 on Sunday morning.

The win is the Royals’ seventh, which is more than double last year’s three-win season.

“Compared to last year we’ve taken some strides, the guys are feeling good about what we’re doing,” head coach Geoff Grimwood said. “Saturday was a tremendous team effort from the goalie out. (Sunday) we had a tough time breaking through, we felt if we got the second one we would have broke it open.”

Goalie Jesse Jenks played both games for the Royals, getting his fifth win on Saturday. He was supported by goals from Brodie Smith, Ethan Waitzner, Jordan Martin, Cole Pickup and Brandon Tutte. Pickup scored the only goal in Sunday’s 3-1 loss.

“We ran into a hot goalie today,” said Smith, a 15-year-old who scored the first goal on Saturday, his first game back after three weeks off due to an infected foot.

“(Saturday) we got one first and got the momentum in our hand. (Sunday) everyone was pumped again, but they scored first and it just felt like we were playing from behind.”

Sunday also marked the last game for the Royals before the holiday break, though the group will practice all this week.

“We spent some time talking to the guys (Sunday) and let them know the improvement from four months ago is significant,” the coach said.

Grimwood’s first season heading the high performance program of 15 to 17 year olds (he served the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Powell River Kings of the B.C. Hockey League) is also the first season of the new relationship between the Western Hockey League Victoria Royals, and the major midget Royals, previously known as the Thunderbirds.

Part of the relationship is Grimwood’s dual position, as both the head coach of the midget team and an assistant coach with the WHL Royals.

The biggest change within the partnership is the midget Royals access to Memorial Centre. Until this year, the Thunderbirds played and practised in arenas from North Saanich to Duncan.

Now the program is transitioning from a nomadic existence to a junior A mentality.

“The new partnership is a real advantage, it’s given us a team dressing room, a team gym facility and a chance to build a program in a home, which has been lacking in the past,” Grimwood said.

The South Island Royals season returns with a road trip against the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds in Chilliwack on Jan. 5 and Abbotsford on Jan. 6.

WHL futures

Pickup (13 goals, 28 points in 22 games) leads the team in scoring. He and Waitzner are property of the WHL Prince George Cougars. Smith and goalie Markus Daly, a fellow Racquet Club product, are both in the WHL Royals system, while Haydn Hopkins is a Saskatoon Blades draft pick.

sports@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Victoria seniors want to know more about marijuana

Four presentations on the medical properties of cannabis for seniors come to Victoria

Rickter Scale: California Dreaming with Steve Shutt

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column in the Goldstream News Gazette

Victoria gears up to axe free parking on Sundays

Council vote puts Sunday parking fees towards bus passes for youth

Oak Bay one step closer to deer immunocontraceptive test

Up to 80 deer could be given ‘birth control’ vaccine in the fall

Black Press readers share photos of their favourite critters on #LoveYourPetDay

Greater Victoria is raining cats and dogs…and snails and goats

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Nanaimo edges Royal Bay by one point to win Vancouver Island AAA girls basketball title

Nanaimo District Secondary School wins first AAA girls’ Island title in 29 years

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Most Read