The South Island Royals will have a heavy dose of home cooking to start their 2012-13 B.C. Major Midget Hockey League campaign.
The first six contests of the 40-game schedule will be at home either at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre or Bear Mountain Arena.
The Royals, who managed only three wins and seven ties last year when they were known as the Thunderbirds, open the season Saturday at the Memorial Centre at noon against the Vancouver North West Giants. The teams will meet again on Sunday, 9:45 a.m.
The Royals do not hit the road until Oct. 13-14 against the Greater Vancouver Canadians at the Langley Events Centre.
With our team at the Memorial Centre, it is just like having two junior teams there, said South Island head coach Geoff Grimwood. The Western Hockey League Royals have treated us very well. We have our own dressing room and access to all of the fitness areas as well as strength and conditioning coach Jeff Compton.
Grimwood finalized his 20-man roster Tuesday and his two goaltenders are Jesse Jenks, a Cowichan Valley Capitals prospect, and Markus Daly, who was selected by the Royals in the WHL bantam draft last spring.
The six defencemen are Garnett Roberts, Sean Buchanan, Garrett Stankoven, Brett Carpendale, Thomas Sercombe and Kurtis Gamble.
The forwards sticking with the Royals are Jack Rachwalski, Jordan Martin, Brodie Smith, Cam MacKay, Haydn Hopkins, Brandon Tutte, Liam Carradine, Nick Guiney, Nick Kean, Ryan Kelm, Cole Pickup and Ethan Waitzner. Pickup was at the B.C. Hockey League camp of the Victoria Grizzlies.
We were a last place hockey team with only three wins, said Grimwood. What we are trying to do with this program is turn it around and get them headed in the right direction. We want to be in the upper echelon of the league this year. With only a 40-game schedule, every game is important.
There are 11 teams in the league. The other entries are the Cariboo Cougars (Prince George), Fraser Valley Thunderbirds, the Canadians, Kootenay Ice, North Island Silvertips (Nanaimo), Okanagan Rockets (Kelowna), Thompson Blazers (Kamloops), Valley West Hawks, Vancouver North East Chiefs and the Giants.
The Giants won their fourth consecutive title last season.
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