There has to be a sense of relief in the Victoria Royals’ dressing room now that Keegan Kanzig has returned from his stint at the Calgary Flames’ training camp.
Kanzig was listed by the Flames as standing in at six-foot-seven and tipping the scale at 240 pounds, and the National Hockey League club raved about his seven per cent body fat when he showed up for his first pro camp.
Kanzig’s departure obviously left a huge hole and role to fill within the Royals’ defensive corps, but the Athabasca, Alta., native should be back in the lineup this weekend for the Blanshard Boys who begin a four-game road trip.
How did Kanzig conduct himself in Calgary?
“This is a young man we think the sky is the limit for,” Flames general manager Jay Feaster told Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald. “He’s experienced being around the pace, the tempo. We told him to take all of that back to junior and work at that pace and continue to improve his game.
“Then, next summer, he comes into training camp with the mindset he’s going to make this hockey team ... I think (the extended stay) was time well spent for Keegan.”
And, ultimately, it should be time well spent for the Royals, who now need to redirect the ship after a 1-3 start.
The Royals have become way tougher to play with Kanzig back in the lineup. But they do still need the return of Joe Hicketts, Brandon Magee and Steven Hodges from injuries to make this a complete team.
In the meantime, the Royals made a couple of moves on Thursday, sending 18-year-old defenceman Kolton Dixon to the Red Deer Rebels for a conditional draft pick.
Victoria then sent a conditional draft pick to the Vancouver Giants for 17-year-old defenceman Jake Kohlhauser.
Dixon, to me, looked out of sorts on Wednesday, out of position and chasing on several occasions, but there was a lot of that going on in a 6-1 loss to Spokane.
It was interesting to read Rebels’ GM and head coach Brent Sutter’s quotes regarding Dixon’s return to his native Red Deer, suggesting he would play a significant role with the team.
“We’re adding depth to our team with a guy we feel can step in and be a top-five defenceman for us and push our top four guys,” Sutter told veteran Red Deer Advocate reporter Greg Meachem. “He’s raw, but he’s tough and he’s a great skater. He’s an upgrade to our team.”
As Meachem states, the conditional draft pick owed to the Royals will depend on whether Dixon is still with the Rebels at a certain point of the season.
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While we’re on the topic of hockey, the Victoria Grizzlies are finally at home tonight, after playing their first six games on the road due to the Mann Cup lacrosse championship being held at Bear Mountain Arena.
The Grizzlies will face the winless Alberni Valley Bulldogs at 7:15 p.m. tonight (Friday) and fans can finally have a look at their B.C. Hockey League club. They also entertain the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday, facing former Grizz captain Zach Urban.
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As for another sport we play on ice here in Victoria … there are free learn to curl sessions being held on Sunday, Sept. 29. from 1-4 p.m. at four local centres.
All ages and skill levels are welcome for the three-hour sessions at the Victoria Curling Centre, Esquimalt Curling Club, Juan de Fuca Curling Centre and Glen Meadows Curling Club.
I encourage you all to try it.
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On Saturday, the Westshore Rebels play their final home game of the season as they entertain the Kamloops Broncos at 4 p.m. at Westhills Stadium.
The Rebels are asking members of the team alumni to partake in the day and bring along any memorabilia (trophies, jerseys, jackets, photos and such) as the team celebrates its past.
VIP Seating is available for the alumni and all former players will be introduced at halftime.