National Hockey League 2012 No. 2 overall draft pick Ryan Murray, who will be with the Everett Silvertips tonight at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, is the Western Hockey League defenceman of now.
Victoria Royals defenceman Joe Hicketts, however, may be the WHL blueliner of tomorrow. The 16-year-old was merely an interested spectator Thursday night for the WHL-Russian Subway Super Series game at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
Dont be surprised to see Hicketts in the Super Series in the years ahead. Already having gone to the Junior Winter Olympics and Western Canada U-16 championships, Hickettss rise beyond the club level continues with the announcement Thursday of his selection to the 22-player Team Pacific (B.C. and Alberta) roster for the 2013 World
U-17 Hockey Challenge from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4 in Victoriaville and Drummondville, Que.
Also named to Team Pacific were Royals blueline mate Ryan Gagnon of Quesnel and defenceman Dysin Mayo of Victoria, property of the WHLs Edmonton Oil Kings.
Past U-17 World Challenge performers have included Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2010, Evander Kane in 2008, Brent Seabrook, Mike Green and Dion Phaneuf in 2002, Jarome Iginla in 1994 and Joe Sakic in 1986.
Thats darn decent company.
Royals fans should get used to missing Hicketts from club play in December maybe even for future world junior championships.
I definitely want to set these kinds of goals, Hicketts said.
But theres a lot of work yet to be done on my part, and I have to keep mindful of that, added the undersized but highly mobile native of Kamloops.
Toward that end, Hicketts kept a keen eye on Thursday nights Super Series proceedings.
During the games against the Russians, the WHL blueline featured five first-round draft picks [including Murray, who played Wednesday in Vancouver but not Thursday night in Victoria], so its definitely an opportunity to watch and learn some things, Hicketts said.
Hicketts, Gagnon and the Royals a disappointing 1-6 on their recent road odyssey to fall to 10-10 overall are home tonight for the first time since Oct. 23. Murray and the Silvertips, meanwhile, are 7-13-2.
On Saturday night, the Regina Pats (9-12-1) make their first visit to Blanshard Street in 18 years when they take on the Royals at 7 p.m.
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