Royals cut loose veteran netminder

Keith Hamilton was in a tenuous situation as an over-age 20-year-old goalie returning to the Victoria Royals after a shaky Western Hockey League showing last season with a 4.10 goals-against average and .880 save percentage in 58 regular-season games.

The Royals placed the native of Kelowna, as well as returning 20-year-old forward Mike Forsyth of Calgary, on waivers Monday.

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“Keith [Hamilton] knew coming in what the expectations were,” said Royals head coach Dave Lowry.

“The other three goalies [18-year-old returnee Jared Rathjen, 18-year-old Czech Patrik Polivka from the 2012 import draft and

17-year-old Coleman Vollrath from Midget triple-A in Calgary] have had good camps. It’s a credit to these guys that they have come in and pushed.”

Meanwhile, the six-foot-one role forward Forsyth had three goals and 15 points in 72 regular-season games last season in Victoria.

The Royals on Monday also assigned 17-year-old forward Clay Spencer to a team to be determined, likely in Midget or Junior A.

The moves leave the Royals with 27 players — 24 skaters and three goalies — heading into the final two exhibition games Friday in Ladner and Saturday at 2 p.m. at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre against the Vancouver Giants.

Each WHL team is allowed to carry three 20-year-olds on the roster. The decision to jettison Hamilton and Forsyth leaves the Royals with two players in that category — last season’s leading scorer Jamie Crooks and veteran defenceman Tyler Stahl.

Lowry was noncommittal whether he will go with the full complement of three over-agers this season.

“We are always looking to upgrade our hockey team and will evaluate what is available out there,” he said.

The Royals start the regular season Sept. 21 against the Giants at the PNE Pacific Coliseum before opening at home the following night against the Giants at the Memorial Centre.

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