PRINCE GEORGE 9 VICTORIA 6
There are always prickly emotions when sports franchises move cities.
Among the issues is whether statistics and records carry over. The classy Colorado Avalanche say yes and incorporate the statistics from the seasons when the NHL franchise was known as the Quebec Nordiques. So do the Arizona Coyotes regarding the original Winnipeg Jets from 1972 to 1996.
The Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League have included the five seasons in Chilliwack as the Bruins in past releases when mentioning club streaks, records and stats.
In the NFL, it’s hard to imagine the Las Vegas Raiders club records not including the many years spent in Oakland and Los Angeles.
So what to make of the Prince George Cougars proclaiming Riley Heidt as the all-time Cougars career points leader?
Technically, that is correct on one level. Heidt is exactly that from the time the Cougars have been in Prince George, from 1994-95 to the present.
But the franchise skated as the Victoria Cougars from 1971-72 to 1993-94 and Heidt slotted in tied for 11th place on that list with 247 points, along with former Cougars forward Micah Aivazoff, heading into Saturday night’s WHL game in Prince George against the Royals.
Heidt, selected in the second round of the 2023 NHL draft by the Minnesota Wild, had three assists Saturday in the Cougars’ wild 9-6 win over the Royals and is now on 250 points and stalking No. 10 Clayton Young (254) on the true all-time Cougars scoring list. With 19 games remaining, the No. 9 position, held by the late Cougars forward Gary Lupul (296 points), looks out of reach this season for Heidt.
Whether he will move further up the career list will depend on if the Wild return Heidt to junior hockey with the Cougars next season.
The all-time Cougars top-10 franchise points leaders are Mark Morrison with 394, Barry Pederson with 376, Rich Chernomaz with 335, Curt Fraser with 323, Simon Wheeldon with 321, Ken Priestlay with 317, Adam Morrison with 301, Geordie Robertson with 297 followed by Lupul and Young.
Meanwhile, the injury-riddled Royals continued their spiral, falling to 2-6-4 in their last 12 games, following the Saturday loss in Prince George in which the Cougars led 4-1 after the first period and the Royals 5-4 after the second period before five consecutive Cougars goals in the third period put it away before 3,034 fans at CN Centre.
Zac Funk took his goals total to 49 on the season with a hat-trick for Prince George, which is 35-15-2, and ranked No. 7 in the CHL national top-10 poll.
Defenceman Justin Kipkie and forwards Tanner Scott and Casper Evensen Haugen each had a goal and two assists for Victoria (25-20-8). The other Royals goals came from Ben Riche, Reggie Newman and defenceman Jaren Brinson.
The Cougars outshot the Royals 46-23.
The Royals return to the Memorial Centre to meet the Vancouver Giants on Wednesday and the Kelowna Rockets next Friday and Saturday.