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Royals looking for Laventure to give big lift down the stretch drive

Graduating 20-year-old will end junior career with Victoria following a deal with the Swift Current Broncos
Tyson Laventure takes part in a Victoria Royals practice session at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on Thursday. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Tyler Laventure has embarked on his next adventure, which will be the last of his Western Hockey League career. The graduating 20-year-old will end his junior career with the Victoria Royals following a deal with the Swift Current Broncos at the trade deadline this month that sent only a fifth-round selection in the 2026 WHL prospects draft to the Broncos.

It was the last in a series of shrewd trades this season that appear to be steals for the Royals, including receiving the club’s team-leading points scorer Dawson Pasternak for merely a future consideration from the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Laventure slots in as third in Royals points at 41, behind Pasternak at 46 and Tanner Scott at 44, and tied for second in goals with 17 with Scott behind Pasternak’s 18. But it was at the expense of four-season Royals veteran Matthew Hodson as WHL teams are allowed to carry only three 20-year-olds and those spots are now held by Laventure, Pasternak and goaltender Braden Holt.

Sentimentality has little to do with hockey at his level as Laventure was a serious upgrade from Hodson’s three goals and 12 points this season in Victoria. Laventure has paid immediate dividends with two goals and five points in four games with Victoria. (Hodson is now with his home-province Weyburn Red Wings of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, where he has three goals in three games).

The six-foot-three, 202-pound Laventure is a load and looking for a big stretch drive with the Royals (24-15-6), who begin a three-game series with the Vancouver Giants (18-24-2) Friday night at the Langley Events Centre followed by games Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

Well regarded as a 15-year-old, Laventure was taken 31st overall in the second round of the 2018 WHL prospects draft by the Prince Albert Raiders. He didn’t play that season, being so young, but watched the Raiders’ run to the WHL 2018-19 championship from the press box. That experience of what it takes should hold both Laventure and the Royals in good stead this year in the playoffs.

“That Raiders team became a brotherhood during that playoff run,” said Laventure.

He added that he sees no reason why this Royals squad, in a turnaround following three bleak seasons, can’t make similar run this year.

The winger from Lloydminster, Alta., grew up playing hockey, lacrosse, baseball and softball, and knows how to use his size.

“I am a power forward that goes down low and can also cut to the net,” he said.

He realizes how short junior careers are in hockey: “It feels like just yesterday I was a rookie in Prince Albert.”

Perhaps he can help deliver for the Royals a final junior season to remember. After that, he said, he will consider his options next season in the AHL/ECHL, Europe or U Sports.

“Tyson [Laventure] makes plays and can play in a top-six-role for us,” said Royals head coach James Patrick. “He’s a big body who sees the ice well.”

The trade deadline deals for Laventure and veteran WHL defenceman Jaren Brinson (from the Regina Pats for two late-round WHL prospects draft picks) are proving key for the Royals, especially with 2024 NHL draft-ranked blueliner Nate Misskey and Czech two-time world junior championship medallist forward Robin Sapouskek both out month-to-month. “We’re asking Jaren to give us some real steady minutes and don’t complicate things,” Patrick said. “When you take Misskey out of the line-up, you’re taking 28 minutes, and now we have to fill that by committee. Jaren, in his third year, has experience in the league and he can move the puck.”