Shane Farkas eager to take crease baton for Victoria Royals

Griffen Outhouse became a bit of a local legend in goal for the Victoria Royals before aging out of the major-junior Western Hockey League last season.

Shane Farkas pondered the inevitable questions about replacing Outhouse in the Royals crease.

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“I want to be me and not anybody else,” he replied. “I’m Shane Farkas. And I don’t feel out of place. This does not feel weird.”

Farkas is indeed his own man, his own goalie: “My style is unique. It’s my own. I’m calm, relaxed and I may look lazy, but I’m definitely not lazy.”

The Royals prepared for the post-Outhouse era by acquiring Farkas from the Portland Winterhawks in May for a fourth-round draft pick and conditional compensation. The six-foot-two native of Penticton has played three seasons in Portland. Last season, he went 30-12-6 with a 2.71 goals-against average, .906 save percentage and four shutouts in 50 games for the Winterhawks. He turns 20 on Dec. 1, so is in his final season of junior.

Although both goaltenders grew up in B.C. — Outhouse in the Williams Lake area and Farkas in the Okanagan — the two didn’t play together or against each other growing up and don’t really know one another.

“I certainly knew of Griffen and looked up to him,” said Farkas.

Victoria GM Cameron Hope described Farkas as a “stable, veteran goaltender” on the day of the trade. Which is exactly what the Royals need this season to give Brock Gould of Colorado, their sophomore backup goaltender who turns 18 in December, another season of seasoning before being projected to take over the Victoria starting role next season.

“I was so happy when they told me about the trade,” said Farkas.

“I’ve loved road games playing in Victoria and it’s great to be playing in the WHL in Canada … I grew up in the Okanagan watching [Kelowna] Rockets games.”

He isn’t the first player to note that the U.S. Division of the WHL is a culturally separate hockey environment.

“The U.S. Division is really different,” said Farkas.

“The fans are great, but they want every game to be 9-8 with four fights. Hockey is viewed differently in Canada. People here appreciated a 2-1 game.”

Farkas will bring his own unique stamp to the Victoria crease this season. Even his musical tastes don’t run in concert with his contemporaries, and are decidedly old school, and run the gamut from Billy Joel to Rush.

“My mom and dad were not fans of the new stuff,” he said, with a smile.

The Royals, meanwhile, conclude training camp tonight at 7 p.m. in the annual Blue-White intra-squad game at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

The first exhibition game is Friday in Kelowna against the Rockets.

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