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Third consecutive Royals game postponed, this time due to washed out roads

The Victoria Royals’ scheduled game Friday night in Kamloops against the Blazers is postponed to Feb. 16.
The Victoria Royals' Luke Shipley breaks out in front of Kamloops Blazer Nathan MacPherson-Ridgewell at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria on Nov. 5, 2021. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Having three consecutive Western Hockey League games postponed wasn’t the sort of hat-trick the Victoria Royals were expecting.

The Royals’ scheduled game Friday night in Kamloops against the Blazers is postponed to Feb. 16 due to the current impassability of roads caused by the slides, flooding and washouts triggered by the recent heavy rains.

That follows the postponed Royals’ games from last Friday and Saturday against the Spokane Chiefs due to two Chiefs players testing positive for COVID-19. Those games will now be played Jan. 11-12 at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

The total is actually four rescheduled games looming for the Royals. Victoria also has a rebooked game to play Jan. 18 in Prince George against the Cougars. That originally scheduled game on Oct. 26 was postponed after high winds cancelled ferry sailings and left the Royals unable to make it to Prince George in time.

It all points out how extensive travel is in junior hockey, and almost all of it by bus, and at the mercy of weather and road conditions. The WHL’s geographic footprint encompasses B.C. to Manitoba.

“There is a lot of travel in pro hockey as well [which is the hoped-for destination of WHL players],” noted Royals GM and head coach Dan Price.

“Travel is a very important learned skill that players in our league receive.”

The Royals will be able to travel to the Langley Events Centre on Saturday to make their game against the Vancouver Giants.

“Hopefully, we’ll get an actual hat-trick in that one,” quipped Price.

His club should be plenty prepared after ample amounts of training over the past two weeks.

“The upside is we have been able to get in quality practice time and work on things like line chemistry,” said Price.

“Also, our injured players have had time to recover.”

The next home game for Victoria, which will be the first against a U.S. Division opponent in 20 months because of the pandemic, is Nov. 26 versus the Everett Silvertips.