The Vancouver Giants honoured several of their all-time greats and now-NHLers — Evander Kane was there in person and Brendan Gallagher and Milan Lucic by video — before Friday night’s WHL game against the Victoria Royals.
Perhaps inspired by that display of history, the current Giants defeated the Royals 4-1 before 3,668 fans in Langley to end a five-game winless streak.
The Giants were further buoyed by the return of defenceman Bowen Byram, the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NHL draft, who missed 10 games while away and later resting after helping lead Canada to the gold medal in the 2020 world junior championship in the Czech Republic. The Giants (18-18-4) won only three of the 10 games Byram missed.
The game couldn’t have been sweeter for Eric Florchuk of the Giants, who scored a hat-trick against his former Royals team. Swiss rookie import Keanu Derungs scored his 12th of the season for Victoria.
With Shane Farkas a scratch, Adam Evanoff started in goal for Victoria (25-14-3). Affiliated-player Keegan Maddocks was called up to back up Evanoff. The Royals gave no indication why Farkas did not dress.
The cross-strait set concludes tonight with the Giants and Royals meeting in Victoria.