September 26th, 2011
After a nearly 20 year hiatus, the city of Victoria welcomes the WHL back for the 2011/2012 season. In a personal twist of fate, my hometown Chilliwack Bruins were sold to RG Properties this past year, and debut in 2011 as the Victoria Royals. The city has been eagerly awaiting a chance to see their boys hit home ice, and this past Saturday, Sept. 26, the Royals were out in full force against the Vancouver Giants for the home opener.
I had the opportunity to catch the game thanks to Reinert Peterson from the Zone/the Q radio station, who invited myself and co-worker Taren to their company box suite. Prime real estate! After jockeying through the rowdy crowd of 7,006 (the building was at capacity foks!) we made it to the box just in time to catch Mark Donnelly's version of the Canadian national anthem. For those of you not familiar with Donnelly, he's the well-coiffed gentleman in a tuxedo that delivers those memorable versions of the anthem at Canucks games, where he gets the crowd into the mix by turning over the mike for some of the verses. He was spot on for the Royals home opener, and had the crowd buzzing by "WE STAND ON GUARD FOR THEE!"
Upon puck drop, the game assumed a frenzied pace. As both sides settled in, a few big hits made clear that the Royals meant business. Once the Royals calmed their jitters and started connecting on their passes, it didn't take long for Jamie Crooks to fire a laser beam from the top of the circles past the Giants keeper for a one-nothing advantage. The intensity was high, and a couple of early scraps had the referees scrambling to maintain control. These boys wanted to go! Victoria had a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission, despite being outshot 22-9.
The Royals maintained their focus in the 2nd, and built their lead to 4-1 by the end of the frame. The 3rd saw Vancouver answer back with a couple (greasy) goals and close the gap to 4-3, but their comeback effort would fall short as Kevin Sundher of the Royals buried one into the empty net to secure a 5-3 Victoria win. The crowd in Victoria lost their minds as we claimed sweet victory over our Vancouver adversaries, and the free cowbells distrubuted at the game had everybody's brain rattled by the end of the night.
It's great news for Victoria to have the WHL back, and this season will no doubt be an amazing year for the franchise and the city. Executive House is pleased to bring you the starting lineups every home game, so tune in to the radio broadcast to hear our slot. Any visiting groups of fans, feel free to contact us directly for preferred 'WHL' rates.
Victoria for the Memorial Cup! Keep your stick on the ice, and stay classy Executives.