Our View: Royals connect us to rest of Canada

There is more to the return of the Western Hockey League than Victoria welcoming another sports franchise into the fold.
The Royals have a chance to become a touchstone for citizens of this region, no matter how far they find themselves from Greater Victoria.

There is more to the return of the Western Hockey League than Victoria welcoming another sports franchise into the fold.

The Royals have a chance to become a touchstone for citizens of this region, no matter how far they find themselves from Greater Victoria.

Unlike the Salmon Kings, who toiled in the pro hockey underworld that is the ECHL, Victoria’s WHL club is part of a storied league that in many ways is interwoven into the fabric of many cities across Canada. This is more true today than it was for the former WHL Cougars, who called Victoria home from 1971 to 1994.

The Canadian Hockey League, an umbrella organization for the WHL and its major junior counterparts in Ontario and Quebec, is a magnitude more sophisticated than it was two decades ago.

Songs have been written about the Wheat Kings. Sault Ste. Marie still makes hay from the fact Wayne Gretzky played one spectacular season there, and Rimouski Oceanic jerseys with Sidney Crosby’s name on the back still sell well across the continent.

Being connected to the CHL is what separates the nascent Royals from so many of the other legendary sports clubs that call Victoria home.

Fans rightfully love such local institutions as the lacrosse Shamrocks and rugby’s James Bay Athletic Association. We also have our share of individuals who have gone on to represent the Capital Region at the highest level of amateur and professional sport, not to mention the world of entertainment.

But, given time, a team playing in the WHL has an opportunity that is simply not available to any other club or athlete.

Major junior hockey is one of the few enterprises present in most major communities from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Because of that, individual teams can enter the national consciousness. It will be much easier for other Canadians to recognize our city because we now have something tangible in common with theirs.

But first, for the Royals to truly become a symbol of our community, this season needs to be the first of many – not just a temporary fling.

Of course, if the team wants to speed the process of ingratiating itself with Victorians, they can do something the Salmon Kings struggled with: win games.

We look forward to seeing them try.

Just Posted

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Greater Victoria with unusually high temperatures expected Monday and this coming weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria’s first week of summer will be a scorcher

Special weather statement issued Monday by Environment Canada

A health-care worker takes part in HeArt Therapy session conducted by Shirley artist Sheila Thomas. (Contributed - Lorrie Beauchamp)
A creative ‘thanks’ to Vancouver Island’s essential workers

Artist Sheila Thomas creates therapy art session for workers on pandemic’s frontlines

A rendering shows what the Doral Forest Park development would look like from the southwest. (Rendering via D’AMBROSIO Architecture & Urbanism)
Beaver Lake area project passes next hurdle in Saanich

Council approval for 242-unit parks edge development hinges on meeting of conditions

Victoria police are looking for the owner of a pink and white bike they recovered in North Park. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police searching for owner of child’s bike

Officers recovered the pink and white bike in North Park

A single-vehicle incident impacted the morning commute on the Pat Bay Highway. (Black Press Media file photo)
UPDATE: Pat Bay Highway reopened following single-vehicle incident

One northbound and two southbound lanes were closed shortly after 5 a.m.

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Most Read