Victoria Royals’ Keegan Kanzig sits on the hood of his 1971 Ford F100 at the auto mechanics shop at Victoria High School. The Alberta native attends Vic High and is slowly rebuilding his truck.

Powerhouse on the ice, and in school

Victoria Royals players find a balance between education and hockey

You can take the boy out of Alberta but you can’t take Alberta out of the boy.

Sitting in Victoria’s traffic in a black 1971 Ford 100, there’s nothing glaringly obvious about Keegan Kanzig’s prairie upbringing.

The Victoria Royals defenceman has no cowboy boots or 10 gallon hat. And despite coming from rural Alberta, he’s not an offseason ranch hand. In fact, he’s a lot less cowboy than some of the Langford players coming out of Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey.

But he does have that truck, complete with fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror.

“The dice were a gift, that’s all I can say,” Kanzig said. “The truck I picked up back in 2010 from someone in Spruce Grove. It wasn’t specifically a 1971 Ford that I wanted, but a truck with that era of body style.”

To look at it, the old Ford has led a good life, with a few dings to prove it.

Its clad with a vintage Alberta licence plate on the front and a rusted long bed that could haul at least half a dozen hockey bags. It’s size is a pretty good fit for the gentle giant, who carries his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame with a sense of calm.

Of course, he’s not so gentle on the ice. But away from the rink, Kanzig is one of nine Royals students that excel as full time students of Vic High.

“So far I’ve put in a decent amount of work, a new starter and distributor cap, which I did on my own,” Kanzig said. “At school I replaced the rear axle seals and worked on the brakes.”

Kanzig’s mechanical inclinations can be traced directly back to his dad, who works in Athabasca as a mechanical engineer, though the family is now based in Fort Saskatchewan.

“(Kanzig) is the first Royals player to be in my mechanics class and he’s been great,” said Mark Van Akker, the auto shop teacher at Vic High. “He has a future in it if he needs it.”

But it’s not all wrenches and motor oil for Kanzig. Last year, the 17-year-old aced Math 12 as a Grade 11 student, and yet he defers to 16-year-old Royals rookie Joe Hicketts as the math whiz.

“Hicketts is doing the same thing, but both are very bright math students,” said Tammy Renyard, the Royals’ education advisor.

When Renyard first took on the role she was the vice principal at Vic High. She’s since become the vice principal at Spectrum Community School but continues to work with Vic High and the Royals.

She’s also the mother of Nic Renyard, 18-year-old goaltender with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL, which helped lead her to the world of hockey players and school.

“Vic High has been extremely flexible to support the boys,” she said. “They all have strong marks and work very hard to maintain the balance of school and hockey.

“It’s not like the old days (of the WHL). Actually, it’s anything but. Parents have high expectations on the school front.”

If Kanzig is Example A, then Hicketts is Example A1.

Hicketts is one of four Royals in Grade 11 with Ryan Gagnon, Brandon Fushimi and Jack Walker, while Kanzig is among the graduating players with Luke Harrison, Kolton Dixon, Taylor Crunk and Logan Fisher.

Hicketts, however, is a bit of a smarty pants. If he wasn’t such a shift disturber on the ice, one might ask to see his pocket protector.

“He’s technically of Grade 11 age but is on track to graduate early and is carrying a full course load for Grade 12,” Renyard said.

Renyard is also quick to point out that the Royals at Vic High aren’t the only students on the team.

Ben Walker is taking a course at Camosun College. Jordan Fransoo has been doing first year economics through UVic and is now one of three Royals taking online courses through Athabasca University, which is beneficial because the courses can be done one at a time.

“It’s not unheard of for WHL players to complete their first year of university before they go to the CIS,” Renyard said. “That way their CIS money goes a lot further. Some even use it to pay for their masters.”

As for Kanzig, he’s hoping an NHL career is in the cards, while “trying not to think about it.”

He was ranked 194th amongst North American skaters in the January release of 2013 eligible skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service.

With a pro contract, you can bet that old Ford will get some love.

 

sports@vicnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Two popular Oak Bay art pieces to be installed permanently

Bodhi Frog and The Hunt stay thanks to public support and Oak Bay arts laureate Barbara Adams

Deadline looms for second annual Acorn Arts Award

Nominations for Oak Bay award must be in by Jan. 19

Upgrades to Millstream overpass to begin Feb. 1

Project includes addition of left hand turn lane onto highway to Victoria

VIDEO: Murdoch to run for mayor

Two-term councillor Kevin Murdoch announces his intent to run for mayor’s chair in fall election

Langford loses bid to host Amazon HQ2

Mayor hopes to attract more tech jobs to city

VIDEO: Murdoch to run for mayor

Two-term councillor Kevin Murdoch announces his intent to run for mayor’s chair in fall election

Christopher Garnier appealing murder conviction in death of off-duty cop

Jury found Garnier guilty in December, rejecting his claim she died accidentally during rough sex

Transportation watchdog must revisit air passenger obesity complaint

Canadian Transportation Agency must take new look at Gabor Lukacs’ complaint against Delta Air Lines

Gas plants verdict coming down today; ex-premier’s top aides to learn fate

Verdict to be delivered on senior staff to former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Jury convicts spear-wielding Duncan man in 2015 Ladysmith RV park murder

Trever George Meers used a handmade spear to stab Rayna Johnson at the Campers Corners RV Park

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Most Read