|City||Victoria, British Columbia|
|League||Western Hockey League|
|Home arena||Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre|
|General manager||Cam Hope|
|Head coach||Dave Lowry|
The Victoria Royals are a major junior hockey team representing Victoria, British Columbia in the Western Hockey League (WHL). The team began play in the 2011–12 season, after the league announced the relocation of the Chilliwack Bruins to the British Columbia capital. It marked the return of the WHL to Vancouver Island, 17 years after the departure of the Victoria Cougars. The Royals play their games at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, and are members of the B.C. Division of the Western Conference.
Relocation and inaugural season in Victoria
Victoria was left without a WHL team since the Cougars franchise relocated to Prince George in 1994. The city acquired a professional ECHL team in the Victoria Salmon Kings in 2004 when the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre was opened, but the city had made inquiries about returning the WHL to Vancouver Island in the past.
While two minority owners of the Chilliwack Bruins hoped to purchase the team and keep it in Chilliwack following the 2010–11 WHL season, they were outvoted by the remaining partners who opted to sell the team to a group planning to relocate the franchise. On April 20, 2011, the league announced the approval of both the sale, and the relocation of the Bruins to Victoria.
The relocation was brought about partially by the WHL's desire to protect the Victoria market, as the league feared that a potential summer relocation of the National Hockey League's Phoenix Coyotes to Winnipeg could result in the American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose moving to Victoria. The Moose ultimately moved to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador (where they are now known as the IceCaps) when the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg to become the second incarnation of the Jets.
The Royals played their first game, a 5-2 loss against the Vancouver Giants in Vancouver on September 23, 2011. They won their first game in franchise history on September 24, 2011, defeating the Giants 5-3, in front of a sold-out crowd of 7,006 at Save On Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
On March 16, 2012, the Royals defeated the Portland Winterhawks 3-1, thus clinching their first ever playoff berth and the first in Victoria since 1989. The first ever playoff goal was scored by Robin Soudek, while Jamie Crooks recorded the first playoff hat trick in Royals history in Game 3. In spite of this, the Royals were swept in the first round by the Kamloops Blazers.
On June 22, 2012, Marc Habscheid, the first coach and GM of the Royals, left both positions to take an executive position with GSL Holdings Ltd., the parent company of the Royals ownership group. The Royals named Cam Hope, formerly an assistant GM of the New York Rangers, as their new GM on July 6.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, OTL = Overtime losses, SOL = Shootout losses, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
|2011–12||72||24||41||3||4||233||325||55||4th B.C.||Lost Western Conference quarter-final|
|2012–13||72||35||30||2||5||223||252||77||3rd B.C.||Lost Western Conference quarter-final|
Single season records
|Individual player records for a single season|
|Most goals||Jamie Crooks||37||2011-12|
|Most assists||Alex Gogolev||45||2012-13|
|Most points||Jamie Crooks||67||2011-12|
|Most points, rookie||Logan Nelson||62||2011-12|
|Most points, defenceman||Hayden Rintoul||51||2011-12|
|Best GAA (goalie)||Patrik Polivka||3.24||2012-13|
|Best SV% (goalie)||Patrik Polivka||.894||2012-13|
|Most wins (goalie)||Patrik Polivka||28||2012-13|
|Most shutouts (goalie)||Patrik Polivka||4||2013-14|
|Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played|
- Kevin Sundher traded to the Brandon Wheat Kings for Defenseman Jordan Fransoo, Forward Dakota Conroy, and a 1st round 2012 WHL Bantam Draft Pick. - January 9, 2012
- Mitch Topping traded to the Tri-City Americans for Forward Justin Spagrud, and a 2nd round 2012 WHL Bantam Draft Pick. - August 5, 2011
- A 3rd round 2012 WHL Bantam Draft Pick, 4th round 2012 WHL Bantam Draft Pick, and a 8th round 2012 WHL Bantam Draft Pick traded to the Portland Winter Hawks for Goaltender Keith Hamilton. - June 2, 2012
- F Justin Spagrud and a conditional draft pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft to the Swift Current Broncos in exchange for the rights of F Evan Richardson. - September 5, 2012
- D Brodie Clowes to the Tri-City Americans in exchange for a 2014 5th Round Pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. - September 12, 2012
- D Kade Pilton to the Regina Pats in exchange for rights to F Demico Hannoun and a conditional draft pick. - September 13, 2012
- F Zane Jones and a conditional 6th round draft pick to the Calgary Hitmen in exchange for F Alex Gogolev and a conditional 4th round draft pick. - September 15, 2012.
- Epp, Sharie (2011-04-01). "Western Hockey League's Bruins moving to Victoria: report". Victoria Times-Colonist. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- Olsen, Tyler (2011-04-01). "Keith confirms Bruins have been sold, confidentiality agreements now in place". Chlliwack Times. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- Olsen, Tyler (2011-04-20). "WHL's Chilliwack Bruins are no more, moving to Victoria". Chilliwack Times. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- Maki, Allan (2011-04-20). "Phoenix failure felt as far away as Victoria". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- Victoria Royals Official Web Site
- Island Royalty: Information, News, and Statistics on the Victoria Royals