After spending five full seasons with the Victoria Royals and setting numerous franchise individual records along the way, centre Tyler Soy wound up his junior career sitting in the press box injured.
He went out with a bang, however, scoring three goals in Victoria’s 7-3 win over Vancouver in game 4 of their opening round Western Hockey League playoff series back on March 29.
Knowing he’ll never again play for the team that selected him eighth overall in the 2012 bantam draft from the Cloverdale Colts felt a little strange, he said Friday as the team gathered to clear out their dressing room one last time after losing their Western Conference semifinal series 4-0 to Tri City Americans.
“But it’s all part of the process and part of the journey,” Soy said.
A seventh-round draft pick of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks in 2016, he talked about some of the highlights from a Royals career that saw him set franchise career records for games, goals, assists and points.
“I’ll always remember things like scoring my first goal, getting my first hat trick, our team winning the Scotty Munro (trophy as WHL regular season champions), all the crazy playoff moments that we’ve had – you won’t forget any of those,” he said.
“And just all the guys we’ve had on the team over the last five, six years it’s been an unbelievable journey and I’m really proud to be part of this organization.”
Still unsigned by the Ducks, Soy hopes to get a shot at playing pro somewhere next season, having got into a couple of games at the end of last regular season for the Ducks’ AHL farm team the San Diego Gulls.
“But honestly I’m excited to see what happens with this team. I’ll be watching all these guys to see what’s happening with all their careers and where they’re going. It’s exciting you meet all these guys and they start out as strangers and they leave as brothers, so it’s pretty special.”
Defenceman Chaz Reddekopp, the other five-year Royal moving on to the next stage of his career, was drafted out of West Kelowna five spots after his future teammate, having crossed paths with Soy at minor hockey tournaments growing up.
A strapping 6-4, 225-pounder and 2015 draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings, Reddekopp is under contract and could conceivably head down to join the Ontario (California) Reign, who squeaked into the AHL playoffs.
On this day, however, he reflected on his time with the Royals.
“I’ve been very lucky and fortunate enough to have played here all five years. It doesn’t happen all the time, guys playing in the same organizations that they got drafted by,” he said. He said there were too many memories to list them all, but said of Victoria, “without a doubt in my mind, it’s the best city to play in, in the WHL.”
Royals defenceman Kade Jensen, who came over from Brandon in a mid-season trade, also graduated after five WHL seasons split between four different teams.