Royals Playing 500 Hockey – Is it Enough?

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Updated: January 7, 2013

When the Corner Brook Royals changed their name, moved just over 50 km east to Deer Lake and changed their name to the Western Royals, many were left shaking their head wondering what was happening to this organization.  Everyone knew the change was driven primarily by economics with the Royals trying to reduce operating costs in a chance to preserve hockey on Newfoundland’s west coast.

It was not the only change that occurred.  The Royals saw their coach Ben Fitzgerald resign, indicating there had to be change in the organization and it was much easier for him to leave than it was to change the attitudes of many.  They also reached out and signed a new import goalie, something that fans had been screaming for for years.

Now with the league resuming play after the Christmas break, fans have gotten an opportunity to see the team perform.  Things look great with the Royals taking two games from the Gander Flyers and in doing so the team has brought their record to the 500 mark at 8-8 and tied for second place with the Clarenville Caribous.

Change may have the Royals playing 500 hockey, but it has more to do with the schedule than for the quality of the hockey being played.  The Royals still appear slower than their competition, they still appear tired on the ice and the young guns have yet to step up and play to the level expected of them.

The success that the Royals are having so far this season has more to do with the schedule they have had rather than their play on the ice.  The Royals are definitely in a position they can improve upon but they face some tough competition down the stretch with a series against both the Cataracts and the Caribous.  These two series will tell the story as to whether this team will be around to make a run for the Herder.

While there’s little doubt they will make the playoffs, the experience of the Caribous and the depth of the Cataracts is something the Royals are lacking.

500 Hockey is an accomplishment, but will this team be there when the second season starts?

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