The Canadian hockey community is smaller than one may think. One case in point is the story of Victoria Royals General Manager Cameron Hope and his former neighbour in Edmonton, Jim Benning.
Benning, the Vancouver Canucks General Manager, played on the same hockey team as Cam growing up in Alberta. Fast forward to 2017, and the name Hope and Benning are once again on the same team. However, instead of the two playing side-by-side on the ice, Cam is watching Jim’s nephew, Mike, from the press box at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
This past spring, the Victoria Royals selected 15-year-old defenceman Mike Benning in the seventh round of the WHL Bantam Draft. Many WHL scouts expected the talented defenceman to be selected much higher, but teams were cautious on whether Mike would choose the WHL route or the NCAA. Mike’s older brother Matt (Edmonton Oilers) chose the NCAA route. If Mike chooses the NCAA, then the Royals would have wasted a seventh round pick.
It’s a small risk, with the potential for a big reward.