Royals get big boost as their captain returns to Victoria

Royals get big boost as their captain returns to Victoria

The Victoria Royals added a big piece to their line-up puzzle with the return of their captain, Taran Fizer.

And it didn’t take long for the 20-year-old forward’s presence to be felt.

“Well, a good example would be he actually ran the first two drills in practice, so that’s the type of command he has over the group,” said Royals’ head coach and general manager, Dan Price.

The speedster from Chestermere, Alta., was a point-per-game player in the B.C. bubble last Spring and earned an American Hockey League tryout with the Colorado Eagles this fall.

Fizer made his pro debut for the Colorado Avalanche farm team in late October and came away from that experience with a valuable lesson on being a pro.

“It’s a cliche ‘they prepare like pros”, but they are pros and they take care of their bodies all the time, they’re there two hours before, they’re there a half-hour to an hour after practice or games, it doesn’t matter what it is they’re always prepared,” Fizer said.

While the Royals are excited to have Fizer’s skill back in the line-up, it’s his leadership that stands out.

Fizer was named the franchise’s eighth Captain last March.

“Such a presence in the dressing room with his leadership style, his preparation, his work ethic, all of those factors that make him such a great captain,” said Price.

“We were all so excited. He’s such a powerful leader in our room, such a great player, so we’re pretty pumped to have him back,” added Royals’ forward Riley Gannon.

“Yeah he’s a super-fast player, he scores a lot of goals, he’s quick, he’s good on the PK, he’s pretty good at everything, so it really helps us having him back.”

Although the Royals have struggled for wins, Fizer joins a roster that is getting healthy and back to full strength.

A hard-fought overtime loss to one of the best teams in the Western Hockey League, the Kamloops Blazers, in their last outing on Nov. 6 is raising excitement for what’s to come.

“We know we can compete in any game we play, so hopefully that happens this weekend,” Fizer said, ahead of the Royals’ clash with the Vancouver Giants.

“The speed, the aggression, the puck possession, the great game against a B.C. division rival,” said Price.

“The building was buzzing and the crowd being into it, sort of living and dying with every play, just felt like it was Royals’ hockey, it was so much fun.”

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Andy NealAndy Neal

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