In a season filled with roster moves, the Victoria Royals now have their last line of defence set with goalies Tyler Palmer and Campbell Arnold.
The pair have traits the Royals have always valued in the crease.
“Players that are competitive, that don’t give up on pucks, that will make second and third saves if they need to and make key saves at key times and we’ve seen that from both Tyler and from Campbell,” said Royals’ general manager and head coach Dan Price.
The one constant between the Victoria pipes has been Palmer, who is among the WHL leaders in saves after making the jump from Junior A in Alberta last season.
“Definitely in the skill department of the players. Everything’s just a little bit better, so you just got to be prepared for that,” said Palmer.
“I didn’t have too much expectations, just wanted to have a good season, give my team a chance to win.”
“He is so thoroughly prepared, I mean he’s dialled in just like a pro already at this young age of 18, and he’s just so calm as he goes about his business,” said Price.
The Royals started the season with Austrian Sebastian Wraneschitz, who came to prominence for his play at the most recent World Junior Hockey championship.
But health issues ended his season in Victoria after just two games.
“He’s gone back to Vienna to get healthy, it really affected his ability to move around the crease and I think think that was reflected in his on-ice play. He was really good at times, but he’d be the first to admit there were some pucks he just wasn’t in position on,” said Price.
“And that’s no disrespect to him, it’s not a negative, he just couldn’t move around the way he normally would be able to.”
So the Royals shored up their goaltending with the acquisition of veteran Campbell Arnold from Spokane.
“Campbell’s always had that reputation, right from when he was in Bantam, all the way through the league as, first of all, a really quality person, just like Tyler is, thoroughly prepared, just like Tyler is, and just an ultra, ultra-competitive guy,” Price said.
“Being an older guy, I want to use my voice and be a leader here, but my only job is to stop the puck and help these guys get some wins,” said Arnold.
The 19-year-old spent three seasons with the Chiefs, and the move to Victoria was bitter-sweet. Although difficult to leave Eastern Washington, the Nanaimo product is excited to be back on Vancouver Island.
“Growing up watching these guys, to come to this arena and think and thinking ‘oh my god, this place is huge. Look at all the fans’ and actually to be able to play in front of them, it’s unreal,” said Arnold
“We know our fans, they’re great, they’re tremendously loyal, they love the team, they really connect with us in the community, but having some local people on the team as well, I think can enforce that even more,” said Price.