Pass the Soy: Royals go for offence


The Victoria Royals wanted it all in the first round of the 2012 Western Hockey League draft of graduating bantams and feel they got it.

With two selections in the opening round Thursday in Calgary, the Royals addressed both the front and back ends. The club took five-foot-11 centre Tyler Soy of the Cloverdale Colts with the eighth pick overall and six-foot-two defenceman Chaz Reddekopp of West Kelowna with the 13th.

“We’re ecstatic because we had both these players ranked higher than where we got them,” said Gary Pochipinski, the Royals director of scouting, by phone from Calgary.

Soy was rated among the sharper forwards in every pre-draft ranking. He finished the season with 53 goals and 159 points and a plus-121 rating in 46 games in leading the Colts into the B.C. championship game against the vaunted Burnaby Winter Club that produced the overall No. 1 pick Mathew Barzal.

“We were 3-3 against Burnaby on the season going into the B.C. final but unfortunately they ended up winning the last game that counted most,” said Soy, by phone Thursday from Cloverdale.

Soy is an all-rounder who played on the junior basketball and volleyball teams at Clayton Heights Secondary. He’s pleased to be staying close to home for his WHL career.

“I’m pretty excited to be taken by Victoria,” said Soy, whose father Michael works in business development for the Abbotsford AHL team.

“I feel I have a high work ethic with good vision and I like to set up my teammates as much as possible.”

The Royals’ fifth-round selection, Racquet Club Kings goaltender Markus Daly, stared down Soy numerous times in bantam.

“[Soy] knows pretty much everything — where to put the puck and how to run the show,” said Daly, who will play major midget next season for the South Island Thunderbirds.

Soy will play next season for the Langley-based Valley West Hawks major midget team.

“Soy is the complete player — intelligent and the captain and leader of his [Colts] team,” said Pochipinski. “He is going to be an exciting player and is good in all areas of the ice. He’s mobile and has a finishing touch. He does it all.”

Undersized but dynamic Ty Ronning, the son of former NHLer and Vancouver Canuck Cliff Ronning who scored 77 goals this season for the Burnaby Winter Club, was available when the Royals picked next at No. 13 but they passed on the five-foot-five forward in favour of Reddekopp.

The Royals suffered unmercifully on the blue-line last season but still feel they are deep in emerging young defencemen, so Reddekopp wasn’t necessarily a need pick but the team says he was too good to pass up. Pochipinski said he had Reddekopp — who had 18 goals and 59 points for the Kelowna Pursuit of Excellence bantam team — rated the best defenceman in the draft.

“To have him still available at 13 was both surprising and great news,” said Pochipinski. “He’s very mobile but also very strong physically. He doesn’t back away. He’s the total package for us.”

Ronning went 15th overall to the Vancouver Giants. Ronning’s Burnaby Winter Club teammate Barzal went first overall to the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The Royals selected 10 players on the day. With their first pick in the second round, 27th overall, Victoria went for five-foot-11 centre Regan Nagy from Ogema, Sask., who played bantam with the Weyburn Energy Wings.

Six Island players were taken. Racquet Club Kings went back-to-back in the fifth round with six-foot-three winger Ethan Waitzner going at No. 92 to Prince George and goalie Daly at No. 93 to the Royals. The other Islanders selected were forward Patrick Bajkov in the sixth round by the Everett Silvertips, winger Jordan Topping of Nanaimo in the eighth round by the Tri City Americans, centre Grady McInnes of Campbell River in the 10th round by the Calgary Hitmen and centre Haydn Hopkins of Racquet Club in the 12th round by the Saskatoon Blades.