The Victoria Royals are moving on from the only general manager the team has had since moving to the province’s capital city in 2012.
The team announced Wednesday that Cameron Hope will not be returning in his role as president, general manager and alternate governor. Hope, a lawyer by trade, was hired as GM in 2012 after serving in the NHL as an assistant to Glen Sather and the New York Rangers.
He added the title of Royals president in 2014.
“We would like to thank Cameron for contributions and for guiding our franchise,” said Graham Lee, CEO of the GSL Group that owns the Royals and RG Properties, which runs the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. “The COVID-19 crisis has given us the time to reassess our organization and to set a new direction. We are committed to finding strong leadership that will help the Royals reach their full potential both on-and-off the ice.”
Hope said he has no plans at the moment as he’s absorbing his departure from the club. The popular GM was an active member of the community and could be spotted during major running events such as the Island Race Series.
The WHL season was suspended on March 18 due to the novel coronavirus.
The Royals had played 64 of 68 regular-season games and had clinched a spot in the playoffs with a record of 34-24-8 when the season ended.
Under Hope, the Royals record improved from 24-41-7 in 2011-12 to eight straight seasons of 32 wins or more, including the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy in 2016 as the best team during the WHL regular season with 50 wins.
In total, the club had 333 wins, 246 losses and 52 overtime and shootout losses during Hope’s time.
They made the playoffs in all nine years and advanced past the first round five times but were unable to get past the second round.
It was Hope that brought in Dave Lowry as head coach for five years from 2012 to 2017 before the latter returned to the NHL as Los Angeles Kings assistant coach.
Hope was also among the most active GMs in the league and orchestrated dozens of trades. His most recent work featured a blockbuster January deal to bring Anaheim Ducks first-round pick Brayden Tracy, 18, to Victoria in a five-player deal that also swapped six draft picks.
Unfortunately, the roster Hope constructed for a 2019-20 playoff run was unable to compete due to the COVID-19 crisis.
With the season over Hope traded for Victoria’s own Jacson Alexander from the Edmonton Oil Kings at the April 20 deadline with an eye on rebuilding the roster for next year.
Fans who still hold unused vouchers, or tickets for any of the three cancelled regular-season home games in March are encouraged to keep them for use during the upcoming 2020-21 season.