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In their years with the Calgary Hitmen, Cody Beach and Mackenzie Royer didn’t lose many hockey games.
This season they found out pretty quickly how much they dislike it. Tuesday, the 18-year-old wingers were dealt from the struggling Hitmen to the Moose Jaw Warriors and are hoping to regain that winning feeling.
“I’m extremely excited. It’s a new start for me and coming to team that is looking to win a championship in the next couple of years,” said Beach, a six-foot-six right winger who was selected in the fifth round in the NHL entry draft by the St. Louis Blues.
The Hitmen lost 17 games in regulation last season as they posted a WHL-best record during the regular season and won the WHL title. Friday the Hitmen avoided losing a franchise record 13th straight game as they beat the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-3. Goalie Brandon Glover made 25 saves in the win in his first game with the Hitmen, while the other two players the Warriors traded west — Danny Gayle and Nathan MacMaster — each scored in their debut.
“It was a struggle,” said Beach of this season with the Hitmen. “When you can’t really win games it starts to get a little messy around there. Guys start to get on each other and the team starts to break down a bit.”
For his part, Royer is pleased by the change for reasons beyond the teams’ respective standing.
“I was really thrilled I was coming here,” said Royer. “I think I needed a change. I felt like I needed to start down a new road to develop my hockey career. I felt that by coming here, the coaches were going to give me a chance to develop me game and see what kind of true hockey player I could be.”
Royer was chosen in the second round of the WHL bantam draft by the Hitmen, but has failed to produce offensively. In 98 career games, the left winger has eight goals and 10 assists.
For more please see Saturday's Times-Herald.