On Tuesday, the Victoria Royals announced that Head Coach Dan Price would take on the additional role as general manager.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” said Price. “It’s a big responsibility and something that I take very seriously. We’re really looking forward to getting started and getting to work.”
The leadership move adds a sense of direction for the Royals, while the league and sport remains in uncharted territory due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While all teams are dealing with the unknown, last month Victoria parted ways with longtime President and General Manager Cameron Hope adding to more question marks. Having Price in place allows the club to focus on being ready for the start of the season, whenever that should happen.
“Personally, I’m very optimistic,” said the new GM. “But of course I don’t have any tangible information. We’re just following everything, in the same way, the rest of the public is as far as health protocols and safety.”
“I know the league and everyone associated with the league will do everything they possibly can to make sure we can get rolling and healthy and safe environment.”
The St. Albert, AB native has held the dual role before, as he previously held the titles of General Manager and Head Coach of the Junior A Drumheller Dragons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. That experience has lead him to understand what is need to be successful in both roles.
“There’s been a tremendous foundation that’s been built,” said Price on the Victoria franchise. “I just feel like I’m one small part of that. I want to try to carry on that tradition as best as we can. That’s the first most important thing.”
“And then the second thing, obviously, is the staff and the players that those people have assembled. So you can’t do it as one person, you have to have a great staff. has to be very collaborative. As well, you’ve got to have a core group of players and we have all of those things here in my opinion.”
Added to his past experience, Price has learned a lot from his predecessor Hope while in Victoria.
“The preparation side, I would say has been huge. He [Hope] is obviously extremely thorough, very detailed. That goes with the respect level that he has for his staff, players for the organization, the fans, the community. I think anyone that knows Cam would describe him in those ways. A very hardworking, detailed, extremely respectful, and just a good person. So I’m just going to try to model all of those things.”
For Price and his staff, even with no timetable for a season start, the work continues.
“Having the summer to do the work is really important. That’s going to require a lot of time investment from the staff, a lot of analysis of how we’re going to move forward – what advantages we can find in the schedule. Whether that’d be starting the season on time or starting a little bit later, how can we maximize our personnel? How can we plan for those eventualities if the schedule were to change?”
“We have some critical dates coming up, for example the European draft. Also we’ve got our 20-year-old situation that everyone’s acutely aware of.”
“So, those are all going to require a lot of thought and reflection. But again, we’ve got such a great staff so I know we can accomplish those things.”
“It’s something we’ve talked about as a staff already as recently as today,” said Price. “I really don’t feel that that should be one person’s dictate, it’s something we should talk about as a group. And every year we should assess what position are we in. Can we realistically challenge for the Memorial Cup, or do we need to build a bit more in a particular year?”
“But I also feel there is a great ability, especially in Victoria, to be successful consistently, and have that sustained success with hopefully very little cycles up and down as you go.”
Finally, when asked what this new workload will look like for the new GM, Price said with a smile, “There’s a really funny quote from Seinfeld, which I love, where George and Jerry are talking about if Superman could just slow down the rotation of Earth, push it the other way for a second, you can have more time every day.”
“And I’ve been thinking a lot about a lot. How can we find more time in every day? Obviously you can’t. So it comes back to the staff again. How can we do this together and how can we share the load? That’s the most important thing.”
“I would extend that to the leadership group of our team. We’ve got older players that are mature and they’re good people. And as far as managing the day to day culture of the players, I know that the leadership group can handle that as well.”
With a solid base built and a direction set, the era of Dan Price now awaits the return to hockey.