It’s been a whirlwind few days for Kimberley’s own Isaac Schacher, who signed on to play with the Victoria Royals next season, but made his WHL debut in front of a home crowd against the Kootenay Ice on Wednesday night at Western Financial Place.
“It was pretty unreal,” Schacher said. “It’s a lot faster than what I’m used to, so getting adjusted to this speed of the game took a little getting used to.”
It’s only one game that Royals head coach Dave Lowry got to see his newest player, but he knows the young defenceman has a future with the team.
“We’re fully confident in his ability moving forward,” said Lowry. “There’s a reason why we played him tonight. He’s going to be a part of our future moving forward and we’re excited to have him with us.”
Though Lowry had the lone game to check out Schacher’s play, he’s also heard some good things about him.
“He’s a very good player and in the league he is playing in now, he can control the pace of the play, can control the ice and does a real good job of managing the puck,” Lowry said.
The blueliner has spent most of the season playing as an alternate captain with the Kimberley Dynamiters of the KIJHL, but has been looking at options for next year, which included the age-old struggle between junior and NCAA hockey.
“Their GM called me up and we had a meeting a couple days ago and he offered to sign me and I had to go home to my family and think about that for a bit,” said Schacher. “Last night [Tuesday], I decided t sign the papers and got all the paperwork done, so I handed that all in this morning and they asked me to play this morning.”
Schacher currently sits in second overall for points with the Nitros, tallying 14 goals and 22 assists for 36 points in 45 games.
“We’re very pleased that Isaac has agreed to join the Royals organization,” said Royals GM Cameron Hope. “He is having a very good season playing in Kimberley, where his development continues. We look forward having him contribute to our team’s success in the year’s to come.”
The Royals will continue the rest of their six-game road trip without Schacher, who will return to the Dynamiters for the KIJHL playoffs.
“We’re going to leave him in the environment he’s in right now,” said Lowry. “It would be unfair to his team if we were to take him for an extended period of time.”
Glenn Burgess, the head coach of the Nitros, isn’t surprised his top defenceman has signed with a WHL team.
“Personality-wise, he’s awesome,” said Burgess. “Good leadership and he can play. For a kid that’s 6′ 5″, he can stickhandle, he can skate, he’s just the package. I’m just surprised he hasn’t been snapped up before this.”
Kimberley has one more regular season game, which consists of a tilt against the Rockets next Sunday. It’s still undecided whether they will face the same team or the Fernie Ghostriders in the first round of the KIJHL post-season.
“I hope to keep progressing and finish off the season with the Dynamiters, and keep progressing with the Royals, hopefully get up a few more times before the end of the season and be able to play a few more games and head into next year,” said Schacher.