Melfort’s Misskey excited to play near hometown with Victoria Royals

Herald file photo. Melfort’s Nate Misskey, seen here in action as a member of the Prince Albert Mintos, is looking forward to being back at the Art Hauser Centre. Misskey and the Victoria Royals take on the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday, Jan. 12.

It’s been a career year for Melfort product Nate Misskey. The Victoria Royals blueliner has posted six goals and 25 assists in 38 games this season.

“Individual success has come from team success for sure.” Misskey says. “Playing together as a team has definitely boosted my end of things too. It’s really been focused on a team matter this year. That’s helped out with everybody I think.”

With the nature of interconference play in the WHL, teams from the B.C. Division will travel to play East Division teams every other year. The Royals are in Prince Albert to take on the Raiders on Friday, Jan. 12.

Misskey, who played in parts of two seasons with the Prince Albert Mintos, says he is excited to take to the ice in Hockeytown North for the first time in the WHL.

“It’s really exciting, especially for a lot of guys. We have a lot of guys from Saskatchewan on this team, and coming back home after Christmas especially, playing in front of friends and family. It’s super exciting, especially for our goaltender Jayden Kraus and me. I played my midget years in Prince Albert. It’s going to be fun and come back and play in front of all those fans again.”

It’s been a season of major improvement for the Royals who currently sit with a 23-13-0-2 record and sit in fourth place in the WHL’s Western Conference. Last season, the Royals won only 17 games all season and finished with a 17-43-6-2 record, 16 points back of the Kelowna Rockets for the final playoff spot.

Misskey says the Royals came into training camp with a renewed attitude and it has led to success this season.

“Last year was a tough year for us, but we came into this year with a new mindset, made some changes. I think our chemistry just with our team this year has been awesome, and we’ve surprised a lot of people. Our work ethic has just been off the charts for us, so it’s been helping out with our play a lot.”

Last season, James Patrick led the Winnipeg ICE to a 57-10-1 record and an Eastern Conference championship before the franchise relocated to Wenatchee, Washington to become the Wenatchee Wild. Patrick had been the head coach of the ICE franchise since the 2016-2017 campaign when the team was located in Cranbrook, BC and known as the Kootenay ICE.

Patrick was hired as director of player development by the Royals in August and was named head coach of the team at the beginning of November after the Royals mutually parted ways with Dan Price.

Misskey says Patrick has emphasized being a strong defensive team since he took over the reins behind the Royal bench.

“Both have been good. They both coach in their different styles, for sure. With Coach James (Patrick) here, a lot of defense. We focused a lot on that. And I think that’s a big part of the game and playing us a lot of pace. Quick transitions, play in the offensive zone as much as we can. We just focus on our D and that brings offence with it.”

It will be an extra special day for Misskey when the Royals visit the Art Hauser Centre, as he will also be celebrating his 19th birthday on the same day.

He says he is looking forward to the game.

“I got a lot of family and friends around there, so it’s going to be super special, especially turning 19, especially on my birthday. So I mean, it’ll definitely be a night to remember for me.”

Misskey and the Victoria Royals are in Prince Albert to take on the Raiders on Friday, Jan. 12. Puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.