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Joe Hicketts, former Victoria Royals defenceman Monday, became the first Royals alumnus to play in the National Hockey League. He suited up for the Detroit Red Wings for their road game against the New Jersey Devils. The Red Wings won by the score of 3-0.
The Kamloops native was inserted into the lineup in place of the injured Trevor Daley. Hicketts played for 15:13, which is a solid amount of ice-time in a first game. Although he did not factor in the scoring, he threw an open-ice hit and blocked three shots. He was partnered with Jonathan Ericsson.
In 43 games so far this season with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League – the farm team of the Detroit Red Wings – Hicketts has scored twice and picked up another eight assists.
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill told the media, “Joe has a couple things I love. He’s got swagger and he’s got a great brain for the game. I think we could use some of that swagger.”
For the Royals, Hicketts was their very first draft pick. He went on to score a career 32 goals and 141 assists for a total of 173 in 224 Western Hockey League career games.
During the Red Wings preseason, Hicketts played four games, picking up four assists. The 21-year-old was never drafted, but did sign with the Red Wings. He also captained Team Canada to IIHF World Championships twice, once earning the gold medal.