This week’s interview is with Kansas City Smoke LW Pascal Royal.
SHL Digest: We’re here today with another one of the league’s surprising top scorers, Pascal Royal of the expansion Kansas City Smoke. Pascal, thank you for taking the time to talk with us.
Pascal Royal: But of course! It is my pleasure.
SHLD: Last week, we spoke with Misha Petronov, who is having a mid-career breakout season. The same thing is happening for you!
PR: Thank you for noticing. I am very happy with my performance so far.
SHLD: You’ve been a consistent 15-goal scorer throughout your career; this year, you’re only 20 games into the season and you’ve already scored a dozen. The most points you’ve ever scored in an SHL season is 53, back in 2016; you’re already at 28 for this year. What is the secret to your success?
PR: Just lucky, I guess. (laughs) To be serious, I worked very hard this offseason. When you are an expansion player, you feel as though you have been left out with the garbage. I felt I had much to prove.
SHLD: Well, you’re definitely proving yourself. You’ve already racked up nearly as many points as you did all of last season. Do you think you can keep this pace up?
PR: Yes, I believe so. It helps that our offense is going very well. That was a problem last year.
SHLD: It’s interesting that you mention last year. You were with the Quebec Tigres, and even though you led the team in points with 34, they still left you unprotected in the expansion draft. Did that surprise you?
PR: No, if I am being honest. Coach [Martin] Delorme was never happy with my defense. They only picked me to begin because I am Quebecois, and they thought it would sell tickets.
SHLD: The Tigres are having a good year, and might even make the playoffs. Are you sorry you’re not still there?
PR: Not really. I want to be where I am wanted, and in Kansas City I am wanted. I am looking forward.
SHLD: How do you like Kansas City?
PR: I like it! It is a very fun place. I love good music and good food, and there is a lot of both here. Quebec is a nice town, but it is a little bit sleepier.
SHLD: Of course, when you’re on an expansion team and you do well, there’s always a risk that you might get traded. How would you feel if you were dealt?
PR: I would be fine with it. When you are a pro hockey player, you get used to being traded. And if I am traded, I expect it would be to a contending team. It would be fun to contend! I have not in my career.
SHLD: Great attitude! Well, thank you for an interesting interview, Pascal. Good luck with the rest of the season!
PR: Thank you. I am hopeful that the rest of my season will be so good.