October 30, 2015
He showed a lot of promise in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in the mid 1990s. He was an offensive d-man with puck skills, mobility, toughness and a nasty streak.
Royer's promise impressed enough that in his first season as a professional - 1997-98 - he cracked the Hawks roster right out of training camp.
Royer would play in a total of 18 games in the NHL that season, but was sent down to the minor leagues to learn the pro game. As the NHL season advanced it became clear that Royer - like most young defensemen - needed time in the minors to work on their defensive positioning. Royer, no stranger to the penalty box, also needed to work on his discipline.
None of this story is a surprise, so far. The surprise turned out to be the fact that in Royer's long and well travelled career he never returned to the NHL.
Royer would go on to play for 22 minor league and semi-pro teams in nine leagues over the next 12 years. The Hawks would trade him to Washington where he was buried on the defensive depth chart, further hindering his chance to return.