Craig Didmon hired back to Victoria Grizzlies, team makes summer moves

Craig Didmon is back with the Victoria Grizzlies after three seasons away.

Craig Didmon is back with the Grizzlies.

Craig Didmon is back with the Victoria Grizzlies after three seasons away.

The former Grizzlies assistant coach to Geoff Courtnall in 2009 will resume that position and more as the assistant coach and assistant general manager to recently appointed head coach and GM Bill Bestwick.

Didmon left after the Grizzlies hosted the 2009 RBC Cup, having lost out on getting Courtnall’s head coaching job to Victor Gervais.

Three years later, a change of ownership and a few good spins on the merry-go-round that is coaching in junior hockey, and Didmon returns to the Grizzlies. Meanwhile, Gervais is not far, as he will guide the rebooted junior B Westshore Wolves, who will also play out of Bear Mountain Arena.

Didmon is giving up his part-time assistant coaching gig with Victoria Royals, but will continue running the West Shore Hockey Academy for students of Spencer middle and Belmont secondary schools.

“This creates an opportunity for a great partnership with the West Shore academy and the Grizz,” Didmon said.

“With where the Grizzlies are at, we have a lot of work to do, and the academy has to get ready to go. But the B.C. Hockey league schedule, which is mostly weekends now, works well with the academy’s schedule.”

A promotion with the Royals, if and when that ever becomes an option, would mean giving up the academy, which Didmon is happy to run.

“The Royals were great, I’d love to go back down the road, probably in a higher position.”

Didmon’s relationship with Bestwick goes back to Didmon’s playing days with the BCHL’s short lived Victoria Warriors.

“He came to the Warriors part way through the 1990-91 season. He was the best junior coach I had.”

Bestwick was the Warriors third coach that season and snuck them into playoffs and past the country’s top-seeded New Westminster Royals, before losing to Powell River in the semifinals.

Didmon continued to lean on Bestwick when he coached the Victoria Cougars to a provincial junior B championship in 2007, prior to joining the Grizzlies.

“Bill taught me a lot, he is a great motivator, he stands behind his players and pushes them to improve. My Cougars teams were a reflection of what the Nanaimo Clippers team was like 10 years ago.”

Recruiting underway

Bestwick is busy populating the team’s roster for the upcoming season.

This week he signed 18-year-old Eben Norman of Vancouver, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound defenceman who played junior B with North Delta.

The Grizz also brought in 20-year-old forward Bret Hartskamp from the Swan Valley Stampeders from Manitoba, a player that started his junior A career under Bestwick with the Clippers.

And perhaps the biggest move so far is the multi-player trade that sent defenceman Braxton Bilous and goalie Garrett Rockafellow to the Westside Warriors for goalie Brady Rouleau, 19, and forward Garrett Skrbich, 19.

Grizzlies training camp starts on Aug. 20.

sports@vicnews.com

 

Just Posted

VicPD seeks person of interest after short-term rental ransacked

Combined losses for damage and theft are over $5,000

Whitecaps favourite switches to the Island

Marcel de Jong worked to end Whitecaps contract, joining Pacific FC on the ground floor

RCMP ask for public’s help to determine cause of weekend fire

RCMP are investigating the cause of the South Island Concrete fire

UVic’s cutting-edge centre leading the way in drones and AI

Centre For Aerospace Research works with partners including Department of National Defence

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read