(From left) Victoria Grizzlies equipment manager John Smith, president Lance Black, and directors of hockey operations Kevin Quick and Don Robinson at The Q Centre during a practice session. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

(From left) Victoria Grizzlies equipment manager John Smith, president Lance Black, and directors of hockey operations Kevin Quick and Don Robinson at The Q Centre during a practice session. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Disappointing season was ‘blessing in disguise’ for Victoria Grizzlies

Minor hockey club playing in Island Cup, regular season set for December

Lance Black believes that although the Victoria Grizzlies had “one of the most disappointing seasons” last year, it was a blessing in disguise.

The B.C. minor hockey team failed to hold onto a single win in their last playoff season. They left the ice after losing four consecutive games to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

“Right after we got booted from the competition, the lockdown started to come in,” said the Grizzlies president. “We didn’t have to worry about closing our rink because it was already forcibly closed.”

Fast forward seven months, he believes the team is in a good place to make a comeback. Currently, they’re taking part in the Island Cup, a round robin tournament between the Grizzlies, the Cowichan Valley Capitals, Nanaimo Clippers, Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Powell River Kings.

Each club plays 12 round-robin games, and the semifinals and finals will be held at The Q Centre in Colwood with dates yet to be announced.

READ MORE: Victoria Grizzlies booted from playoffs in four straight losses

Craig Didmon, Grizzlies GM and head coach has the same high hopes as the team recently finished an extended training camp. The coach also believes the new recruits and veteran players have been able to bond better because of provincial health regulations suggesting they stick to smaller groups.

Didmon pointed out that he thinks the lack of crowds due to the pandemic will actually help the new recruits warm up to playing on the ice without added distractions.

Although, the head coach noted, he missed the moment his team scored recently because there weren’t any cheers or loud outbursts from the seats.

“Having no fans in the audience, now that money right there is gone,” said Didmon.

“Our owners know that they are taking a loss, but they want to keep moving forward in the same direction as we are and we couldn’t be more grateful for their generosity.”

RELATED: Victoria Grizzlies confirm plans to retire Stanley cup winner Tyler Bozak’s jersey number

Black said he’s thankful for the West Shore Parks and Recreation Society’s board of directors, who have re-negotiated a new lease after their previous one expired last season. Also, the majority of the sponsorships the Grizzlies received last season are still intact, even though the rink isn’t open.

“Our team has always invested in charities, hospitals and schools and even though we can’t give back right now, they are giving to us,” said the Grizzlies president.

“We have never thought about closing up shop. We want the best for our team to get them scholarships and have the chance to move their careers forward. Not everyone gets to the NHL, but the first step to success is by getting the boys playing again.”

In its 26th year as a team, he’s grateful to see the twinkle in the eyes of his players when they step back onto the ice.

The BCHL regular season is set to begin on Dec. 1.

ALSO READ: Saanich junior hockey club launches orca logo in time for season opener


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

BC Minor HockeyVictoria Grizzlies

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A peacock struts by a pair of lamb siblings at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, which remains closed to the public. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
VIDEO: Victoria petting zoo optimistic about future after 13 months closed

Public helps non-profit Beacon Hill Children’s Farm with nearly $100,000 influx

Island Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak in two houses at the Mount St. Mary long-term care home on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)
Island Health declares outbreak at Victoria long-term care home

Resident, staff member test positive for COVID-19 at Mount St. Mary facility

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is helping Saanich police locate a suspect who allegedly stole an iPhone from a building in the 3100-block of Foul Bay Road on April 7. (Image via the Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police seek suspect in cell phone theft

White iPhone XR reported stolen from building on Foul Bay Road April 7

Victoria police are looking for a 38-year-old man after he allegedly assaulted and choked a missing 15-year-old victim in Beacon Hill Park Tuesday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
15-year-old choked in Beacon Hill tent, Victoria police assaulted while intervening

Police searching for 38-year-old suspect, two officers injured in altercation with park residents

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

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

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Most Read