Grizzlies a team of cubs

Veterans offer advice to junior A rookies

Returning Victoria Grizzlies regulars Sean Robertson and Wade Murphy say up-and-coming rookies need to show confidence and game sense to make the cut in junior A.

Returning Victoria Grizzlies regulars Sean Robertson and Wade Murphy say up-and-coming rookies need to show confidence and game sense to make the cut in junior A.

In five years of junior A hockey Sean Robertson has gone from cub to grizzled Grizzly.

Robertson, 20, has played defence for the Victoria Grizzlies since 2006-07 and has seen a lot of rookies come and go.

His advice to newbies: play hard and don’t back down to the veterans.

“Rookies need to be confident. It’s OK to be nervous, but you don’t want to be too nervous,” Robertson said. “It’s a big jump from playing minor hockey to junior hockey. I have seen a lot of guys come through here. You can’t be selfish. It’s better hockey if you put the team ahead of you.”

With the hockey season about to start, there are many hopefuls waiting to don the Grizzlies’ jersey. Sam McMullen from Saanich is one of them. Before junior, McMullen spent a season with the South Island Thunderbirds major midget team.

Last year McMullen, 17, played for the junior B Saanich Braves, but also hit the ice for five games with the Grizzlies.

“By the second or third game I started getting used to the speed,” McMullen said.

“Junior A (players) are stronger and faster.”

Since then, McMullen has been working hard over the summer to secure a spot on the roster. He’s packed on 10 pounds of muscle to his six-foot tall frame, and his added strength has been noticeable on the ice.

“Making the Grizzlies would be great. It’s what I have been wanting to do the whole summer,” McMullen said.

Grizzlies assistant coach Victor Gervais said McMullen has a good chance of having his name added to the roster.

“He is probably one of the best rookie players,” Gervais said. “He is a two-way hockey player.”

Grizzlies hopeful Sam Ramsay travelled to Victoria from Surrey for the rookie camp, having played midget-AAA hockey in Swift Current, Sask., last season.

“He brings a lot of speed,” Gervais said. “He brings grit to the game that I haven’t seen in a long time. He’s tough and finishes his checks.”

During the camp Ramsay, a left-winger said the level of skill was a step up from midget hockey.

“It’s a lot more speed and intensity.”

Whether or not he cracks the Grizzlies’ main roster Ramsay is committed to moving to the Island as he is assured a spot on the Saanich Braves this year, just like McMullen and Wade Murphy before him.

Braves coach Brad Cook was an assistant with the Grizzlies when Ramsay broke out at the March prospects camp.

“For the most part players were going through their paces and all of a sudden there’s this kid absolutely destroying people out there,” Cook said.

“(Ramsay) needs some coaching, but does a lot of things you can’t teach. He’s a fun player to watch and is going to be a fun player to coach.”

While these players have skill and dedication the Grizzlies looking for, rookies for the upcoming season have not been selected yet.

Gervais said between five and 10 rookies could earn a coveted spot on the roster.

sports@goldstreamgazette.com

 

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

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read