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

Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Suspected opioid overdose likely culprit behind serious crash in Fairfield

Victoria paramedics give unconscious driver Narcan

Man faces 11 charges after accidentally discharges bear spray around Victoria cops

A Victoria man had a unlucky morning Wednesday after he accidentally discharged… Continue reading

Sooke council threatens to close long-time business

Driver’s Welding application for a temporary zoning variance denied

Lane closures in effect on Island Highway in View Royal

Expect delays on Island Highway from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

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

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Charges dropped against Mountie involved in shooting death of Surrey man

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says

Proposals sparked protest in Kootenays, Williams Lake region

Two B.C. women selected to compete on ABC’s The Bachelor

Mykenna Dorn and Alexis Thind will compete for bachelor Peter Weber’s heart

UPDATED: Hundreds gather to reflect and remember UVic students killed in bus crash

Campus community invited to reflect, support one another

Vaping-related illness confirmed in Ontario believed to be first in Canada

Middlesex-London Health Unit had no further details about the case — believed to be the first confirmed in Canada

Most Read