The first of five straight road games didn’t go quite as planned.
Sharing a home with the Mann Cup-hosting Victoria Shamrocks and the Kraft Hockeyville exhibition game between the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks have pushed the Victoria Grizzlies onto the road for the entire month of September.
Despite this and a season opening loss to the Cowichan Capitals 3-2, team general manager Jim Swanson said there is reason for hope.
“I thought it was a great rivalry game to start for both teams,” he said. “I think the edge in that game could have easily gone the other way. We know they have a tough team and we have a tough team and it’s going to be a great thing to watch us come together.”
West Shore resident Cole Pickup opened the scoring in the season opener at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan with a power play marker 2:02 minutes in. However, Cowichan, which boasts 15 returning players in the lineup, volleyed back with two straight from Matthew Hude and Ayden MacDonald to pull ahead.
A second Pickup goal to square it up was not enough as Kade Kehoe’s short-handed tally late into the third sealed the Grizzlies’ fate.
Despite the loss, Swanson said he liked the team’s resolve for a team with 15 new faces.
“(It’s great) to be able to get some team bonding in on a road trip early,” he said. “If we get out of this at break even, we know we will be in good shape when we get (home). Having an imbalanced schedule off the top is a blessing in disguise.”
The Grizzlies next game is Sept. 18 in Nanaimo, before heading to Alberni Valley, and then Chilliwack. Their first home game at The Q Centre is Oct. 1.
“We are excited to see the community embrace this team the way they have, it has been a fun buzz… Oct. 1 is a date for us to introduce so many things we will try and bring a new entertainment level and new excitement to The Q Centre,” Swanson said. “We are really looking forward to the Grizzlies being a rallying point, especially in the West Shore.”