Lance Black and the Grizzlies team played golf, had lunch and reflected on the past year ahead of a final farewell dinner this Monday (Swikar Oli/ News staff)

Grizzlies players say goodbye in ‘bittersweet’ farewell

Lunch and golf outing offer chance to celebrate individual achievements

“Proud” and “bittersweet” are both words Grizzlies president Lance Black used to describe his feelings Monday at the farewell lunch for outgoing players.

An earlier-than-expected exit from the BCHL playoffs has management in spring mode, which, in one word, means recruiting.

But a lunch and golf session at Highlands Pacific gave the team a chance to think less about the 10 big spots to fill and more on the players who vacated it. Black was feeling reflective.

ALSO READ: Four Grizzlies crack NHL’s central scouting list for 2019

“Today we say goodbye, you know, to our 20-year-olds, and we have five of them. As well as we have five players who are under age who will be moving on because of commitments to various colleges.”

“Pretty proud of, you know, all those boys because we’ve got a lot of commitments this year and for us to have five kids going early, that’s, you know, a testament to our program I think,” he said.

Parting Grizzlies include NHL prospects Alex Newhook and star rookie Alex Campbell, who received scholarships to head to Boston College and Clarkson University, respectively. Also leaving are goalie Kurtis Chapman, Cam Thompson and Kenny Johnson, who will be going to Penn State.

ALSO READ: Victoria Grizzlies lend visual hand to PTSD group

In total, Black estimates Grizzlies received nine scholarships to NCAA division one schools.

This season was one of notable highlights, such as Newhook winning the British Columbia Hockey League’s MVP as a scoring leader, Chapman setting a franchise record with a 55-save night and Campbell winning Rookie of the Year.

Huge individual efforts brought about one Grizzly being nominated for every one of BCHL’s end-of-season awards.

For the season the come to an end so suddenly, and with a sweep, was “very emotional” for the players, Black said. There was a special feeling that the team would win the Canada chapter, but that didn’t come about at least partly due to the illnesses, injuries and suspensions, he said.

ALSO READ: Victoria Grizzlies part with captain prior to playoffs

But the team has accepted this and moved on, he added. “This was a team that was focused to win a championship and play for each other and for some unknown reason, the chemistry was there,” he said.

“We’ve always had close knit teams, but this one was by far the most close knit I’ve ever seen.”

Johnson seemed to agree with the sentiment. “This is the closest, tightest team I’ve ever been a part of ever, and I’ve only been here three months,” he said.

The early loss didn’t feel like the end of their friendship to Johnson.

“I’ll be in touch for a long time.”

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Mental health walk/run aims to outpace depression

Walk increased to 5k, run to 10k

Bear sightings historically rare in Langford: City staff

51 bear complaints or sightings in last year

Families hop over to Easter celebrations at Millstream Village

Annual Easter Eggstravaganza had lineups before 11 a.m.

Parishioners bear the weight of a large wooden cross on Good Friday

Good Friday Passion Procession winds through streets of Victoria

Autism support dog helps Langford boy hold his head high

Family shares story for Autism Awareness Month

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

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

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read