Despite a level of uncertainty surrounding the Victoria Grizzlies and their lack of an ice lease deal with West Shore Parks and Recreation for The Q Centre, the team has kept busy assembling a team for the next B.C. Hockey league season.
The club recently announced its initial list of player commitments for the 2015-16 campaign, a list that includes nine out-of-town recruits and six B.C. players.
Among the latter are Tyler Preziuso, a Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey product and most recently, a forward with the South Island Royals major midget squad, and 2014-15 Westshore Wolves defenceman Drayson Pears, a fellow JdF grad.
Preziuso, in Grade 10 at Belmont secondary, was a third-round draft pick (61st overall) of the Western Hockey League’s Medicine Hat Tigers in 2014. The 16-year-old right winger is 5-11, 170 pounds and is an avid hockey and lacrosse player.
Pears, who has filled out to 6-1, 180 lbs., won the Wolves’ rookie of the year award last season and was invited to the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League all-star game.
Other B.C. recruits for the Grizzlies include two-year Kelowna major midget blueliner Mark Krabben, 17, who helped his team win bronze at the 2014 national Telus Cup championship; 17-year-old forward Keyvan Mokhtari, a draft pick of Everett in the WHL and a former B.,C. bantam Tier 1 champ with Burnaby Winter Club, and 18-year-old Whistler native and Campbell River Storm Jr. B star Tyler Welsh.
Welsh led all VIJHL rookies in scoring with 75 points last season, when the Storm won the Keystone Cup Western Canadian championship, and also played a pair of games with the Grizzlies as an affiliate player.
The majority of the Grizzlies’ eastern recruits come out of the prep school leagues, including longtime Barrie Colts minor hockey teammates Matt Baker and J.D Falconer. Both forwards have been drafted to Ontario Hockey League major junior teams and were leaders on their respective teams the past two seasons.
For a full list of committed recruits, visit victoriagrizzlies.com.
Ice Chips … The Wenatchee Wild became the BCHL’s 17th team, it was announced this week. The club, which has been playing in the North American Hockey League since 2008-09, is said to average 3,000 fans for its games in the central Washington city. While it was not specified where the Wild would slot in, the Mainland Division appears the most likely.