Juan de Fuca Grizzlies captain Evan Kneip (in white)

Midget hockey takes over Greater Victoria

The Juan de Fuca team is hoping to reach the Batters Memorial tournament playoffs this weekend.

Juan de Fuca Grizzlies Tier 1 midget AAA hockey coach Chris Kueber likes what he sees on and off the ice with his current lineup.

With a mix of mostly second-year midget players, with four third-year and three first-years on the roster, it’s giving his team a good balance of experience, youthful enthusiasm and drive.

With captain Evan Kniep, a third-year forward, and assistants Blake Dreyer (second-year defenceman) and Jarrod Rossander (third-year d-man) leading the way, Kueber said the group has come together quickly.

“We’re actually young on the blueline, but as far as leaders go, they are just awesome,” he said.

While midget hockey can tend to be a mixed bag in terms of wins and losses, even for talented teams like the Grizzlies, this year’s crop of players have an “even-keeled” attitude that Kueber believes will serve them well toward playoff time.

And with Kueber and his fellow coaches operating on a Fair Play system – they don’t shorten up the bench in certain situations – every player gets a chance to contribute at both ends of the rink.

“Our scoring is very spread out; we’re very team oriented,” he said. “Kids surprise you, (scoring) comes from everywhere when you play them fair and you see the kids have success. Confidence is such a big part of this game.”

Some of the newcomers are making an impact, too, like first-year defenceman Zack Whittaker and rookie forward Dayton Clarke, both of whom are showing maturity on and off the ice.

Overall, Kueber said, the team members “just finish every check and just work non-stop. They’re young and very energetic and our speed is pretty dominating from front to back.”

Last month at the Richmond Seafair tournament, an annual event many teams use to play some quality opposition and gauge where they’re headed for the season, the Grizzlies lost a semifinal shootout against a tough Langley team.

Afterward, the opposing coach told Kueber the Grizzlies were the toughest team they had played so far this season.

The Grizzlies, who beat Nanaimo 5-2 and tied Comox Valley 4-4 last weekend at home, will get another good test of their talents this weekend during the annual Jeff Batters Memorial Greater Victoria Midget Hockey Classic tournament. The event sees volunteers from the Juan de Fuca, Saanich and Peninsula associations combine their efforts to stage a top-calibre tournament, Kueber said.

Juan de Fuca was scheduled to host the Kelowna Rockets at home last night (Nov. 10) in their opener, then play Burnaby Winter Club today at 3:15 p.m. at Oak Bay.

After enjoying the tournament awards dinner and banquet Friday night, Saturday sees them take on the Vancouver Thunderbirds at 9 a.m. at the Wuertele Arena at Naden, then zip out to Panorama Recreation to play the Hollyburn Huskies at 4:40 p.m. The playoffs get underway Sunday and include a game at Westhills Arena in Langford.

Find more information about the Grizzlies at jdfminorhockey.com.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

Sun on its way after Greater Victoria sees wettest July in six years

Environment Canada meteorologists say the drizzle is likely to end soon

Mayor’s charity tournament sells out both Bear Mountain courses

23rd annual event raises funds to make ‘a positive difference in Langford’

Saanich samples the best of local food at Pepper’s Foods showcase.

Tenth annual showcase celebrates local food producers and vendors

VIDEO: 1,400 classic cars roll into Victoria for Deuce Days

The four-day festival highlights classic hot rods, with a special emphasis on cars built in 1932

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

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

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read