The Victoria Grizzlies have confirmed that they will be retiring Stanley Cup winner Tyler Bozak’s jersey number at their next game on Friday night.
A special ceremony will be held in honour of the former Grizzlies captain who played for three seasons on the Island.
“He’s the ultimate success story for junior hockey players,” said Lance Black, president of the Grizzlies. “Not many kids make it to the NHL, but he proved that it’s possible and we’re thrilled to be hanging up his jersey.”
The Saskatchewan-born star played for Victoria for three seasons in his late teens – 2004 through 2006 under the Salsa name, and 2006 to 2007 under their current Grizzlies title.
In his last season in Victoria, he recorded 128 points (45 goals and 83 assists) and was awarded the Brett Hull Trophy as the British Columbia Hockey League’s player as the top scorer.
Black remembers Bozak as someone who was usually able to avoid physical contact with other players, and not end up against the boards.
“He was crafty and slick,” he said. “He made everyone around him want to be better. He was a leader and an outstanding player that has left a legacy for new kids that come in.”
After leaving Victoria, Bozak attended the University of Denver to play for the Pioneers, which lasted two years. In 2008, he tore his meniscus in his left knee, which resulted in losing a majority of ice time in his final year at Denver. Fortunately, Bozak was a strong pick for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
After a brief stint with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Toronto Marlies, he debuted with the Leafs in the 2009-2010 season, which lasted nearly a decade. After nine seasons, Bozak left the club as a free agent and signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the St. Louis Blues.
Bozak won’t be at Friday’s game but will send in a personal video.
The jersey retirement will take place on Friday, Jan. 10 when the Grizzlies face-off against the Cowichan Capitals at 7 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online.