Sunday, 21 August 2011

2011 Grizzlies Rookie Camp

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore,
is not an act but a habit".

Aristotle

The Victoria Grizzlies three day rookie camp concluded with the Team Black All-Stars obliterating the Team White All-Stars 10-3 on a sunny afternoon in Colwood inside the Juan De Fuca Arena.

The young players at this years camp definitely got their moneys worth one way or another. With six teams over three days running only two lines a side, no one can complain that they didn't get enough ice time. Whether you were picked to play in the aforementioned All-Star game above or not, this was the perfect chance to not only impress the Grizzlies organization for future consideration, but one of the many Junior B affiliates right here in Victoria. 

If you didn't make the All-Star game or get invited to the main camp, don't get discouraged, hold your head up high and keep moving forward. This game we all love is about heart, integrity, and passion. It's those three ingredients that the Grizzlies coaching staff appreciates above anything else. Show that you can grow and mature not only on the ice but especially off of it, and your chances of continuing in a hockey career will increase exponentially.

For those who players who did receive the invite to the main training camp, congratulations are in order. With a veteran coaching staff/scouts looking on, you've impressed them greatly at your age and the progress of your career will be of high interest to them. All of Grizzlies Nation looks forward to seeing all of you develop to hopefully dawn the black and gold proudly.
 
Next up on the docket is the Grizzlies main camp taking place on the labor day weekend with the first game of the 2011-2012 season slated for September 23rd at Bear Mountain Arena against their bitter rivals...the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Vancouver: A Goalie Graveyard?

Where does all this massive hate on for Roberto Luongo come from?

The Vancouver Canucks had probably the best season of their 40 year history in 2010-2011 despite coming up one game short again in the Stanley Cup Finals. The team won the Presidents Trophy with a 59-19-9 record good for 117 points. They scored the most goals with 262 and gave up the fewest at 185.

However the majority of people out there will see only one thing, the sole blame on the shoulders of Roberto Luongo who gave up 16 goals in 3 outings resulting in falling short of the holy grail. People seem to forget it was Luongo who got them to the cup final. It's so easy to go and hate on Luongo and put the blame on him, why? Because he is the goalie and it's easier to pick on that position. What was Luongo suppose to do when the players in front of him only potted 7 goals over seven games, the pressure would have been less if the Canucks could have scored more goals and would probably be enjoying the summer as cup champs.

Despite any defense for Luongo from the faithful fans in Vancouver, the only voice the world is hearing is the haters and band wagoners who blame Roberto for the loss. It's this disheartening attitude and slogans of slander that will eventually run Roberto Luongo out of town, probably to an arch rival whom will end up winning the cup with him between the pipes.

Ever since the days of Broduer and McLean, the Canucks nation has been begging the hockey gods for a #1 netminder and we finally got him in 2007, but with the fear of losing and the 0-3 track record in cup finals fresh in the minds of the world, I fear Luongos days in Vancouver are limited. Think of the rag tag goalies the Canucks have had throughout their franchise, and only the affirmentioned goalies above stand out as memorable.

It takes a team to win the Stanley Cup, and it takes a team to lose the Stanley Cup. The Sedins needed to contribute more, they need to be more then one trick cycle ponies in order to shake defenders. Kesler was injured as was ten other players on the team. I'm by no means making excuses, they lost to the better team, all I'm saying is, if you must cast blame, share it around and if your a so called fan, put some on your shoulders for doubting your team.

It wasn't Luongos fault, and if we aren't careful, we may end up losing a great goalie and sink into another decade of depression in net wondering where it all went wrong.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Another Grizzly Heading South For The Winter



  ~ Commitment leads to action. Action brings your dream closer ~

It is a sad time in Grizzlies Nation but also a time for joy as our toughest blue liner Mr Graeme Strukoff has inked a contract to see him head to the NCAA and into a University of Alabama-Huntsville Charger jersey for the 2011-2012 season. 

At 19 years of age and bringing a 6-foot, 190 pound frame to the table, the Trail Smoke-Eater turned Victoria Grizzlies fan favorite potted 7 goals in his last season and added 17 helpers to assist the Grizz in there latest journey which was cut short in seven games of round two by the Powell River Kings. The #7 D-man who won the hearts and cheers of Grizzlies fans won't be alone as he will join the company of another former Grizzlies star; Alex Allen.

In an early season trade that saw Strukoff come to the provincial capital, so much more occurred then just acquiring a great defencemen. Strukoff had skill and could move, but his most effective role was clearing the grease for goaltender Matt Ginn. Strukoff protected his goaltender at all costs and wouldn't let the Grizzlies be pushed around by anyone. During a stretch of time where Strukoff was injured, it really showed what kind of a person he was off the ice. Much like Joel Lowry and Madison Dias, Strukoff had the biggiest passion to return to the ice to help out his teammates. The dedication was always there for the Chilliwack native and I know it will continue to serve him in his endeavors in college. 
What stuck in my mind the most was during a period of injuries for the Grizzlies. I took four of them to a comedy show to do what I could to take their minds off of not playing. Whether it worked or not, at the next Grizzlies home game in the VIP club seats, Graeme Strukoff came up to me and thanked me for the tickets for the show. This guy is class act, a solid defencemen and reliable teammate.

To the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers, treat Strukoff well, as he will give you his all and then some in the pursuit of the game he loves.

To Graeme Strukoff:
Good luck buddy, I am sorry to see you leave the Grizzlies so soon but I am so excited for where your career is going and the opportunity you have before you.
I ask you just two things:

1) Don't stop being who you are

&

2) Don't forget the Grizzlies Nation!

Adam Sargent
thesargespeaks@gmail.com





Monday, 28 March 2011

The Last Week Of March

~ Tricks truth, and madness lies but a sliver in the stream ~

The last week of March is upon us and with it comes many feelings. There is happiness, sadness, regret, joy and hope. While not everyone experiences these feelings in the same way, at some point in time they have their purpose for everyone.

1) Grizzlies Nation is in hibernation til August = Sadness
2) Didn't increase Grizzlies attendance by 500 = Regret
3) The RBC Cup is still a month away = Hope
4) Canucks are close to snagging the Presidents Trophy = Joy
5) Family continues to support my hockey dreams = Happiness

Those are just a few things that have come up in my mind starting this week.

All during this week I am helping my best friend Sean with some sprinkler fitting around Victoria to make some cash, lord knows I need it. Ever since I returned from Dauphin Manitoba, I have been taking a Public Relations course online at UVIC, all my Grizzlies work is volunteer, and I don't see any money from my friend Whit's BC Karaoke Championships til it's all over. While sprinkler fitting takes me out of my beloved suits, it does fill me with a sense of pride that I can still do manual labour, and do it very well.

While I will be making no money when I go to Camrose, Alberta for the 2011 RBC cup, I will be getting great experience in the role of "Media Relations" for Hockey Canada for the national junior "A" championship. The hopes is that I will make even more connections and possibly get my big break into either Hockey Canada itself or another hockey organization that would pay me to be their Public/Media Relations guy.

Also this week is the above mentioned BC Karaoke Championship competition that my buddy Whitney John Stuart created. While I am the Vancouver Island Account Manager, the only two cities that wanted to play ball was Victoria and Duncan. Up island in the Cowichan Valley, the Roadhouse Pub just before the bridge runs our karaoke night on Tuesdays and Wednesdays choosing a qualifier each night. Right now we are on week 6 for them, so that means after this week, only 4 more weeks remain. Meanwhile down here in the capital, the Vlounge on douglas street above the Fox Showroom Pub hosts their night on Tuesday starting around 11pm. The Vlounge is only on week 5 and has 5 more weeks after this one. With two winners a week for 10 weeks, the 20 qualifiers will gather for a regional competition in which only two will be choosen to move on to Vancouver for the chance to win TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS worth in prizes.

Visit www.bckaraokechampionships.com for more details.

While my hope is to work for a professional hockey team one day, I can't deny how fun it is to smooch and deal and create something out of nothing. The future is mystery, it's what makes life worth living I think.

Adam Sargent
thesargespeaks@gmail.com

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Prospects 2011 Wrap up

~ Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war ~

Just like that, the 2011 Grizzlies Prospects camp comes to a close and I dare say, the Grizzlies coaching staff assembled some great looking players that will no doubtingly be back at the main training camp in August.

With 14 players not returning from this past season, there stands a good chance of seeing many of these prospects in the summer and more so on the final roster.  Over 160 kids played their hearts out during these past 3 days and they did not disappoint. There were some big hits, beautiful goals and rock solid transition. The craziest thing I identified at this camp was the skill and maturity of players 13 and 14 years old. It was unreal if you didn't know their age, you would think they were 19 or 20 year old veterans of junior "A" hockey. This tells me one thing for certain, the future looks bright for the Grizzlies Nation!  

Looking ahead though, the biggest gap left is between the pipes as #1 netminder from last season Matt Ginn, the legend, is not returning. He has taken his scholarship to Holy Cross in the NCAA. This is a big blow as he was the rock of the Grizzlies playoff drive. So picking goalies will be the toughest test during the off season for the coaching staff.

Those chosen for this years prospects all-star game all played very well. A big thanks to the following players for putting on a good game.

Team Black:

Graham Zagrodney
Brady Walker-Brock
Mitchell Meek
Ryan Coghlan
Nicholas Hayes
John Saunders
Nolan Dejong
Sasha Hahn
Ryan Helm
Dylan Moore
Matthew Biagioni
Zach Funk
Myles Powell
Connor Krupa
Eric Chore
Michael Klonarakis
Jeremy MacDonald
Josh Bowes

G - Bowman Rutledge
G - Stephen Heslop
G - Eric Palliser

Team White:

Dysin Mayd
Trevor Chown
Nick Lee
Simon Horlik
Thor Rosback
Jake Stolz
Tanner Browne
Sam Ramsay
Dane Feeney
Kyle Richter
CJ Lillies
Graham Cronk
Cole Pickup
Cody Allison
Liam Carradine
Patrick Chore
Josh Cook
Jed Martin
Connor Cross
Steven Killy

G - Jesse Sidaway
G - Justin Bowe
G - Colton Wright

Putting on a camp such as this one really proves to people how much the Grizzlies organization cares about the development of young players. So to the management team and coaching staff, well done, you all organized an amazing camp. What was truly inspiring was that Head Coach & General Manager, Victor Gervais along with alternating assistant coaches, took the time to do one-on-one evaluations with each and every player. It was a very time consuming process but one that will stick in the minds of those players.

With 5 months until the main training camp begins, one can only speculate as to what the Grizzlies will look like for the 2011-2012 season. Will our identity change again? Will the expectations be higher then this past season?
Will next year be a rebuilding year? Or a re-energizing year?

I guess you'll have to wait and make that judgement for yourself.

Adam Sargent
thesargespeaks@gmail.com






Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Final Day of Prospects Camp

~An old tiger sensing it's end is at it's most fierce~

It has finally come down to the final day of the 2011 Grizzlies prospects camp and there has been some amazing hockey played inside the BEAR.

I mentioned yesterday that Day 2 was your biggiest day to impress scouts and the Grizzlies coaching staff. While that statement is held to be true, tomorrow (March 27th) is your last opportunity to make a statement. It's do or die now, with only four games remaining, this is your last chance to make a strong push with hopes of making the All-Star selection.

The final day will go down as follows:

8:00am -  Team 1 (Black) vs Team 8 (Grey)

9:15am - Team 2 (White) vs Team 7 (Burgundy)

10:30am - Team 3 (Gold) vs Team 6 (Blue)

11:45am - Team 4 (Red) vs Team 5 (Green)

1:00pm - 2nd Goalie Session

2:00pm - All-Star Game

It's been a pleasure watching the assortment of young talent that has been assembled on the ice these past two days and I see no reason why day 3, the final day will be any different.

Remember, keep your head up, skate harder and faster then you ever thought possible.
Most importantly, HAVE FUN, if your not having fun, then you don't belong on the ice.

Adam Sargent.

Friday, 25 March 2011

2011 Victoria Grizzlies Prospects Camp Day 2

~There is nothing stronger then the heart of a hockey player trying to prove themselves~

Day one of the Grizzlies 2011-2012 season is in the books, with many great players strutting their stuff, but it's far from over. There are still two more days of this camp and Day Two will be no sloach for anyone involved.

The Grizzlies are losing 14 players from this past season, which deals a huge blow to the chemistry of the team. However, this is also providing many young players with a unique opportunity to crack the Junior "A" ranks. Saturday is nothing but competition, and is the one big day to make your greatest impression.

Day two (Saturday, March 26th) 

Begins at 8:00am with Team 1 (Black) vs Team 4 (RED).

9:15am - Team 2 (White) vs Team 3 (Gold)

10:30am - Team 5 (Green) vs Team 8 (Grey)

11:45am - Team 6 (Blue) vs Team 7  (Burgundy)

1:00pm - Team 1 (Black) vs Team 3 (Gold)

2:15pm - Team 2 (White) vs Team 4 (Red)

3:30pm - Team 5 (Green) vs Team 7 - (Burgundy)

4:45pm - Team 6 (Blue) vs Team 8 (Grey)

Those participating are reminded that you should play these games as if there is no tomorrow. Play your hearts out, one shift at a time, make a good impression and you'll make the All-Star team on Sunday. Play as if this is a real game, but not just any game, play it as if it was the Stanley Cup Finals. Skate that much faster, hit that much harder and light the lamp.

Don't take breaks, don't stop skating, push yourself harder and farther then you ever have before and you will make an Impression on Head Coach Victor Gervais, not to mention Assistant Coach Brad Cook and Goal-tending Coach Dean Whitney.

Let's do this

~Hoo Rah!~

Adam Sargent
thesargespeaks@gmail.com