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

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 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

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

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

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

2011 Victoria Grizzlies Prospects Camp

Just as soon as the 2010-2011 season ended, the 2011-2012 season has already begun.

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Grizzlies are putting on a prospects camp for the simple reason of looking for those who will one day dawn the black and gold jersey.

Friday March 25th will begin with registration at 10:30am @ Bear Mountain Arena in the lower lobby. The goalie session will start at 11:30am with 21 netminders all on the ice at once. Then 8 teams will play four games from 12:30pm until roughly 5:15pm.

Saturday March 26th will be nothing but competition as those same 8 teams will play a total of eight games (2 each) from 8am until roughly 5pm.

Sunday March 27th is when the camp will wrap up. Only four games will be on the docket from 8am until 12pm. There will be one last goalie session at 1pm followed by the All-Star game at 2 o'clock.

It is free to come out and watch this camp and why wouldn't you? No one wants to admit the season is over, so come to the rink and enjoy watching young talent try to impress the coaches and scouts.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

My Eulogy for the Grizzlies 2010-2011 Season

Rest In Peace:

What can you say about this amazing team, this great group of guys did something that everyone laughed at, taking the Powell River Kings to seven games and putting a scare into the #2 CJHL ranked team. What a heart breaker last night, to be within 1 goal and have it slip away, reminds me of the '94 Stanley Cup final. The Kings now move on to the coastal conference final to take on the Surrey Eagles, while the Salmon Arm Silverbacks take on the defending Fred Page Cup champions, the Doyle Cup champions and the 6 time and back to back winning RBC cup champion Vernon Vipers.

There was talk during the season that last years team over achieved and that because they did so, in comparison they said this year we under achieved. Well I say to them look at us now, the Grizzlies dispatched the Nanaimo Clippers in five games and took the #2 ranked team in the Country to the limit and nearly squashed their hopes of making it to an RBC cup. The coaching staff of Victor Gervais, Dean Whitney, Brad Cook and Len Barrie did an outstanding job this season with the deals that formed this squad for the season and during the trade deadline. 

This season had a lot of up and downs with numerous injury stretches which many believed cost the Grizzlies the #2 spot in the coastal conference. While I came into this season in December of 2010, I saw a team pushed to the breaking point only to bounce back and finish strong and go on a great playoff run. Being my hometown, I take a lot of pride in Victoria and the Grizzlies team boosted that pride a million times over. I thank you guys for the great season and sensational hockey. The Grizzlies played their hearts out all season long, through thick and thin and had a great group to go far in the playoffs. Again I know I sound like a biased Grizzlies fan but the referees stole this series from our guys. As great as the Powell River Kings are, they never would have beat our boys if the referees weren't killing our momentum by giving us penalties when there was clearly no infractions taking place.

As the Grizzlies Nation mourns the 2010-2011 season, they wish all the success to those that are moving on. All the best wishes and success to Mitch Labreche (Simon Fraser University), David Morley (St.Cloud State), Matt Ginn (Holy Cross), Justin Fillion (Michigan Tech), Braxton Bilous (Merrimack), Joel Lowry (Cornell), & Madison Dias (Cornell).

Let us not forget others who will not be rejoining the Grizzlies Nation next year, as we lose the likes of Kyle St-Denis, Greg Simpson, and Kyle Aschim. All of you guys made significant impact on this hockey club during your time in the capital.

I would especially like to thank Madison Dias and Joel Lowry for allowing me to interview them for the Grizzlies Times Colonist Insert this year, it was a privilege to write about two very promising and future NHL stars.

Who knows what the future is going to hold for the Victoria Grizzlies, new players will emerge as heroes, the young guns this year will have some great playoff experience to draw from. I guess we just have to wait and see and get ready for the 2011-2012 season.

Adam Sargent

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Do or Die: Game 7 Tonight!

Go big or go home!

In just 2 nights the Powell River Kings have clawed their way back into this series knotting it at 3 games a piece. First it was a 3-2 OT win on home ice in game five, then they followed it up with a 4-1 win in the BEAR to tie things up and force the seventh and deciding game back in Powell River.

While I may come off as a biased Grizzlies fan, the reffing, yet again was horrendously in favor of the #2 CJHL ranked Powell River Kings. The biggest call no doubt that turned the tide in game six came after Joel Lowry scored in the third to cut the Kings lead to 2-1. Lowry was then shoved into Kings netminder Gartieg by a Kings defender and got an goalie interference penalty. This call killed the momentum for the Grizzlies and was the games turning point as the Kings took over completely after that and went on to score 2 more unanswered goals. Not trying to take too much away from Powell River, they are an amazing team. However as I have said before, for a team with so much talent, I have seen that they play a very dirty game at times and it goes unseen as refs just seem to act oblivious to all their infractions.

Regardless of what's been done in the past, it has all come down to tonight, in the Hap Park Arena in Powell River for game number 7. Winner moves on the face the Surrey Eagles in the Coastal Conference Final, while the loser goes home. Emotions will be running high tonight, but the Grizzlies must do their best to keep theirs in check if they want to knock off the Kings. 

This is anyone's game tonight, but in speaking with Madison Dias a few moments ago, the boys in black and gold are hungry for revenge and are all fired up to take it to the Powell River Kings. For many this could be their last game in the BCHL, and you can bet your bottom dollar that they don't want to end their junior careers with a loss.

Listen to all the action tonight starting at 6:45pm with the pre-game show hosting by Scott Didmon on Village AM 900 radio.

Check out the Official Victoria Grizzlies Facebook Page for updates, photos and videos, along with discussion boards.

Or Follow us on twitter: @Vicgrizzlies

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Game 4: Grizzlies 5 - Kings 2

The Victoria Grizzlies have the #2 CJHL ranked Powell River Kings on the brink of elimination with a 5-2 victory saturday night at the BEAR.

The three star selection was all Victoria:

3) Taylor Pernerowski (1 goal, 1 assist)
2) Justin Fillion (1 goal, 3 assists)
1) David Morley (2 goals, 3 assists)

After two games going to overtime and the Grizzlies acheiving victory in both, they did something phenomenal, they proved that the Kings are not invincible with a 5-2 victory on home ice to hold a 3 games to 1 stranglehold on the series.

What is shocking is how one of the most talented and successful teams in Canada this year, the Powell River Kings have turned into a younger rendition of the Charlestown Cheifs. It was appauling to watch a team wtih so much skill and talent reduce themselves to goons. No one can argue this, not even Kings fans as their players are blatantly trying to hurt and maim our players.

The referiing was horrendous in game 4, Benbow should be stripped of his right to ref in the BCHL as he would look straight at a Kings player double handed chop our team captain across the wrist and do nothing. What got assistant coach Len Barrie upset was the massive amount of head shots the Kings would deliver to the Grizzlies after the whistle blew that went un-penalized. This has got to stop, and I hope John Grisdale, who was in attendence will slap the Kings with disciplanary action soon.

While I know some on the Powell River side will argue that Peirce Eviston's hit in the first period was cheap with intent to injury, I tell them to look at a video review like I did. It is clear their guy cut in front and collided with Eviston who was primed for a hit. His hit was also clean, it was shoulder, he didn't leave his feet. Yes its unfortunate their player got injured but in no way did Eviston mean to hurt him.

This series is still far from over, as come monday night, game five goes down in Powell River and in facing elimination, the Kings will throw everything but the kitchen sink at the Grizzlies.

However if the Grizzlies can play like they did during the third period of game three and the whole game four, they should have no problem clinching in five.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Game 3: Kings @ Grizzlies

Not once but twice this series has gone into extra frames in just three games.

After the Grizzlies edged out the Kings 4-3 in double overtime in Powell River, the Kings came into last nights contest with something to prove and to regain control of the series, that did not happen. The Grizzlies pressured in the third period and tied the game at 13:08 sending it to overtime. Then off a freak bounce off the corner boards in the Kings zone, the puck shot right out to Dustin Johnson who quickly swatted at the puck and it hit the Kings defence and went in off goaltender Garteig to clinch a 2-1 victory for the Bears while going up 2-1 in the series.

While the Kings did dominant for 40 minutes scoring in the first 2 minutes, that was all the offensive power they could muster against Grizzlies netminder Matt Ginn last night at the BEAR. Despite what I believe to have been  blatant intent to injury our #1 goalie, where Kings forward Schuler racing for the puck made no attempt to get out of the way up ending Ginn who went at least 3 or 4 feet in the air and came crashing down on the back of his neck and shoulders.

Ginn would shake it off with a mild headache and put up 31 stops before the night was over.

In overtime the Grizzlies must have brought their lucky horsehoes with them as right of the drop, Kings forward Matt Garbowski picked off a defensive grizzlies misuce and went in all alone, but as he slowed down to make his move he left the puck behind as it got stuck on a puddle patch left over from the zamboni. The Grizzlies would not waste this gift as Kyle Aschim took the puck and moved it to centre and innnocently dumped it in.

This is where the hockey gods smiled down on Victoria as the puck came to Johnson who slide it in for the game winner.

Grizzlies went 0/5 on the Power play but did score on a delayed penalty.
The Kings went 1/4 with their only goal coming at 1:51 of the first period.

Three stars:
3) Michael Garteig (PR)
2) Matt Ginn (Vic)
1) Dustin Johnson (Vic)

This was a super intense game and the series is heating up big time and it is not over, not by a long shot.

Predictions have this series going 6 to 7 games and with good reason. The Powell River Kings aren't your grandmothers bridge playing crew, they didn't stay atop the CJHL power rankings all season long for nothing. They are an amazing group of players with a great coaching staff that doesn't fool around. Look for the Kings of Powell River to come out with vengeance tonight at Bear Mountain Arena.

Game 4 goes down tonight at the BEAR, puck drop is 7:15pm
Call 250-385-1555 for ticket information.

Grizzlies Lead Kings 2-1


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Game 2: Grizzlies @ Kings

Ritchie Rich move on over, there's a new money maker in town and his name is......


With the Victoria Grizzlies trailing the Powell River Kings 1-0 in the best of seven semi final series, the Grizzlies came out after a scorelss 1st period and traded goals with the Kings in the 2nd Period. Morley, Lowry and Johnson all picked up tallies but it was Richardson at 4:47 of the second overtime period that sealed the 4-3 win for Victoria and thus splits the series at one game a piece.
Goaltender Matt Ginn made 39 saves in the win for the black and gold having a solid bounce back game robbing the Kings on many occasions. 

The Kings of Powell River out-shot the Grizzlies 45-38 through 84 minutes and 47 seconds.

Both squads only struck once on the Power Play, the kings went 1 for 6, while the grizzlies answered with 1 for 5.

The Series now shifts back to Victoria who have now stolen home ice advantage away from Powell River.

Game 3 goes down this Friday night at Bear Mountain Arena with a 7:15pm puck drop

Game 4 is on Saturday night same place same time.

Call 250-385-1555 for ticket information. - Lets pack the building - HOO RAH!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Grizzlies 2011 Playoff Run

Fall in line the Sarge is here!

Let me give you the run down so far.

The Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL Junior Hockey League dispatched the Nanaimo Clippers in round one; 4 games to 1.

Having avenged last years loss to the Clippers in the first round, this set up the Victoria Grizzlies taking on the #1 seeded Powell River Kings in the 2nd round. The kings had a regular season record of 46-9-3-1 was good for 97 points, compared to the Grizzlies 33-24-0-3 which was good for 69 points.

The Grizz go into this series with a few "Black Aces" (the players who are injured on the roster), Kyle St-Denis is still out, so is Mitch Labreche, Evan Richardson, and Graeme Strukoff.

However even has these players went down, hope has emerged. The grizzlies rallied behind AP call up Dustin Johnson who made an immediate impact scoring 5 goals in three games. Other important factors include the big names on the Grizzlies. Forwards Madison Dias and Joel Lowry lead the pack with sniper David Morely returned to the lineup. Don't discount the defense here, Captain Sean Robertson leads his core on and off the ice with character, the small but fierce d-man Taylor Pernerowski can make you pay if you give him space.

At the core of this team of Heart/Soul and Determination, is a netminder who is the backbone of every victory, Matt Ginn. Ginn has been utterly impressive effectively stealing 3 of the 5 games against Nanaimo. For the grizzlies to move on past the Kings, he will have to be even sharper.

Game 1 & Game 2 take place at 7pm on March 8th and 9th at the Hap Arena in Powell River
Games 3 & 4 return to Bear Mountain Arena in Victoria with a 7:15pm puck drop March 11th & 12th

Monday March 14th is Game 5 if necessary in Powell River
Tuesday March 15th is Game 6 if necessary in Victoria
Wednesday March 16th is Game 7 if necessary in Powell River

You can catch all of the Grizzlies action at Village AM 900 radio with play by play voice Scott Didmon.

Join the Grizzlies Nation at Grizzlies Official Home (BCHL) on Facebook or follow us on Twitter with @VicGrizzlies.