~ 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!