The Revelstoke Grizzlies’ Jordan Rae gets ready to shoot during Friday’s exhibition win over the Columbia Valley Rockies. ~ Photo by Alex Cooper, Revelstoke Review

Revelstoke Grizzlies hope rebuild is over

Grizzlies set to start new season against the Kamloops Storm this Friday at home

The Revelstoke Grizzlies are set to start a new season this year, and after two seasons out of the playoffs followed two first round exits, they’re hoping to do some damage this year.

“It feels great to be in the arena with all the boys. We have some good young talent coming in,” said centre Jordan Rae. “I think we’ll have a good team this year.”

Rae, who turns 20 in December, will be the Grizzlies elder statesman this year as he skates his final season of junior hockey. Last year he finished second on the team in scoring with 35 points in 45 games and wants to lead the team offensively this year, while being a leader in the dressing room.

“I have to be a leader, show these younger guys how it works,” he said following Friday’s exhibition win over the Columbia Valley Rockies. “I like to score goals too. It’s my goal to the be the top offensive guy and I’m pretty sure that’s my role.”

The Grizzlies begin their regular season this Friday, Sept. 8, when they host the Kamloops Storm at the Forum. On Saturday, they host the Chase Heat before spending the rest of the month on the road.

Revelstoke’s two opponents this weekend finished 12 and 25 points ahead of them in the Doug Birks division last year, respectively, and the weekend will present a good test on how the Grizzlies match up against their rivals this season.

Coach Ryan Parent said he thinks the team is better this year than last.

“I think we have a little bit more offensive touch this year,” he said. “I think we’re carrying some momentum of the experience from last year. We have a good returning core.”

Parent pointed to defenseman Ullar Wiatzka, who was in the room while we spoke, as one of the returnees who will be expected to lead the way this season.

Wiatzka, a Revelstoke local who is entering is third season with the team, says he’s ready.

“I see myself as a leader and I want to contribute offensively and be solid defensively too,” he said. Hopefully I can do that to the best of my ability.”

Revelstoke went 3-1-1 in the exhibition season. They started with a 4-2 win over the Kelowna Chiefs at home on Aug. 26, followed by a 3-3 tie at home against Golden two nights later. On Aug. 30 they topped the Rockets 7-5 on the road. Last weekend, the split a home-and-home series against the Columbia Valley Rockies, with each team winning at home 5-3.

“We’ve been playing well in these pre-season games and I’m excited for the season to start,” said Rae.

One area Revelstoke has struggled the past few seasons is in scoring goals — last year only five teams in the league scored less than the Grizzlies. Parent said he thinks the team will get goals from all four lines this year.

“If you’ve got guys who want to score, you’re going to score more goals. If you play the right way, you’ll score more goals,” he said. “We’ve got some young guys who are really contributing — guys that weren’t in our lineup last year. It adds to what we’re able to deliver as a group collectively.”

Wiatzka said the team needs to improve its performance in the regular season to help get out of the first round. “I think we need to compete every night,” he said. “Finishing fourth hasn’t helped us in the first round, so I think finishing higher in the standings and making them come here — we have a good fan base and it’s hard for them to win here in the playoffs.”

Just Posted

From darkroom to jewellery studio

Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre welcomes new space for artists

What’s on for Welcome Week

Series of events are designed to welcome newcomers to Revelstoke

‘We want to find ways for people to thrive,’ says life coach

New free talk during Welcome Week will offer strategies to feel at home in Revelstoke

Last Stand explores plight of Mountain Caribou

Film runs away from easy answers, says associate producer

Revelstoke silversmith receives thank-you letter from 24 Sussex Drive

Arleigh Garratt’s snowflake earrings were gifted to Sophie Grégoire Trudeau during July visit

Video: Shuswap stars shine for Larch Hills

Competitors dance to the tune of $30,000 for the chalet expansion

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

BC Transit buses to get safety door for drivers

These new full-length doors will be tested in Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford

‘Fresh eyes’ looking into three missing Cowichan Tribes men

First Nations want answers to their disappearances

Pedestrian hit moments after receiving safety reflector from police

The Vancouver Island man was treated for minor injuries by police at the scene

FortisBC LNG site exports first shipment of gas to China

The shipment is part of a pilot project that could see more exports in the future.

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

B.C. to reimburse methadone patients for taking clinic fees off welfare cheques

Provincial government agrees to pay back more than $5.5 million in deducted fees

Stiff fine for B.C. man caught trafficking bear parts

A Cache Creek resident was charged after an undercover sting operation by conservation officers

Most Read