The Revelstoke Grizzlies advanced last week to the 2019 Cyclone Taylor Cup after beating the Kimberley Dynamiters in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League finals in five games.
This is the final season in the KIJHL for five players on the Grizzlies: Ryan Pereverzoff, Jon Vandermolen, Ullar Wiatzka, Tommy Bodtker and Jaden Hay.
The Revelstoke Review asked each of them about their future plans and to look back on their experience playing for the Grizzlies.
Ullar Wiatzka (88) D – age 20
Born and raised in Revelstoke, Wiatzka said it was pretty special for him to play junior hockey in his hometown. Outside of hockey, he’s been a volunteer ski patroller. He said the Grizzlies have given him a lifetime of friendship and experiences. “I’ve learned to power through. Perseverance.” A four-year veteran of the team, Wiatzka also plans to move to Kelowna and study human kinetics. Wiatzka sees himself playing rec hockey in his future but admits his body needs a rest, having suffered eight concussions in his time with the Grizzlies which led to him missing more than half of this season. “You get pretty banged up in hockey. The ice is hard and everyone is moving fast.” This year, he registered 10 goals and 36 assists.
Ryan Pereverzoff (11) F – age 20
Pereverzoff has been on the team for about four years. He plans to go to school in Kelowna next year at UBC Okanagan and study human kinetics. Rather than hockey, he said school will now be his focus. Regardless, the last four years has been tons of fun said Pereverzoff and will be the foundation for the rest of his life. This season, he tallied 31 goals and 25 assists.
Jon Vandermolen (61) F – age 20
Vandermolen said he knew the team was going to be good this year, but he tried to just focus on one game at a time in his second year with the club. He said this year’s Grizzlies squad is more tightly knit this year than last season. “There are just the right personality mixes,” Vandermolen said, adding he isn’t quite sure what the future holds for him. His parents live in the Netherlands and his sister resides in Eastern Canada. He’ll probably move to Kelowna with his teammate Pereverzoff and find a job, perhaps with the City of Kelowna. He has had 12 goals this season and 19 assists.
Tommy Bodtker (89) F – age 20
Bodtker said the last four years on the Grizzlies has been incredible. “I’ve grown up into an adult in Revelstoke. Hockey has taught me everything I know.” Like Wiatzka, he plans to play non-competitive hockey, noting that “I’ve beaten up my body pretty bad.” He plans to go to UBCO where he will study engineering. Bodtker scored 14 goals and added 56 assists this season.
Jaden Hay (10) F – age 20
Hay has been with the Grizzlies since November in his fourth season playing in the KIJHL. “It’s awesome now to be on the winning team,” he said of his experience playing for Revelstoke. Hay said he’s made countless friends and will never forget his time here. His next plans to a job in construction, save money and go travelling to far-off places like Thailand and Bali. Then, he’ll go to school to study construction engineering. Whatever he ends up doing there’s one thing that’s certain, Hay said hockey will be a part of it. “I want to play hockey for my whole life.” He notched 21 goals and chipped in with 31 assists this season.