Tommy Bodtker’s game has changed a lot since he came to Revelstoke. The 19 year-old captain of the Revelstoke Grizzlies describes himself as a grinder during his early time in the KIJHL.
“I was scared to have the puck and I was a little tense with the bigger guys and fast play,” says Bodtker. “I kind of stayed with using my body and hitting guys.”
The physical play soon took its toll and Bodtker fought with shoulder injuries.
After a 40-game freshman season, Bodtker only played 29 games last year. He’s already on track to personal records this season with 35 games played and 38 points.
On Jan. 6, Bodtker played his 100th game in the KIJHL. It’s a stat he’s been keeping an eye on.
“It’s a milestone,” says Bodtker. “It makes me feel pretty old in this league, even though I’m only 19.”
New to Bodtker this season is having a ‘C’ sewn to his jersey. He’s trying to lead by example.
Having seen two former captains: Tyler Chavez Leech and Kenny Batke, Bodtker says he borrows traits from both.
“It’s a big role,” he says. “It’s a big change.”
With his injury battle, Bodtker has also changed the way he plays. Now, he’s more focused on scoring than making a big hit.
“I’m having more fun scoring than trying to hit guys,” he says.
Bodtker got his hockey start in Calgary, where he was born, before moving to Kelowna, where he spent the majority of his minor hockey years.
He was recruited by Revelstoke Ryan Parent at a hockey camp.
Bodtker can still remember his first goal with the team.
They were playing Columbia Valley and were shorthanded. Bodtker snuck around the defense and slotted the puck past the goalie to score. That puck is still on his wall today.
After a rebuilding season last year, Bodtker says he’s ready to go all the way.
“I’ll do what it takes and I think we have a full room who’s ready to do that,” he says. “I’m here to win, I’m not here to have fun this year.”
The Grizzlies are currently 28-6-2-3 with 61 points. They are at the top of the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference and are tied for second in the league.
The next home game is Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. against the North Okanagan Knights.