The Revelstoke Grizzlies kick off their regular season this Saturday, and coach Ryan Parent likes what he’s seen so far after playing six exhibition games in six nights.
“I think that over six games of hockey we have some real bright spots and we’re going to be an exciting young hockey club,” he said following a 3-1 loss to the Sicamous Eagles on Sunday.
Revelstoke started it’s busy pre-season last Tuesday, Sept. 2, with a 6-1 win over the Golden Rockets. The two teams tied 5-5 the following day. On Thursday, Revelstoke beat Sicamous 3-1 and followed that up with 5-2 and 1-0 wins over North Okanagan on Friday and Saturday.
Sunday’s loss was the team’s only pre-season blemish.
“We saw a good hockey club in Sicamous tonight and I think they’ll bring nothing less on (Saturday),” said Parent. “I think it will be a great way to open the season. I think it will be an exciting way to start off.”
Revelstoke will be icing a young team this year. That was apparent from the number of players wearing facemasks on Sunday — an indication they had yet to play any junior hockey.
The Grizzlies roster wasn’t available by the time the Times Review went to press, but Parent said he would be handing out cards Monda to set the 25-man roster that would open the season.
“I look for compete level, the ability to battle back and overall skill level in your players,” he said. “We have a really healthy mix of good skill, good compete level. It’s going to go in the right direction this year.”
Three Revelstoke Minor Hockey products will be rookies on this year’s team — Nii Noi Tetteh, Josh Pilon and Louie Federico. Tetteh and Pilon are both 16-year-olds who played for the Thompson Blazers major midget team last year. Federico, 17, played as an AP for the Grizzlies last year.
“I think it’s exciting when you have a few local players that are able to play and able to compete at this level,” said Parent.
Parent also acquired Derek Miskiman, a 20-year-old local who will finish off his junior career playing in his hometown. “I’m excited for the opportunity,” said Miskiman, who has played for the Chase Heat and Sicamous Eagles in the past three years. “We have a lot of young guys here this year. I’m looking forward to playing here. My whole family and friends are here. It will be fun.”
As one of the few veterans on the team this year, Miskiman will be thrust into a leadership role. “We’ve got a lot of young guys, showing them the ropes and trying to get them so they know the little stuff,” he said. “Moving up to junior, it’s a big step from minor hockey.”
He said this year’s team is a lot better than last year’s last-place finishers. “Last year was a bit of a dark period for the team. We’re hoping to get to the light side this year and pull together a lot more wins and have a good year.”
Parent expects the team to move up the standings, but how they compare to their Doug Birks division opponents remains to be seen.
“Nobody ever won the Stanley Cup in pre-season and how everybody stacks up to us will be determined down the stretch,” he said. “I’m excited about our youth and how much improvement I’ve already seen and the sheer will and grit. I like it.”
The Revelstoke Grizzlies start the regular season on Saturday, Sept. 13, in Sicamous. The home opener is Friday, Sept. 19, against the Eagles.