With one exhibition game to go before the start of the regular season, the Revelstoke Grizzlies line up is taking shape.
“I don’t think we’ll have our final roster until the second week of the season. The BCHL cuts are still happening and that impacts on what we’ve got,” said head coach and general manager Randy Quakenbush. “We have a final list of players that could be showing up. I don’t anticipate all of them will be making it back here but there are several that will be.
“I think our fans will be really excited with the team we put together.”
The team went 2-2 in its first four pre-season games, losing 7-1 to the Kamloops Storm and 6-4 to the North Okanagan Knights on the road before coming back home for a pair of victories over the weekend.
The team received a boost up front over the weekend when it picked up several players who were cut from Junior A camps, including Devon Hascarl and, surprisingly, Brendan Burge, who spent the end of last year in Junior A.
“Burge showing up here is a real boost of confidence to our whole group,” said Quakenbush. I’d be surprised if we have him for the complete season but for now he’s a great acquisition for us.”
Other returning forwards include Braeden Monk, Devin Gelowitz and Tye Sanford, who will be playing forward after spending last year on defence. Jordan Bledsoe, a member of the 2010 Keystone Cup championship team, is back after a year off and is one of the team’s four 20-year-olds.
Locals Riley Creighton and Kent Hendrickson are expected to be on the team, while Branden Martin, an offensive star from Alberta, Michael Roberts, and Marc Latourneau are expected to provide some high-end skill up front.
The defence will be anchored by a pair of 20-year-old veterans, captain Reid Blinkhorn and hard hitting Lucas Hildebrand. They will be joined by Corson Johnstone, a member of last year’s team, and three rookies – Adam Pullium, Tyler Bolduc and Darnell St. Pierre.
“One of the strengths of our team will be our D,” said Quakenbush.
For whoever makes it out of training camp, the battle won’t be quite over. Quakenbush said there are still some players trying out for Junior A who could end up being cut and finding a spot on the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies play host to the Sicamous Eagles in their final exhibition Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. and the lineup that night should provide a taste of who’s going to start the season with the team.
“When you see there will probably be very similar to what you’ll see to start the season,” Quakenbush said.
On Friday night, the regular season kicks off, with Revelstoke hosting the expansion Chase Heat, coached by former Grizzlies boss Brad Fox and featuring two local minor hockey products. The game begins at 7 p.m.
After the home-opener, Revestoke travels to Armstrong on Saturday to take on the Knights and then Kamloops on Sunday for a matinee game against the Storm.