Submitted by the KIJHL
Tonight is the Grizzlies’ first home game of the season.
They finished second overall in the KIJHL’s regular season standings with 39 wins. In the Teck Cup playoffs they went 6-0. Grizzlies coach Ryan Parent said with the turnover they had, he feels their needs have been addressed.
“We’ve got a good group,” said Parent, who lost players to junior A clubs. “We’re going to let these guys grow their game and show us they can get the job done.”
He said his philosophy has been to try to grow players from within.
“Now it’s time for us to get to work,” he said.
The Grizzlies had veteran pieces return on defence that Parent said are good. They also have strong forwards.
“It’s just adding to those pieces that we already had,” he said.
In getting ready for the season, Parent is seeing players improve daily, which he added “is always exciting as a coach to think that you are playing a part in helping someone be better than he thought he could be.”
Motivating players hasn’t been an issue because they brought them in at a time Parent says was good – in early October. It was up to the players to train on their own in September, but the Grizzlies played exhibition games nearly every weekend.
Incoming rookies: Parent has guys say to him they are in a rebuild.
“I look at our roster and I go, we have been every year. We were in a rebuild when we went to the finals three years ago,” he recalls. “We were in a rebuild when we won the Cyclone two years ago. I think in Revelstoke we try to look at it as more of a reload situation. Our philosophy again has always been, to load up with good young players that we think can progress and can become contributors down the stretch. The key ticket for us is development of those young players. It’s not always easy. We want the most out of our young guys so they can contribute and help us win.”
Their rookies are: Carter Bettenson, Owen Chamberland, Riley Klugerman, Collin Kozijn, Bennett Kuhnlein, Jovan Malay, Ethan Mattern, Tyden McWillis, Corson Penman, Dylan Westlake, Jackson Desouza, Will McPhee, Borys Protsenko, Josh Singh, Kayden Sutherland,
Parent is confident by the end of the regular season, the Grizzlies will be a contender.
“I have been impressed by the way our group has responded,” said Parent, who is waiting to see over the next month or two what they bring.
Returning players: Brendan Vulcano, Raymond Speerbrecker, Cash Sawchyn, Kole Christensson, Cole Berg, Caleb Dancey and John Lee. Parent says those are players that you notice every game.
“They compete every game. They are expected to be dominant on the ice. They know the culture of our dressing room. I’m a big culture guy. The veteran players are an extension of the coaching staff.”
Speerbrecker, Parent said, has been an outstanding captain over the last two years.
Between the pipes, the Grizzlies are in good shape with Noah Desouza, who Parent considers to be one of the top goalies in the KIJHL. In the off-season, they added Brandon Weare for future considerations.
“I thought he had a reasonably good season as a first year goaltender,” said Parent. “He has done really well with us at this point. Weare is not too far behind him.”
The games will stream live on HockeyTV. At the moment no fans will be allowed in the arena during the games.
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