New Grizzlies team, same expectations

Victoria Grizzlies head coach and general manager Bill Bestwick has great expectations for the rebuilt BCHL franchise

In his B.C. Hockey League coaching career Bill Bestwick has experienced teams with high turnover. But this year’s Victoria Grizzlies resemble that of an expansion team, not one that was within a win of the Coastal conference finals in 2011.

The new-look Grizzlies split the first two games at the BCHL showcase in Chilliwack last weekend, a 1-0 loss to the Coquitlam Express and a 5-4 overtime win against the Port Alberni Bulldogs. Tonight (Sept. 14) is the Grizz home-opener against the Powell River Kings.

“For a team of 17 new players, I thought they acquitted themselves well (in Chilliwack),” Bestwick said. “The Coquitlam game could have been 3-3, and it could have gone either way, both goalies were great.”

Coquitlam’s Cole Huggins stopped all 40 shots he faced for the shutout. Victoria’s Brady Rouleau saved 26 of 27 shots.

Rouleau, 19, won 12 games with the Cowichan Valley Capitals last year and was unlucky to be pinned with the team’s first loss on Friday. The Grizzlies’ other netminder, Michael Stiliadis, an 18-year-old import from Ontario, earned the win over Port Alberni on Saturday despite letting in four goals.

“You’re not going to see many shutouts in this league,” Bestwick said. “That said, from what I saw at the showcase, there is some extremely good goaltending in the BCHL this year.”

Bestwick only took over as the Grizz head coach and general manager in late June, which, by junior A hockey standards, is considered too late. Regardless, he and assistant coach-GM Craig Didmon got as busy as they could in the trading and recruiting department.

“I’ve never started with a team in July,” Bestwick said. “But the expectations aren’t any less. If anything, it’s a chance to shape this group of players into our philosophy.”

sports@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Saanich driver races to Chairman’s Trophy in Mission

Bill Okell has driven the same race car for 44 years

Local school districts gear up for the new back to school season

Seismic upgrades, inclusion and student safety are priorities

Camosun’s continuing education site a quick hit

Hundreds of courses available to launch new career opportunities

B.C. police watchdog investigating high-speed crash in Victoria

Police watchdog called in after dramatic early morning crash at Bay and Douglas intersection

VIDEO: RCMP officer killed in the line of duty remembered ‘through the laughter of children’

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Most Read