Old is new as two Victoria hockey teams add familiar faces for cup runs

At first glance, Ryan Chan and Pearce Eviston have little in common besides being junior hockey players

Vernon Vipers defenceman Michael Statchuk and Victoria Grizzlies forward   Mark McClellan race for the puck during the Grizz' 1-0 win on Jan. 20 at Bear Mountain Arena.

Vernon Vipers defenceman Michael Statchuk and Victoria Grizzlies forward Mark McClellan race for the puck during the Grizz' 1-0 win on Jan. 20 at Bear Mountain Arena.

At first glance, Ryan Chan and Pearce Eviston have little in common besides being junior hockey players. They don’t know each other and they play on different teams in different leagues.

But a deeper look tells the story of two players in similar places. How they got there is a different story, but where they’re going is also similar.

The 20-year-olds have both played with their current teams before – Chan with the VIJHL Victoria Cougars and Eviston with the BCHL Victoria Grizzlies – and were returned for the Jan. 10 trade and roster deadline after time away.

Both teams are first in their respective leagues, and both players play big roles as they chase a championship.

Chan was with the Cougars when the team lost in overtime of the Cyclone Taylor Cup final last year. An accomplished academic, the Pacific Christian School grad took this year off hockey to focus on the heavy switch from sciences to engineering at the University of Victoria.

When Cougars assistant coach Suneil Karod phoned Chan early in January, it caught the 5-foot-5 forward by surprise.

“I hadn’t given up on the thought but I also hadn’t seriously thought about coming back,” Chan said. “Actually, the first semester this year was all about filling in some of the gaps that hockey filled, which took up so much time.”

Chan returned to playing guitar with regularity, taking lessons, and took up squash.

“I won’t do those, but even so I’ll still miss some hockey practices. Not much, and I shouldn’t miss any games.”

His return has boosted the speed of the already-fast checking line, and was instrumental in last Sunday’s comeback win over the Nanaimo Buccaneers.

“Chan’s work ethic is incredible. He does whatever he’s told,” Cougars coach Mark Van Helvoirt said.

Eviston’s history with the Grizzlies is more complicated.

The Grizzlies recently acquired him from the Vernon Vipers.

In an odd way, however, Eviston is now the longest-standing Grizzlies player. The 6-foot-1 forward from Vancouver originally played for the Grizzlies in 2009-10 as an affiliate. He broke out as an 18-year-old in 2010-11 with 38 points in 44 games. It was one of the best Grizzlies teams of all time, and he’s the only remaining player from it.

“There’s so much that’s different now. That (2010-11) Grizzlies team was great, it was a good organization. But coming here is a breath of fresh air. We’re the top of the league and everyone meshes together. Bill Bestwick is a phenomenal coach.”

When the Grizz’ playoff run ended in March of 2011, Eviston hooked up with the Portland Winterhawks, and played in 12 of the Winterhawks’ 21 playoff games en route to the 2011 WHL finals.

In the meantime, the Grizz had moved Eviston’s rights to the Vipers, where he returned this year.

Like Chan, Eviston is looking beyond hockey to university, though Eviston is hoping CIS is an option. He has two years paid for from the WHL.

Whatever their path is beyond hockey, Chan and Eviston know this is their best chance to win a cup for Victoria.

sports@vicnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Construction in Oak Bay is nearly all focused on rebuilding new single-family homes and without secondary suites. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Oak Bay nears regulation of secondary suites

Preliminary report hints there’s no preferred option

Victoria Police Department vehicles outside the headquarters building. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bastion Square attack leaves victim with life-altering injuries

Victoria police looking for witnesses, information

A Sooke woman is speaking up after she was almost tricked by a lottery scam, claiming she had won $950,000 with Set for Life Lottery. (File Photo)
‘I wanted it to be true so badly’: Sooke woman almost falls for lottery scam

88-year-old received letter stating she had won $950,000

Sequoia Coastal Coffee, the first coffee shop in Colwood’s Royal Bay neighbourhood, is temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 16. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood coffee shop shuts down after employee tests positive for COVID-19

Sequoia Coastal Coffee closed since Saturday, Jan. 16

A 45-metre tall call tower is proposed for Westhills Stadium. (Black Press Media file photo)
New cell tower proposed for Westhills Stadium in Langford

Tower will increase capacity in congested network: staff report

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons was appointed to the NDP cabinet as minister of social development and poverty reduction after the October 2020 B.C. election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. job training fund increased for developmentally disabled

COVID-19 has affected 1,100 ‘precariously employed’ people

B.C. driver’s licence and identity cards incorporate medical services, but the passport option for land crossings is being phased out. (B.C. government)
B.C. abandons border ID cards built into driver’s licence

$35 option costing ICBC millions as demand dwindles

Submitted photo of Town Park C Block apartment fire.
Apartment fire in Port Hardy forces residents to jump from building

‘Multiple people were transported to the hospital with injuries from falling’

sdf
2nd in-school violence incident in Mission, B.C, ends in arrest

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

(Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
RCMP say ice climber seriously injured after reportedly falling 12 metres near Abraham Lake

Police say man’s injuries were serious but not life-threatening

U.S. military units march in front of the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, as they rehearse for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.

President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

Most Read