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A look at several top-scoring players for the Victoria Grizzlies

With a new season approaching, the Victoria Grizzlies are preparing their roster. They’ve already recruited several players from across North America.

One player that stands out is forward Zakery Anderson. Last season, Anderson played 40 games for the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Kamloops Storm. In those 40 games, Anderson scored 22 goals and 18 assists.

Looking at Anderson’s stats made me wonder about past Grizzlies players. Namely, those with high points totals. These are the players who produce the most offense for the team.

For this article, I want to profile several Grizzlies players with high point totals but will limit the range to the previous five seasons and will also talk about how the team performed during those seasons.

2017-18 season

For the 2017-18 season, Victoria’s top scorer was forward Jamieson Rome. Rome was recruited from the Calgary Northstars U18 AAA team and after two seasons in Victoria, committed to Western Michigan University.

In 55 games, Rome scored 22 goals and 48 assists. His 70 points made him the Grizzlies leading scorer that season. Number two in points that year was forward Alex Newhook, who won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche earlier this summer. He scored 66 points in 45 games for the Grizzlies in 2017-18.

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The top scorer for defenders on the Grizzlies that season was Dayne Finnson after he was recruited from the Salisbury Prep School in the US. He played two seasons with Victoria before heading off to the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

In 56 games in 2017-18, Finnson scored five goals and 35 assists. Second in points for blueliners was Matthew Doran with 35 points in 55 games.

The Grizzlies finished first in the Island Division that season and were eliminated in the second round by the Powell River Kings.

2018-19 season

During the 2018-19 season, Victoria’s top scorer was Newhook. In the 2017 offseason, he was recruited by the Grizzlies from the York Simcoe Express U16 AAA team in Ontario. After two seasons in Victoria, Newhook spent two seasons in the NCAA with Boston College. He turned pro at the end of the 2020-21 season and is now a Stanley Cup Champion with the Colorado Avalanche.

In 53 games in 2018-19, Newhook scored 38 goals and 68 assists and his 102 points earned him the Brett Hull Trophy as the BCHL’s top scorer. Number two in points that season on Victoria was forward Alex Campbell with 67 points in 53 games.

The top scorer for defenders was Carter Berger, who the Grizzlies recruited out of the North Shore Winter Club. After three seasons in Victoria, Berger headed off to play NCAA hockey at the University of Connecticut. He was selected by the Florida Panthers in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Draft.

Berger scored 27 goals and 36 assists in 54 games from Victoria’s blueline in 2018-19. Second in scoring among the Grizzlies’ defenders was Jeremie Bucheler. He had 45 points in 54 games and Victoria finished first in the Island Division. The Grizz were eliminated in the third round by the Prince George Spruce Kings.

2019-20 season

In the last ‘normal’ season before COVID-19 hit, Victoria’s top scorer was forward Cody Monds. He was recruited to Victoria from the Northwood School.

After spending the 2019-20 season with Victoria, Monds left to play with the US Hockey League’s Fargo Force. He was one of many players who joined American teams because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in BC and across Canada. Monds is now attending Providence College in the NCAA.

In 57 games with Victoria during the 2019-20 season, Monds posted 22 goals and 37 assists. Forward Henri Schreifels was second in scoring for the Grizzlies that season with 45 points in 56 games.

As for Victoria’s defenders, James Davenport was the top scorer in 2019-20 after being signed out of St. Sebastian’s Prep School. After one season with the Grizzlies, Davenport went to play college hockey with the Northeastern University Huskies.

In 54 games during his lone season in BC’s capital city, Davenport scored eight goals and 20 assists. He was followed in scoring from the blueline by Nico Sommerville, who finished with 20 points in 30 games.

During the 2019-20 season, the Grizzlies finished fifth in the Island Division and were swept by Salmon Arm in the first round.

2021 Port Alberni Pod

Ongoing pandemic restrictions caused the creation of regional pods in the BCHL for the 2020-21 season. All four Vancouver Island-based teams played their games in Port Alberni, at the home of the Bulldogs.

After lighting it up for the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Hamilton Kilty B’s during the previous season, forward Ellis Rickwood was Victoria’s top scorer in the Alberni Pod. In 20 games, Rickwood scored 13 goals and 17 assists. This coming season, Rickwood will attend Clarkson University and play in the NCAA.

Number two in points for Victoria during the pod season was defender Isack Bandu after he was recruited from Stanstead College in the Midwest Prep Hockey League. In 20 games, Bandu scored five goals and 18 assists. After three seasons with Victoria, Bandu will attend Northern Michigan University in the NCAA this fall.

Second among Victoria’s forwards in points during the pod season was Schreifels with 21 points in 20 games. Brady MacDonald was second in defender scoring on the Grizzlies in the pod season with 17 points in 20 games.

During the 2021 Port Alberni Pod, the Grizzlies finished first of four teams.

2021-22 season

Last season, Victoria’s top scorer was super rookie Matthew Wood. He came to Victoria from the North Island Silvertips AAA hockey program and is committed to the University of Connecticut for the upcoming season. Wood is a top-rated prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft.

In 46 games in 2021-22, Wood scored 45 goals and 40 assists, and his 85 points earned him the Brett Hull Trophy as the league’s top scorer. He is the second Grizzlies player in five seasons to earn the trophy.

Second in points on Victoria last season was Rickwood with 21 goals and 59 assists in 50 games.

The top scorer for defenders in 2021-22 was Clark Hiebert after he signed with the Grizzlies from Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, finishing with eight goals and 48 assists in 48 games. After spending the season in Victoria, the 20-year-old old was signed by the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets.

Justin Gibson was second in scoring among defenders last season and ended up with five goals and 14 assists in 48 games.

As for their record in 2021-22, the Grizzlies finished fifth in the Coastal Conference and were knocked out by the Langley Rivermen in the first round of the playoffs.

Future leaders

Before the 2022 playoffs and over the last few months, the Grizzlies have recruited several players for this season’s team. The addition of Ryan Watt and Zakery Anderson plus a handful of returnees who look to improve on their totals should see the Grizzlies light the lamp with regularity in 2022-23.