BCHL awards history dotted with Grizzlies and Salsa players


In their 26 year history, the Victoria Grizzlies players have racked up an impressive amount of awards. Everyone from coaches to players was awarded hardware during their time with the team.

Some of these awards were given to players who are now in the National Hockey League. Others were awarded to a former coach who made an impact on the team. Other awards were handed to players who aren’t playing anymore but still make an impact on the sport.

With this article, I want to highlight all the major trophies awarded to players, recapping who won each award, and why the players received it. Before that though, I wanted to clarify something.

Several of these trophies were awarded when the Grizzlies were named the Salsa. The Salsa was renamed the Grizzlies in 2006. As a result, every award before 2006 was awarded to a member of the Victoria Salsa.

Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy

The winner of the Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy for 2006-07 was Victoria Grizzlies forward Jamie Benn. The trophy is awarded to the league’s outstanding rookie players who are 18-years-old or younger.

Benn shared the award that season with Riley Nash of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Between 1991 and 2013, the award was given to one rookie from each conference or division.

In 2018, another Grizzlies player was awarded the trophy as Alex Newhook took home the award as the league’s lone recipient.

Both Benn and Newhook put up impressive numbers during their rookie seasons. As a 17-year-old in 2006-07, Benn had 42 goals and 23 assists in 53 games. 

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As for Newhook, he had 22 goals and 44 assists in 45 games as a 16-year-old in 2017-18. Currently, Benn is captain of the Dallas Stars while Newhook turned pro with the American Hockey League’s Colorado Eagles at the end of March.

Vern Dye Memorial Trophy

Our next trophy is for the team’s most valuable player. Like the Bruce Allison Trophy, the Vern Dye Memorial Trophy has been awarded to several Grizzlies players.

The first player to win it was former Victoria Salsa goalie Jimi St. John, who played for the team from 1996-98. He was part of the first Salsa team to make the post-season in 1998.

The second player to be named MVP was former  Salsa goalie Jordan Sigalet, who I profiled in an earlier article. He was part of the Salsa team that won the Fred Page Cup in 2001.

The most recent player to earn the honours is Newhook in 2019. He was part of the Grizzlies squad who made it to the third round of the playoffs that season.

St. John ended his playing career in 2003-04 with the Columbus Stars of the United Hockey League. Sigalet is currently the director of goaltending for the Calgary Flames.

Defensive Award

Our next trophy is the Defensive Award. This trophy’s awarded to the players’ who head coaches agree to be the most outstanding performer at his position.

In 2009-10, Victoria defenseman Jordan Heywood won the award after posting 14 goals and 37 assists in 54 games. He shared it with Mat Bodie of the Powell River Kings and Brendan Ellis of the Westside Warriors.

In 2016-17, defenseman Jake Stevens was the sole winner of the award.

In 58 games that season, Stevens had eight goals and 45 assists.

Heywood played for the Odessa/Vibank Bruins in the Qu’Appelle Valley Hockey League in the Regina, Saskatchewan region in 2020-21. Meanwhile, Stevens is a senior at St. Lawrence University in the NCAA.

Bob Fenton Trophy

Our next trophy is the Bob Fenton Trophy. This trophy is awarded to the most sportsmanlike player as voted on by BCHL coaches.

In 1998-99, Terry Wilson of the Victoria Salsa shared the award with Brad Fast of the Spruce Kings. In 2006-07, Garry Nunn shared it with the Kings’ Adam Presizniuk and the Vees’ Steve Cameron.

Wilson’s playing career ended after his time at St. Norbert’s College in NCAA Division III hockey in 2002-03. As for Nunn, he played for EHC Olten in the Swiss League during the 2020-21 season.

Brett Hull Trophy

For the final player award, I’ll look at the Brett Hull Trophy. The award is for the player that accumulates the highest points totals in a single season.

In 2003-04, Kyle Greentree won the award by putting up 115 points in 59 games. In 2006-07, Tyler Bozak won it by putting up 128 points in 59 games.

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Several years later, in 2013-14, Myles Fitzgerald shared the award with Landon Smith of the Silverbacks as they both had 83 points in 58 games. I wrote about Fitzgerald and his twin brothers in an article earlier this year.

In 2018-19, Newhook won the award after tallying an eye-popping 102 points in 53 games.

This past season, Greentree played for the Lacombe Generals in the Chinook Hockey League and Fitzgerald spent time with ECDC Memmingen of Oberliga, which is the third tier of pro hockey in Germany. Bozak is currently in his third season with the St. Louis Blues and 12th season as an NHL regular.

Additional award winners

Aside from the player awards, the Grizzlies have won several other awards. In 1999-00, head coach Campbell Blair won the Joe Tennant Memorial Trophy as BCHL coach of the year, sharing it with Penticton Panthers boss Bryant Perrier. In 2012-13, Grizzlies coach Bill Bestwick won the award in the Coastal Conference, while Merritt’s Luke Pierce claimed it in the Interior.

Victoria won the Cliff McNabb Memorial Trophy four times as Island Division Champions, in 2001, 2014, 2017, and 2019. In 2000-01, the Salsa won the only Fred Page Cup in franchise history, defeating the Merritt Centennials in seven games.

Recently, the league announced there are no playoffs for the pod season. Instead, they will have champions from each regional pod based on points or points percentage. There will also be individual player awards handed out to each pod. With the season the Grizzlies are having, I’d expect more of the team’s players to earn post-season BCHL awards.