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Departing den members: A look at the Grizzlies college commitments

During the 2023-24 season, the Victoria Grizzlies saw 15 players earn college commitments. In total, 14 players are heading to NCAA schools in September 2024. One player is heading to a U SPORTS school in September as well.

These commitments are for schools across North America. Two players will attend the same school together. For this article, I will look at all 15 players committed to post-secondary schools for 2024-25. We’ll begin with the sole Canadian school commitment.

Joining the Varsity Blues

Grizzlies defender Ranvir Gill-Shane has committed to the University of Toronto to play U SPORTS hockey. The Varsity Blues men’s hockey team plays at Varsity Arena near downtown Toronto.

Gill-Shane joined the Grizzlies in a mid-season trade from the Merritt Centennials and before signing to play in the BCHL, he spent time in the Ontario Hockey League.

The Ottawa, Ontario product played one season with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2022-23 and 66 games with the Ottawa 67’s from 2019-20 through 2021-22. Because he played Major Junior Hockey in the Canadian Hockey League, Gill-Shane is ineligible to play NCAA hockey in the United States.

Departing defenders

Joining the University of Alaska-Fairbanks this September is defender Tyler Waram. Waram served as Grizzlies’ captain this past season and will join UAF’s Nanooks men’s hockey team. The Nanooks play their games at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Meanwhile, Slovakian blueliner Richard Baran is off to the Arizona State University Sun Devils. ASU plays at Mullet Arena in Tempe, Arizona. The school shared its venue with the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes for the last two seasons, but the NHL club is relocating to Utah starting this fall.

As for Nathan King, one of Victoria’s alternate captains and hometown players, he’s heading to Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. The Warriors men’s team plays at Merrimack Athletic Complex in North Andover.

The final departing defender is Tim Busconi, who will attend Dartmouth College. Dartmouth College is in Hanover, New Hampshire, and the Big Green men’s hockey team plays at Thompson Arena. It’s just under a two-and-a-half hour drive from Busconi’s hometown of Milton, Massachusettes.

One departing goalie

The single departing goalie for Victoria is starter Oliver Auyueng-Ashton. The product of Coquitlam, B.C. has committed to play at Colgate University. The campus is in Hamilton Village in Hamilton, New York.

The Colgate Raiders men’s hockey team plays at the Class of 1965 Arena in Hamilton. Grizzlies alumnus Alex DiPaolo just finished his third NCAA season on the Raiders men’s team.

Departing forwards

Joining Auyeung-Ashton at Colgate is forward Oliver Genest. Genest, from Sanford, Maine, earned his college commitment not long before the 2023-24 season started last September. It came after he played 62 games over the course of two seasons with the North American Hockey League’s Maine Nordiques.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania forward Anthony Carone is committed to the College of the Holy Cross. The college campus is in Worcester, Massachusetts and the Crusaders play at the Hart Center in Worcester.

Heading to Canisius College is forward Jacksenn Hungle, who was also a hometown player and alternate captain for the Grizzlies. Canisius’ campus is in Buffalo, New York, and the Golden Griffins men’s team plays at LECOM Harborcenter.

Grizzlies forward Charlie Gollob, from Toronto, will attend Brown University this September. The Ivy League school’s campus is in Providence, Rhode Island. The Bears men’s hockey team plays at Meehan Auditorium in the city of Providence.

Alternate captain Luc Pelletier is also set to enroll at an Ivy League school. The Courtenay, B.C. product is off to Princeton University, which is in Princeton, New Jersey. It is the fourth oldest higher education institution in the United States. The Tigers men’s hockey team plays at the Hobey Baker Memorial Rink.

St. John’s, Newfoundland native Reegan Hiscock is committed to Northeastern University to play for the Huskies. Northeastern’s main campus is in Boston, Massachusetts. The school’s men’s hockey team plays at Matthews Arena in Boston. It’s the world’s oldest artificial ice sheet after opening in 1909.

Last but not least, Far Hills, New Jersey’s Chase Pirtle will play for the Cornell University Big Red this fall. Cornell’s campus is in Ithaca, New York, and the men’s hockey team plays at Lynah Rink.

Rebuilding For Next Season

With the Grizzlies’ season over, 15 players will depart the roster. After Waram leaves for Alaska, the Grizzlies will need a new team captain. With Auyueng-Ashton departing for school in upstate New York, Victoria needs a new starting goalie.

Replacing these players won’t be easy. Auyueng-Ashton is one of the best goaltenders the Grizzlies have had in years while Waram is one of the longest-tenured Grizzlies players in recent memory.