Bowling Green Hockey / Twitter

Examining recent Grizzlies alumni at NCAA schools

At the end of the 2021-22 season, eight Victoria Grizzlies players departed the team. Of those eight players, six have NCAA college commitments.

Grizzlies team captain Ellis Rickwood committed to Clarkson University while forward Andrew Amousse is off to American International College and forward Kalen Szeto heads to Yale University.

Defender Isack Bandu and forward Connor Eddy are both going to Northern Michigan University and defender Jack Gorton committed to Boston University.

Looking at these graduating players made me wonder about Grizzlies alumni. These are the players who’ve left for NCAA schools in the last several years. How are they doing at school?

For this article, I’ll examine several Grizzlies alumni attending NCAA schools. I’ll look at their records and how their school teams have performed, dividing the commitments by year.

2020 commitments

The first 2020 commitment to spotlight is Marty Westhaver. The former Grizzlies captain committed to Long Island University in June 2020.

Westhaver didn’t play any games during the 2020-21 season and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic limited the LIU men’s hockey team to 13 games.

During the 2021-22 season, Westhaver played 24 games, scoring two goals and six assists. At the end of the season, the LIU Sharks played 34 games and finished with a record of 10-21-3.

The second 2020 commitment is Henri Schreifels. The former Grizzlies forward committed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in January 2020.

Like the LIU Sharks, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the RPI Engineers hockey program. When RPI’s season was canceled, Schreifels rejoined the Grizzlies for the 2021 Port Alberni pod season.

During 2021-22, Schreifels played 18 games for the Engineers and didn’t register any points. RPI played 44 games this past season and wound up with an 18-23-3 record. During the playoffs, the Engineers were eliminated in the second round by Harvard University.

2019 commitments

The first 2019 commitment to highlight is Kenny Johnson. The former Grizzlies defender committed to Penn State University in August 2019.

During his first two seasons at Penn State, Johnson played just seven games but this past season, he got into 31 games and scored a goal and four assists.

In 2021-22, the Nittany Lions played 38 games and wound up with a 17-20-1 record before being knocked out in the second round of the playoffs by the University of Minnesota.

The second commitment from 2019 to look at is Nico Somerville. The former Grizzlies defender committed to American International College in October of that year. A month later, Victoria traded Sommerville to the Penticton Vees, but despite that, I’m still including him in this article.

Over the course of two seasons at AIC, Somerville played 40 games, tallying three goals and seven assists. As for the Yellow Jackets, they played 37 games during the 2021-22 season and posted a record of 22-12-3. In the playoffs, AIC won the conference championship.

After defeating Air Force, AIC was eliminated in the regional finals by the University of Michigan.

2018 commitments

Matthew Doran is the first commitment from four years ago to look at. The former Grizzlies defender committed to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in January 2018.

After one season at UAF, Doran transferred schools to the State University of New York at Geneseo. Since then, he’s played two seasons at the NCAA Div III school. The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out SUNY-Geneseo’s 2020-21 season.

Across three seasons, Doran has played 65 games and posted 13 goals and 32 assists.

During the 2021-22 season, the Knights men’s hockey team played 29 games, compiling a 24-4-1 record. Geneseo won four games in the NCAA Division III playoffs.

The second commitment from 2018 to look at is former Grizzlies netminder Zach Rose. Like Doran, he also committed to an NCAA school in January 2018, securing his future at Bowling Green State University. Since the 2019-20 season, Rose has played 27 games for the Falcons and notched a record of 15-8-3.

As for Bowling Green’s men’s hockey team, it had a 15-19-3 record in 37 NCAA games.

Future commitments

As noted above, there are five players from the 2021-22 roster with NCAA commitments. Eventually, I’ll check up on them in a later article and talk about the Grizzlies graduates who are attending Canadian universities. Until then, I look forward to seeing who will obtain NCAA commitments from next season’s squad.

Of the players eligible to return, three are entering their final season of junior hockey. Michael Hoekstra, Noah Leibl, and Devon de Vries will be among the Grizzlies leaders in 2022-23 and likely add to the number of college commitments from Victoria’s roster.