In the four months since the BC Hockey League exhibition season, the Victoria Grizzlies have added two new goaltenders. On Jan. 13, the Grizzlies acquired 2001-born Carter Woodside from the Prince George Spruce Kings for future considerations.
Meanwhile, 2004-born Dryden DeMelo joined the Grizzlies as an extra goaltender. New roster rules allowed teams to sign 25 players for roster flexibility.
With the arrival of Woodside and DeMelo, it’s time to profile the new den members guarding the net. I will note all the teams both played for before arriving in Victoria. Before that, I want to give a quick recap on who the Grizzlies lost during the pause in games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the pause, the Grizzlies lost Cody Monds and Thomas Maia. Monds departed the team to play for the Fargo Force of the US Hockey League. Maia got traded to Nanaimo for future considerations.
Meanwhile, goaltender Blake Wood was released by the Grizzlies after the trade deadline to pursue work interests.
Despite losing these players, the Grizzlies got one player back. Because of COVID-19, the NCAA’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers cancelled their season. Because of this, Henri Schreifels returned to Victoria for the pod season.
Woodside and DeMelo’s journeys in junior hockey careers show gradual progression and improvement. DeMelo has so far played only for the Pacific Coast Academy hockey teams while Woodside has played for several teams across several different skill levels.
Carter Woodside’s journey
From 2014 to 2016, Woodside played for the Sask Valley Vipers U15 AA team, playing 34 regular-season games and nine playoff games. For Woodside’s next move, he joined the Swift Current Legionnaires U18 AAA team and appeared in 19 games.
The 2017-18 season saw him make his junior A debut as he played one game for the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. However, he played most of the season with the Prince Albert Mintos U18 AAA team, getting into 21 games.
Woodside put up good numbers during the regular season and playoffs. In three playoff games, he had a 1.69 goals-against-average and a .940 save percentage.
For the 2018-19 season, Woodside played 26 games for the Mintos and got into one game for the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats.
For 2019-20, Woodside made the jump to junior B by joining the Princeton Posse of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. In three games with the Posse, Woodside had a 1.33 goals-against-average and a .943 save percentage.
.@BCHLCentennials hit the ice before tonight’s game against the @SurreyEagles
Carter Woodside of the @KIJHLPosse makes his @GoBCHL debut@chrisbuono19 makes his Cents debut
3:45 pregame! #BCHL pic.twitter.com/2QTAMrVoZZ
— Jared Thomas (@BCHLJThomas) November 17, 2019
That same season, Woodside made his BCHL debut with the Merritt Centennials. In his lone game with the Cents, Woodside won against the Surrey Eagles. Afterward, the Spruce Kings signed him and he moved up north.
In total, Woodside played 22 games for Prince George last season, posting a 3.08 goals-against-average and a .900 save percentage.
During the exhibition season, Woodside left the Spruce Kings and awaited a trade, eventually being moved to Victoria in January. He achieved his first Grizzlies win on Apr. 10 against the Nanaimo Clippers. Woodside only allowed one goal and stopped 20 shots in a 6-1 victory.
Carter DeMelo’s path to the BCHL
DeMelo split the 2018-19 season between two Pacific Coast Academy teams. He played 19 games for the U15 Prep team and two games for the Elite 15s. His goals-against-average with the Elite 15s was 1.33 and his save percentage was .946.
Back at PCHA in Langford, BC for 2019-20, DeMelo took the next step. He joined the Elite 15s team full-time and played 19 games. He also got into one game for the Academy’s U18 Prep team as an affiliate.
DeMelo’s goals-against-average for the Elite 15s that season was 3.33. Meanwhile, his save percentage was .914 and he finished with a 10-7-2 record.
The U16 Grizzlies are in the #JSHL finals tomorrow. They lost game one today 6-4. In the skills competition goalie @demelo_dryden won the Save Streak competition with 16 Saves & Tobin Bergman won the Hardest Shot with 76 MPH. Scores at: https://t.co/6i2LsA2pQC#WeAreGrizzlies pic.twitter.com/5AAsOAefLz
— Victoria Grizzlies (@BCHLGrizzlies) July 2, 2018
The 2020-21 season saw DeMelo join the Academy’s U18 Prep team full time. However, because of COVID-19 restrictions, he only played three games. With the 2020-21 BCHL pod season beginning earlier this month, DeMelo has joined the Grizzlies roster.
Both Woodside and DeMelo joined the Grizzlies during an unprecedented season with 20 games in just six weeks.
While Justin Easter is a solid netminder goalie, Woodside also adds a veteran presence in the net. His previous experience with the Spruce Kings is a great asset to have.
Meanwhile, DeMelo is waiting in the wings. He is the future goalie for the Grizzlies. Right now, he’s soaking it all in and will be ready in case something happens to Easter or Woodside.