Since my last Victoria Grizzlies roster update article, there have been several developments. The Grizzlies recruited several more players for the 2021-22 season, they traded for a goaltender and a defenseman, and they’ve also said goodbye to another goalie.
The Grizzlies recruited Justin Gibson, Jackson Morehouse, and Hoyt Stanley for next season. They also acquired Braydon Clark from the Winkler Flyers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and Carter Woodside from the Prince George Spruce Kings. As well, longtime goaltender Blake Wood left the team to focus on work.
With this article, I want to give a brief profile on each of the new Grizzlies players. I also want to talk about Wood and what he did for the Grizzlies before being let go. Finally, I’ll talk about the future after the 2020-21 season.
New additions to the den
Let’s begin with Justin Gibson. Gibson is a 2003-born defenseman from the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite AAA program. Last season, Gibson played 51 games for the 16U team, scoring 10 goals and 14 assists. He is also the younger brother of Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson.
Also coming to Victoria is Jackson Morehouse. Born in 2003, Morehouse is a forward from Pittsburgh. This season Morehouse split time between two teams. Like Gibson, Morehouse is a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite AAA program. He also played for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL.
The Victoria Grizzlies are pleased to have signed forward, Jackson Morehouse from the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U18 AAA for next season.
— Victoria Grizzlies (@BCHLGrizzlies) February 9, 2021
In 13 games between both teams, Morehouse notched eight goals and eight assists. His dad, David, is a three-time Stanley Cup champion and president of the NHL’s Penguins since 2007.
Stanley is a 2005-born defenseman from North Vancouver, BC. Last season, he played at St. George’s School in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.
He split time between U15 Prep and Elite 15s. In 30 games, Stanley notched seven goals and 29 assists. Stanley joined the Vancouver NW Hawks 18U AAA team but never played any games due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Trades and departures
At the trade deadline, the Grizzlies acquired Woodside from the Prince George Spruce Kings. In return for Woodside, the Spruce Kings received future considerations from the Grizzlies. BCHLNetwork covered the trade here.
The Grizzlies also released Blake Wood after he left the team to focus on work. In a recent tweet, the Grizzlies thanked Wood and wished him well in his future endeavours.
In one of my first articles on the Grizzlies, I profiled Wood and Grizzlies goalie Justin Easter. I talked about how Wood played on and off for the Grizzlies before joining them permanently and how an injury to Liam Souliere brought Wood to the Grizzlies in 2019-20.
The Grizzlies traded Joe Howe to Coquitlam to make room for Wood on the team. He was their number one goalie for the rest of 2019-20 and backstopped the Grizzlies to second place in the recent Island Cup.
Corey Cunningham scored his 22nd of the season and his fifth goal in four games, and Carter Woodside made 24 saves to give the Spruce Kings a 3-1 victory on over the West Kelowna Warriors Saturday night at Kal Tire Place. @SpruceKings @goBCHL #cityofpg https://t.co/cByg5eoYix pic.twitter.com/uxIUc3hwrO
— PG Daily News (@pgdailynews) February 2, 2020
Wood was the workhorse for the Grizzlies and brought stability to their net during a critical time.
As for Woodside, his journey to the Grizzlies took several detours. Last season, he played 22 games for the Spruce Kings with a 5-11-2 record. He also had a 3.08 goals-against-average and a .900 save percentage.
Next up is Braydon Clark, a 2002-born defenseman from Langley whose rights the Grizzlies got in a trade with Winkler for future considerations.
The Grizzlies actually traded Clark to Winkler last June 21 for 2001-born defenseman Campbell Ens and future considerations. That deal came the day after Victoria acquired Clark from the Merritt Centennials for futures.
In 2019-20, Clark split time between the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders and the Centennials. In 27 games, Clark had one goal and two assists.
Preparing for next year
With so much of the 2020-21 season lost to COVID-19 restrictions, some teams are stuck only preparing for next season right now. The Grizzlies are no different. They haven’t played any games since the Island Cup Finals on Nov. 17.
It’s only a matter of time before the Grizzlies drop the puck again. Several of these new players won’t make their debut until next season, but when that happens, they’re sure to make an impact on the Grizzlies and the rest of the league.