In a season of great uncertainty, the Victoria Grizzlies have seen many changes to their roster. They’ve recruited players like Matthew Wood, Jack Gorton, and Timothy Delay for next season.
At the same time, several players have departed to play for other teams. Cody Monds left to join the Fargo Force in the US Hockey League, while Chase McInnis is gone to join the Connecticut Jr. Rangers of the National Collegiate Development Conference. The Grizzlies also traded Thomas Maia to the Nanaimo Clippers for a player development fee.
Additionally, several veterans on the team have announced commitments to NCAA schools. Team captain Alex DiPaolo will go to Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. Defenseman Brady MacDonald is set to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Beginning with Matthew Wood, he is a 15-year-old from Nanaimo. He’s already played for the Grizzlies as he was a member of their extended training camp roster. He was there as a reserve player in case another player got injured.
COVID-19 restrictions prevented the Grizzlies from recalling players without a quarantine period and as a result, Wood played two games for the team. Before joining Victoria, he was with the West Van Academy Bantam Prep U15 team in 2019-20.
The Victoria Grizzlies are pleased to have signed forward, Matthew Wood from the North Island Silvertips U18 AAA for next season.
— Victoria Grizzlies (@BCHLGrizzlies) December 19, 2020
After leaving the Grizzlies last fall, Wood joined the North Island Silvertips of the BC U18 League. Because of further COVID-19 restrictions, he only played two games for the Silvertips before things were paused.
The next recruit is Jack Gorton, who is an 18-year-old American from Granite Springs, New York. Gorton played last season on the Selects Academy U16 AAA team. This season he’s split time between two programs.
Gorton was a member of the Mid-Fairfield Rangers U18 AAA team before joining Trinity-Pawling School. In 25 games with Trinity-Pawling, he had three goals and 14 assists.
Finally, there’s Timothy Delay, who is a 17-year-old American from Hingham, Massachusetts. Delay split last season between the Boston Jr. Eagles 16U AAA team and St. Sebastian’s School. He had 13 goals and 17 assists in 31 games.
Wood, Gorton, and Delay join a Grizzlies team dealing with unusual circumstances. As stated above, several players have departed to play for American junior teams. It’s something that every BCHL team has dealt with this season.
Good news from Schreifels and Amousse
Provincial health restrictions delayed the regular-season start to February. Players like Monds chose to play in Fargo rather than wait for the season to start. It’s the same situation with McInnis. He will play in Stamford for the Jr. Rangers.
— Victoria Grizzlies (@BCHLGrizzlies) January 8, 2021
Despite these departures, the Grizzlies are also getting players back. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute cancelled its 2020-21 season, so if – and when – the BCHL season starts, Henri Schreifels will rejoin the Grizzlies and play before he ages out of junior A.
Recently, Andrew Amousse committed to American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, for 2022-23. He will be with the Grizzlies for one more season before aging out. So will Edward Yan, who is in his last year with the Grizzlies.
Wood, Gorton, and Delay also come to a Grizzlies team featuring different leaders. Leaders like Amousse, Isack Bandu, Blake Wood, and Justin Easter are the future veterans.
Nicholas O’Hanisain, Andrew Braun, Ellis Rickwood, Matteo Turrin, Connor Eddy, Michael Hoekstra, and Devon DeVries are each 18-years-old. Officially, Wood will be the youngest player on the roster.
Because he was born in 2005, the next oldest players are Desmond Arthurs, Luc Pelletier, Tyler Waram, and Tanner Attew. Those players were each born in 2003.
Whatever happens next, it’s clear that the Grizzlies are preparing next season’s roster. The Grizzlies recently announced a prospects camp in Quesnel for this coming August. From looking at the information page, many current and former players came from these camps.
Whatever happens next, these three are just the beginning of the Grizzlies’ future.