Just call him the turnaround artist.
The Victoria Grizzlies, wallowing near the bottom of the B.C. Hockey League standings last season, have experienced a remarkable rebound under new head coach and GM Bill Bestwick.
The former Nanaimo Clippers mentor has the Grizzlies ranked No. 8 in the first Canadian Junior Hockey League top-20 poll.
The defending Canadian champion Penticton Vees of the BCHL are ranked No. 1, Brooks Bandits of the Alberta junior league No. 2 and Yarmouth Mariners of the Maritime Junior League No. 3.
There are 10 Junior A hockey leagues across Canada.
This is full tribute and compliments to the players, said Bestwick, of the Grizzlies ranking.
Games are won and lost on the ice and they are the guys who have done it. The entire group has bought into what we are trying to accomplish here. It has been a group effort.
The other BCHL team cited was the Coquitlam Express at No. 11, which made Sundays showdown in Coquitlam between the Express and Grizzlies all the more intriguing.
Mike Stiliadis made 40 saves and Gerry and Myles Fitzgerald provided the offence as the Grizzlies edged the Express 2-1.
The victory ended a successful road trip as the now 5-1-0-1 Grizzlies won two of three outings on the Lower Mainland.
Stiliadis, making his third straight appearance in three days, lost his shutout bid when Will Cook scored with seven seconds remaining in the third period.
With a 2-1 lead, the goaltender stood tall in the final 20 minutes, making 20 saves.
It was the first loss of the BCHL season for the now 4-1-0-0 Express.
Gerry Fitzgerald had a goal and an assist. The third triplet, Leo Fitzgerald, also had a helper on Myless game-winner.
The triplets have now scored 10 of the Victoria teams 18 goals, including four of five game-winning tallies.
Victoria, which leads the Island Division of the BCHL, next faces the Clippers on Friday as Bestwick returns to Nanaimo for the first time as the Grizzlies bench boss since his noted tenure as head coach and GM of the Clips.
Maybe the day before or the day of the game, Ill think of the game beyond just the two points available, said Bestwick.
Ill let the rest take care of itself. I have nothing but the fondest of memories of my time with the Clippers and Im proud of the level we achieved. But now I bleed yellow and hope to bring the same competitive pride and tradition to the Grizzlies.
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