The National Hockey Leagues loss is the Victoria Grizzlies gain.
The B.C. Hockey League club announced Wednesday that Colorado Avalanche defenceman Ryan OByrne already a member of the Grizzlies advisory board has joined the team as an assistant coach while he and his NHL brethren are locked out.
OByrne, who played for Victoria when the organization was known as the Salsa back in 2001-02, also played for the Nanaimo Clippers in 2002-03, under the guidance of coach Bill Bestwick, the current Grizzlies general manager and head coach.
Indeed, it is a bonus to have a person of Ryans character and experience that he can share with aspiring players, just like he was 10 years ago or so. Its a great inspiration for our kids, said Bestwick.
OByrnes first game behind the bench will be Sept. 29 when the Grizzlies host Coquitlam. The team is on the road for three games on the Mainland this weekend.
Im very passionate about hockey. And its a chance for me to see what coaching is like. Who knows, maybe its something Id like to do when Im done my career in the NHL, OByrne said after his first session.
I just want to help this team win. Today was a great first practice. Its a great room, they have a lot of energy with a lot of character and Im happy to be a part of it, added OBryne.
Its a great opportunity. I played for Bill in Nanaimo and I have the utmost respect for Bill. Hes a great coach, hes a passionate guy and he has experience. Us working together makes sense. I think its a winning situation, added OByrne.
Unlike the current NHL lockout scenario, which will keep OByrne from his usual work.
You hear about guys who are back in their hometown, getting bored already and I didnt want to be in that position. I thought I would use my extra time constructively, he said.
IN THE DEN: Grizzlies defenceman Nolan De Jong and forward Dante Hahn are included in the NHL Central Scouting preliminary player rankings list, De Jong in B class and Hahn in C class.
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