But he said he doesn’t worry about things out of his control.
In modern hockey now, many NHL teams won’t even scout a goaltender under six-foot-one. The Las Vegas Golden Knights invited the six-foot Outhouse to their rookie prospects development camp in July as a free agent, but he did not receive an invitation to return when NHL rookie camps open next week.
This is a guy who Royals GM Cameron Hope had described as the best goaltender in the Western Hockey League. The Royals are expecting a big season, in no small part because their crease is so well protected by Outhouse.
“If they [NHL teams] won’t take a goalie under six foot, maybe this is not for me,” said Outhouse, rather teasingly.
He knows this is for him. And one way or another, he is going to show it.
“I believe they don’t like smaller goalies. But that’s not something I can control about myself,” he said.
Everything else about his game he can control and he aims to do just that.
“I obviously want to be picked up and play in the NHL, but I don’t go into this season feeling I need to prove anything to anyone,” said Outhouse.
“I play hockey because I love it and I want to win.”
As the Royals’ undisputed No. 1, Outhouse was given the weekend off and didn’t make the trip to Kamloops and Kelowna, where Victoria opens the WHL exhibition season tonight and Saturday. It was decided the crease time could better be utilized to decide who Outhouse’s backup will be — incumbent Dylan Myskiw or hopefuls Dean McNabb, Brock Gould, Brady Parker or Connor Martin.
It’s not as if Outhouse isn’t going to see a load of playing time this season. He played in 63 of the 72 regular-season games last season, maintaining a 2.85 goals-against average and .915 save percentage, and will likely again see that demanding workload.
Under that draining schedule, knowing when to recharge is as important as knowing when to go hard, he said: “You need to know how to rest your mind and body when you get those opportunities during a season.”
Meanwhile, Outhouse said the growing consensus that the veteran-laden Royals will be a Western Conference contender is not misplaced: “This can be a special group, and I have full confidence in it.”
Outhouse is from the northern Interior of the province but spent the summer as an instructor at kids’ goalie camps in Vancouver and Port Alberni. He was on the Island in the latter town when he learned his family had to be evacuated from Williams Lake because of the forest fires. That’s when he discovered how close-knit the hockey world can be. Some of the Outhouse family was taken in by the Hicketts of Kamloops, family of former Royals star defenceman Joe Hicketts. Griffen waited it out by bunking with the Fitzgerald family of Port Alberni, whose triplets Myles, Leo and Gerry played for the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL, and are now heading into their senior seasons in the NCAA Div. 1 at Bemidji State in Minnesota.
“Our family homes in Williams Lake remained fine, and we are thankful for that,” said Outhouse.