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Victoria Grizzlies embark on long early-season BCHL road trip

The Victoria Grizzlies are on a long trip, tonight in Prince George to play the Spruce Kings and Saturday in Vernon to face the Vipers, knowing they are on the right road in more ways than one. The B.C.
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The Victoria Grizzlies are on a long trip, tonight in Prince George to play the Spruce Kings and Saturday in Vernon to face the Vipers, knowing they are on the right road in more ways than one.

The B.C. Hockey League announced that a record 410 alumni are on Div. 1 teams for the 2022-23 NCAA season, eclipsing the previous record of 380 from last season. There is a BCHL player in 61 of the 62 NCAA Div. 1 programs, including 13 on 2022 Frozen Four national championship runner-up Minnesota State.

The BCHL recently released a 35-page report, titled Modernizing Junior Hockey in Canada, asking for Hockey Canada to better acknowledge Junior A as a development pathway.

“There is more than one way,” said Grizzlies GM and head coach Rylan Ferster.

“Both routes [Junior A and major-junior] are good. And at the end of the day, it’s about what route is right for you as a player.”

The Grizzlies, meanwhile, embarked on the longest trip possible for a game within the BCHL and face-off tonight in Prince George against a Spruce Kings squad off to a good start at 3-1.

“You can’t go any further in terms of distance in the league. It’s a tough road trip at the best of times, and then it’s down to Vernon the next day [to play the 1-3 Vipers],” said Ferster.

“The guys will be spending a lot of time together and it’s a time to bond as a group, for sure.”

The Grizzlies are off to a 1-2-1 start.

“It’s a process,” said Ferland.

Forwards Reegan Hiscock, Noah Leibl and Olivier Picard lead the Grizzlies in the early going with two goals each.

ICE CHIPS: The Cowichan Valley Capitals, an early-season BCHL surprise, are in Nanaimo tonight to play the Clippers in a match-up of 3-1 teams at Frank Crane Arena. Luke Strickland of Cowichan Valley, committed to NCAA Div. 1 Long Island University, has been a revelation out of the gate with six goals.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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