The past and the present of the B.C. Hockey League collided Saturday night at the Q Centre.
The Victoria Grizzlies retired the No. 16 and No. 8 jerseys of alumni and NHLers Jamie and Jordie Benn, with parents Randy and Heather Benn dropping the ceremonial first puck. The now is represented by the likes of Grizzlies captain Alex Newhook, projected for the first round of the 2019 NHL draft. The opposition was the powerhouse Penticton Vees organization that produced 2016 top-17 first-round NHL draft picks Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro. The Vees' present is in the form of currently-injured captain Massimo Rizzo, a projected 2019 NHL second-rounder, committed to NCAA North Dakota.
Three NHL draft picks between the two teams skated in the contest Saturday, won 4-3 by the Grizzlies.
Grizzlies rookie Alex Campbell, committed to Clarkson of the NCAA, hopes to be one too next summer.
"It's very cool to see the players that come out of these organizations," said Campbell, who scored a hat-trick in Friday's 5-1 victory in Alberni Valley.
"You can see this is quite a league."
That's the reason Campbell joined the Grizzlies in the BCHL this season from Montreal, with older brother Charles Campbell.
"I'm a late bloomer, and not the biggest guy, and this route gives me extra time to develop physically," said Alex Campbell.
"And you will have an education to fall back on," added Alex, who plans on studying engineering at Clarkson.
The Campbells are linemates and seem to have an uncanny sense of where the other is on the ice.
"We played together every other season growing up [Charles is one year older than Alex] and just seem to find each other on the ice," said Alex Campbell.
Cam Thompson scored twice and Jordan Guiney and New York Rangers draft pick Riley Hughes once each for Victoria (2-1 while Penticton fell to 1-2) Saturday with Newhook dishing for three assists.
ICE CHIPS: A banner honouring the Humboldt Broncos was also unveiled from the rafters of the Q Centre as part of a nation-wide tribute to the 16 people who died in the Broncos team bus crash. Banners reading: "We Play For Them. Always Remembered. April 6, 2018" will hang from the rafters in perpetuity in all 113 Canadian Junior 'A" hockey rinks.