Victoria Grizzlies hope apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with McInnis

The NHL bloodlines continue to grow for the Victoria Grizzlies.

With former NHLer Steve Konroyd’s son Stephen set to return for his second season in the Grizzlies’ den, the B.C. Hockey League club on Wednesday added another player with a rather famous dad in hockey circles. Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon announced the signing of two players, including high-scoring American forward Chase McInnis, the son of Marty McInnis, who spent 12 seasons in the NHL with the New York Islanders, Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks and Boston Bruins.

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Chase McInnis comes west after an impressive season in the United States High School Prep League for Dexter School in Brookline, Massachusetts. In 30 games, the speedy winger tallied 18 goals and 25 assists. The strong season attracted plenty of attention from NCAA schools and the 18-year-old recently committed to Northeastern University, not far from his home.

His school decision could pose problems at home, however, as his dad is an assistant coach at Northeastern’s arch-rival, Boston College, where the elder McInnis spent three seasons playing in the late 1980s.

“It’s going to be interesting . . . no, he’s fine with it and knows Northeastern is a good fit for me, school-wise and for hockey,” said Chase, who is five-foot-nine, 160 pounds, but plays above his weight, according to Didmon.

McInnis said he’s excited about coming west and it helped that his good buddy, former Grizzlies forward and Northeastern-bound New York Rangers draft pick Riley Hughes, had nothing but good things to say about the B.C. capital.

“I’ve talked a lot about the Grizzlies with Riley and he had nothing but great things to say about the city, the coaching staff and the league, so he said I should definitely go,” added McInnis. “I’m looking forward to getting out there and helping them win.”

McInnis will at least have one familiar face in black and gold when he arrives at The Q Centre. The Grizzlies’ other signing Wednesday, James Davenport, lives not far from McInnis in the Boston suburb of Natick, Massachusetts, and the two just faced each other in the playoffs with blue-liner Davenport starring for St. Sebastian’s School.

“I know James well,” said McInnis. “Our schools are only about 20-30 minutes apart and we’ve played against each other alot. He’s a great offensive defenceman and will be a great addition for the Grizzlies. I’m lucky we got by [Dexter] in the playoffs.”

Davenport, who turned 19 this month, is a five-foot-11 blue-liner and had seven goals and 17 assists in 29 games for St. Sebastian’s. He recently committed to the Ivy League’s Brown University for the fall of 2020.

“Both Chase and James are college-ready players so they’ll be a big addition to our lineup,” said Didmon.

“McInnis brings speed and skill with grit and has a great touch around the net. And Davenport brings a physical presence on the back end and can play an offensive game, too, so he’ll fit our style of play.”

LOOSE PUCKS: Kurtis Chapman, coming off a strong 20-year-old season with the Grizzlies this year, has moved on to U Sports hockey. The netminder from Airdrie, Alta., will play and study at Mount Royal University in Calgary this coming season.

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