Jack Gorton said it was a family decision, made with dad Jeff and mom Cindi, to go to the other continental coast to join the Victoria Grizzlies of the B.C. Hockey League in September.
When your dad is the general manager of the NHL’s New York Rangers, you can be reasonably confident the hockey advice is sound. Jeff Gorton, former Boston Bruins assistant GM, has been Rangers GM since replacing Glen Sather in 2015.
“Obviously, he knows a great deal about the game,” said the younger Gorton.
“We figured the Grizzlies and the BCHL was the best fit.”
As a result, the Grizzlies will have a six-foot-three forward who can add a dimension to the offence around the crease
“I am a big power forward who can get to the front of the net,” said Gorton, who plays for Trinity-Pawling School of Pawling, New York, in the New England Prep League.
The goal is to land an NCAA Div. 1 athletic scholarship, something 167 BCHL players did in 2019-20. Twelve BCHL alumni are among the 50 players on the initial long list for the 2021 Hobey Baker Award as NCAA player of the year.
“Playing Div. 1 has been my dream since I was a kid,” said Gorton, who turns next week.
He figures he has found the place that can help get him there. Gorton is aware of the Grizzlies alumni list, which includes NHLers Jamie and Jordie Benn, Stanley Cup-champion Tyler Bozak and first-round NHL draft pick and 2021 Canadian team world junior championship silver-medallist Alex Newhook.
“It’s a great group of alumni and is one of the things that really drew me to the Victoria club,” said Gorton, who also played baseball and field lacrosse.
“I am really excited to be going there. The Grizzlies watched my tape and then I had a good talk with [GM and head coach] Craig Didmon.”
Gorton is the second American recruit the Grizzlies have announced with familial NHL pedigree following 17-year-old defenceman Justin Gibson from Pittsburgh, brother of Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson, projected as the U.S. goaltending tandem with Connor Hellebuyck for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
The Grizzlies also announced the signing of Justin Gibson’s teammate with the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U-18 Triple-A team, five-foot-11 forward Jackson Morehouse, as the recruiting class fills out for September. Morehouse already has an NCAA scholarship locked up as he is committed to Ivy League school Dartmouth.
ICE CHIPS: The latest Grizzlies to commit to NCAA teams are forward Andrew Amousse to American International College and defenceman Isack Bandu to Northern Michigan. They join Alex DiPaolo (Colgate), Brady MacDonald (Dartmouth) and Henri Schreifels (R.P.I.) … With B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry last week extending restrictions indefinitely - yet also cautiously indicating a return to sports by the end of this month — the 2021 BCHL season can’t begin until March. “We are disappointed we are once again forced to delay the 2020-21 regular season, but we support the provincial health office in its efforts to protect the health and safety of British Columbians,” said BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb,” in a statement. “We continue to work closely with the provincial health office on how we can safely resume play. This includes potential pods in select BCHL cities.”