Virtanen
Photo credit: Abbotsford Pilots

See discussion forum on the subject, here.

The Victoria Grizzlies have added Virtanen to the roster — not Jake, who is with the NHL’s Canucks, but his cousin Jared.

Craig Didmon, the head coach and general manager of the Grizzlies, sent the rights to forward J.D. Falconer to the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs to acquire the rights to Virtanen, who has been in the AJHL since the age of 17. Virtanen grew up in Langley and Abbotsford.

“This is an opportunity we couldn’t pass up, and we had to give up a quality player in J.D. Falconer to get Jared Virtanen in our lineup,” said Didmon.

“Jared adds size and more of a dimension we want to put into our attack, and he’s a guy with a track record of putting up points. He wins pucks along the wall and creates traffic in front of the net and we can use him in a way that best suits our mix of forwards. We give up a younger player to get Jared — we wish J.D. all the best, and we think both players are going to get scholarship attention either this year or next year.”

Virtanen, 19, has eight goals and 18 points in 28 games for the Mustangs this season. The six-two/200 right-shot winger/centre had 11 goals and 28 points in 50 games a season ago. The Mustangs are having a tough season at 4-22-2.

Falconer, 18, had one goal in 23 games as the Barrie, Ont. native, five-nine/165, showed promise but was unable to be used in top-six situations for most of the season, with the depth of the forward group.

Virtanen’s stats:

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2012-13 Chilliwack Chiefs BCHL 3 0 0 0 0
2014-15 Calgary Mustangs AJHL 50 11 17 28 4 3 1 1 2 0
2015-16 Calgary Mustangs AJHL 28 8 10 18 4 0

BUSY WEEK AHEAD

This is a busy weekend for the Grizzlies (10-15-0-3), who face the first-place Nanaimo Clippers on Friday night at The Q Centre (7pm opening faceoff), with the Grizzlies 10 points back of that top spot thanks to being one of the hottest teams in the BCHL since late October. The Grizzlies also face the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at home on Saturday night (7pm), then welcome Nanaimo back on Tuesday (7pm).

“This is an important stretch because we have four-pointers that can help us back into the battle for the division lead, but we have to take care of our own business and not get ahead of ourselves,” said Didmon. “We’ve done a very good job at making up ground after our slow start and all those one-goal losses, focusing on playing one shift and one period at a time, and good things have come from that. We’ve started to score the way we believed we would, it just took time for us to hit our stride and now we can’t let up. We are still challenging our players to go to the tough spots to put the puck in the net, because that will make us better and help us become more consistent.”

PROMOTIONS

Friday’s game will see the Grizzlies collecting non-perishable donations for CFAX Santas Anonymous, with that continuing for all home games until Dec. 19th. The exciting and talented DDT Drumline is back Friday to entertain during an intemission — a fan favourite.

Saturday’s game features the anthem being performed by Victoria Male Vocal Choir and the Let’s Make a Deal intermission game returns. After the game, fans can go to Boston Pizza in Langford for a special Meet-The-Players event.

See discussion forum on the subject, here.

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