© Copyright – 2017 – Victoria Sports News

The Victoria Grizzlies are expecting good things from their upcoming BC Hockey League season, with a strong group of returning players, from last year’s competitive showing.

The Grizzlies season starts in earnest this weekend with two road games taking place in Powell River on Friday and Saturday nights.

The team won the Fred Page Cup during the 2016-2017 season and they expect to compete for it again this year. The Fred Page Cup is the Island Division title, of the three-division, 17-team league.

The Grizzlies went 37-12-5-4 in 2016-2017.

Veteran forward Jamie Rome us returning. He scored 20 goals and earned 23 assists last season. The six-foot-two-inch, 200-pounder also earned 60 penalty minutes last year. He is expected to be a leader this year.

Also returning is Lucas Clark, who has been named captain after Cody Van Lierop graduated. Clark, in his final year, will be expected to improve on his solid 17-goal, 26-assist season from last year. Clark is a solid six feet and 205-pounds with plenty of skill.

On the back end, the Grizzlies have Carter Berger, Drayson Pears and Nico Somerville returning. It should be a strong top-three.

It is expected that the smooth-skating Mary Westhavever will be back for his sophomore season, meanwhile, the Grizzlies head coach Craig Didmon is pinning hope on pint-sized newcomer Ethan Nother. At 5’8” and 155-pounds, he can skate and score.

The London Nationals (Jr. B) player is 20-years-old and chose Victoria over U Sport hockey for this season. Last year, in 38 games played he scored 19 times and added 28 assists. According to the Grizzlies’ website, Didmon expects Nother to eat up top-six forward minutes.

The Grizzlies should contend for the Island Division and be in the mix again with the top teams in the league.

The home opener takes place Friday, Sept. 29 against the Vernon Vipers at The Q Centre in Colwood. They will have played six road games in a row to start the season.