Cleve Dheensaw / Times Colonist
FEBRUARY 23, 2019 10:21 PM
The greatest regular season by a Victoria Grizzlies forward since Jamie Benn and Tyler Bozak comes to a close Sunday at the Q Centre.
Alex Newhook, however, will likely do something the undrafted Bozak and fifth-rounder Benn never did — go in the first round of the NHL draft.
Not that it impeded Bozak, who went on to become a Toronto Maple Leafs offensive threat before signing this season with the St. Louis Blues. Benn’s rise to Dallas Stars captain and Olympic champion with Canada has been well chronicled.
Newhook’s pro story is yet to be written. A chapter in junior ends Sunday afternoon when the Grizzlies and their captain close out their 2018-19 B.C. Hockey League regular season against the Cowichan Valley Capitals at 2 p.m.
“Alex’s consistency, and his will to compete, have really stood out,” said Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon, about the St. John’s, N.L., native’s two seasons on the Island.
That was evident on Friday night as Newhook recorded a hat trick and eight points in a 10-6 victory over the Nanaimo Clippers to become the first Grizzlies player to reach the century plateau in points since Bozak scored 111 in 2006-07.
“To reach 100 points like that … it was a special night,” said Didmon, after Newhook landed on 101 Friday.
“People forget that Alex was only 17 years old when this season began. He has helped us to become an elite team.”
At 35-18-4, the Grizzlies have proven to be just that atop the Island Division. The Capitals, meanwhile, bring up the rear in the division at 16-34-6, yet will make the playoffs.
“We were an exciting team that scored a ton of goals. It’s been a good season, for sure,” said Didmon, of the Grizzlies’ campaign.
“And that’s for both the team, and for individual players who have really raised their profiles for their future careers in the game.”
Indeed, NCAA Boston College-bound Newhook is projected for the first round of the 2019 NHL draft, fellow Grizzlies forward Alex Campbell for the second or third rounds and Grizzlies blueliners Carter Berger and Jeremie Bucheler for the fourth-through-seventh rounds.
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