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BCHL showcase chance for Grizzlies to wow scouts

The St. Louis Blues’ Tyler Bozak, seen here in a preseason game against the Dallas Stars last week, made the leap from toiling for the Grizzlies to winning the Stanley Cup in June.
Photograph By JEFF ROBERSON, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Cleve Dheensaw / Times Colonist
OCTOBER 1, 2019 06:49 PM

The B.C. Hockey League Showcase Festival is like a mega-mall for scouts who like one-stop shopping.

Numerous U.S. collegiate NCAA and National Hockey League scouts will be watching this week as players try to put their best skates forward when BCHL teams congregate at two venues, with the games counting in the standings.

The BCHL Showcase takes place in two waves, with most of the Coastal Conference teams playing today and Thursday at Prospera Centre in Chilliwack. Interior Conference teams will play Friday and Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.

The Grizzlies (3-5) meet the Powell River Kings (6-3) at 4 p.m. today in Chilliwack in a reprise of Saturday’s 3-1 Kings victory over the Grizzlies at The Q Centre.

The Grizzlies have a 10 a.m. breakfast date with the Nanaimo Clippers (3-3-1) on Thursday morning.

There will be a lot for scouts to evaluate. There were 15 NHL draft picks out of the BCHL the past two seasons.

First-rounder Alex Newhook of the Grizzlies was among eight BCHLers selected in the 2019 draft held in June at Rogers Arena.

There were 272 BCHL alumni on the 60 NCAA Div. 1 teams last season, with only six NCAA Div. 1 teams not having a former BCHL player on the roster. Forty BCHL alumni played in the NHL last season, including former Grizzlies forward Tyler Bozak, who won the Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues.

There’s pressure on players to get noticed in the Showcase.

“There are lots of distractions, for sure,” Grizzlies head coach and GM Craig Didmon said.

He said he tells his players to focus on their games and not on who is watching in the stands.

“Players need to be in a good head space and focusing on what they can control,” Didmon said.

“The scouts will be analyzing not only their skills, but how hard they compete, and if they have the hockey IQ to make the right decisions on the ice.”

Didmon added that individual success usually comes through team success: “If the team is successful, players will reach their individual goals.”

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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