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COACH’S PLEA TO TEAM: PLAY WITH PASSION

Bill Bestwick's message to his recruits prior to them stepping on the ice for the opening of Victoria Grizzlies training camp on Monday afternoon will be a simple one.

"I'm looking for passion, to get on the ice and to perform," the Grizzlies' new general manager and head coach said. "High tempo and pursuit. Play with your heart and don't worry about making mistakes.

"If you make a mistake because you're reluctant or you're hesitant to put your best foot forward, then you may not put your best foot forward," he said. "I'm OK with kids making mistakes.

"Just go try hard and work as hard as you possibly can. Pay attention and good things will work out," he continued, stressing preparedness. "If you're well prepared then you'll do really well here."

Camp begins with registration on Monday morning at SaveOnFoods Memorial Centre followed by skates at 1 p.m. and 2: 30 p.m. before the scene switches to an evening ice session at 6: 45 p.m. at Juan De Fuca recreation centre.

Venues change throughout the week as ice goes back into Bear Mountain Arena.

Roughly 60 invites will join some 15 veterans, who will skate later in the week.

The first three days are phase one of Bestwick's plan, where they will identify players who the Grizzlies' staff believe can compete for a position at the Junior A level. Phase two wil include a preseason game or two with the veterans, to go along with further evaluation sessions.

"In view of the circumstances we're delighted with the quality and quantity of the players that wil be in attendance," said Bestwick. "Veterans will not participate until phase two. We need to focus the first few days on the players coming to make their best effort to play in our uniform."

Bestwick isn't thrilled about moving from various arena to arena (they will also be at Archie Browning on Thursday), but is playing he cards dealt to him.

"It is what it is, we'll make the best of it," he said. "We're excited to get started, that we can actually talk about dropping a puck and blowing a whistle.

"We'll start the process of evaluating and analyzing and building our team. We're building it from the ground up, on and off the ice.

There are new faces, new energies, building on what's been here and making it the best that we possibly can for the term that we have here. That's our job and responsibility right now."

Netminder Brady Rouleau will play a large role in the success of the team and Michael Pessenforfer, of Ont., will be among those looking to earn the backup job. The strength of this team will be built from the back end out, featuring a solid defensive corps, and the Grizzlies will require help up front, where scoring will be the No. 1 issue.

The Fitzgerald triplets (Myles, Leo and Gerry) and Brett Hartskamp were brought in via trade and last week Bestwick announced the addition of 1995-born Dante Hahn, who played the last two years at Shattuck St. Marys. mannicchiarico@timescolonist.com Twitter@ tc_vicsports