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Colby Joseph finds defense niche with Victoria Grizzlies

Robin Wark / Virden Empire-Advance

DECEMBER 23, 2020 04:36 PM

Elkhorn’s Colby Joseph has seized an opportunity and taken his hockey skills west.

The son of Dawn and Gord Joseph has earned a contributing role in his first season with the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League. Joseph, who turns 18 on Dec. 18, had two points – both goals – in 11 games during the Junior A squad’s extended training camp schedule before the league’s regular season was postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Assistant coach Jason Reimer said the 6-foot, 190-pound forward has been put in key situations such as penalty killing and defending against opponent’s top lines.

“Colby has a great shot and huge potential with his offensive mindset,” Reimer said. “His defensive awareness allows us to consistently play him as we feel confident putting him in any situation against any line. He is a good skater and has a good understanding of systems which helps himself and his linemates play in the offensive zone more often.”

The Grizzlies have also been impressed with Joseph off the ice.

“He is an outstanding teenager that guys like to be around,” Reimer said. “His character as a hockey player is the same outside of the rink.”

A former standout for the Yellowhead Chiefs U18 AAA team, Joseph was recruited by junior teams in various provinces. He chose the Grizzlies “because of the professionalism of the organization and what they have done in the BCHL and with other players getting them scholarships. Also, the exposure in the BCHL is huge and it was a good spot to take my game to the next level. They are always a top team and do a great job of developing players for NCAA (Division 1, the top level of U.S. university athletics).”

The people with the team have helped make Joseph’s time there enjoyable.

“My favourite part about playing for the Grizzlies so far has been the group of boys and the staff,” he said. “We are all super close and have lots of fun together, which makes it easy through these tough times in the world right now. Also, being able to practice and play with such great hockey players day in and day out has been great.”

While Joseph has yet to play a regular season BCHL contest, the extended training camp schedule allowed him to compete against Junior A squads.

“I’ve enjoyed being able to settle into the league and get my feet wet and get some Junior A experience,” he said. “Also, to be able to be in the gym and practice everyday has been great for my development.”

When asked about moving up from U18 AAA to Junior A, Joseph said:

“It is obviously faster and more physical, which I am not used to, but for the most part I have been able to play my style of game and learn from the veterans and coaching staff on the Grizzlies to be the best player I can everyday.”

Off the ice, Joseph has enjoyed the weather and scenery Vancouver Island has to offer.

“I love being able to golf year-round and having no snow,” Joseph said. “Also, being able to drive home from practice and see the ocean and mountains is always a bonus. I don’t miss having to plug my car in every night like back home.”

It was with the strong backing of his family that Joseph earned the opportunity to play for the Grizzlies.

“They have been a huge part of my hockey and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them,” he said of his parents. “They have always supported me through the good and the bad and always reminded me to just keep working hard and good things will come my way. I wouldn’t want anyone else in my corner throughout this journey.”

© 2020 Virden Empire-Advance