Gorton, Grizzlies eye strong second half

Victoria Grizzlies’ Jack Gorton, right, checks Surrey Eagles,Anta Zlomislic at The Q Centre this month. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Brian Drewry
about 6 hours ago

When Victoria Grizzlies forward Jack Gorton walks onto the Boston University campus to play NCAA hockey for the Terriers, he might want to keep quiet about what his dad does for a living.

After all, when your dad is the hockey boss for the most hated NHL team in Boston, probably best to keep that on the down-low.

“Ya, that should be fun,” laughed Gorton, whose dad Jeff was named vice-president, hockey operations for the Montreal Canadiens last month.

Jack Gorton is back in Victoria after an eight-day Christmas break and he and the Grizzlies are preparing for Saturday night’s B.C. Hockey League game against the Powell River Kings at The Q Centre. Gorton took the time off at home in Granite Springs, New York, to mull over a couple of serious NCAA scholarship offers. But it didn’t take too much time to decide on Boston University, a school that has produced such NHLers as Jack Eichel, Charley McAvoy and Clayton Keller and plays in the annual Beanpot Tournament at the home of the Bruins, TD Garden, along side Boston College, Northeastern University and Harvard. The big selling point being Gorton will be heading to his birthplace. And of course, the home of the Red Sox and Patriots.

“It was a tough decision but I have a lot of relatives in the Boston area because my dad grew up 10 minutes from there and I spent a lot of time there as a kid,” said 19-year-old Gorton, who lived in the Boston area until age nine, when his family moved to New York after Jeff Gorton was hired by the Rangers.

“I’ve always wanted to play college hockey and thought the best place to do it was Boston. My dad always took me to BU games whether it was at their rink or the Beanpot so it has always been a dream of mine to play for them. And I’m a huge Red Sox fan of course, and the BU campus is just three blocks from Fenway [Park].”

Gorton, who likely won’t wear the red and white of the ­Terriers until the fall of 2023, admittedly got off to a slow start in his first year in the BCHL — he has three goals and five assists in 25 games — but the six-foot-three, 190-pound winger is relieved to have the scholarship pressure off him now so he can concentrate on helping the Grizzlies (13-14-0-0) climb the Coastal Conference standings and gear up for playoffs.

“Jack took a little while to get accustomed to the league but he has really come on recently and the scholarship is well deserved,” said Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon.

“With his size and offensive tools he is quickly maturing into a solid power forward in our league.”

Saturday’s contest is the first of two straight against the Kings (9-14-2-0), with the two teams meeting next Wednesday night in Powell River. It’s also just the second time this season the Grizzlies and Kings will face each other, with Victoria winning the first game 6-4 in mid-November.

“We haven’t seen them in a while but we know they’re a fast team that plays hard so we’ll have to match their intensity,” said Didmon. “We’ve had a good couple of practices and the boys are looking forward to getting back to game action.”