Gorton Looks To Lead The Way As Grizzlies Open Training Camp

Victoria, BC (via Times Colonist) ~

Jack Gorton realizes how privileged he was being able to skate in New York Rangers practices on occasion while growing up when his dad, Jeff Gorton, was GM of the NHL club.

“It was a special time being around a pro locker room and seeing how guys like Adam Fox and Chris Kreider carried themselves,” said Gorton.

The native of Granite Springs, New York, added that it was no coincidence that the best players were the also the “hardest-working guys on the ice and in the room.”

Experiencing all that has made the Gorton the player he is as he enters his second season with the Victoria Grizzlies as the B.C. Hockey League club opens its training camp today at Juan de Fuca Arena.

“It’s a new coach [Rylan Ferster] and a bit of a new team but my biggest goal remains — and that is winning,” said Gorton, whose dad is now executive vice-president of the Montreal Canadiens.

With 2023 NHL draft top-10 projected Nanaimo-native Matthew Wood leaving early, for the NCAA Division 1 University of Connecticut and not returning to the Grizzlies, some have tipped Gorton as the player to succeed graduated Ellis Rickwood as captain of the Grizzlies.

“Losing Matthew is a big loss. Everyone else has to step up and show what we can do,” said Gorton, 20, who is committed next season to NCAA Div. 1 Boston University.

Gorton said he is ready for the responsibility if he gets a letter on his jersey this season.

“I know the lay of the land and have watched the previous leaders on the teams I have been on,” said the six-foot-three winger, who had nine goals and 28 points in 53 regular-season games and two goals and four points in five playoff games last season for the Grizzlies.

“Some were vocal, some demonstrative, and some quieter, but what they all did, was set a good example for the rest of the team to follow,” said Gorton.

“I learned a lot from Ellis [Rickwood] last season. He was a leader that everybody on the team looked up to and loved.”

Gorton spent the summer scrimmaging with NHL, AHL and ECHL pros from the New York and Connecticut area.

“These guys have been around and it really impresses on you how hard they work, even in scrimmages, and how consistent they are at what they do,” he said.

Just add that to the valuable lessons absorbed as Gorton looks to conclude his junior career this season before embarking on his NCAA journey at BU next year.

Grizzlies camp sessions are today at 5 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. with scrimmage games at 6 p.m.

The first exhibition game is Monday at 2 p.m. in Sooke against the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

~ Via Times Colonist Cleve Dheensaw