Memorial Cup-champion Picard turning heads in BCHL with Victoria Grizzlies

Olivier Picard, right, seen with goaltender Ansel Holt, leads the Grizzlies in scoring with 17 points in 18 games. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Cleve Dheensaw

Victoria visits Powell River on Friday.

Olivier Picard achieved the dream of every major-junior hockey player by winning the Memorial Cup last season with the Saint John Sea Dogs. Now the move from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to the B.C. Hockey League is also paying off for Picard in terms of goals and notice.

The 20-year-old forward, who leads the Victoria Grizzlies with 12 goals and 17 points, was selected among the first 18 skaters for the BCHL 3-on-3 outdoor all-star tournament on Jan. 21 in Penticton to honour the league’s 60th anniversary season. The initial list of players to compete, one per team, was chosen in a poll conducted among the 18 BCHL head coaches. An ­additional six skaters, and four goaltender, will be determined by a fan vote beginning Monday.

The six-foot Picard, a native of Sherbrooke, Que., played two seasons for the Val d’Or Foreurs of the QMJHL before going to the Sea Dogs last year and scoring seven goals with 21 points in 62 games.

“[Picard] is a complete, 200-foot player, who has been good for us and has been rewarded with this league ­selection,” said Grizzlies GM and head coach Rylan Ferster.

“He is deserving of this honour and everyone on the team is happy for him.”

Named from the Cowichan Valley Capitals was forward Luke Strickland, from the Nanaimo Clippers forward Kai Daniels, from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Ethan Bono and from the Powell River Kings forward Karter NcNarland. Three of them are bound for NCAA Div. 1 schools, Bono to Merrimack, Strickland to Long Island University and NcNarland to the University of Alaska-Anchorage. Picard is ineligible for the NCAA because he played major-junior.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are in Powell River Friday night and ­Saturday to face the Kings, whose roster includes ­NcNarland and four other NCAA Div. 1 commits in Noah Eyre (Princeton), Casey Aman (Penn State), Jack Blanchett (Lake Superior State) and Parker Lalonde (Minnesota State).

The Kings are ninth and last in the Coastal Conference at 4-11-3 while the fourth-place Grizzlies go in 7-8-3 after ­having lost three of their last four games.

“We have allowed 11 goals [12 including an empty-netter] in our last two games and have to tighten things up on the ­defensive side,” said Ferster.

The Grizzlies are 0-2 to start a run of five ­consecutive away games following last ­weekend’s 6-0 loss in Wenatchee, ­Washington, against the Wild and 6-4 setback in Cranbrook against the Bucks.

“Wenatchee was a bad night but I thought we played well enough to win in Cranbrook,” said Ferster.

“On the road, you have to ­simplify your game, and the first 10 minutes are always key.”

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies traded forward Max Donohoe to the Navan Grads of the CCHL in return for future ­considerations.