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New Victoria Grizzlies show their chops in preseason action

Eighteen-year-old Cody Monds, of Brockville, Ont., has joined the Victoria Grizzlies as a winger.
Photograph By DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Brian Drewry / Times Colonist
AUGUST 31, 2019 09:43 PM

Victoria Grizzlies general manager and head coach Craig Didmon had a lot of work to do rebuilding his team’s arsenal up front after losing the likes of NHL draft picks Alex Newhook, Alex Campbell and Riley Hughes.

But a fast and skilled group of new 18-year-olds looks to have the tools to fill those big shoes.

Case in point, Cody Monds.

The speedy five-foot-10, 170-pound winger has been slotted on the top line with captain Marty Westhaver and sophomore speedster Eddie Yan. And even though he’s still adjusting to junior hockey — suiting up for his third B.C. Hockey League preseason game on Saturday in Sooke — Monds hasn’t looked out of place. His assist in the 5-2 loss gave him three points in three preseason games, tops on the Grizzlies

“It’s been fun so far. It’s a fast-paced league with some bigger guys, so it’s taking some adjustment. But so far so good,” said Monds, who hails from Brockville, Ont., but spent the past three seasons at Northwood Prep School in Lake Placid, New York.

Monds drew the attention of NCAA schools and the Grizzlies last season when he put up 95 points with the Northwood Juniors in the U.S. High School Prep League. And he wasn’t finished there. He moved up to Northwood’s U-18 team and racked up another 21 points in 16 games.

The offensive output landed him a scholarship with Providence University, where he expects to be after two seasons with the Grizzlies. “Providence was just a good fit academically and for hockey and, hopefully, after developing my game here with the Grizzlies, I’ll be ready to step right in at the NCAA level,” Monds said.

Didmon says he likes what he sees so far from his recruit, which gives him a talented group of 18-year-olds when you include St. Lawrence commit Brendan Bowie, Northeastern-bound Chase McInnis and standout defenceman Isaac Bandu.

“Cody is a very creative player who finds time and space,” said Didmon, whose team finished the preseason with a 1-3 record.

“He has also shown good resiliency and battles hard for the puck. He’s only going to get better.”

Didmon had no hesitation putting Monds on the Grizzlies top line in the preseason, alongside the speedy Westhaver.

“Oh, it’s great playing with Marty. He’s so fast, you just give him the puck, and he’s gone.

“And he’s a great leader and has helped me a lot already.”

Monds got word of Victoria by way of his adviser group, which just happens to represent former Grizzlies captain Newhook.

“When they suggested I go out to Victoria, I jumped at the chance,” said Monds. “It’s a first-class organization and the city is amazing. Just last week I went salmon fishing off Sooke and that was awesome.”

With the Grizzlies wrapping up their preseason on Saturday, Victoria now turns its attention to the real season. The Grizzlies open the BCHL regular season Saturday against the Capitals in Duncan. It’s the first of seven straight games on the road for Victoria as the Mann Cup national lacrosse championship takes over The Q Centre.

bdrewry@timescolonist.com

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