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Victoria Grizzlies plan to honour cup champ Bozak

Cleve Dheensaw / Times Colonist
JUNE 13, 2019 10:10 PM

It is a given that Tyler Bozak’s No. 11 Victoria Grizzlies jersey will one day hang from the rafters of The Q Centre.

The B.C. Hockey League team said it is discussing several ways to honour the former Grizzlies star forward this fall following his Stanley Cup victory Wednesday with the St. Louis Blues.

“We’re so excited that he won the cup and are hoping to get Tyler back here soon,” said Grizzlies president Lance Black.

Bozak’s three-season Victoria career is such that he would have been recognized by the Grizzlies, Stanley Cup or not.

Bozak predates the Grizzlies name and started with the junior team when it was known as the Salsa. He had 15 goals and 31 points in his rookie season with the Salsa in 2004-05 and 31 goals and 69 points with the Salsa the following season. The native of Regina exploded for 45 goals and 128 points when the franchise switched its name to the Grizzlies in 2006-07.

“Tyler was not that big but he was smart,” said Black, who was the major sponsor of the team during the Bozak era.

“And he had such drive. He strived to be the best every shift.”

Black rates Bozak as the second-greatest player in Grizzlies/Salsa franchise history behind his former linemate and Dallas Stars captain and Olympic gold-medallist Jamie Benn.

Overlooked in the draft out of the University of Denver, Bozak has gone on to score 149 goals and accumulate 403 points in 666 regular-season games, with the Toronto Maple Leafs up to this season, before shifting to the Blues. It turned out to be an uncanny career move.

“It’s unbelievable. I can’t explain it. It’s an incredible feeling,” Bozak told the NHL Network, following Game 7.

“You don’t take it for granted because you know how hard it is to get here.”

It was a journey that spanned from Colwood to a muggy but memorable spring night this week in Boston.

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