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Victoria Grizzlies swing deal for veteran netminder Liam Souliere

Brian Drewry / Times Colonist
JUNE 28, 2019 10:04 PM

Recently signed 18-year-old netminder Joe Howe is the Victoria Grizzlies goaltender of the future.

But to ease the workload of the talented rookie goalie from Upper Canada College in Ontario, Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon has added a veteran presence between the pipes.

The Grizzlies on Friday acquired the services of 20-year-old Liam Souliere as part of a three-team trade between the Grizzlies, Yorkton Terriers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and the Brockville Braves of the Central Canada Hockey League. Didmon sent veteran centre Jordan Guiney to the Terriers, who then sent forward Cody Bruchkowski to Brockville, with Souliere leaving the Braves to come west.

“It was a tough deal to make because Jordan had been with us for a while and was always a hard worker and great teammate, but we felt we needed a veteran in goal to take some of the pressure off Howe, who will likely need time to adjust to the B.C. Hockey League,” said Didmon.

Souliere, who will head to Penn State on an NCAA scholarship in the fall of 2020, is coming off a season in which he was runner-up in the CCHL’s goaltender of the year voting, posting a 26-8-1 record in the regular season with a 2.13 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. He was named goaltender of the month twice. He also played five playoff games with a 2.75 GAA.

Souliere, who hails from Brampton, Ont. and suited up for Team Canada East at last year’s World Junior A Challenge in Bonneyville, Alta., says he was looking for a little bit higher-calibre league to play in to develop his game for the NCAA.

“The reputation of the BCHL speaks for itself when you see guys like [Grizzlies captain Alex] Newhook get drafted in the first round, so when I had the chance to go out there and play against the best Junior A players in the country, I jumped at it,” said Souliere, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 185 pounds.

“If you want to become the best, you have to play against the best is the way I always look at it.”

When he first got word of the trade, Souliere quickly asked around about Victoria, and the decision was easy.

“I’ve had friends play in Victoria and play against the Grizzlies and they all said it’s a great organization with a great rink and they’re usually near the top of the standing so it seemed like a perfect fit for me,” he added.

The 20-year-old Guiney spent two full seasons with the Grizzlies, picking up five goals and 21 assists in 56 regular season games last season. He also dressed for 15 playoff games last spring, recording three assists.

“Jordan was looking for more of a top-six offensive role next season and he should get that in Yorkton so we wish him the best,” said Didmon.

The Grizzlies open training camp on Aug. 20 at Juan de Fuca Arena.

bdrewry@timescolonist.com

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