Cleve Dheensaw / Times Colonist
OCTOBER 5, 2019 10:30 PM
The past was in mind Saturday with the Victoria Grizzlies announcing they will retire Stanley Cup champion Tyler Bozak’s old No. 11 jersey on a date to be announced.
But it’s the present of concern today as the Grizzlies (3-7) look to turn their early fortunes against the Powell River Kings in a B.C. Hockey League game at 1 p.m. in The Q Centre. The Kings were 7-4 heading into a late-finishing game Saturday night in Nanaimo against the Clippers.
This is the third time in the last four games that Victoria has faced Powell River, with the Kings winning both earlier contests.
“The teams are getting to know each other pretty well — the tendencies are becoming clearer — and our guys are looking forward [to getting another crack at the Kings],” Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon said.
“We feel we’ve had some tough luck in the past few games and will continue to work hard. The players were very engaged during practice. We have belief and are sticking to our systems. We are optimistic that our team will be very good.”
The retiring of Bozak’s jersey sends a powerful message, Didmon said. “It helps our program when you can point to a guy who played here three seasons and developed,” he said. “It shows what the B.C. Hockey League can do for players. It helps our program and breeds confidence, especially in recruiting.”
The ceremony will take place in the next month or two, said Grizzlies president Lance Black.
Bozak, a forward with the St. Louis Blues, can’t make it back to the Island for the event. He will be interviewed live on the The Q Centre video screen via streaming and will watch his jersey rise to the rafters.
Bozak began his junior career when the Victoria team was known as the Salsa. The Regina native had 15 goals and 31 points in his rookie season with the Salsa in 2004-05 and 31 goals and 69 points the following season. He exploded for 45 goals and 128 points when the franchise switched its name to the Grizzlies in 2006-07.
Undrafted out of the University of Denver, Bozak has gone on to score 149 goals and accumulate 403 points in 667 regular-season games heading into Saturday, with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Blues, winning the Stanley Cup with St. Louis last spring.
The last two former Grizzlies players to have jerseys retired before Bozak — numbers 16 and 8 — were NHL-playing siblings Jamie and Jordie Benn in 2018.
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