The Victoria Grizzlies are coming to the Sooke
Arnold Lim/John Bridal
Special to the Sooke News Mirror
SEAPARC Arena plays host to the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) teams final preseason game against the Cowichan Capitals and new head coach Brad Knight said despite being an exhibition, the team will be bringing their game faces against a heated rival.
“This is our last preseason game before everything gets started so we are pretty excited,” said coach Brad Knight. “That game Sept. 13 will be our (full) roster so the fans that are going to pay for tickets are going to watch the players that are going to play – they will get the best.”
Knight, who replaces Craig Didmon who left the team in the off season following a crushing triple-overtime defeat to the Coquitlam Express in the third round of last year’s playoffs, said coming to Sooke has been on his radar for some time.
“It has been a couple of years since we have been out there but it is an area where we get fans from, we see lots of fans coming from Sooke,” he said. “We try to bring our game and the way we play to some of our fans and show some appreciation and that is what we are trying to do.”
The event is a fundraiser for Sooke youth, put on by co-hosts the Rotary Club of Sooke and Sooke Minor Hockey. Rotary has been organizing this event for nearly 20 years.
“The Club’s main goal has always been to bring good quality hockey to Sooke, for an affordable night out for local families,” says John Bridal from Sooke Rotary. He adds “Partnering with Sooke Minor Hockey in the last few years has really helped make this a popular community event.”
Darren Fogarty, President of the Sooke Minor Hockey Association explains how excited everyone is getting about hockey right now.
“Tryouts are completed, we’re getting the teams organized, and getting practices going this week.”
He emphasizes the importance of the town’s young players making the connection.
“it is great to bring out Sooke Minor Hockey and get them involved with the Junior A team.”
Who will have the fastest shot? Fogarty expects heavy competition between Midget A and Peewee players Aiden Wood and Ben Ackinclose.
Tickets are available at SEAPARC or by phone 250.642.8000, $12 adults reserved seating between the blue lines, $10 adults general admission, $5 youth 3-12 (2 & under free).
Game day features a tailgate party and barbecue at 1 p.m. prior to the 4 p.m. game start with all funds from the game and the fundraisers including; a 50/50 draw, Chuck-a-Duck, and a fastest shot competition going to the Rotary Club of Sooke and Sooke Minor Hockey. Grizzlies forward Cole Pickup said he sees being a part of events like this are an important part of being a player.
“I can’t thank the community enough for what they have done for this organization and myself. They have always been behind us no matter how tough the times have been,” Pickup said. “Anything we can help the community with, it feels awesome to help.”
Come game time however, the bitter taste of last year’s loss will be on his mind as he looks forward to having a strong year and a chance at redemption.
“This year is a new year with a lot of new faces and a lot of new staff so we are excited and we are not going for anything but the best,” the Colwood resident said, “No matter if it is an exhibition game we want to beat Cowichan, we hate those guys so no matter what we will be giving her 100 per cent.”
Tailgate party and barbecue start at SEAPARC Arena Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. and game time is 4 p.m.
All proceeds go to Sooke youth via the Rotary Club of Sooke and Sooke Minor Hockey.
Tickets available at SEAPARC or preorder by phone at 250-642-8000.
Sooke Minor Hockey tournaments this year:
16th annual Female Fall Face Off, November 7-11 2014. 20 recreational female teams from the Lower Mainland and the Island, from atom to midget (7-18 years old)
Novice tournament during spring break 2015, dates to be confirmed.