Grizzlies rookie sensation Matthew Wood ready for national spotlight

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The only thing more complicated than provincial highways is the schedule for the BC Hockey League, which announced 19 game changes on Tuesday. They include nine postponements, two cancellations and eight added games.

The only thing more complicated than provincial highways is the schedule for the BC Hockey League, which announced 19 game changes on Tuesday. They include nine postponements, two cancellations and eight added games. Eight schedule changes were announced last week.

But 16-year-old rookie prodigy and BCHL top scorer Matthew Wood of the Victoria Grizzlies flew over it all on his way to Ottawa among the nation’s top U-17 players selected for the Capital City Challenge tournament where they will win. also on Canada’s National Women’s Team from Friday to December 1st. The series aims to help prepare Canadian women for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

“It will be a great experience and an opportunity to be with the best players my age in Canada,” said Wood, who left on Tuesday.

“And it’s so cool to play against our national women’s team before the Olympics. Hockey continues to grow. It’s for everyone.

The 66 U-17 players were split into three teams – Team Canada Red, White and Black – for the tournament. Wood will play for the Red Team, which opens the game on Friday afternoon against the Black Team. The red team, coached by Kris Mallette of the WHL Kelowna Rockets, will face the National Women’s Team on Saturday at 4 p.m. PT. All games will be played at TD Place Arena, home of the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. The gold medal game is scheduled for next Wednesday.

Six-foot-three forward Wood is averaging 2.17 points per game this season as he continues to advance in the discussion for the 2023 NHL Draft. And a few other discussions as well. The Nanaimo product commits to UConn from NCAA Div. 1. Oddly, however, Wood’s rights to the Western Hockey League are held by the Regina Pats, who feature the 2023 NHL Draft’s top prospect Connor Bedard of North Vancouver. Wood and Bedard stayed together in Grade 9 at a hockey academy in West Vancouver.

Wood said he remained focused on his original plan.

“In the NCAA you still have seasons to develop after the NHL Draft and that has value to play against men,” he said.

Players graduate from the WHL major-junior at 20, most top prospects leave at 19, while NCAA players can play until 22 or 23. But the speech of the Pats continues to swirl.

“I never feel too much pressure. I’m going to do what’s best for me, ”said Wood.

The Wood-less Grizzlies (11-6) will face off against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs tonight in Port Alberni after winning three straight games while the Bulldogs (8-6-2) have lost their last three. But Alberni Valley has always been tough playing at home in front of some of the league’s best fans and is again more than comfortable in Weyerhaeuser Arena at 5-1-1.

Both clubs are affected by the blizzard of schedule changes. The Grizzlies’ home date against Cranbrook this Friday is replaced by a game against the Bulldogs that night at the Q Center. This makes the scheduled Jan. 2 game between the Grizzlies and Bulldogs redundant and is canceled.

Meanwhile, Grizzlies captain Ellis Rickwood has been named one of the first 18 skaters to compete in the 3-on-3 outdoor tournament on January 15 in Penticton as part of the BCHL’s 60th anniversary celebrations. One player from each team was selected in a survey of 18 BCHL coaches. The players selected from the Island teams are Rickwood, Braden Blace of the Bulldogs, David Jacobs of the Cowichan Valley Capitals, Sean Donaldson of the Nanaimo Clippers and Dylan Finlay of the Powell River Kings. The remaining slots will be determined by fan vote, starting at 11 a.m. today at bchl.ca/fanvote.

ICE FRIES: WHL players Austin Zemlak of the Victoria Royals and Victoria product Ty Halaburda of the Vancouver Giants have been selected by Hockey Canada to join Wood at the Capital U-17 Challenge. Zemlak is injured and unable to participate, while Halaburda will adjust to Team Black. Micah Zandee-Hart of Saanichton currently plays for the Canadian women’s team.

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