Victoria Grizzlies_New

From the BCHL

September 19, 2012, Victoria, BC – The BCHL Insider recently caught up with Victoria Grizzlies Head Coach Bill Bestwick to discuss the outlook for the team this season.

Last year was not a lot of fun for Bill Bestwick.

The two-time BCHL Coach of the Year from his time with the Nanaimo Clippers was not behind the bench for the first time in a long time in 2011-12. It made for some miserable winter weekends because he was used to being at the rink.

He’s back now at the helm of a former rival in the Victoria Grizzlies. It’s early but Bestwick has the club atop the Island Division standings with a 3-0-0-1 record and has seen a couple of dramatic wins already. There was an overtime win at the Showcase against Alberni Valley and a last-second tally by Leo Fitzgerald to defeat Powell River.

“It’s absolutely refreshing to be with Victoria and rebuilding with a team that has this history and tradition,” says Bestwick. “We’re really committed to education and player development; I’ve really enjoyed it.”

It’s certainly a departure from being “Mr. Clipper” and he still is a city councilor in Nanaimo. But the business of hockey has energized him and the results are showing already for the Grizz.

“The entire organization has worked so hard in a short period of time,” he says. “I couldn’t have scripted it any nicer for our team. We’ve created enthusiasm and energy and good vibes in our community.”

Helping with that are a some talented players. Bestwick has reunited with triplets Gerry, Leo and Myles Fitzgerald, who he coached in 2010-11 in Nanaimo and has NHL Central Scouting-listed players Nolan De Jong and Dante Hahn.

Of De Jong, the sophomore defenceman committed to Cornell, Bestwick sees a player in the midst of a real transformation.

“I think in his rookie season, he garnered considerable interest with his upside and obvious potential,” says Bestwick. “He sees the ice real well and his offseason regimen has elevated his confidence; it should be a real good year for him.”

Hahn is a bit under the radar still having played prep hockey in the United States the last two seasons.

“Dante is a real unknown,” noted Bestwick. “He’s a cetreman and played last year at Shattuck St. Mary’s (in Minnesota). He’s a Victoria boy, very smooth and a brilliant puckhandling puck mover with good size and an excellent hockey IQ. He has tremendous upside.”

But, as a coach with 12 BCHL seasons already under his belt, he knows not to get too satisfied this early.

“It’s all very good right now… but it can change quick. It may not last forever without considerable hard work and effort.”