August 24, 2015 VICTORIA, B.C. — With Main Camp now ready to start for the B.C. Hockey League’s Victoria Grizzlies, the franchise is pleased to announce its full coaching staff for the 2015-16 season.
Head Coach and General Manager Craig Didmon, under the direction of the local ownership group, has’ completed his hockey leadership, working closely with Don Robinson, Vice President of Operations Sonya Saujani, and newly-hired Director of Operations Jim Swanson.
“The team that Craig has put together is a mirror of what his philosophy has been in putting together the players for the coming season — it’s about character, integrity, and a passion for the game and for winning,” said Swanson.
“As an organization, that’s what we want to create and maintain as a culture. Craig’s work to put this coaching staff in place has been tremendous. These are local people who want to bring Victoria a championship, and who want to connect with the community at all levels.”
JIM HATCHER, Assistant Coach/Assistant GM
The 44-year-old, born and raised in Victoria, played junior hockey at the BCHL level and now is a firefighter at CFB Esquimalt. He has been with the Grizzlies for four years and has done statistics for the WHL’s Royals for three years. He has served in many coaching or strength/conditioning roles for the past 25 years in both hockey and lacrosse, and is a product of the JDF youth hockey program. Hatcher is a decorated member of the Canadian Navy for his role as a UN Peacekeeper in the Gulf War.
GREG SMITH, Assistant Coach
The 30-year-old from Langford and product of JDF minor hockey played junior hockey with the Victoria Cougars, and is new to the coaching staff of the Grizzlies. Smith has coached local minor hockey, inline hockey and roller hockey after a decorated playing career capped by a gold medal at the IIHF inline world championship in 2008. Smith is the chief engineer at Westhills Arena and part-owner of Base Hockey.
TYLER MATHESON, Assistant Coach
Matheson is a first-year member of the coaching staff and the Victoria product, who came through the JDF system, and was part of the Grizzlies as a player for two seasons before moving to the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets and earning a tryout contract with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. He then went pro, playing in the Central Hockey League and the SPHL.
KEVIN CRAIG, Video Coach
The 45-year-old has coached elite athletes in hockey and baseball and enters his second year on the Grizzlies staff. Craig has coached for Victoria Raquet Club, the South Island Thunderbirds and with BC Hockey’s elite program.
JASON REIMER, Goaltending Coach
Entering his third season with the Grizzlies, Reimer is the owner of TNT Goaltending business in Victoria, working with more than 100 puck stoppers over the past seven years from Atom to Major Junior. Formerly the goaltender coach for the South Island Thunderbirds at the major midget level, he also works with the VIJHL’s Westshore Wolves. Two of Reimer’s goalies have been drafted by WHL teams, and one was selected in the NHL draft. Main camp gets under way today at JDF Arena, and continues through the week as the Grizzlies get ready for the exhibition schedule to start with Saturday’s game in Duncan against the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
On Sunday, August 30, the Grizzlies will face the Capitals at JDF Arena in the team’s first home pre-season game.