Revelstoke Grizzlies have the bar set high for 2019–20 season

After the team took the B.C. championships last season, the 2019-20 Revelstoke Grizzlies have the bar set high. Here's our preview of changes to the roster and staff for this season.

Grizzlies head coach Lukas Lomicky talks to the team during practice at the Forum. After being behind the bench as assistant coach the last two seasons, Lomicky is stepping up as head coach this year. Photo by Matthew Timmins

This article first appeared in print in the October/November issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.

They won the KIJHL league championship. Then they won the Cyclone Taylor Cup provincial championship. So what’s next for the Revelstoke Grizzlies?

That’s the position the Junior B team that filled up the Revelstoke Forum night after night last season are in. But GM Ryan Parent is confident the Grizzlies will remain a contender this year.

The Revelstoke Grizzlies were greeted by fans in Grizzly Plaza today as they celebrated their win at the Cyclone Taylor Cup last weekend, giving them claim to the top Junior B hockey team in BC. Locals came out to meet and celebrate with the team, including volunteers, billets, families and Revelstoke mayor Gary Sulz. Photos by Matthew Timmins

“What some people forget is we were really good the year before, too. We went right to the finals,” Parent says. “This past year we won the league, we won the Cyclone. The bar is set. We want to be a pinnacle team in the league, year after year. That would be the goal.”

This year the Grizzlies will have some changes throughout the entire franchise, from coaching personnel to players. Guys who have become household names in the Forum over the last four years like Ullar Wiatska and Tommy Bodtker have moved on, and a group of new young guns have come in to fill their shoes. Here’s a guide to the new squad:

Who’s back?

Lukas Lomicky (pictured) will be behind the bench as head coach. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Beginning behind the bench, Lukas Lomicky has replaced Parent as head coach. Parent, who won the league’s coach of the year in 2018, and the division coach of the year in 2019, will continue to be the GM and President of the team.

Lomicky has been the Grizzlies assistant coach for the last two years and has coached in both junior and pro levels in the Czech Republic before joining the Grizzlies.

“We wanted to maintain the continuity in our program,” says Parent. “So having Lukas step in has given us the opportunity to maintain (that) continuity. The players are familiar with Lukas … he’s a very experienced guy, he has a masters degree in coaching, he’s coached in the pro and junior level, so he’s very good.”

Lomicky, who coached the Karlovy Vary team in the professional Czech Extraliga before the Grizzlies, says he’s excited to make the move to head coach, but says that not much will really be changing, as they will still be playing Grizzlies hockey.

“I think we are going to be a little bit of a different team than last year. I think we are much younger, so it’s going to be about the development of those kids,” Lomicky says. “Our forwards are almost all brand new, so that will be a challenge for us, but most players coming in, we can see potential, and we can teach them how to play the Grizzlies way.”

Another familiar face returning is 19-year-old Colorado-born goaltender Noah Desouza. Last year he had 15 wins and two losses serving as the Grizzlies backup. Lomicky says he’s a solid goaltender and they will look to him to be the Grizzlies starter this year.

Cody Flann celebrates a goal last season at the Revelstoke Forum. Flann finished second in points with the Grizzlies last year and will one of the players the Grizzlies will look to for leadership this season as he heads into his third year with the team. Photo by Matthew Timmins

On offence, the team will have Cody Flann returning for his third year in a Grizzlies jersey. Flann finished last season with 55 points, the second highest on the team, and will again be one of the leaders to keep an eye on. The other two forwards returning to add some leadership are Cash Sawchyn and Revelstoke’s own Raymond Speerbrecker.

The Grizzlies defence will also continue to have hometown players Matt Cadden, Rider McCallum and Dalton Irvine returning from the championship roster, as well as Brenden Vulcano and Jordan Kohlman.

Young guns to watch

Parent says one guy to watch this year is rookie forward Cody Quinton. He’s done some ‘early damage’ this pre-season, the GM says, and he hopes that will translate into some goals in the regular season.

Another player Parent is excited to have on the team is goaltender Drew Palm. “He’s a new recruit (that’s) been steady back there for us, a new guy in the pipes. So he’ll be a really good addition.”

At the time of print, the Parent and Lomicky had not chosen a team captain, but they say that will unfold within the next couple weeks.

[Note: Since publication, the Grizzlies have named Raymond Speerbrecker as captain.]
Revelstoke’s own Raymond Speerbrecker will be wearing a Grizzlies jersey again this year, bringing experience to the offence in his second year on the team. Photo by Matthew Timmins

“Obviously we have some good leaders in the mix though. I mean, when you go all the way and win, you’ve got leadership throughout your entire room,” Parent says. “If you take a look at some of the returning guys, and even some of the young guys coming in, I think that we’ve got some pretty good leaders in the mix.”

One of the keys to staying on track with last season will be getting off to a good start, Parent says. Like last season, the team will have a lot of games on the road early on, and he says they’ll need to be sharp right off the start.

Opposing teams will also continue to have the arduous task of playing in the Revelstoke Forum.

File photo: The beer garden fans at the Revelstoke Forum. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

“Everybody knows it’s a hard place to win against us,” Parent says of the Revelstoke arena. “It’s going to be tough to play against the Revelstoke Grizzlies every night. I think it’s going to be hard to come in and play us.”

Lomicky also attested to the advantage of the hometown crowd. “I appreciate the community and the people’s support the last couple years,” he adds. “Because it’s a huge help when you’ve got like 800-1,000 people in the Forum and they cheer for you. It’s like a sixth player on the ice.”

The Grizzlies take a lap after a game to thank the fans. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Check the Revelstoke Mountaineer events calendar in print and online for Revelstoke Grizzlies home game times.

Matthew Timmins
Matthew Timmins is an Ontario-born photographer with a background in photojournalism. After working at local newspapers in Canmore, Banff and Jasper, he moved to Revelstoke for three years. He has spent the last two years travelling in New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia and Northern Europe. He now lives in Revelstoke again and can be reached at 226-688-8528.