Eddy and the Grizzlies are heading to Showcase in high gear

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Oh what a difference two years make.

As a rookie in 2019, Connor Eddy was a strong fourth in line for the Victoria Grizzlies, finishing with four goals in 45 games.

Fast forward to 2021 and the fast Eddy racked up points like no one else in the BC Hockey League.

Eddy will open tonight’s game in Chilliwack against the league-leading Prince George Spruce Kings (4-1) with 14 points in the first five games. That’s a point higher than in his first two seasons combined with the Grizzlies, last season being only 20 games due to the pandemic.

“I’m a little surprised with the points total,” said Eddy, who has four goals and 10 assists.

“I mean having more points than the other two seasons combined is a little wild, but I’ve been working hard this summer to get faster and stronger, and when you play with the teammates I’ve played that season, it’s hard not to get points.

The teammates Eddy talks about are, more specifically, teammates Matthew Wood and Ellis Rickwood. Wood, the 16-year-old slated for the 2023 NHL Draft’s first round, and Rickwood, the Grizzlies’ leading scorer last season who has an NCAA division. 1 scholarship at Clarkson University, also buzzed early. Wood, a Nanaimo native who signed up to the NCAA at UConn for 2023, leads the BCHL in goals with eight and is one point behind Eddy with 13. Rickwood missed two games with injury, but racked up four points in the other three games.

“They can both skate and have good hands and Wood has a great shot so they’re easy to play,” added Eddy.

Eddy, who graduated from Pacific Christian School and played youth hockey with Saanich Minor Hockey, picks up speed at the right time. The 19-year-old is looking for an NCCA scholarship and the Chilliwack Coliseum will be packed with college scouts all week. After taking on Prince George tonight, the Grizzlies face the West Kelowna Warriors (3-0) on Friday at 4 p.m. ET.

“I look forward to the Showcase,” he said. “I have already received offers from schools and I hope to have more after the Showcase. I would like to make a decision on one in the next couple [of] weeks so I can focus only on hockey for the rest of the season.

Eddy’s coach isn’t surprised at his current success.

“Connor was really impressive at the start,” said Grizzlies general manager and head coach Craig Didmon.

“He’s been such a good defensive player for us for so long so seeing him enjoy his offensive minutes now is great to watch and he’s doing a great job on both ends of the ice now. “

Didmon says he’s a perfect game on the Grizzlies mainline.

“He brings a lot of speed which is hard to match and plays hard and goes into those traffic areas so it works great for the other two.”

After the Showcase, the Grizzlies return home to face the Vernon Vipers next Thursday at the Q Center.

LOOSE PUCKS: Also at the Showcase, the Nanaimo Clippers face the Salmon Arm Silverbacks today at 4 p.m., followed by a Friday game against the Coquitlam Express at 10 a.m. The Cowichan Valley Capitals face the Cranbrook Bucks on Saturday at 1 p.m. and the Merritt Centennials on Sunday at 5 p.m. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs play in West Kelowna at 4 p.m. on Saturday and in Vernon at 11 a.m. on Sunday. … Grizzlies first-year defenseman Eli Barnett has been named a player to watch for the 2022 NHL Draft. The NHL Central Scouting has released its first ranking of the season and the 6-foot-2, 205-pound defenseman from Riverview, NB, is ranked as a Level “C” prospect (rounds 5-7 ) for next year’s draft. Barnett is expected to begin his NCAA hockey career next fall at the University of Vermont.

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