By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
We’ll be taking time over the month of June to look at how some NCDC teams are working on building their 2023-24 squads through the acquisition of tenders, commitments from returning players and past draft selections they continue to evaluate.
The Rock Springs Grizzlies are the newest organization to join the NCDC, as their ownership only recently completed the purchase of the former Rock Springs Prospectors franchise early this past spring, shortly before the 2023 NCDC Draft, which was held on April 25. Rock Springs is busy pulling together the prospects for their roster for 2023-24 through a busy recruiting schedule, with several upcoming camps to be held over the summer.
All quotes in the sections below are from co-owner Wes Mussio.
Being a brand new organization, the Grizzlies obviously have no returning players, so they will be looking for players that might be able to bring in some Tier II experience during this off-season.
One such player is Merik Erickson, an ‘04 goaltender who mostly played for the Delta Ice Hawks in the PIJHL, but has British Columbia Hockey League experience as well.
“Merik Erickson is a key piece for us, as you build from the goalie out. He played for us in Nanaimo [in 2021-22], and had great numbers last season. He is highly competitive and a great teammate.”
Quinton McElligott – Anaheim Jr. Ducks 18U AAA
An ‘04 defenseman from Los Angeles, he posted 25 points in 52 games for the Jr. Ducks, and represented the Jr. Ducks at the USA Hockey 18U Nationals.
“He is a steady defenseman who makes a solid first pass, is highly competitive and brings leadership.”
Evan Simos – Chicago Reapers 16U AAA
An ‘06 blueliner, Simos scored 19 points in 51 games for the Reapers.
“He is a smooth skating defenseman who sees the ice well and has a solid shot.”
Nolan Bowsher – Comox Valley Glacier Kings
An ‘04 forward, Bowsher scored 28 points in 35 games in the VIJHL for the Glacier Kings. He has prior year experience with programs such as Pursuit of Excellence and Okanagan Hockey Academy.
“Hard worker, a physical power forward who goes to the net very well.”
Peyton Smith – Indy Jr. Fuel 18U AAA
Scored 37 points in 44 games for Jr. Fuel as an ‘05 forward.
“Fast skater, hard on pucks, has a high hockey IQ and brings leadership.”
The Road Ahead
As with any new team, tryout camps and a heavy recruiting schedule of tournaments and other camps are on order for the Grizzlies staff. Co-owner Darren Naylor will helm the bench as the NCDC Head Coach.
They are going to be scouting the Global Las Vegas Showcase (June 19-22), as well as the Air Force Academy’s Hockey Camp, also in June. The Grizzlies will head east in July to attend the Chowder Cup in the Boston area as well.
The Grizzlies have two free agent camps as well, upcoming in Delta, B.C. (July 5-6) and Indianapolis, Ind. (July 28-30). Details on and registration for both camps are available at www.rockspringsgrizzlies.com, and mouse over “Camps” for individual camp info and registration.