Clark Hiebert has come a long way to continue his hockey career, but he has no regrets.
Niether do the Victoria Grizzlies, who brought the veteran defenceman east from Ontario where he spent time with the Guelph Storm of the major-junior Ontario Hockey League.article continues below
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And it hasn’t taken long for the blue-liner, who turned 20 this week, to earn rave reviews from the B.C. Hockey League club.
Hiebert took part in his first two preseason games last weekend against the Cowichan Valley Capitals and promptly put up three goals and two assists in the home-and-home exhibition set.
“He’ll be one of the top defencemen in the league, I think,” said Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon.
“Clark brings a ton of maturity and confidence and is a real leader on the ice and in the locker-room.”
Grizzlies fans will have to wait a little bit longer to get a closer look at Hiebert, however. The Oakville, Ont., native won’t dress for tonight’s or Saturday’s preseason tilts against the Nanaimo Clippers as he heads to Chicago to take part in the American Hockey League’s Wolves prospects camp.
“Chicago sent me an invitation so I’m pretty excited about going and, if nothing else, it should be a good learning experience and help me out for next year if I want go the pro route,” Hiebert said after Grizzlies practice on Wednesday at The Q Centre.
Hiebert’s hockey career, up until now, has been spent in Ontario. After two years of Junior A with Milton and Burlington, the 6-foot-3, 205 pound blue-liner jumped to the OHL after Guelph selected him in the 2017 OHL draft. He put up two goals and six assists in 38 games with the Storm in the pandemic-shortened 2019-2020 OHL season. But after the pandemic forced him out of hockey games last season, Hiebert was looking for a change and jumped at a chance to head west.
“After spending a year at home, with no games, I just wanted a change and to go a little further away from home,” Hiebert said. “So when the Victoria opportunity came up, I thought it was perfect. They’re known to be one of the best Junior A club’s in Canada and the BCHL is the top league, in my mind, so I thought it was perfect for me, and so far, so good. I haven’t looked back and I’m loving it here.”
And he loves the look of the Grizzlies, who will face the Clippers tonight in Nanaimo and Saturday night at The Q Centre as the clubs wrap up the preseason.
“It’s a great looking team,” he said. “We’re very deep up front with four lines that can score and have a lot of speed, and we’re big and skilled at the back end so I’m really excited for the season.”
LOOSE PUCKS: The Grizzlies open the BCHL regular season Oct. 8 when the Alberni Valley Bulldogs pay a visit to The Q Centre. The Clippers hit the road for their season opener, taking on the Powell River Kings on Oct. 8 at Hap Parker Arena.
Source : https://www.timescolonist.com/sports/veteran-blue-liner-hiebert-having-immediate-impact-for-victoria-grizzlies-1.24361393703