Alessio Cusano


It was the game we were all waiting for on Saturday night, Teddy Bear Toss night, as the North Vancouver Wolf Pack hosted the Grandview Steelers. 


The game started with high tension as everyone wanted the teddy bear goal. That goal came at 6:15 of the first period, thanks to Captain JJ Pickell, who opened the scoring and released the avalanche of teddy bears!


 Pickell stayed hungry after his goal, immediately pressing on the attack for another. Pickell, one of North Van’s central men on the powerplay, thrives when on the man advantage.


The Captain was the driving force of North Van’s second goal, where he passed to Rylan Oatman, who was denied by the Steelers goalie, only for the Real Deal Matthew Carniel to bury home the rebound.


 JJ is a huge playmaker who is always thinking about the team; if it is possible to make a pass rather than risk and shoot, he’ll pass most of the time; in other words, he would make the best choice and the right play when the team needs him.


When the Steelers pulled one back at the start of the second period, Pickell was back out there trying to get a quick goal. Pickell is usually out there on the penalty kill as well, clearing the puck out of the Wolf Pack zone and creating offensive chances, as well as standing in front of shots to block them and keep the pucks out of the net.  


Pickell’s great skating led him to being first to the puck many times. Pickell also isn’t afraid to take the body and stand up for his teammates, as at the end of the second period, when goalie Brayden Burrows was collided into, Pickell confronted the Steelers player and wasn’t afraid to get scrappy. This earned him a penalty; however, this didn’t bother him as when he left the box just a few minutes in the third, a couple of seconds later, he scored his second of the night. 


Pickell is also great in the faceoff circle, where he wins most of the time and starts an attack in the offensive zone. Without a doubt, Pickell was the night’s star as he had two goals, including the teddy bear goal, in a 3-1 win.  


“It’s awesome. I think every junior team is doing it now, it’s an awesome cause, and we couldn’t be more honoured to do it for them,” Pickell spoke postgame about how much the goal meant to him and the donation of the teddy bears. The Wolf Pack are now 4-0 on teddy bear toss night, and this is the third year in a row a forward scored the goal and the third in team history.


The Wolf Pack hit the road next for a game against Ridge Meadows and are back home on Saturday, December 16th, against the Chilliwack Jets.