Saturday, June 27, 2015

BCHL Releases 2015-16 Schedule, Warriors Trade for Anderson, SilverBacks Acquire Salerno, Express Nab Pinchuk, Eagles Sign McAvoy, Cents Recruit Faulkner:








The BCHL's 2015-16 regular season will commence on Saturday, September 11, with a six-game slate, highlighted by Wenatchee visiting Prince George in the Wild's first ever BCHL game. The 986-game regular-season schedule – 58 games per team – will conclude on Sunday, February 28, with four teams in action before the 2016 Fred Page Cup playoffs start.

After winning their third Fred Page Cup in the last eight years, the Penticton Vees raise their championship banner in their home opener on Wednesday, September 16th before playing the Vernon Vipers. New York Rangers.

The majority of BCHL are on either Friday or Saturday nights. Of the 493 total games, 392 are scheduled for the weekend, with 164 on Fridays, 152 on Saturdays and 76 on Sundays. During the week, Wednesday night has 46 games scheduled, 28 games will be played on a Thursday, three games on Monday, and 24 will be played on a Tuesday.

Day – No. of Games (Percentage) 

Monday – 3 (0.6%) 

Tuesday – 24 (4.9%) 

Wednesday - 46 (9.3%) 

Thursday - 28 (5.7%) 

Friday – 164 (33.3%) 

Saturday - 152 (30.8%) 

Sunday – 76 (15.4%)

The scheduling matrix ensures that all 17 teams play in all 17 arenas at least once per season.

The league takes its annual Christmas Break from Sunday, December 20 to Tuesday, December 29. The entire schedule is available here.








West Kelowna added a veteran presence to its blueline with the acquisition of Tyler Anderson from the Kindersley Kilppers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for forward Josh Bly and futures. Anderson, a 19-year-old, had 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 48 games with the Klippers last season. He added one goal in ten games as well. Bly, who is from Saskatoon, SK, played one game with Kindersley as an affiliate in 2012-13 and had 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 57 games with West Kelowna in 2014-15.

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The Salmon Arm SilverBacks nabbed an import 1995-born player after a trade with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. Coming to the 'Backs is defenseman Aiden Salerno for future considerations. The 19-year-old from Long Beach, NY scored 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 51 games for the Sabres in 2014-15. He's a product of the Avon Old Farms high school prep hockey program.



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The acquisition of defensemen continued with Coquitlam picking up blueliner Jarell Pinchuk from Drumheller of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for future considerations. Pinchuk is a veteran of 91 career junior A games with the Dragons, posting 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) and 81 penalty minutes. The 18-year-old from Fort Saskatchewan, AB was a 7th round pick, 141st overall by Kelowna in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.

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The Surrey Eagles signed forward Paul McAvoy. The Lexington, KY native played with the Connecticut Oilers of the Eastern Hockey League last season, where he had 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) in 41 games. He added three points (two goals, one assist) in 11 playoff games as the Oilers won the EHL championship. 

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Merritt has added defenseman Mike Faulkner for the upcoming season. He played 32 games of high school prep hockey with Brunswick School out of Greenwich, CT and had 42 points (seven goals, 35 assists) as team captain. The 19-year-old from New York, NY was chosen in the fourth round, 82nd overall by Corpus Christi in the NAHL Entry Draft earlier this spring.








Defenseman Kyle Bigos (Vernon, 2007-09) is taking his game to Europe. The 26-year-old has signed with the Edinburgh Capitals of the Elite Ice Hockey League for next season. He had 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) in 43 games with the ECHL's Ontario Reign in 2014-15. The Upland, CA native also played three games in the AHL with Worcester and had one assist. Bigos was selected in the fourth round, 99th overall by Edmonton in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

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Forward Milan Lucic (Coquitlam, 2004-05) was traded in the NHL on Friday from Boston to Los Angeles as part of a three player deal. In eight seasons with the Bruins, the Vancouver product has 342 points (139 goals, 203 assists) along with 772 penalty minutes. Lucic also added 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists) in 96 career playoff games with Boston. He won a Stanley Cup with the B's in 2011.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Vees Players Recognized by Hockey Canada, Marshall Named BCHL Broadcaster of the Year, Clippers in Trouble if WHL Comes to Town?








Penticton Vees forward Tyson Jost and defenseman Dante Fabbro have both been invited to the Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team selection camp. They are among 43 players invited to the camp and both played on Team Canada at the 2014 Under-17 World Championships. Also, incoming Vees defenseman Griffin Mendel is among 111 players invited to Canada’s national under-17 development camp.

Meanwhile, former Express AP Mathew Barzal is among 40 players invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Development Camp. All of these camps are part of Hockey Canada's National Teams’ Summer Showcase from July 29th to August 6th at the Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

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Coming off his 15th season of play-by-play in the BC Hockey League, Nanaimo's Dan Marshall has been named BCHL Broadcaster of the Year. It's an award that's voted upon by the league's 16 broadcasters. 2014-15 represents the second time in the last four years that Marshall, who's from Coquitlam, has claimed the honour. He spent seven seasons calling games in Penticton before moving to Nanaimo in 2007. Marshall is a grad of the BCIT Radio Broadcast Program.



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In an article by Scott McKenzie of the Nanaimo Daily News, Clippers co-owner and governor Ken Wagner states that if a WHL team ends up in the Hub City, it would spell the end of the BCHL club. There's a lot of speculation about the Dub moving to Nanaimo with word that a proposed multiplex with a 5,000 seat arena is in the works. It's interesting that Wagner is so sure about the Clippers not being able to survive with the WHL in town as there is already a precedent in Prince George and Victoria where the two leagues do co-exist. McKenzie's article is here.








The Langley Rivermen have added 18-year-old defenseman John Schuldt to their roster for 2015-16. The Minnetonka, MN native played the last three seasons for his hometown high school team, posting 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) in 74 games. He also played seven games as an affiliate with the Minnesota Magicians of the NAHL in 2014-15, but didn't register a point. Schuldt was a second round, 29th overall selection of the Sioux Falls Stampede in the 2013 USHL Futures Draft.








Defenseman Lee Baldwin (Burnaby, Victoria, 2006-09) signs with ESV Kaufbeuren in the DEL2, which is the second-level of hockey in Germany. The 27-year-old from Victoria who led all BCHL blueliners in scoring in 2008-09 had 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 36 games with Odense in the Danish League last season. He's a veteran of 197 ECHL games and 45 AHL games.

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Defenseman Kevin Noble (Alberni Valley, Quesnel, Nanaimo, 2005-08) has signed a contract extension with the ECHL's Tulsa Oilers for the 2015-16 season. He had 21 points (one goal, 20 assists) and 125 penalty minutes in 68 games with the Oilers last season. The Sparwood, BC native has played 92 career ECHL games since turning pro in 2012.

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Defenseman Shaone Morrison (South Surrey, 1998-99) signed a one-year extension with Medvescak Zagreb of the Kontinental Hockey League. The former NHL first round draft pick from Vancouver had seven assists in 48 games with Zagreb in 2014-15. This season is his fourth in Europe. Morrisonn last played in North America in 2011-12 with the AHL's Rochester Americans.

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Blueliner Geoff Kinrade (Cowichan Valley, 2003-05) signs one-year extension for 2015-16 with Medvescak Zagreb as well. The Nelson, BC product notched 11 assists in 39 games with Zagreb last season. He also played five games on loan to Ambri-Piotta in the Swiss League and had three assists. Kinrade is a three-time participant at the Spengler Cup, twice with Team Canada and once with Medvescak Zagreb.








The USHL will move to a "hybrid overtime" for the 2015-16 season. It starts at 4-on-4 and then at the first whistle after three minutes of play, it's reduced to 3-on-3. If still tied after seven minutes, the game is decided by a three player shootout. The USHL tested the hybrid overtime period during the 2013 and 2014 preseasons with 3-on-3 overtime play. Over the past five seasons, 39 percent of regular season games were decided during 4-on-4 overtime. During the testing period in the past two pre-seasons, 71 percent of games ended during 3-on-3 overtime.

Vees Solidify Front Office, Wild Hire Broadcaster, Kings Welcome Back Jeff Smith, Express Sign Jake Brien:








The Penticton Vees have added Steven Cocker as the team's Director of Hockey Operations & Analytics. The 24-year-old spent 2014-15 as Player Development Analyst with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and as Team Manager for the Lahti Pelicans in the Finnish SM-Liga U-20 league. In the past, Cocker has also worked for International Scouting Services and Cedar Rapids in the United States Hockey League. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports and Leisure Management from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Finland and wrote his thesis on the progression of analytics in hockey.

The Vees also solidified the future of a number of front office staff, including Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations Fraser Rodgers. The upcoming season is Rodgers' fifth with the Vees in the same role. He'll be joined once again by colour commentator Trevor Miller, calling Penticton's games on EZ Rock AM 800.

Penticton also retained Goaltending Coach Kyle Hamaguchi, Skills Development Coach Ed Lebler, Strength and Conditioning Coach Brent Mosses, Video Coach Matt Miller, and in Corporate Sales and Marketing, Laura Carleton. Nick Fuher and Steve Cawley are back behind the bench for the Vees as Assistant Coaches for the 2015-16 season.

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Wenatchee has hired James Meissner to be the play-by-play voice for the franchise's first season in the BCHL. During his 35-year broadcasting career, Meissner has called hockey for the Billings Bulls (AWHL/NAHL), Alabama Slammers (WHA2), Kootenay Colts and Spokane Flyers (NPHL), Tampa Bay Juniors (USPHL) and Tri-City Storm (USHL). All Wild games in 2015-16 will be carried on KPQ 560 AM in Wenatchee.








Powell River welcomes back the 2014 winner of the BCHL's Goaltending Award with news that Jeff Smith is leaving UMass-Lowell to play his final year of junior eligibility with the Kings. The 19-year-old played six games as a freshman with UMass-Lowell last season, finishing with a 3-3-0 record, a 3.02 goals-against-average, an .885 save percentage and one shutout. In his lone BCHL season in 2013-14, the Maple Ridge, BC product went 20-10-1 along with a 2.25 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage. His GAA led all BCHL netminders and his save percentage was second in the league. “I’m excited to come back to Powell River, play out my eligibility at the Junior level for the Kings and work my way back to the NCAA,” said Smith in a release.

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Coquitlam has added defenseman Jake Brien for the 2015-16 season. The 18-year-old played the last three seasons with Ridley College, a prep school in St. Catharines, ON. In 99 games with Ridley, Brien notched 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) and served as co-captain in 2014-15. He also played nine games this past season with Cape Breton of the Nova Scotia Midget Hockey League and had one assist.









A pair of former BCHL players are part of the management team for Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland (Vernon, 1973-74) and Hockey Canada's Vice-President of Hockey Operations and National Teams Scott Salmond (Vernon, Kelowna, Merritt, 1988-92) will aid GM Doug Armstrong in leading Canada's National Men's Team in the tournament, which runs from September 17 - October 1, in Toronto.

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Defenseman Justin DaSilva (Powell River, 2009-11) has re-signed with the ECHL's Greenville Road Warriors for 2015-16. After finishing his NCAA career with Ohio State this past spring, the Cambridge, ON product signed an amateur tryout with Greenville and played four games, notching one assist.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Vees Hire Michaud, Set to Host Bandits, Jost and Fabbro Still Exploring NCAA Options, Warriors and Blades Swap Goalies, Smokies Bring Back Kauppila, Povelovskie Retires from BCHL:








In an article posted on Sunday, Hockey Now looks at next weekend's NHL Entry Draft and which BCHL players could be drafted. It makes note of the fact that Langley's Marcus Vela is the only BCHL player ranked in the top 220, but that's only according to International Scouting Services. As was announced back in April, there are five BCHLers ranked among the top 210 North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting final rankings for the draft. Regardless, Michael Potestio's article on the Hockey Now website is here.

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The Penticton Vees will host the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Brooks Bandits for two pre-season games this September. The first game is Friday, September 4th at 7 pm while the second is the following night, Saturday, September 5th at 6 pm, both at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The games are the first time the Vees and Bandits face each other since they met in the final edition of the Doyle Cup in 2012.

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Ryan Kennedy, a writer for The Hockey News, created some waves on Friday when he Tweeted that Penticton forward Tyson Jost has narrowed his NCAA options down to either the University of North Dakota or Denver University, The 17-year-old was a first round bantam draft pick by the WHL's Everett Silvertips in 2013 and had 45 points (23 goals, 22 assists) in 46 games with Penticton last season. It has been confirmed that Jost will return to the Vees in 2015-16 and will serve as Penticton's captain.

According to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post, Vees defenseman Dante Fabbro is considering an NCAA commitment to Denver University among other schools. Fabbro, who just turned 17 on Saturday, had 33 points (four goals, 29 assists) in 44 games as the youngest player on Penticton in 2014-15. He was chosen eighth overall in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft by Seattle and will also return to the Vees for this coming season. Chambers article is here.

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Meanwhile, Jost and Fabbro are also both projected to be first round picks in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by Future Considerations. The website issued its preliminary rankings on Sunday, Jost is ranked 12th overall and Fabbro is ranked 20th overall. The complete rankings are here. If Jost and Fabbro are selected in the first round next June, it will be the first time a BCHL team has had two players from the same team chosen since 2004. That year Salmon Arm saw teammates Travis Zajac and Kris Chucko selected 20th and 24th, respectively.

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The Vees have snagged Okanagan Rockets GM David Michaud as their new Director of Player Development and Corporate Sales. Michaud has been with the BC Major Midget League team since 2010 and guided the Rockets to a 116-56-28 record over those five seasons. He will stay on with the Rockets in an advisory role in 2015-16.

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West Kelowna was forced to shuffle its staff late last week, with word that Brent Gough had stepped down as Associate Coach to join the Arizona Bobcats AAA program as Head Coach. The 31-year-old, who had been behind the Warriors bench since the 2010-11 season, will remain as West Kelowna's Assistant GM and also adds the Director of Player Personnel title to his role. In Gough's place behind the bench, Shae Naka returns to the Warriors as Assistant Coach, which is a role he had during the 2012-13 season. Naka spent last season with the Pursuit of Excellence program.








The Trail Smoke Eaters nabbed a player from their past late Thursday, with the signing of 20-year-old Jake Kauppila. The Gurnee, IL product spent 2014-15 with the US Hockey League's Green Bay Gamblers, where he had 19 points (nine goals, ten assists) in 60 games. Kauppila last played in the BCHL with Alberni Valley. He put up nine points (four goals, five assists) in 18 games with the Bulldogs after being traded by Trail on January 10, 2014. In 41 games prior to the trade, Kauppila posted 27 points (ten goals, 17 assists) with the Smoke Eaters. He was slated to attend Michigan Tech this September, but will now head to the NCAA Div. I school in the fall of 2016.

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West Kelowna picked up a veteran goaltender in a trade with the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. Coming to the Warriors is netminder Daniel Mannella while heading east is 19-year-old goalie Scott Patton and future considerations. Mannella is a veteran of 122 junior A games in the OJHL with Oakville, Stouffville and Georgetown. The soon to be 20-year-old has a career record of 53-53-6, a 2.82 goals-against-average, a .910 save percentage and seven shutouts. He also represented Team Canada East at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge. Meanwhile, Patton, who's from Cambridge, ON, had a 10-7 record with the Warriors last season along with a 3.66 goals-against-average and an .885 save percentage. 

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Alberni Valley forward Tyler Povelofskie has hung up his skates at the age of 18, with an eye on his future. The Williams Lake, BC product will attend Thompson Rivers University in the Heavy Duty/Transport Mechanic program. "With a shop giving him the opportunity to have his education paid for, it is like a scholarship to him," said Bulldogs GM and Head Coach Kevin Willison in a release. Povelofskie retires with 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 80 career BCHL games with Prince George, Vernon, and Alberni Valley.








Forward Shawn Horcoff (Chilliwack, 1995-96) won't be re-signed by Dallas and is an unrestricted free agent come July 1st. The 36-year-old from Trail had 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 76 games with the Stars in 2014-15. He's 51 games away from playing in his 1,000th career NHL game.