Thursday, February 26, 2009

Silverbacks Bus Driver Killed in Crash:

Sad news for the Backs and the Salmon Arm community...

BC-Fatal-Bus-Crash

MERRITT, B.C. -- The driver at the wheel of the B-C Hockey League Salmon Arm Silverbacks team bus has died in hospital after the bus rear-ended a semi-trailer.

The accident happened yesterday at about 1 p.m. on the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt as a late-winter storm made conditions treacherous.

No members of the hockey team were aboard the bus when it slammed into the back of the stopped rig.

A cause of the crash is still under investigation.

RCMP urge drivers to slow down because the steep and winding highway remains blanketed with several centimetres of snow and conditions are extremely slippery. (CJNL)(The Canadian Press)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cents Award Winners:

The Cents held their annual awards ceremony last night. Here are the winners:

Most Improved Player - F Gary Rai (90)

Academic Scholar/Most Promising Player - D Jake Baker (91)
Cents defenceman Jake Baker

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Rookie of the Year/Most Game Winning Goals - F Dustin Johnson (90)
Cents forward Dustin Johnson

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Leadership and Ability/Leading Scorer - F Paul Forster (88)
Cents forward Paul Forster

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Most Gentlemanly Player/Ska-Lu-La Award - D Brad Bourke (89)
Cents defenceman Brad Bourke

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Best Defenceman/Most Valuable Player/Most Dedicated - D Steve Tresierra (90)
Cents defenceman Steve Tresierra

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Best Plus-Minus - D Casey Fratkin (89)

Unsung Hero - D Codie Kightley (88)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Coach-Go-Round:

Here's my article from the Merritt News... I know the Quesnel and Williams Lake stuff is old news for the blogosphere, but the info about the Cents may not be.

As the 2008-09 season winds down in the BC Hockey League, a couple of teams are already guaranteed to have a new look behind the bench next season. The expansion Williams Lake TimberWolves hired renowned junior B coach Brad Fox to be their coach and GM last year, but he resigned two weeks ago to return to coaching the Revelstoke Grizzlies of the KIJHL – a post he held prior to joining the T-Wolves. Williams Lake hired former WHL goaltender Geoff Murdoch to be their general manager and should have a new coach hired within the next couple of months.

The other change recently came in Quesnel, where bench boss Tom Bohmer stepped down after the Millionaires 9-3 loss to the Merritt Centennials at the end of January. Bohmer had actually been suspended indefinitely by the BCHL for his actions in a game on January 30th against Penticton and wasn’t even on the bench for the loss to the Cents. He resigned citing personal reasons and was replaced by Mills board member Tim Kirkham on an interim basis. Last week, Mills president Randy England stepped down as president and governor and has been replaced by Bob Sales, who is the brother of BCHL executive director David Sales. Word is that the Millionaires are awaiting a resolution to their ownership situation before a decision is made on hiring a coach.

Now locally, it’s not certain that the Merritt Centennials will have a new face in the coach and GM position next season, but it is a possibility. Current bench boss Al Glendinning is working under a one-year contract this season with a mutual option, meaning that if Glendinning wants to be back for the 2009-10 season and the Cents board of directors wants to have him back for the 2009-10 season, then the former BCHL Interior Conference coach of the year will be back. However, for Glendinning to return, he would have to express to the board his desire to come back, then a motion to offer him a new contract would have to be tabled by a board member, and then the motion would have to pass with a majority vote by the board of directors. There are lots of arguments for and against having Glendinning back as coach and GM of the Centennials, and I’m not going to get into those arguments here, as I firmly believe that pretty much everyone in the community has an opinion on the subject, but the bottom line is that his contract is up at the end of March and it shouldn’t be long after the final game is played this Saturday against Trail that we’ll know if a familiar face or a new face will be coaching the Centennials when they return to the ice in September.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rebuilding Plans?

This is an idea I borrowed from Aaron Musick's Colorado Avalanche blog on HockeyBuzz.com and I thought a lot of his questions could easily be related to the Cents.

So let me know your answers, I'm interested to see what everyone thinks!

Roster Movement:

1) Which players from the current roster would you keep around?

2) What areas do you see the Cents needing an upgrade in?

3) Which players already in the BCHL would you target for trade to upgrade the Cents needs?

4) Which junior B prospects would you immediately sign and what would you do to make them ready for the BCHL?

Management:

5) What management decisions would you make? (remember: you're the decision-maker)

6) If you make a coaching change, what type do you want?

7) What would your new lines be?

Strategy:

8) What kind of power play strategy would you have?

9) Same question but with the Penalty Kill?

10) What kind of strategy would you want?

11) How would you run training camp?

Future:

12) What would you do to make sure the Centennials stay and are successful in Merritt?

If you have anything else to add, don't hesitate to!

Cents Awards Ceremony:

The Cents will host their annual awards dinner and ceremony this Thursday at the Merritt Seniors Centre. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. RSVP to Betty at 250-378-6940. As for the awards themselves, let the debate begin.

Here are the awards up for grabs (and the three players who I think should be in the running):

Most Improved Player: F Colton Sobchak (90), G Kyle Nielsen (90), F Gary Rai (90)
Academic Scholar: D Jake Baker (91), F Jordan Soquila (89), D Steve Tresierra (90)
Most Promising Player: F Dustin Johnson (90), D Jake Baker (91), D Steve Tresierra (90)
Most Gentlemanly Player: D Brad Bourke (89), F Michael Nardi (90), D Jake Baker (91)
Rookie of the Year: D Jake Baker (91), G Kyle Nielsen (90), D Steve Tresierra (90)
Best Defenceman: D Steve Tresierra (90), D Brad Bourke (89), D Jake Baker (91)
Unsung Hero: D Codie Kightley (88), G Kyle Nielsen (90), F Paul Forster (88)
Leadership and Ability: F Paul Forster (88), D Codie Kightley (88), D Steve Tresierra (90)
Most Valuable Player: G Harrison May (89), D Steve Tresierra (90), F Paul Forster (88)
Joe Tennant - Most Dedicated Award: F Paul Forster (88), D Codie Kightley (88), D Casey Fratkin (89)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Philp Leaves Cents + Major Update:


First off, I am sorry I haven't been blogging much in the last week and a half, with Valentine's Day tomorrow along with Merritt's First Annual Winter Carnival, things have been crazy at work.

Of course the Cents have a game tonight in Quesnel, and you have to like their chances. Merritt is 3-0 at The Vault and 5-2-0-1 overall this season against the Millionaires. The Centennials will have a bit of a short bench though, as they try to snap their two game losing streak. F Kevin Philp (90) left the team earlier this week after a dispute about his playing time. Philp, who came to the Cents after being released from the WHL's Saskatoon Blades in September, had found himself benched for stretches during the last four games, while in the ten games before that, he posted ten points. For now, the locker stall in the picture above is empty and I can only hope that Philp lands on his feet for next season, either here in Merritt or somewhere else in the BCHL or WHL. He's a big body that's difficult to knock off the puck and has a decent amount of skill.

F Alexander MacMillan (90) won't play again this season after the doctor determined that his hip flexor injury wouldn't be sufficiently healed for him to resume skating. MacMillan has gone home to Alberta and should be ready to go for training camp next season. I certainly hope for the best for the only Cents player during my tenure here that has the same birthday as me!

So without Philp and MacMillan around and F Ryan Aynsley (90) still at home in Kelowna since leaving the Cents at Christmas, the team only has eight healthy forwards. With six healthy defencemen, D Matt Mazzarolo (90) has been playing up front recently, as has D Casey Fratkin (89), who is a natural forward that was converted to defence earlier this season.

The BCHL has renamed the MVP trophy to honour league pioneer Vern Dye. I had a chance to speak with executive director Dave Sales about the name change and I'll have that interview posted here tomorrow.

Also, a quick update on the fundraising of Cents superfan Adam McCormack. Adam wound up raising $5023.26 for the Skate For A Cure, which put him in first place across the province! Watch for Adam at a future Canucks game as his prize for finishing first includes 2 VIP tickets and he also gets to lead the Canucks out onto the ice and stand with them for the national anthem! If you supported Adam due to my interview with him that I posted here, thank you!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

**Update** Quesnel Millionaires GM & Coach Bohmer Resigns:


Big news from Quesnel this morning as head coach and GM Tom Bohmer has resigned. The official release from the Mills website is here.

This move comes as Bohmer was suspended indefinitely yesterday by the BCHL due to his conduct in Friday's 5-1 loss to Penticton.

I had a chance to talk to Geoff Ruffle, who is a member of the Millionaires Board of Directors regarding the move:

Mills Board Member Geoff Ruffle

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With rumours of the Millionaires being sold and Bohmer's record of 42 wins in 173 games in Quesnel, it would have been a stretch at the very least to suggest that he would have been back next season. It's likely that a new ownership group of the Mills would have wanted to bring in their own coach and GM and it appears that is what's going to happen.

***UPDATE***

It looks like the First Vice-President from the Mills Board of Directors has been named the team's new head coach and GM. Nothing official from the team's point of view but under team personnel on the BCHL website, Tim Kirkham is listed as the Millionaires head coach and GM. It'll be interesting to see if Kirkham is behind the bench tomorrow night when Quesnel hosts Prince George.