Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cents Acquire Zmurchyk, Reacquire Valenti:

The future considerations continue to be finalized for the Merritt Centennials as it's now been confirmed that defenceman Jeff Zmurchyk (90) and forward Alex Valenti (89) are joining the team.

I had a chance to ask coach and GM Joey Bouchard about the additions.
Cents coach and GM Joey Bouchard

Click here to download

All audio property of Radio NL (Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.)

I don't know a whole lot about Zmurchyk, maybe Shawn Mullin will be able shed some light on what type of blueliner is joining the Cents. He had three points and 15 penalty minutes with the Smokies last season as a rookie, isn't overly big at 6' and 175 lbs. Zmurchyk has also tried out for the WHL in the past with Prince George so maybe there's a chance he's looking to go that route this season. He turns out to be the future considerations that saw the Centennials trade Scott Jacklin (90) to Trail.

As for Valenti, most people know exactly what the Centennials are getting. He was of course, acquired by Merritt back in October along with Jordan Soquila (89) from Burnaby. In 22 games with the Cents, Valenti posted five goals and 11 assists. In 17 games with the Express, the St. Louis product had four goals and eight assists. On January 7, Valenti and futures were dealt to the North Bay Skyhawks of the NOJHL for defenceman Andrew Glasser (90) and futures. With the Skyhawks, he went on a tear, scoring 16 goals and four assists in 16 games. Valenti also set a NOJHL record for the fastest goal from the start of a game at four seconds on February 22. He will no doubt be relied upon for a lot of offensive production for the Centennials in 2009-10.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Harrison May Traded, Minor Lacrosse Scores:

Although the details of the deal haven't been confirmed by Centennials coach and GM Joey Bouchard, it has been rumored for months, and now Express coach and GM Dave McLellan has confirmed on Eddie Gregory's Burnaby Expressions blog that his team has acquired goaltender Harrison May (89) from the Cents via Vernon.

On his blog earlier this month, Vipersdiehardfan speculated that the deal sees the Centennials send May to the Vipers as the future considerations in the trade that saw Merritt acquire defenceman Steve Tresierra (89) last season. Vernon then turns around and swaps the rights to May to Burnaby to complete the trade that saw former Cents captain Cameron Brodie (88) and defenceman Miek Leidl (89) move to the eventual RBC champs. McLellan also confirmed that this is indeed the way the deal breaks down.

So the bottom line for the Centennials is that they lose one of the top netminders in the BCHL in May, but they acquire a defenceman in Tresierra who many say could be among the best in the league this upcoming season and is likely a strong candidate to be the Cents captain in 2009-10. In my mind, it's a saw off.
Shauna Clinging at Merritt Printing sent some more Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse scores from this past weekend.

Merritt Mountain Towing Midget
Shuswap 7 Nicola Valley 2
Shuswap 7 Nicola Valley 0

Contain It Mini Storage Bantam
Kelowna 8 Nicola Valley 6

Homelife Merritt Novice
Kamloops 10 Nicola Valley 8

Century 21 Peewee
Nicola Valley 11 North Okanagan 2

Merritt Mountain Towing Midget
North Okanagan 5 Nicola Valley 2

Homelife Merritt Novice
North Okanagan 9 Nicola Valley 6

Alpha Design Tyke
Nicola Valley 11 Penticton 8

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One on One with Joey Bouchard:

Here's an interview that Cents play-by-play man Alex Grebenyuk did with coach and GM Joey Bouchard at a meet and greet last Wednesday.

Cents coach and GM Joey Bouchard

Click here to download

All audio property of Radio NL (Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.)

Cents Spring Camp, Trade with Grand Prairie;

Cents coach and GM Joey Bouchard confirmed with me today the dates and times for their Spring Camp. It's going to be at the Abbotsford Centre Ice Arena from Friday June 19 - Sunday June 21. Registration is Thursday June 18 from 7 - 9 pm. Any players interested in attending the camp are encouraged to call Joey at 780-204-6977. I had a chance to talk to Bouchard about the Spring Camp earlier today...

Cents coach and GM Joey Bouchard

Click here to download

All audio property of Radio NL (Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.)

So it sounds like Joey has his eye on building a base of prospects (91 to 94-born players) that can develop through the years with the Centennials. But if you listen to the interview, he also makes it clear that 89 and 90-born players could play their way onto the team if they aren't part of the current returning veterans.


The Grand Prairie Storm and Merritt have both confirmed that AJHL goaltender of the year Chad Carder is on his way to Nanaimo via the Centennials. The trade ultimately breaks down like this:

To Grand Prairie from Merritt: F Brooks Robinson
To Merritt from Grand Prairie: G Chad Carder
From Merritt to Nanaimo: Carder
To Merritt from Nanaimo: F Ryan Aynsley

I asked Joey if he wanted to make a comment on the deal and all he would say was that it was a trade that was consummated before he was hired and that he is only looking forward to building the team with his own devices and whatever pieces were left to him.

The Cents are still owed futures from Nanaimo in the deal that saw F Matt Betker go to the Clippers, so it remains to be seen who is coming to Merritt in that deal.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cents Could Be Sold:

What a day for the Centennials!

The other big news to come out of the media conference this morning is that it appears Brent Stark is ready to step forward as owner of the team. Stark is currently owner of the junior B Whitecourt Wolverines, where new Cents coach and GM Joey Bouchard spent the past two seasons, and will need to follow the BCHL protocol to purchase the franchise.

Stark was very clear on his intentions to keep the Centennials in Merritt, based on the support the community gives the franchise. There has yet to be an application of the sale to the league and once there is, the BCHL will do the same legwork it does for any perspective buyer of a franchise (like approving a financial plan and a budget) before the league's governors vote on the sale.

That being said, Stark will reportedly sign a letter of intent to buy the team and issue a substantial non-refundable down payment. With Bouchard on board as coach and GM, it would appear that Stark is confident that the BCHL will approve the sale once the due process is completed.

Cents Introduce Bouchard:

The Merritt Centennials unveiled Joey Bouchard as the team's new head coach and general manager at a media conference today. I'm hoping to have the entire conference posted on my blog in the next day or so. In the meantime, here are Bouchard and acting President Tom Reynolds' thoughts on these recent developments for the Cents.

Cents acting President Tom Reynolds

Click here to download

New Cents coach and GM Joey Bouchard

Click here to download

All audio property of Radio NL (Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cents set to announce new coach, Minor Lacrosse scores:

I've received word that the Centennials have ended their search for a new coach. Joey Bouchard is set to take over the reigns from Al Glendinning. Bouchard, although young, appears to be a very accomplished junior B coach, leading the Whitcourt Wolverines of the Northwest Junior Hockey League to a record of 32-and-3 last season. No word on whether or not Bouchard will also assume the GM's role or if he'll retain last year's assistants Bill Birks and Wayne Wittal. I'll have more on this as it develops as the Cents are expected to call a media conference for any day this week.


Homelife Merritt Novice Thunder on the road Saturday against Kelowna at Rutland West Arena. Mack Stead, with the assist from Jacob Woodland, tallied the Nicola Valley squads only marker in a 6-1 loss. Sunday brought the Kelowna team to Shulus Community Arena where the Thunder novice team showed there tenacity in hard fought match. The outcome was 7-4 loss with Nicola Valley goals scored by Keyton Laupitz, Tyson Coles, Travis Simon (assisted by goalie Rowan Clinging & Jesse Landerkin) and Mack Stead.

The Century 21 Peewees split games in double header action with Kamloops on Sunday at Shulus Community Arena. In the morning game the Thunder Peewees fell 8-3 to the Kamloops Rattlers with goals from Jessie Cunningham, Liam Clinging (assisted by goalie Anand Bains) and Jarrod Murphy.

The Thunder team regrouped and came back for an 8-5 victory in the afternoon game. Taea Coles started the scoring on an assist from goalie Nathan Lund. Liam Clinging tallied 4 goals and 2 assists in a solid team effort. Dakota Grismer-Voght 1 goal, Jarrod Murphy 1 goal & 1 assist, Braedon Thormoset 1 goal, Anand Bains 2 assists, Jessie Cunningham 2 assists, Tanner Malloy 1 assist.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A look at what is to come:

With the RBC Cup just about done, we should know soon exactly what all the future considerations former Centennials coach and GM Al Glendinning acquired will become, either cash or players. From what I can see, here is what futures should be coming to Merritt.

- From North Bay (NOJHL) (acquired with D Andrew Glasser in exchange for F Alex Valenti (89) and more futures - not sure what may be heading to North Bay if it has not already - might be cash)
- From Trail (acquired along with F Chad Gehon in exchange for F Scott Jacklin (90)
- From Westside (acquired with F Matt Betker in exchange for F Chad Gehon)
- From Penticton (acquired for F Max Grassi)
- From Prince George (acquired with F Michael Nardi in exchange for F Alex Goodship)
- From Nanaimo (acquired for F Matt Betker)
- From Powell River (acquired with F Brooks Robinson in exchange for F Jordan Grant)
- From Spruce Grove (AJHL) (acquired for F Tyler Barr)

The futures that the Cents gave up at the deadline (to Vernon for D Steve Tresierra) are still to be determined, but rumblings are that somehow those will see G Harrison May dealt to Burnaby, but there has been no confirmation from any of the teams on that.

So from the way it looks to me, if I assume that all of the futures are players, (except for in the Valenti deal) which former assistant coach Bill Birks indicated at the deadline, then the Centennials have got at least seven new players coming their way. Throw into the mix the fact that impact players like Tresierra, Nardi, F Dustin Johnson (90), D Jake Baker (91), D Brad Bourke (89), F Gary Rai (90), F Jordan Soquila (89), F Colton Sobchak (90) and G Kyle Nielsen (90) are all eligible to come back and the Cents roster right now looks pretty good. F Ryan Aynsley (90) and F Kevin Philp (90) left the team at different points last season and it remains to be seen if they get carded when Hockey Canada releases the player cards in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Former Cents forward Zalba off to Neumann College:

This is from Craig Stein's Steiner's Stall blog:

The Yorkton Terriers are happy to announce the committment of F Jordan Zalba to the NCAA's Neumann College Knights for next season.

After spending most of his junior days in his native British Columbia with his hometown Victoria Grizzlies and Merritt Centennials, Zalba joined the Terriers for 24 games in 2008-09, where he put up 7-goals and 6-assists for 13-points.

Zalba joins defenseman Greg Coburn (Union College, NCAA Div I) as 2008/09 Terriers who've earned scholarships. Expect more to come in the weeks ahead.

Neumann College is located in Aston, Pennsylvania and the Knights play NCAA Division III in the ECAC Conference.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Pierro-Zabotel signs with Pittsburgh:

Former Cents captain Casey Pierro-Zabotel has signed a three year entry level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Greg Drinnan's Taking Note blog notes that the Pens have assigned the 20-year-old to Wilkes-Barre of the American Hockey League. Zabotel also practiced with the Baby Penguins last season after the Vancouver Giants were eliminated from the WHL playoffs.

Cents Shuffle the Deck:

The Merritt Centennials have made some significant changes to their Board of Directors after a special meeting last night. The Board accepted the resignation of Directors Josh Statham, Todd Chamberlain and Brian Whitecross while Tod Dean, Beth Nadeau, Frank Etchart, Jerry Canuel and Brian Barrett joined the Board in Director's positions.

Here is Centennials acting President Tom Reynolds on these recent developments and what the plans are for the current Board moving forward:

Cents acting President Tom Reynolds

Click here to download

Monday, May 4, 2009

Birks as Head Coach? Canada's OTHER National Sport:

There have been rumblings that last season's Merritt Centennials co-coach and director of player personnel Bill Birks should be considered for the vacant head coach and GM position with the Cents. Although I don't know if Birks is being considered for the position, I know for a fact that he is interested in the job. I would think that based on his experience with the players last season, Birks will be considered for the job, but there will likely be a lot of interest from across North America. I'm sure the people involved with club (although I'm still trying to track down who'll be making these decisions) know that time is of the essence and they'll need to have someone in place sooner than later.


I got this email from Shauna Clinging at Merritt Printing this morning on behalf of the Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse Association:

Midgets posted a win over Revelstoke details unavailabe at this time.

Game 1: 11-8 win over Shuswap.
Goal scorers: Dallas Grismer-Voght (6), Malik Miller (4) and Kristian Stead (1).
Goaltender: Brody Tod - strong game in net

Game 2: 11-5 win over Shuswap
Goal scorers: Dallas - Grismer-Voght (5), Kristian Stead (1), Quinn Newell (1), Kenny Hartwig (1), Talon Tom (1), Malik Miller (2 and 5 assists).
Goaltender: Brody Tod - strong game in net

Highlights: Very good penalty killing in second game. Our first year players had a strong second game particularily on defence.

Peewees lost 6-3 to Revelstoke
scorers Dakota Grismer-Voght, Brayden Thormoset, Pay Beatty Smith
Nathan Lund strong game in goal.