Friday, December 31, 2010

Former Smoke Eater Travis Roche Named to All-Star Team as Canada Settles for Silver at Spengler Cup:

St. Petersburg's Maxim Sushinsky celebrates a goal past Canadian goalkeeper Jeff Deslauriers in the Spengler Cup final. (Arno Balzarini/Keystone/Getty Images)

Former NHL players Alexei Yashin and Maxim Afinogenov scored second-period goals to lead SKA St. Petersburg past Canada 4-3 in the Spengler Cup final Friday.

It marks the third straight year a Russian team has captured the tournament title.

Canada was making its ninth championship appearance in 11 years and its 12th championship overall but first since 2007.

Yashin, on the power play, and Afinogenov scored to give SKA St. Petersburg a 3-1 lead after Micki Dupont pulled the Canadians into a 1-1 tie.

Canada's Brett McLean cut the Russian squad's lead to 3-2 with a power-play goal at 18:38 of the third.

But captain Maxim Sushinsky scored his second of the game into the empty net at 18:57 to restore SKA St. Petersburg's two-goal advantage.

Josh Holden pulled Canada to within a goal again but only with two seconds remaining in regulation time.

Canada's Jeff Deslauriers captured the tournament's top goalie award while Travis Roche (Trail, 1996-98) was named one of its best defencemen.

The Canadian team was attempting to earn the victory playing its fifth game in as many days.

The Spengler Cup, which debuted in 1923, is the world's oldest pro hockey tournament.

SKA St. Petersburg finished the tournament undefeated, winning all four of its games although the Russians had to rally from a 3-0 deficit to beat Geneve-Servette 4-3 in the semifinals Thursday.

The Canadians advanced to the final with a 4-0 semifinal win over host HC Davos.

(The Canadian Press)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cents Fall 3-2 in Trail:

The Cents lost 3-2 in Trail tonight in what was one of their best played games of the season.

Here's the recap from

Trail, BC - December 30, 2010

The Merritt Centennials three-game winning streak came to an end with a 3-2 loss in Trail Thursday against the Smoke Eaters.

The Smokies jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period on goals by Eric Walker, Scott Jacklin and Sam Mellor before Jeff Jones, on a power play, drew the Centennials to within two goals before the first intermission.

Sean Maktaak scored for Merritt on a Kiefer Smiley gaffe late in the second period to make the score 3-2 for Trail after 40 minutes. The Cents outshot the Smoke Eaters 22-3 in the third period, but Smiley was outstanding to preserve the win.

Merritt finished the night with a 51-15 advantage on the shot clock. Lino Chimienti started the game for the Centennials, allowing three goals on four shots before being replaced by Tyler Steel, who was perfect with 11 saves. Kiefer Smiley earned first star honours, making 49 saves for Trail.

The Cents finished the game 1-for-6 on the power play while the Smoke Eaters went 1-for-4.

Merritt's next game is on Saturday at home against the Quesnel Millionaires. Game time is 7:30 pm at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

Cents coach/GM Luke Pierce joined Q101 play-by-play announcer Alex Grebenyuk on our post-game show.

Cents @ Smoke Eaters Preview:

Merritt (14-18-0-5) @ Trail (22-16-1-1)

Tonight is the fifth meeting of the season and second straight between the Merritt Centennials and Trail Smoke Eaters. Tonight is the Cents first road game since December 10th while Trail is playing their second straight home game.

Last Game Played: Saturday, December 18 - Merritt won 3-2

Next Games:
Saturday, January 1: Quesnel @ Merritt
Sunday, January 2: Trail @ Salmon Arm

Let's take a look at the Merritt Centennials:

Games Played: 37
Wins: 14
Losses: 18
Ties: 0
Overtime Losses: 5
Home Record: 10-5-0-3
Road Record: 4-13-0-2
Streak: Three game winning streak
Last Ten Games: 6-4-0-0
Goals For: 101
Goals Against: 131
Standings: 6th place

Since the 2003-04 season Merritt is 21-24-1-2 vs. Trail

Since the 2003-04 season Merritt is 14-9-0-2 at home vs. Trail

Since the 2003-04 season Merritt is 7-15-1-0 in Trail

Merritt is 3-7-0-0 in its last 10 visits to the Cominco Arena

Merritt is 6-4 in its last 10 games vs. Trail

Merritt’s last win in Trail was a 4-3 overtime victory back on Wednesday, December 30, 2009.

Merritt Centennials at 18:56 (PP) - Andrew Pickering from Dustin Johnson and Jordan Soquila
Trail Smoke Eaters at 12:21 - Darnell Dyck from Scott Jacklin and Curtis Tonello
Trail Smoke Eaters at 9:39 (PP) - Scott Jacklin from Tommy Rizzardo and Sam Mellor
Merritt Centennials at 18:04 - Derek Hills from Jordan Soquila and Jeff Jones
Trail Smoke Eaters at 7:38 - Sam Mellor from Scott Jacklin and Nick Sandor
Merritt Centennials at 16:35 - Dustin Johnson from Derek Hills and Jordan Soquila
Merritt Centennials at 2:53 - Silvan Harper from Derek Hills and Jeff Zmurchyk

Former Centennials on the Smoke Eaters:
D Jake Baker (0g, 10a in 63 career games with Merritt)
F Scott Jacklin (Didn't report to Merritt after being acquired in January 2009)

Centennials power play vs. Trail this season: 5/21
Centennials home record vs. Trail this season: 2-0
Centennials road record vs. Trail this season: 0-2

Cents scoring leaders vs. Trail this season:
Regan Soquila (2-3-5)
Jeff Jones (1-4-5)
Steve Tresierra (0-3-3)
Evan Stack (2-0-2)
Blaine Bokenfohr (1-1-2)
Sean Maktaak (1-1-2)
Dustin Lebrun (1-1-2)
Reece Willcox (1-0-1)
Max Vallis (1-0-1)
Billy Marshall (0-1-1)
Brandon Pfeil (0-1-1)
Kameran Crawford (0-1-1)

Lino Chimienti (2-0)
Tyler Steel (0-1)

Let's take a look at the Trail Smoke Eaters:

Games Played: 40
Wins: 22
Losses: 16
Ties: 1
Overtime Losses: 1
Home Record: 14-5-0-1
Road Record: 8-11-1-0
Streak: Three game losing streak
Last Ten Games: 3-6-1-0
Goals For: 132
Goals Against: 120
Standings: 5th Place

Former Smoke Eaters on the Centennials: none

Smoke Eaters power play vs. Merritt this season: 3/17
Smoke Eaters home record vs. Merritt this season: 2-0
Smoke Eaters road record vs. Merritt this season: 0-2

Trail's scoring leaders vs. Merritt this season:
Travis St. Denis (3-3-6)
Scott Jacklin (2-4-6)
Sam Mellor (3-2-5)
Cullen Bradshaw (3-2-5)
Paul Mailey (1-3-4)
Adam Boytinck (1-2-3)
Rajan Sidhu (0-3-3)
Logan Proulx (1-1-2)
Curtis Tonell (1-0-1)
Ben Matthews (1-0-1)
Ryan Luiten (1-0-1)
Jason Nash (0-1-1)
Ben Greenaway (0-1-1)

Kiefer Smiley (2-0)
Matt Larose (0-2)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Former Cents Forward Ryan Aynsley Leaves Smoke Eaters:

It looks like Jake Baker and Scott Jacklin are the only two former Centennials the current team will face tomorrow in Trail. As reported on Jon Zacks' Smoke Eaters blog, Ryan Aynsley has left the Smokies to return to Castlegar of the KIJHL.

Missing from Trail’s lineup on Tuesday was Ryan Aynsley. It sounds like he’s heading back to Castlegar to rejoin the Rebels. Jim Ingram has confirmed it for me, but I’ll try to get you more in the next day or two.

I'll have a Cents-Smoke Eaters game preview posted later today or tomorrow.

Monday, December 27, 2010

BCHL Alumni Helps Lead Canada over Spartak Moscow:

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Martin Kariya (Victoria, 1998-99), Yanick Lehoux and Micki Dupont scored second-period goals as Canada opened the Spengler Cup with a 6-1 win over Spartak Moscow on Monday.

Eric Landry, Glen Metropolit (Vernon, 1994-95) and Josh Holden had the other goals for Canada (1-0).

Alexander Yunkov had the lone goal for Spartak (1-1).

Former NHL star Mark Messier is the head coach of the Canadian squad, whose roster is mainly comprised of players currently skating in Europe

Also on Monday, Geneve-Servette nipped Sparta Prague 4-3.

After a scoreless first period, the Canadians took control of the game in the second by beating former NHL star goalie Dominik Hasek three times.

Canada faces the host Davos team Tuesday.

(The Canadian Press)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

BCHL Alumni Set for Spengler Cup:

(Canada's jersey at the 2010 Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland)

Three players who skated in the BCHL are set to play for Team Canada at the 2010 Spengler Cup.

Martin Kariya (Victoria, 1998-99), Glen Metropolit (Vernon, 1994-95), and Travis Roche (Trail, 1996-98) are among the 24 players who'll wear the Maple Leaf as Canada tries to win the tournament for the first time since 2007.

Canada opens the tournament - which has been held since 1923 - tomorrow against host team HC Davos, which beat Russian club Spartak Moscow 4-2 today.

Fernie Adds Two Players with Ties to Merritt:

The KIJHL's Fernie Ghostriders continue to load up for a Cyclone Taylor Cup championship run this spring as the host team.

The Ghostriders have added two players who have ties to the Centennials.

First, forward Briar McNaney (93), who attended Cents training camp both this past August and the year before has joined Fernie as an affiliate player after being released by Creston Valley. McNaney, who's from Merritt, has ten points in 31 games this season.

Second, forward Luke Richardson (90), who was signed by the Cents as an affiliate player last season after attending their training camp in August, was picked up from the Kelowna Chiefs. Richardson has been a scoring force in the KIJHL during his career, notching 125 points in 121 career games. Here's the word from the Ghostriders:
We have acquired Luke Richardson, 5'10", 165 from the Kelowna Chiefs for future considerations. We are excited to add Luke to our line-up as he comes to us with experience as he won a gold medal last year at the Keystone Cup with the Revelstoke Grizzlies. Luke was named the MVP of the Keystone Cup. Richardson is a proven playoff performer with 14 goals, 22 assists in 34 games. Luke has experience in both the Cycone Taylor Cup and the Keystone Cup. We are really excited to add Luke to our line-up.

Both Richardson and McNaney join former Centennials assistant captain Jeff Zmurchyk, former affiliate players Scott Morisseau and Evan Burgess, and former try-outs Jordan Hirano and Josh McSkimming on Fernie's roster.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The First Annual Merry Centennials Christmas!

It's been nearly a month since I posted anything on the blog, and not because of a shortage of things to talk about in relation to the Centennials, but because things have been just crazy for me through December. I apologize for my lack of posting and I'm making it my New Year's resolution to be more diligent in finding time to post.

And with that, here is my gift to you: the first annual Merry Centennials Christmas. ENJOY!

I'll have more over the Christmas break on the roll the Cents are on right now, I hope you have an amazing holiday season!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cents Acquire Forward Blaine Bokenfohr, Sign Forward Cody Heinen as an AP:

The Cents have picked up 20 year old forward Blaine Bokenfohr from the Dawson Creek Rage of the NAHL and signed 18 year old forward Cody Heinen as an affiliate player.

I'll have more on the Bokenfohr acquisition later tonight with Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce and Blaine himself.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cents Offer Fans A Free Gift During Friday's Santa Claus Parade:


Merritt, BC - November 22, 2010

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce that in the spirit of Merritt's 8th Annual Country Christmas celebrations, the organization will be giving out a limited number of free tickets to the game on Friday, November 26th during the Santa Claus Light-Up Parade.

"With the parade starting right before our game, we decided to give residents an early Christmas gift of a free ticket to that night's match-up against Prince George," said Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel. "Although the number of free tickets is limited, we hope that once the parade is over, everyone will come to the arena to cheer on our hometown team to victory!"

For further information, please contact Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel at 250-378-3604.

Cents Doubled 4-2 in Penticton:


Penticton, BC - November 24, 2010

The Merritt Centennials played their fifth game in seven days in a 4-2 loss to the Penticton Vees Wednesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Steve Tresierra with a shorthanded goal, and Jeff Jones scored for the Centennials while Billy Marshall picked up an assist in the loss.

Logan Johnston, Joey Holka and Joey Laleggia had the Penticton goals.

Lino Chimienti kicked out 36 Vees shots to earn second star honours despite the Merritt loss. Joel Rumpel stopped 24 Centennials shots to record the win.

The Cents went 0/4 on the power play and Penticton was 1/6 with the man advantage.

Merritt's next game is back on home ice Friday at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena against the Prince George Spruce Kings to kick of its' annual Parents' Weekend.  

Penticton Vees at 6:12 - Joey Laleggia from Curtis Loik and Kyle Mountain
Merritt Centennials at 14:37 (SH) - Steve Tresierra (unassisted) 
Merritt Centennials at 4:25 - Jeff Jones from Billy Marshall
Penticton Vees at 7:20 - Joey Holka from Curtis Loik
Penticton Vees at 10:43 (PP) - Logan Johnston from Tyler Hlookoff
Penticton Vees at 18:46 - Mark MacMillan from Brendan O'Donnell and James Polk

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cents fall 3-2 in Alberni:


Port Alberni, BC - November 21, 2010

The Merritt Centennials put an end to a grueling stretch of four games in five days with a 3-2 loss at the Weyerhauser Arena against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Sunday afteroon.

Billy Marshall and Steve Tresierra scored for the Cents while Jeff Jones, Max Vallis and Kameran Crawford each had assists in the loss.

Brandon Adams had the winner for the Bulldogs. Brothers Josh and Sam Mitchell each also scored in the victory.

Lino Chimienti was strong in goal once again for Merritt, making 33 saves despite the loss. Frank Slubowski kicked out 24 Centennials shots to get the win for Alberni Valley.

Both teams went 1/3 on the power play.

The Cents are now winless against the Bulldogs since January 28, 2006. Merritt hasn't won in Alberni Valley since November 23, 2003.

The Centennials continue their stretch of five straight road games on Wednesday in Penticton.


Alberni Valley Bulldogs at 4:26 - Josh Mitchell from Kenney Morrison and Colton Sobchak
Alberni Valley Bulldogs at 10:50 (PP) - Sam Mitchell from Kenney Morrison and Casey Bailey
Merritt Centennials at 18:26 - Billy Marshall from Max Vallis 
Merritt Centennials at 10:14 (PP) - Steve Tresierra from Kameran Crawford and Jeff Jones
Alberni Valley Bulldogs at 12:08 - Brandon Adams from Kyle Weber 
No Scoring

Cents in Alberni Valley:

The Merritt Centennials wrap up their four games swing through Vancouver Island this afternoon in Port Alberni. It's their lone visit of the season to the Weyerhauser Arena to face the Bulldogs.

For AV, it's the third game of a three game home stand that coincides with Parents' Weekend for the Bulldogs. The Dogs are 1-1 on the home stand, including a 3-1 loss Saturday against Nanaimo, the team the Cents blanked 3-0 on Friday.

It was a weird one in Victoria last night for Merritt as the Cents outshot the Grizzlies through 20 minutes by a wide margin (17-9) but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. The Grizz stormed out with three goals in the second period and added another three in the third for the win. Max Vallis had the lone goal for the Centennials, who allowed more than three goals against for the first time in eleven games. It also marked the first time in ten games that the Cents hadn't out shot their opponent (although they did tie Victoria at 45 shots each).

Today's game is the first for Colton Sobchak against his former team. The 20 year old forward from Kelowna was traded by Merritt to Alberni back in the off-season for the always-popular future considerations. Sobchak is well below his pace of almost a point per game as he was with the Centennials last season and is ice cold right now with just one assist in his last four games, but he does have eight points in his last ten games.

The Cents went 0-2 against the Bulldogs last season and haven't beat Alberni Valley since January 28, 2006 (check out the boxscore). They haven't won at the Weyerhauser Arena since November 23, 2003. The boxscore for that game is here.

Catch the game this afternoon on Q101 in Merritt (101.1 FM), or Our pre-game show with Alex Grebenyuk starts at 2 pm with the opening faceoff at 2:30.

Cents Line Up This Afternoon vs. Alberni Valley:

I suspected there would be a couple of line up changes for the Cents after last night's 6-1 loss in Victoria. Although I don't know the exact combinations, here's what the line up is for Merritt today in Port Alberni.




Scratches: Muir (AP), Fletcher

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cents Line Up vs. Victoria:

Coming off a solid game last night, the Centennials aren't making any changes to their line up tonight, except for in goal.










Scratches: Lebrun, Sabourin

Cents in Victoria Tonight:

Tonight the Centennials play their third game in four days as they make their lone visit to Bear Mountain Arena to face the Victoria Grizzlies.

For the Grizzlies, it's their last game of a three game home stand. They are 2-0 so far, with both wins coming in overtime.

The Cents want to keep things rolling as they posted their first shutout of the season and Lino Chimienti's first of his BCHL career last night with a 3-0 win over Nanaimo. Although I didn't see the game, from what I've heard, the Cents played as close to a perfect road game as possible in getting the victory. Not sure of any lineup changes tonight as I'm awaiting an email from Luke Pierce confirming who's in and who's out tonight. Dustin Lebrun and Richard Sabourin sat out last night, but from what I understand, both are healthy and Luke was planning to sit out the odd guy during the trip with so many games in such a short period of time.

Tonight's game marks the first match-up for Dustin Johnson against his former team and first meeting of the season between Merritt and Victoria. They'll lock horns at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena on Wed. December 1. Johnson was traded by the Cents to Victoria last month. Brett Kolins was picked up from the Grizzlies in that deal and didn't report to Merritt, he's playing junior 'B' hockey in the PIJHL. Johnson, meanwhile, is maintaining the same pace with Victoria that he had with the Cents, compiling 12 points (6g, 6a) in 14 games.

Merritt was 0-2 against Victoria last season and hasn't beat the Grizzlies since December 10, 2006, a 6-2 win at home. Check out the boxscore for a blast from the past! The Cents haven't won in Victoria since November 19, 2004, but what a win it was, 8-1 over the then-Salsa.

This season is one of the few for the Centennials in which they don't have any players on their roster from Vancouver Island, so this isn't a homecoming for any of them. Not like when they play Coquitlam/Surrey/Langley, when seven players are playing close to home.

Catch the game tonight on Q101 in Merritt (101.1 FM) or or Pre-game show at 6:45, opening faceoff at 7:15.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cents Line Up Tonight vs. Nanaimo:


Muir (AP)-Crawford


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Capitals 2 Centennials 1:


Merritt Centennials at 6:22 - Stephen Wall from Dustin Lebrun and Jakob Reichert
Cowichan Valley Capitals at 14:57 (PP) - Mike Hammond from Tyler Matheson and Nicholas Wong

No Scoring

Cowichan Valley Capitals at 4:04 - Tyler Jones from Brendon MacDonald and Jordan Grant

The Cents are on a two game losing skid now after tonight's loss. Lino Chimienti made 20 saves for Merritt while Derek Dun kicked out 27 shots for Cowichan Valley.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cents Weekly Recap, Regan Soquila Named BCHL Player of the Week, Movember, World Junior A Challenge, Alumni Update:


I chatted with Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce on Tuesday about the big weekend which saw their power play go 10-for-20 in three straight wins and we also talked about Regan Soquila winning BCHL Player of the Week.


I know I'm a little late on this, but a huge congrats to Cents rookie forward Regan Soquila!


Burnaby, BC - November 8, 2010

Merritt Centennials rookie forward Regan Soquila has been named the British Columbia Hockey League's Player of the Week for the week ending Sunday, November 7th, the league announced Monday.

Soquila helped lead the Centennials to a perfect record on home ice last weekend with wins over Vernon, Westside and Quesnel. On Friday, Soquila was part of a rally that saw the Cents fight back from down from 3-0 entering the third period to win 4-3 in overtime over the defending RBC Cup champs. A night later he assisted on a pair of goals -- including Jeff Jones' game-winner -- in a 6-3 victory over the Warriors. And on Sunday, the 17-year old recorded a hat trick and totaled four points in a 9-3 triumph over the Millionaires.

The Maple Ridge, BC native finished the week with three goals and four assists. He currently sits tops in team scoring with 11 goals and second in points with 19 through 20 games.


Bid on your favourite Centennials player and help fight prostate cancer!


Merritt, BC - November 10, 2010

The Merritt Centennials are proud to announce that November 2010 marks the first annual "Movember" fundraiser for the team.

"Movember" is an international movement where men grow mustaches to raise awareness for men’s health issues, most notably Prostate Cancer.

As part of "Movember", all of the Cents players will be trying to grow moustaches to raise money for this great cause.

"The entire Centennials organization would like to encourage everyone to participate in the fight against prostate cancer for the month of November," said Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel. "In 2010 alone, over 4400 men will die from this tragic disease and by making a small donation throughout the month we can all do our part to find a cure for prostate cancer."

Men, women and children are encouraged to join the Centennials "Movember" team. This can be done by going to the following website:

You can also donate to the Movember Foundation via the aforementioned URL.

November is "Movember" with the Merritt Centennials!


I chatted with Manager of Domestic Events for Hockey Canada Kevin Webster about the recent job postings for Head Coach/GM of Canada West and East for the 2011 World Junior A Challenge and some thoughts on this year's tournament, now underway in Penticton.


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that John Curry and Brad Thiessen of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have been named co-winners of the Reebok/AHL Goaltender of the Month award for October. Curry and Thiessen split the goaltending chores and combined to go 8-0-0 with a 1.84 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage as the Penguins remained the league’s only unbeaten team.

Thiessen (4-0-0, 1.96, .930) and Curry (4-0-0, 1.72, .940) alternated starts, beginning with Thiessen’s 30-save performance in a 4-3 shootout win over Hershey on opening night, Oct. 9. Curry earned his first victory of the season with 25 saves in a 2-1 decision over Adirondack on Oct. 12. Thiessen made 30 saves in three of his four games, while Curry made a season-high 37 stops in a 2-1 shootout victory vs. Binghamton on Oct. 23. In 245 minutes of work each, Thiessen stopped 107 of 115 shots while Curry turned aside 110 of 117. The Penguins finished the month ranked first in the AHL in team defense (1.88 goals allowed per game) and first in penalty killing (93.0 percent).

In recognition of their achievement, Curry and Thiessen will each be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Penguins home game.

Thiessen, a native of Aldergrove, B.C., was 14-14-1 (2.45, .914) with four shutouts in 30 AHL games as a rookie with the Penguins in 2009-10. At Northeastern University, he was one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s outstanding collegiate player in 2008-09.


Jared Andersen, 19, has joined the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Calgary Mustangs after being released by the Centennials last month. Through one game with the Mustangs, Andersen has an 0-1 record with a 5.00 GAA and a .737 save percentage.


From the Quesnel Cariboo Observer:

In an attempt to address the sagging offence the Millionaires acquired the rights to Thomas Hardy, a 18-year-old forward with the Aldergrove Kodiaks of the Pacific International Junior Hockey League.

Hardy, who has 18 goals in 19 games with the Kodiaks, is expected to be in the lineup this weekend.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cents Coach & GM Luke Pierce Reacts to Zmurchyk's Decision:

Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce responds to defenceman Jeff Zmurchyk's decision to leave the team and go back to Fernie.

Zmurchyk's departure leaves the Centennials with just one 20-year-old player on their roster in captain Steve Tresierra. Luke mentions in the interview that he's looking to add another 1990-born player to the roster to fill a leadership and experience void.

Cents Defenceman Jeff Zmurchyk Leaves Team:

(Former Cents defenceman Jeff Zmurchyk)

I received word this morning that 20-year-old Centennials defenceman Jeff Zmurchyk has left the team and gone home to Fernie. I'll have reaction from Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce posted later today.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Former Cents netminder Jon Groenheyde dealt from Kamloops to Edmonton:

(Former Cents netminder Jon Groenheyde)

Jon Groenheyde, who played six games with the Centennials during the 2007-08 season with a 1-4-0-0 record, a 6.46 GAA and a .835 save percentage, was traded in the WHL today. Here's the release from the WHL website:

Edmonton, AB – The Edmonton Oil Kings announced today they have traded 18-year-old goalie Cam Lanigan (Calgary, AB) to the Kamloops Blazers in exchange for 19-year-old goalie Jon Groenheyde (Surrey, B.C.).

Groenheyde has spent his entire WHL career with the Blazers, compiling a 15-25-1-2 record and a 4.08 GAA in 52 games during the 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. The 6-foot-4, 201-pound netminder is 1-5-0-1 so far in eight appearances in 2010-11, with a 3.67 GAA and a .873 save percentage.

Lanigan has played his entire WHL career with the Oil Kings, appearing in 58 games with a 13-23-2-4 record and a 4.08 GAA combined in 2008-09 and 2009-10. In 15 games so far in 2010-11, he has a 4-8-0-1 record with a 3.73 GAA and a .866 save percentage.

"We would like to thank Cam for his services with the Oil Kings, and we wish him the best of luck in Kamloops," Oil Kings General Manager Bob Green said of the trade. "We would also like to welcome Jon to our organization. He brings a lot of experience with him and we're excited to have him in our lineup."

Groenheyde will join the Oil Kings in Prince George as they open a six-game road trip with games against the Cougars on Friday and Saturday, both at 8 p.m. MST.

The trip continues in Chilliwack against the Bruins on Tuesday and in Kelowna against the Rockets on Wednesday. They venture further south to play the Chiefs in Spokane on Friday, Nov. 12, and the trip concludes on Saturday, Nov. 13 against the Ice in Kootenay. The Oil Kings finally return home to Rexall Place to play the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.
Kamloops, BC – Kamloops Blazers General Manager Craig Bonner announced this morning that team has sent 19-year-old goaltender Jon Groenheyde to the Edmonton Oil Kings in exchange for 18-year-old goaltender Cam Lanigan.

“We want to thank Jon for his time with the hockey club,” Bonner said. “We wish him the best of luck with the Oil Kings.”

Groenheyde, a free agent list from Surry, BC, appeared in 60 games with the Blazers starting in the 2007-08 season.

Lanigan, who is from Calgary, BC, was originally a 6th round bantam pick to the Oil Kings in 2007. He has played in 74 games with the Oil Kings over the past two and a half seasons.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cents Weekly Recap with Cents Coach/GM Luke Pierce:


I chatted with Cents Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce on yesterday's morning show about last weekend's road trip up north and the upcoming games this weekend.

Interesting to note in the interview that Luke says the players have been essentially put "on notice" that with a month before the December 1st carding deadline, they need to show from within that this is the group the coaching staff should move forward with. We'll see this weekend how the team responds.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cents Wrap Up Cariboo Weekend with 3-1 Loss in Prince George, Brett Kolins joins Abbotsford of the PIJHL, Cents Assistant Coach Chad Deleeuw on Ebay:


Prince George Spruce Kings at 9:24 - RJay Berra from Zac Ashdown and Nic DeSousa

Prince George Spruce Kings at 4:05 (PP) - Justin Fillion from Connor Tiechko and Zac Ashdown
Prince George Spruce Kings at 8:32 - Justin Fillion from Jeff Earnest and Brendon Fornwald

Merritt Centennials at 13:54 - Dustin Lebrun from Brandon Pfeil

Lino Chimienti took the loss for the Cents, making 13 saves before being pulled in favour of Tyler Steel, who didn't allow a goal. By all accounts, Chimienti being pulled had much more to do with trying to wake up the team than the way he played. Steel made eight saves and allowed no goals in relief. Alex Wright made 34 saves for the win for PG.

The Cents scored just four goals in three games on the weekend against teams which give up an average of nearly four (Quesnel - 3.90) or more than four (PG - 4.50) per game. What's a bit perplexing about this team is that last weekend, they scored nine goals in two games after being blanked by Powell River.

With the loss, Merritt falls to 3-3-0-4 in its last ten games and still has points in seven of its last ten. The next four games are huge as they are all on home ice. The Cents host Vernon on Friday (minus Dylan Walchuk), Westside on Saturday (minus Grayson Downing), Quesnel on Sunday, and Penticton (minus Joey Laleggia, Brendan O'Donnell and Mark MacMillan) the following Saturday. All of the above teams mentioned will have those players away at the World Junior 'A' Challenge in Penticton.


(Suspended Cents defenceman Brett Kolins)

Defenceman Brett Kolins, who the Centennials acquired from Victoria as part of the Dustin Johnson trade earlier this month, has joined the Abbotsford Pilots of the PIJHL.

Kolins refused to report to Merritt following the trade and was subsequently suspended by the team. He doesn't have the option to play junior 'A' anywhere in Canada because the Centennials own his rights, but they have no control over whether or not he joins a junior 'B' team, which is exactly what Kolins did.

The Cents still have the option of trading Kolins or they can release him outright and he'll be free to join any junior 'A' team. My personal opinion is that there will be a deal made eventually, but Luke Pierce has made it clear that it has to be a move that benefits his team, sooner or later.


If you're a big fan of Cents assistant coach Chad Deleeuw, here's your chance to own an autographed photo from when he played in the BCHL with the Penticton Panthers!

Here's the listing:

Get your bids in, it's only $4.99 US!

Cents Drop Second Straight in Double OT, 2-1 in Quesnel:


Quesnel Millionaires at 5:35 - Michael Spring from Derek Huisman and Daryl DeVries
Merritt Centennials at 15:42 (PP) - Regan Soquila from David Sabey and Chad Brears

No Scoring

No Scoring

Quesnel Millionaires at 1:00 - Spencer Graboski from Chris Kerr and Anderson White

Cents netminder Tyler Steel made 28 saves to drop his GAA to 4.07 and up his save percentage to .882, despite the loss. Kirby Halcrow kicked out 35 Centennials shots to get the win for Quesnel.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Spruce Kings Edge Centennials 3-2 in Double OT


Prince George Spruce Kings at 18:02 - Jeff Datoff from Jeff Earnest and Jujhar Khaira

Prince George Spruce Kings at 2:01 - Connor Tiechko from Brendon Fornwald and Jeff Earnest

Merritt Centennials at 16:32 (PP) - Regan Soquila from Jeff Jones and David Sabey
Merritt Centennials at 19:48 - Max Vallis from Richard Sabourin and Regan Soquila

Prince George Spruce Kings at 2:52 - Nic DeSousa from Justin Fillion and Zac Ashdown

Lino Chimienti made his second straight start for the Centennials and kicked out 23 shots in the loss. Alex Wright looked very sharp for PG in making 34 saves for his first win of the season.

With the defeat, Merritt has more overtime losses than any other BCHL team at four, but remains sixth in the Interior Conference. The Centennials still have points in seven of their last nine games.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cents Weekly Recap, Former Cents defenceman Austin Baecker Traded, Cariboo Road Trip Notes, Canada West Roster, Grisdale & Sales Sign Extensions with the BCHL:

The website that I use to host my audio has become a spyware/malware factory, so to protect any PC I upload audio from, I'll try the YouTube route. It should also make it easier for anyone who wants to hear the audio to listen.


The Cents are on their first two-game win streak of the season and are making their way up the standings in the BCHL's Interior Conference. With points in six of their last eight games and a .500 record in October (3-3-0-3), this weekend up north is huge.

I had the chance to talk to Luke Pierce about last week and the weekend upcoming earlier this week.


18-year-old defenceman Austin Baecker, who the Cents traded to Grand Prairie two weeks ago as part of the deal to acquire Lino Chimienti, is back on a BCHL roster. Baecker didn't go to the AJHL simply because he's still with the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds.

He was acquired by Vernon earlier this week and is now showing up on their roster.

Baecker can be a physical presence, he's huge for a young guy and also is a decent skater. I think he does have a lot to learn though and it remains to be seen if he even joins the Vipers.

Baecker struggled last season with a back injury and was also a healthy scratch with the Centennials in the playoffs. He was in Merritt for the start of training camp this season before heading off to Seattle. There may be something the Vipers know that I don't, but any conversations I've had with Baecker indicate that it's his aspiration to play in the WHL and not in junior 'A'.


The Cents make their first trip up north this weekend to play two games in Prince George and one game in Quesnel.

As fans, we look at these three games as absolutely crucial, but I talked to Cents netminder Lino Chimienti yesterday and he said they want to take the trip one game at a time and just focus on getting the win. He stressed that they don't really look much at the standings, especially just a quarter through the season. For the record, Chimienti will get the start in PG tomorrow night.

However, these are big games for the Centennials as more often than not, good teams beat the teams below them as both PG and Quesnel are. It'll be a stiff challenge for the Cents and one I think they'll rise to.

In terms of line-up changes, Evan Stack, Steve Wall and Reece Willcox will likely miss all three games with injuries while Dylan Playfair and Sean Maktaak both return from three and six game suspensions respectively. Luke Pierce told me today that they will have Merrittonian Payton Schaefer, who's playing with the KIJHL's Kamloops Storm, with them on the trip as an AP.


Earlier this week, Hockey Canada announced the roster for Canada West at next month's World Junior 'A' Challenge.

Here's the announcement:

Burnaby, BC - October 25, 2010

A total of eight British Columbia Hockey League players have been selected to compete for Team Canada West at the upcoming 2010 World Junior A Challenge, which runs from November 8th to 14th at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.

Team Canada West’s 22-man roster was announced Monday by Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson and Canada West general manager Rylan Ferster. It includes three members of the Penticton Vees, two members of the Trail Smoke Eaters and one player each from the Victoria Grizzlies, Vernon Vipers and Westside Warriors.

Four of the BCHL players named to the team are returnees from the squad that won silver at the 2009 World Junior A Challenge in Summerside, PEI.

The eight BCHL representatives on Team Canada West are:

Madison Dias, F, Victoria Grizzlies — A returnee from last season’s silver medal-winning team, Dias is competing in his third season in the BCHL and has collected 10 points through 14 games. The Penticton, B.C. product set a career-high with 43 points last season and has committed to Cornell University for the 2011/12 season.

Grayson Downing, F, Westside Warriors — Another member of the team that won silver in Summerside a year ago, Downing is well on his way to a career high in points with 21 through 17 games. The Abbotsford, B.C. native is in his third BCHL season and has committed to the University of New Hampshire for 2011/12.

Joey Laleggia, D, Penticton Vees — A member of the 2009 silver medal-winning team, Laleggia leads all BCHL defencemen in points with 23 through 18 games. An Interior Conference Top Defenceman nominee as a rookie last season, the Burnaby, B.C. native recently committed to the University of Denver.

Mark MacMillan, F, Penticton Vees — A fourth round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens earlier this year, MacMillan recently returned from an injury suffered in Penticton’s season opener. Last season’s Coastal Conference Rookie of the Year is coming off an 80-point campaign and a scholarship commitment to North Dakota.

Sam Mellor, F, Trail Smoke Eaters — Mellor is currently second in BCHL scoring with 35 points through 19 games on the heels of a 63-point rookie season. The Cranbrook, B.C. product has committed to attend the University of Alaska-Anchorage and was recently named to the Watch List for the 2011 NHL Draft.

Brendan O’Donnell, F, Penticton Vees — O’Donnell will be competing at the WJAC for the second consecutive year after being named to the team as a member of the Winnipeg South Blues last season. A sixth round draft selection of the Tampa Bay Lightning, O’Donnell has counted 11 points in 18 games with the Vees this season.

Travis St. Denis, F, Trail Smoke Eaters — Currently seventh in league scoring with 31 points in 19 games, St. Denis is already a three-year BCHL veteran at just 18-years old. The Trail, B.C. product is a Quinnipiac University commit who was recently named to Central Scouting’s Watch List for the 2011 NHL Draft.

Dylan Walchuk, F, Vernon Vipers — Walchuk leads the Vipers in scoring with 19 points in 18 games and played a key role in helping Vernon to their second consecutive RBC Cup championship in May as a rookie. The 18-year old is committed to Northern Michigan University for the 2011/12 season.

Canada West is pooled in Group B at the event and will face Switzerland and Russia in the round-robin portion of the tournament on November 8th and 10th respectively. The semi-finals will be held on Saturday, November 12th and the Gold Medal game will be televised nationally on TSN on Sunday, November 14th.

The team will have a pair of tune-up games prior to beginning of the event, as they will take on Canada East at the Wesbild Centre in Vernon on November 5th and the United States at the South Okanagan Events Centre on November 6th.

I chatted with Canada West GM Rylan Ferster about the team's roster:


The BCHL announced contract extensions for Commissioner John Grisdale and Executive Director Dave Sales last week.

That release is here:

The British Columbia Hockey League’s Board of Governors has announced that Commissioner John Grisdale and Executive Director David Sales will continue to lead the BCHL’s League Office after each signed a three-year contract extension that will carry through the conclusion of the 2013/14 season.

Grisdale and Sales both joined the BCHL in 2003 and founded the league’s Head Office in Burnaby. In the years since, they have helped grow the BCHL’s reputation as Canada’s top Junior A organization and as an elite developer of student athletes for university and college hockey.

"On behalf of the BCHL’s Board of Governors, I’m thrilled to be announcing that John and David will continue in their roles as key leaders within the British Columbia Hockey League," Chairman Darcy Rota says. "Both John and David have worked tirelessly to advance the position of Junior A hockey in B.C. and we’re excited that they will be a vital part of maintaining the league’s long-term growth."

As Commissioner and Executive Director, Grisdale and Sales have overseen a period of growth for the BCHL that has included tremendous results both on and off the ice.

"From a business perspective and in terms of the quality of our game, the belief from our Board is that John and David have helped navigate the league through a number of substantial challenges and have been responsible for many of the positive developments we have experienced in recent years," Rota says.

"I would like to thank the Board of Governors and everybody involved with the BCHL for their continued support and confidence," Grisdale says. "David and I look forward to furthering the BCHL as a league that provides first-class entertainment to our fans and a great opportunity for players to grow as young men and advance their hockey careers."

I chatted with Coquitlam Express GM and BCHL Chairman of the Board Darcy Rota about the contract extensions:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cents Dump Millionaires 4-1:


Quesnel Millionaires at 3:42 - Malcolm Gould from Devin Balness and Stefan Gonzales
Merritt Centennials at 11:49 - Silvan Harper from Dustin Lebrun

No Scoring

Merritt Centennials at 9:34 - Jeff Jones from Max Vallis
Merritt Centennials at 16:46 (PP) - Jakob Reichert from Steve Tresierra
Merritt Centennials at 18:52 (EN) - Silvan Harper from Jakob Reichert and Jeff Zmurchyk

Lino Chimienti makes 20 saves for his second win in three starts while Kirby Halcrow kicked out 35 Merritt shots in the loss.

The Centennials have now won two of their last three and have points in six of their last eight. They are 3-2-0-3 in that span.

Merritt vs. Quesnel Line-Ups:









Cents beat Warriors 5-3:



Merritt Centennials at 1:48 - Jeff Jones from David Sabey
Westside Warriors at 5:01 - Travis Blanleil from Brett Mckinnon and Matt Cronin
Westside Warriors at 5:19 - Tyler Krause from Alex Grieve and Grayson Downing
Merritt Centennials at 11:09 - Dustin Lebrun (unassisted)


Westside Warriors at 1:14 - Tyler Brickler from Max French and Dru Morrison
Merritt Centennials at 5:48 - Steve Tresierra from Jeff Jones and Max Vallis
Merritt Centennials at 17:24 - David Sabey from Richard Sabourin


Merritt Centennials at 4:49 - Jakob Reichert from Jeff Jones and Max Vallis

Westside outshot Merritt 42-34. Tyler Steel made 39 saves for the win, while Cam Gorchynski kicked out 29 saves in the loss.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Suspensions Official, Jared Andersen Released, Steve Wall & Evan Stack Injured, Cole Holowenko Cut By Chilliwack:


The BCHL made the suspensions to Cents forward Dylan Playfair and Express defenceman Matt Mazzarolo official yesterday. Here's from the league site:

Mazzarolo, Matt (COQ) and Playfair, Dylan (ME) each suspended 3 games for Staged Fight in October 16, 2010 game.

It means Playfair is eligible to return next Friday in Prince George.


With Tyler Steel eligible to return from suspension tonight and Lino Chimienti on board, something had to give in relation to the Centennials goaltending situation. The odd man out wound up being 20-year-old Jared Andersen as he was released by the team.

Andersen, who was acquired along with future considerations from Grand Prairie for Mitch Jones during the off-season, had an 0-5 record with the Cents this season, a 5.55 goals-against-average and a .842 save percentage in six games played.

Jared's a respectful guy and I hope that he lands on his feet somewhere to play out the remainder of his junior hockey career.


The Cents will be without forward Evan Stack for tonight's game against Powell River as he suffered a high ankle sprain in Saturday's win over Coquitlam.

It was one of those injuries that is painful to watch because his ankle and leg bent in a way that they're just meant to. Actually, Stack's injury caused the 2-on-1 on Coquitlam's second goal. He's expected to be out for up to four weeks.

Forward Steve Wall injured himself during off-ice training on Tuesday and he's officially a game time decision for tonight.


Former Cents netminder Cole Holowenko has been cut by the Chilliwack Bruins for the second straight season.

They tried to send him back to the Centennials, but Luke Pierce likes the tandem he has now and a trade involving Holowenko, either at the BCHL or WHL level is expected.

I chatted with Luke about all of the above topics earlier this week:

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce

Click here to download

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weekend Recap, Cents Fan Bus, Cents Sign Brent Fletcher:


After their best stretch of the season which saw the team pick up three of four points and four of a possible six, I talked with Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce about the games against Penticton and Coquitlam, plus the play of AP's Payton Schaefer and Brent Fletcher and the upcoming stretch of games against Powell River, Westside, Quesnel and Prince George.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce

Click here to download


The Cents also have a Fan Bus organized for Saturday's game in Westside and it's in jeopardy due to lack of response. It's just $40 including ticket to the game and return trip to West Kelowna. I had Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel on the show this morning to talk about it.

Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel

Click here to download


The Cents have signed forward Brent Fletcher after AP'd with the team three times already this season.

Here's the official release:

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce the signing of 18-year-old forward Brent Fletcher.

Fletcher, who's from New Westminster, has played three games with the Cents as an affiliate player this season, posting two goals.

He's spent most of the 2010-11 season with the Ridge-Meadows Flames of the Pacific International Junior Hockey League. With the Flames, Fletcher led all team rookies in scoring with four goals and three assists in 12 games.

"Brent impressed us through training camp and exhibition and was very close to making our team at the start of the season," said Cents Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce. "Based on his play as an affiliate player with us this season, we believe Brent will be a solid contributor for the next three years and we're looking forward to seeing him in a Centennials jersey on a regular basis."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cents Dylan Playfair to be suspended, Brett Kolins is a no show, Sunday Moves:

(Cents forward Dylan Playfair)


As a result of a fight between Cents forward Dylan Playfair and Coquitlam defenceman Matt Mazzarolo in the second period of last night's game, both players are set to be suspended for three games each.

It's the Junior A Supplement in play once again, as referee Kris Hartley determined that the fight was "staged" and according to the new rules, any staged fight is subject to a minimum three game suspension for the participants. Here's how the rule reads:

7.3 Staged Fights and Leaving the Bench ‐ Players shall be deemed to have left the bench should they enter the ice surface after a whistle and get involved in an altercation before or immediately after the drop of the puck to start the new play and at the conclusion of any game when players have left the bench.

7.3.1 Staged Fights ‐ Players participating in a staged fight shall be subject to a suspension.
• If there is no instigator, each player shall be suspended 3 games and the teams shall be given a verbal warning by the game official.

There was a lot of debate in the arena last night as to whether or not the scrap between Playfair and Mazzarolo actually could be considered as "staged", but that was the referee's call and both teams have to live with it.

What it means for the Centennials is that just when they started to get bodies returning from suspension, (Reichert and Marshall last night, Steel and Zmurchyk this Friday) they'll continue to be without Sean Maktaak through this weekend and now Playfair. There's been lots of talk around the arena of the Cents signing AP Brent Fletcher, who's played well in his three appearances and was one of the last cuts from training camp. I'll post here if I find out anything about Fletcher's status with the team changing.


After being acquired from Victoria in last week's Dustin Johnson trade, defenceman Brett Kolins (92) hasn't reported to Merritt and has reportedly asked to be traded somewhere else.

Most Cents fans are pretty ticked off about Kolins' stance as the team is seen in a lot of circles as an up and coming group with a progressive coach in Luke Pierce who's committed to building a winning program, and now here's a guy who doesn't want to play in Merritt.

We'll see if Luke ends up getting the Abbotsford product into a Centennials sweater or if there's another trade involving his rights somewhere on the horizon. In my mind, Kolins does nothing but hurt his own standing by staying home and not showcasing his talents to any teams looking to acquire him.


F Jonathan Milhouse (Victoria/Vernon, 2007-10) was successful in his tryout with Victoria Salmon Kings (ECHL) and has signed a one year contract. He had 19 goals and 34 assists in 56 games with Vernon Vipers (BCHL) last season. . . .

G Billy Blase (Salmon Arm, 2005-06) was released from his tryout with Idaho Steelheads (ECHL). He had a 7-2-0 record last season with a 2.56 GAA and an. 896 save percentage with Yale University (NCAA). . . .

D Kyle Hood (Penticton/Cowichan Valley, 2000-04) is taking a timeout from hockey for personal reasons. The Osoyoos product had two goals and six assists in three games with Milano Rossoblu (Italy 2) this season. . . .

F Josh Desmarais (Quesnel, 2009-10) has been waived by Quad City Mallards (ECHL). He had 20 goals and 22 assists in 28 games with the Millionaires last season. . . .

G Mark Dekanich (Coquitlam, 2003-04) has been reassigned by Nashville Predators (NHL) to Milwaukee Admirals (AHL). He has a 1-0-0 record, a 1.22 GAA and a .951 save percentage in two appearances with the Admirals this season. . . .

F Casey Pierro-Zabotel (Merritt, 2004-07) was reassigned by Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins (AHL) to Wheeling Nailers (ECHL). The Ashcroft product has played any games this season after suffered a broken hand in training camp with Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL). He had 12 goals and 29 assists in 49 games with the Nailers last season and no points in two AHL games with the Baby Penguins. . . .

F Andrew Kozek (Surrey, 2003-05) was activated from injured reserve by Atlanta Thrashers (NHL) and assigned to Chicago Wolves (AHL). Kozek has been out with a groin injury suffered during training camp. He had 12 goals and 11 assists in 69 games with the Wolves last season. . . .

D Brett Festerling (Quesnel, 2001-02) was assigned to Syracuse Crunch (AHL) by Anaheim Ducks (NHL). Festlerling, who's an assistant captain with Crunch, had no points in one game with the Ducks this season and no points in three games with Syracuse. . . .

G David LeNeveu (Nanaimo, 2000-01) has been assigned Springfield Falcons (AHL) by Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL). He has a 1-1-0 record with the Falcons this season, including a 2.41 GAA and a .906 save percentage. . . .

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cents Line-up vs. Coquitlam:





Scratches: Zmurchyk, Steel, Maktaak

All three Cents scratches tonight are still suspended, with Zmurchyk and Steel eligible to return next Friday against Powell River. Maktaak still has three more games of his six game suspension to serve.


Petan-Lamacchia-De Jersey



Scratches: Axford, Halikas, Elliott

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chimienti & Kolins Trade Reaction, Cents AP Ben Reinbolt:


Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce made his biggest trade since joining the team as he shipped 20-year-old Dustin Johnson to Victoria yesterday for 18-year-old defencemen Brett Kolins and Scott Milnthorp and future considerations.

Merritt then sent Milthorp and the rights to 18-year-old Austin Baecker to the Grand Prairie Storm of the AJHL for 18-year-old goaltender Lino Chimienti. It's the second time Luke has hooked up with his former coach Mike Vandekamp on a trade, as Jared Andersen was acquired by the Cents during the summer from the Storm for Mitch Jones.

Here are Luke's thoughts behind the trade and any other moves which may be coming:

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce

Click here to download

As you can hear in the interview, both Chimienti and Kolins are expected to play tomorrow night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena against Penticton.

From what I've heard about Kolins, Victoria fans aren't happy to see him gone as he seems like a heart and soul type of player.

He's certainly not the type of player who will pile up a bunch of points as his stats indicate, (no points and ten PIM's in 11 games this season and five points and 99 PIM's in 49 games last season) it should be fun to watch him play a physical game in the confines of Memorial Arena.

Check out his BCHL profile here.

As for Chimienti, he ended up in a three goalie situation in Grand Prairie, but had pretty respectable numbers, with a 1-1-0-0 record, a 2.59 GAA and a .916 save percentage.

His AJHL profile is here.

Chimienti played last season with Sioux Falls of the USHL, posting a 8-3-5-0 record, a 3.10 GAA and an .879 save percentage as the back-up goalie.

He was also featured in this article on last December:

5. Lino Chimienti, G – Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL): He may be slight at 5-foot-10, 161 pounds, but Chimienti knows how to get in front of a puck. The Quebec native is ripping up the USHL with a .923 save percentage and league-leading 1.82 goals-against average. He’s also undefeated in regulation through eight appearances. Draft eligible in 2010.

The entire article is here.


The Cents have added forward Ben Reinbolt (92) as an affiliate player to their roster.

Reinbolt, who plays for the Princeton Posse of the KIJHL, has eight points in 11 games this season. He had 16 points in 42 games last season.

Cents Make Three Way Trade:

I'll have more on the blog later today, including analysis and reaction from Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce, but I have found out the details of yesterday's trade.

The Centennials sent forward Dustin Johnson (90) to the Victoria Grizzlies for defencemen Brett Kolins (92) and Scott Milnthorp (92) and future considerations. They then sent Milthorp and the rights to defenceman Austin Baecker (92) to Grand Prairie of the AJHL for goaltender Lino Chimienti (91). Baecker is still with the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds and isn't expected to join the Storm.

Again, more later...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cents Make Trade:

I've received word that the Cents made a trade today, but details are still to be ironed out. I'll post here as soon as I know what's up.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cents-Silverbacks Suspensions:

The BC Hockey League has ruled on Friday's brouhaha between the Cents and Silverbacks. It's posted on the BCHL site, but here's how the suspensions and fines break down:

Sean Maktaak - six games
Tyler Steel - three games
Jeff Zmurchyk - three games
Billy Marshall - two games
Jakob Reichert - two games

Luke Pierce - one game
Team fine - $2500 ($1000 for the multiple fight situation and $1500 for Sean Maktaak leaving the bench)

Salmon Arm
Kris Moore - five games
Charlie Vasaturo - four games
Devin Gannon - two games
Jayson Reardon - two games
Josh Manson - two games

Tim Kehler - one game
Team fine - $1000 (for the multiple fight situation)

All players suspended have already sat out one game, which was the return match-up in Merritt on Saturday.

Maktaak is eligible to return on Friday, October 29 on the road against Quesnel while Steel and Zmurchyk can return on Friday, October 22 at home against Powell River. Marshall and Reichert will play this Saturday at home against Coquitlam in their first games back. Luke Pierce will miss this Friday's home game versus Penticton before being back behind the bench on Saturday.

As for the Silverbacks, I've heard that Moore received a broken hand during his fight with Steel and Matt Cassidy (who didn't receive a suspension as a result of the melee) also sat out Saturday's game with a suspected injury.

Regardless of the injury, Moore is eligible to return from suspension on Friday, October 22 at home against Quesnel. Vasaturo will be back Sunday in Victoria after serving his four games. Gannon, Reardon and Manson are out for the first game of the Backs road trip and should return Friday in Cowichan Valley.

I had the chance to chat with Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce today after the suspensions came down.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce

Click here to download

Cents-Silverbacks Suspensions Expected Today:

I talked to BCHL Executive Director Dave Sales this morning and he said that specific suspensions relating to Friday's line brawl between the Cents and Silverbacks should be announced sometime today, if not this morning.

Dave mentioned that each of the player suspensions were listed as indefinite prior to Saturday's game just to get through the weekend and for the league office to have time to review the incident.

I'll have the details of the suspensions posted here as soon as I find out.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cents Line Up Tonight vs. Salmon Arm:

Here's the way the line up shakes down for the Cents tonight in the rematch against Salmon Arm.

Interestingly enough, Steve Tresierra is in the line up, which makes me think that his fight was deemed to not be part of the multiple fight situation.

Brears-Lebrun-Fletcher (AP)
Playfair-Schaefer (AP)

Pfeil-Genovese (AP)

Sanderson (AP)

Regan Soquila and Dustin Johnson are still injured while Reichert, Maktaak, Marshall, Zmurchyk and Steel received undetermined suspensions.

Here's the Silverbacks line up as they're shorthanded too.

Samuel-Holliday (AP)

Dibella (AP)



Fight Night in Salmon Arm:

For the first time this season with the Centennials, the new junior A supplement is going to have a major impact.

As a result of the line brawl with five seconds left in last night's 4-2 loss in Salmon Arm, there are a number of fines and suspensions set to come down from the BCHL office, and likely in time for tonight's rematch at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

Here is a summary of the penalties:

Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Matt Cassidy for Fighting (5 Min.)
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Brett Knowles for Fighting (5 Min.)
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Josh Manson for Fighting (5 Min.)
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Kris Moore for Fighting (5 Min.)
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Devin Gannon for Fighting (5 Min.)
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Charlie Vasaturo for Fighting (5 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Tyler Steel for Fighting (5 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Sean Maktaak for Fighting (5 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Steve Tresierra for Fighting (5 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Billy Marshall for Fighting (5 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Jakob Reichert for Fighting (5 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Jeff Zmurchyk for Fighting (5 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Tyler Steel for Slashing (2 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Tyler Steel for Goaltender Leaving Crease (2 Min.)
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Charlie Vasaturo for Game Misconduct
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Devin Gannon for Game Misconduct
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Kris Moore for Game Misconduct
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Kris Moore for Game Misconduct
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Josh Manson for Game Misconduct
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Brett Knowles for Game Misconduct
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Team Penalty for Game Misconduct
Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 19:55 - Matt Cassidy for Game Misconduct
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Tyler Steel for Game Misconduct
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Tyler Steel for Game Misconduct
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Sean Maktaak for Leaving the bench
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Sean Maktaak for Game Misconduct
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Jakob Reichert for Game Misconduct
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Billy Marshall for Game Misconduct
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Steve Tresierra for Game Misconduct
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Sean Maktaak for Game Misconduct
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Jeff Zmurchyk for Game Misconduct
Merritt Centennials at 19:55 - Team Penalty for Game Misconduct

Here's where I can see the junior A supplement applied:

Three or More Fights On the Same Stoppage – When three or more fights occur during the same stoppage of play, players involved in the second fight and all subsequent fights shall be subjected to an automatic suspension.

• If an instigator is not identified, the following minimum penalties shall be applied:
o All participating players – 2 game suspension.
o Coaches – 1 game suspension.
o $1,000 fine per team.

To me, this would indicate that Salmon Arm's Kris Moore, Matt Cassidy, Brett Knowles, Josh Manson, Devin Gannon and Charlie Vasaturo and Merritt's Tyler Steel, Sean Maktaak, Steve Tresierra, Billy Marshall, Jakob Reichert and Jeff Zmurchyk will each be suspended for two games.

In addition, both Backs coach Tim Kehler and Cents coach Luke Pierce will be suspended one game (which is tonight in Merritt). Plus, both teams will be fined $1000, which is a big blow to a non-profit society like the Centennials.

Centennials forward Sean Maktaak also received a penalty for leaving the bench, so according to the rule below, he'll be out for an additional six games and Merritt will be fined an additional $1500.

Multiple Fights ‐ Any player that leaves the bench, bench area, dressing room, or penalty box to become engaged in a secondary fight or become a third‐man in a fight shall result in the following minimum penalties:
o 6 game suspension.
o $1,500 team fine.

As for the fight between Cents netminder Tyler Steel and Backs goaltender Kris Moore, it looks like they each will get additional three games because of this rule:

Goaltender Fighting – Fighting by Goaltenders shall result in the following suspensions:
o Should the goaltenders of the two clubs meet between the blue lines and fight, the
goaltenders shall each be issued a game misconduct and be suspended for three games.
o Any extraordinary circumstances surrounding a goaltender’s actions shall be reviewed by the league and disciplined accordingly.

So, to summarize and see if I've got it all straight (and keep in mind these are the minimum under the rulebook, the BCHL could suspend further):

Merritt Centennials suspensions

Sean Maktaak - 8 games
Tyler Steel - 5 games
Steve Tresierra - 2 games
Jeff Zmurchyk - 2 games
Jakob Reichert - 2 games
Billy Marshall - 2 games
Coach Luke Pierce - 1 game
Team fines: $2500

Salmon Arm Silverbacks suspensions

Kris Moore - 5 games
Devin Gannon - 2 games
Charlie Vasaturo - 2 games
Matt Cassidy - 2 games
Josh Manson - 2 games
Brett Knowles - 2 games
Coach Tim Kehler - 1 game
Team fines: $1000

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cents Make Roster Moves, Cents Icebreaker Fundraiser This Saturday, Cents Weekend Road Trip Recap:

Here I am with another lame apology for the lack of updates lately, things are just really busy with work and home, etc. so please bear with me if I don't update as often as I'd like.


Cents coach/GM Luke Pierce mentioned to me that they were looking to carry fewer than the 24 players they were and now they are down to 22 players after yesterday. With a 1-6-0-0 start, there was a feeling that something was going to give in terms of the line-up too. Here's the official release from Merritt

Merritt, BC - September 28, 2010

The Merritt Centennials announced today that they have traded forward Alexander MacMillan (90) to the Calgary Mustangs of the AJHL for future considerations.

MacMillan appeared in six games with the Cents this season, notching one assist and six penalty minutes.

The Calgary product was originally acquired by Merritt in a three way deal during the 2008-09 season involving the AJHL's Spruce Grove Saints and Drayton Valley Thunder, and posted one assist in 12 games in his first season with the Centennials.

He had eleven goals and twelve assists along with 27 minutes in penalties in 43 games last season.

The Cents would like to thank Alexander for his contributions during the last three season and wish him the best as he plays his final season of junior 'A' hockey with the Mustangs.


The Cents also cut forward Justin Lachance loose yesterday to get down to roster numbers. Here's the release:

Merritt, BC - September 28, 2010

The Merritt Centennials announced today the release of forward Justin Lachance (92).

Lachance, who's from Coquitlam, BC, appeared in three games with the Cents this season, notching one goal.

The Cents would like to thank Justin for his contributions this season and wish him the best in his future endeavours.

This morning, I talked to Luke about the moves of the last 24 hours.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce

Click here to download


Now prior to yesterday's moves, I talked to Luke about how things went on the weekend, ideas about the roster, etc. Keep in mind that the interview was recorded before the announcement of the MacMillan trade and the Lachance release.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce

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The Cents biggest fundraiser of the year is coming up this Saturday with your truly as the emcee! I hope to see a huge crowd, it should be blast!

I chatted with one of the organizers, Mischelle Pierce, about the event on the morning show today.

Mischelle Pierce, one of the Cents Icebreaker organizers

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cents Weekend Preview, Soquila on BCHL Poll, Former Cents D-man Mazzarolo Traded, Zabotel Injured at Penguins Camp, Wong on Signing With Hartford, Recent Moves:


For the first time in almost four years, the Centennials are coming off a win over the Vernon Vipers! Granted the Snakes are a different team than the one which won its' second straight RBC Cup last season, but a win over Vernon is a win over Vernon and I know all of Merritt is excited about it!

The Centennials power play is on fire as they've moved up to third in the league. Consider the fact that the Cents have eight goals with the man advantage already this season after scoring just 47 all of last season.

The win was also significant because it took 17 games for the Cents to get their first road win last season, while just four games this season.

You can check out the boxscore from the game here.

The Cents continue their stretch of five straight away from Memorial Arena tomorrow night in Powell River and Saturday in Coquitlam. I talked to Head Coach/GM Luke Pierce about the win over Vernon, the games this weekend, the goaltending situation and the power play.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce

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Cents rookie Regan Soquila is one of the subjects of the BCHL Subway Poll on the league's website. Here's the question:

Which BCHL rookie is going to maintain their early season success and enjoy a breakout season?

Coquitlam's Destry Straight

Merritt's Regan Soquila

Powell River's Daniel Shuler

Salmon Arm's Cody Michelle

Trail's Adam Boytnick

Westside's Kevin Boyle

As of right now, Soquila is third in voting, head over to the BCHL website and cast your vote!


Former Cents defenceman Matt Mazzarolo, who requested to be moved to a Lower Mainland team for his 20-year-old season earlier this year, is on the move again as the Surrey Eagles traded him to Coquitlam for future considerations.

Mazzarolo makes his Express debut in their home opener tomorrow against, ironically enough, Surrey. It'll be a weekend of games against former teams as the Cents pay their lone visit to Coquitlam on Saturday.


Former Cents captain and 2007 BCHL Interior Conference MVP Casey Pierro-Zabotel's chances of cracking the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup this season took a hit as he was injured in practice on Sunday.

Here's the story from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Forward Casey Pierro-Zabotel has the first significant injury of training camp.

He broke a finger on his right hand when he was struck by a puck Sunday and is expected to be out of action for three or four weeks.

He and defenseman Alex Grant, who got a broken wrist and whiplash on a hit from behind during the recent prospects tournament in London, Ontario, are the Penguins' only lost-time casualties during September, although coach Dan Bylsma believes the demands of training camp are starting to show.


I chatted with former Cents forward and the 2006 BCHL Interior Conference MVP Brandon Wong today about his recent signing of his second pro hockey contract with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL).

Connecticut Whale Forward Brandon Wong

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I know all Cents fans certainly wish Wonger the best of luck in his first pro season this year.


D Colton Jobke (Penticton, 2008-09) signed a three year entry level contract with Minnesota Wild (NHL) after training camp. Jobke was reassigned from the Wild back to Kelowna Rockets (WHL) for this season. He had no goals and eight assists in 69 games with the Rockets last season. . . .

D Josh Caron (Merritt, 2007-08) inked a three year entry level contract with Minnesota Wild (NHL). Caron, who was a walk-on to Minnesota's camp, had one goal and five assists in 60 games with Kamloops Blazers (WHL) in 2009-10. He'll play with the Blazers once again this season. . . .

D Jordie Benn (Victoria, 2004-08) is in Dallas Stars (NHL) training camp on a try-out. Benn had nine goals and nine assists in 45 games with Allen Americans (CHL) last season. . . .

D Nolan Toigo (Surrey, 2007-09) didn't receive a contract after his try-out with Edmonton Oilers (NHL) and will now play with UBC Thunderbirds (CIS) this season. Toigo had no goals and 21 assists in 72 games with Vancouver Giants (WHL) last season. . . .

F Darcy Zajac (Salmon Arm, 2004-06) is trying out with New Jersey Devils (NHL). Zajac joined Adirondack Phantoms (AHL) last season after wrapping up his college career at the University of North Dakota (NCAA). He had no points in two games in the American League and eight goals and 11 assists in 41 games at the college level. . . .