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:

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