Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Avoid An Early Start To The HST:

This is on the Cents website today:

Merritt, BC - April 28, 2010

All Cents fans are encouraged to purchase their 2010-11 season tickets before May 1 to save on having to pay the BC Harmonized Sales Tax.

With upcoming provincial government legislation, a 5% Goods & Services Tax is to be combined with a 7% Provincial Sales Tax for a 12% Harmonized Sales Tax.

According to government regulations, any payments after April 30 will have the 12% Harmonized Sales Tax applied to them.

Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel will be available at the team's marketing office in the Merritt & District Chamber of Commerce office on Thursday April 29 and Friday April 30 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Tickets may also be booked and paid for by calling 250-280-2489 or 250-378-6320 or click here for complete season ticket information.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cents Announce 2010-11 Season Tickets, Congrats to Vernon, Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse action:

The Cents have released their 2010-11 season ticket information. Here's the latest from Merritt Centennials.com:

Merritt, BC - April 26, 2010

The Merritt Centennials have announced ticket prices for the 2010-11 season and are now accepting season ticket purchases and renewals.

Season tickets will be offered at an early bird discount, if tickets are renewed or purchased before July 1, 2010.

Single Game
Season Ticket prior to July 1, 2010 (discount vs. gate prices)
Season Ticket after June 30, 2010 (discount vs. gate prices)

Adult
$12.00
$220 ($140 discount - $7.33 per game)
$275 ($85 discount - $9.17 per game)

Student
$8.00
$180 ($60 discount - $6.00 per game)
$210 ($30 discount - $7.00 per game)

Senior/Child
$8.00
$150 ($90 discount - $5.00 per game)
$210 ($30 discount - $7.00 per game)

Current season ticket holders have until June 30, 2010 to renew and reserve their seats for next season. Beginning July 1, 2010 all remaining seats will be open to the general public for purchase.

As a season ticket holder, you'll receive special privileges and not only is your seat reserved for all 30 home games, you're also given the first right of refusal on all Centennials playoff tickets and free admission to all home exhibition games.

To renew your season tickets or to purchase a season ticket for the 2010-11 season, please contact Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel at 250.280.2439 or Cents Season Ticket Co-ordinator Nonie Miyazaki at 250.378.6320. You may also email marketing@merritt centennials.com

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I'd like to throw a big congratulations to the Vernon Vipers on claiming their second straight Doyle Cup championship. Of course, the Vipers roster features two former Centennials players in goaltender Graeme Gordon and defenceman Curtis Gedig. And former Cents play-by-play man Todd Miller calls the games for Silk FM in Vernon and is the Vipers Director of Business Operations. Longtime fans in Merritt will remember that Todd got his start at the station here as a teenager and the entire company is proud of everything he's accomplished!

It should be a blast for the defending RBC Cup champs in Dauphin, Manitoba starting Saturday, everyone here in the Nicola Valley is hoping the Vipes bring the Cup to the BCHL once again!

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Shauna Clinging, who handles PR for the Nicola Valley Thunder Minor Lacrosse Association, emailed me the latest results for the kids this past weekend:

The Nicola Valley Lacrosse season started with 6 games this weekend.

On Saturday Merritt Mountain Towing Midgets traveled to beat Kamloops 2 by a 7-1 margin. Sundays action for the Midgets was a double header on the road against Kelowna 2 where they shut out the home team 12-0 in the first game and later defeated the Kelowna Kodiaks a second time 8-3.

Sunday also saw action in the other divisions, Contain It Storage Bantams went on the road as well and played a tough game against Kelowna 1 and were defeated by a narrow margin 10-8. Kristian Stead found the net with 5 and Michael Lund picked up the hat-trick.

Century 21 Peewees lost to Kelowna 3 4-2 in a low scoring game on the road.

Royal Lepage Novice was at home to Penticton at Lower Nicola Arena where they lost by a margin of 15-5. Mac Stead got a hat-trick and the Ware Brothers, Fred & Gord, tallied once each.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Congrats To Former Cents Troy Mick & Bob Dever:

I've got two HUGE congrats to throw out this Sunday afternoon. Firstly, congrats to Troy Mick, coach and GM of the Revelstoke Grizzlies of the KIJHL. The Grizzlies posted a 5-3 win over the Tri Town Thunder at the Keystone Cup Western Canadian Junior B Championship to win the gold medal.

In addition to Mick, who played part of his junior hockey career in Merritt in the mid-1980's, the Grizzlies roster features five players who were listed as AP's with the Centennials this past season (Lucas Blinkhorn, Caleb Roy, Brad Friedrich, Luke Richardson and Cole Buckley). Roy led the entire tournament in scoring as the 20 year old posted an astounding 13 assists in 6 games. Richardson, who attended Cents rookie camp last season, finished fourth overall in tournament scoring with 8 points in 5 games. Included in those totals is a hat trick and an assist in the gold medal match.

Other former Centennials also had an impact at the Keystone Cup as Alessio Tomassetti of the Kamloops Storm finished one point behind Roy with 12 points in 6 games. Gary Rai, who along with Tomassetti was in Merritt for the start of training camp last August, wound up ninth in scoring with 7 points in 6 games. As a 20 year old, Tomassetti's junior career is over, but as a 1990-born player, Rai is eligible to play one more season so it'll be interesting to see if he cracks a junior A lineup for 2010-11 or if he'll stay with Kamloops.

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Secondly, I want to throw a huge congrats to former Cents assistant coach and player Bob Dever, who coached Team Hungary to a silver medal at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship Division I Group B.

Hungary won the silver with a 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan combined with Germany's 10-0 win over Poland. It's the highest finish for Hungary at this level in 17 years.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Penguins Recall Former Cents Goaltender Brad Thiessen:

I'm glad to see that former Cents netminder Brad Thiessen gets his second taste of Stanley Cup playoff action with Pittsburgh. In fact, Brad served as the back-up to Marc-Andre Fleury tonight as usual back-up Brent Johnson was scratched due to illness.

This is from the Penguins website:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled goaltender Brad Thiessen from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, it was announced by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.

Thiessen, 24, completed his first season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, playing in 30 games with a 14-14-1 record. The 6-foot, 180-pound netminder led the team in goals-against average (2.45), save percentage (.914) and shutouts (4).

Thiessen signed with the Penguins on April 8, 2009, and joined the team during their Stanley Cup championship run, providing practice support as a member of the taxi squad “Black Aces.”

Prior to joining the Penguins, Thiessen started three seasons at Northeastern University. He played in 111 games, posting a 52-46-12 record. The Aldergrove, British Columbia native posted an impressive 25-12-4 mark last season with Northeastern, with a 2.12 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mazur Tries Out With Central League Club, Zabotel Back With Baby Pens, Dever Coaching in World U18 Div. 1 Group B, Gordon & Gedig Win Fred Page Cup:

Defenceman Alan Mazur is the second Cents alum in the last two weeks to sign an amateur pro tryout after his college career ended. After Brandon Wong signed a tryout with Grand Rapids of the AHL two weeks ago, Mazur has joined the Rapid City Rush of the Central Hockey League. Incidentally, Wong and Mazur were both teammates on the Cents 2005-06 team.

Here's the story from the Rapid City Journal, a newspaper in the South Dakota city.

Jim Holland Journal staff | Posted: Monday, April 12, 2010 8:17 pm | (0) Comments

The Rapid City Rush signed a second player to an amateur tryout on Monday.

Defenseman Alan Mazur of the Rochester Institute of Technology of New York joined the Rush on the road to Bossier City, La., for Games 3, 4 and 5 of the CHL Northern Conference finals.

The RIT Tigers are fresh from an appearance in the NCAA Frozen Four men’s ice hockey tournament in Detroit, where they lost in the semifinals to eventual runner-up Wisconsin.

The Tigers beat New Hampshire and No. 1 seed Denver University to advance to the Frozen Four.

Mazur, a 6-0, 200-pound blueliner, is the leading scorer among defensemen during RIT’s Division I era, with 19 career goals. He is second among defensemen and fifth out of all skaters in career points with 76, and third in assists with 57.

Mazur joins defenseman Corey Laurysen of Sacred Heart University as the two amateur players allowed to be added to a team during the CHL playoffs.

RIT eliminated Sacred Heart from NCAA tournament contention in the Atlantic Conference finals.

Mazur is a native of Burnaby, British Columbia, and played junior hockey with the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League.

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Another member of that 2005-06 Centennials team, Casey Pierro-Zabotel, has been called up by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL from Wheeling of the ECHL.

Zabotel was also brought up by the Baby Penguins last season, but didn't play any games in the AHL post-season. I know that Zabby is hoping to get into a playoff game this season, but whether he will remains to be seen.

Here's the article from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's website:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have reassigned left wing Casey Pierro-Zabotel from the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, it was announced on Wednesday.

Pierro-Zabotel, 21, recorded one assist and a plus-one rating in seven games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. His first AHL assist was recorded on January 31 against the Manitoba Moose.

The 6-2, 202-lb. left wing has posted 39 points (12+27) in 45 games with the Nailers this season. He posted a season-high nine-game point streak from December 26-January 15, and has registered six points (3+3) in seven games prior to his recall.

The native of Ashcroft, British Columbia entered his first year of professional hockey having come off of a banner year with the Vancouver Giants (WHL), where he posted a league-best 115 points (36+79) in 72 regular-season games. His 115 points shattered the Giants’ single-season point record, an achievement which earned him Vancouver’s first-ever recipient of the Bob Clarke Trophy awarded to the WHL’s leading scorer. In 294 games over five seasons split between the Merritt Centennials (BCHL) and the Vancouver Giants, Pierro-Zabotel has recorded 346 points (132+214).

Pierro-Zabotel was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third round (80th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

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Bob Dever, who was an assistant coach with the Cents in the early to mid-2000's and also played in Merritt in the late 1980's, is coaching Hungary's national Under-18 team at the IIHF World Championships Div. 1 Group B this week. You can follow the progress of Dever and Team Hungary by clicking on this link:

http://www.iihf.com/channels0910/wm18-ib/statistics.html

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Big time congratulations to the Vernon Vipers on their Game Seven 3-1 win over Powell River on Monday night. I am especially happy for three members of the Vipers organization who have Merritt connections.

Graeme Gordon, who played parts of two seasons with the Cents after being acquired in a trade from Salmon Arm in January 2008, was named first star in the deciding game and Curtis Gedig, who started his BCHL career during the 2008-09 season in Merritt, was solid on the blueline. Todd Miller, who is Vernon's Director of Business Operations and play-by-play voice of the Vipers, was raised in the Nicola Valley and got his start in radio with Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.

Well done boys and bring the Doyle Cup back to the BC Interior! Same for the RBC!

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When I was writing my last post about the Keystone Cup, there were a couple of errors that I didn't notice. Firstly, the tournament itself wasn't taking place the weekend I was referring to, it's in fact THIS coming weekend in Kamloops.

Secondly, there is one other person (who's not a player) taking part in the Keystone who has past ties to the Cents organization. And that someone if Revelstoke coach and GM Troy Mick. In naming all the players participating who at one time or another wore the Centennials uniform, I didn't even think of Mick, who played in Merritt in the early 1980's before moving on to the Western Hockey League. Troy, if you read this, Sorry buddy! I didn't omit you on purpose!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Alan Mazur and RIT Trounced in NCAA Frozen Four Semifinal:

The miracle run of Cents alum Alan Mazur and RIT came to a crashing halt this afternoon after the Tigers were dominated 6-1 by number-three seed Wisconsin. Here's the recap from NCAA.com:

No more NCAA tournament upsets for RIT Tigers, as Wisconsin Badgers advance to NCAA title game with 6-1 win

By Elliot Olshansky

DETROIT - The Wisconsin Badgers made it clear on the eve of their National Semifinal against the Rochester Institute of Technology that they had nothing but respect for the upstart Tigers.

When the puck dropped on Thursday at Ford Field, the Badgers made it even clearer, not taking any chances or wasting any time as they steamrolled RIT en route to a 6-1 win and a berth in Saturday night's NCAA Championship game.

The Badgers showed none of the tentative play that hurt Denver and New Hampshire early on at the East Regional, attacking from the get-go and taking an early 1-0 lead at 1:27 on the eighth goal of the season by senior forward John Mitchell, who potted a Cody Goloubef rebound for the first goal of the game. Against a Tiger team that's 22-3-1 this season when scoring the first goal, getting the first goal was a key step in getting to the title game.

The Badgers got another big boost when they made it 2-0 at 9:38, as sophomore forward Derek Stepan deflected a shot from the point by junior defenseman Ryan McDonagh, as Badger traffic in front of the net continued to trouble the Tigers and senior goaltender Jared DeMichiel. RIT was able to get out of the period without allowing another goal, but as the teams headed to the locker room at the end of the first period, Wisconsin had established its advantage.

Wisconsin kept the pressure on as the second period began, and grew their lead to 3-0 just 2:18 into the middle frame, as sophomore Jordy Murray cleaned up a loose puck after senior Aaron Bendickson stickhandled into the slot. The Badgers then made it 4-0 at 4:26, as Justin Schultz squeezed a puck shortside past DeMichiel, on a goal that needed video review.

After a pair of penalties to the Tigers - including a five-minute major and game misconduct against sophomore forward Mark Cornacchia - the Badgers made it 5-0 at 11:15 as senior forward Michael Davies fired the puck into a gaping net after tic-tac-toe passing by Hobey Baker finalists Blake Geoffrion and Brandon Smith. Another penalty set up another 5-on-3 goal for Wisconsin, as Geoffrion scored his 28th goal on a Smith rebound at 13:24.

The Tigers got on the baord at 19:32 of the second period, as Tyler Brenner scored his 11th goal of the year on a power play, beating Scott Gudmanson from just off the left-wing post. The goal elicited a loud cheer from the Tigers' fans, including a student section that remained standing throughout the game, supporting their Tigers to the bitter end.

The "R-I-T" chants continued through the third period, and the Tigers continued to give Wisconsin everything they had, but the Badgers wouldn't let RIT back into the game, and made it 7-1 at 17:28 of the final period on the eighth goal of the season, then made it 8-1 at when Stepan potted his own rebound for his second tally of the game and 12th of the season.

In the final minute, the RIT student section started one more chant, saluting their team's inspiring run in the tournament until the final buzzer ended the Tigers' season at 28-12-1.

The Badgers (28-10-4) will now face either Boston College or Miami University in Saturday night's NCAA Championship game at 7 p.m. at Ford Field.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Camp Wrap, Cyclone Taylor Cup, Wong Notches First Pro Point:

The Cents wrapped up their annual Spring Evaluation Camp yesterday at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. At the end of the camp, I had the chance to talk to Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce about the weekend, and also his plans for the upcoming weeks of the off-season.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce

Click here to download

All audio property of Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.

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Congrats are in order once again to the Revelstoke Grizzlies on their win at the Cyclone Taylor Cup yesterday. As I mentioned when the Grizzlies won the KIJHL championship, Troy Mick's roster features five players who AP'd with the Centennials this past season. Luke Richardson, who was in training camp with Merritt last season, Brad Friedrich and Cole Buckley are all eligible to play junior A hockey next season, so we'll wait and see which of them come to rookie camp with the team in August. Lucas Blinkhorn and Caleb Roy are both 1989-born players and are definitely winding up their junior careers on a huge run. Revelstoke now moves onto the Western Canadian Keystone Cup championship this weekend in Kamloops. I don't know if I'll be able to for sure, but I'm hoping to catch some of the action.

Overall, the Cyclone Taylor Cup featured seven players with ties to Merritt. In addition to the five players with Revelstoke, Tyler Johns, who skated with the Centennials during the 2007-08 season after coming over in a trade with Cowichan Valley, is a member of the Oceanside Generals along with Brent Baltus, who was one of the last cuts by the Cents during training camp last season.

Now the Keystone Cup features twelve players who have worn a Centennials sweater. Of course, there are the five players on Revelstoke. The host Kamloops Storm have former Cents Alessio Tomassetti, Gary Rai, Jordan Wilkins and Anthony Manfredi. Two other players with the Storm, Mike McCance and Jason Alessio, were both AP's with the Cents in the last few years.

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A huge congrats as well to 2005-06 Cents MVP Brandon Wong as the Victoria product made his professional hockey debut this past weekend against the AHL's Abbotsford Heat. Wong played on a line with former Canucks tough guy Brad May and assisted on the lone goal that Grand Rapids scored in a 2-1 loss. Wong finished with two shots on goal, a +1 and the one assist.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Camp Schedule/Participants:

The schedule has been finalized for the Cents Annual Spring Camp this weekend. All sessions are open to the public and the Cents encourage any fans to check out the action. All activities are at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

Friday, April 2

2 - 4 pm: Player Registration

5:15 - 6:30 pm: Blue vs. Yellow

7 - 8:15 pm: Red vs. Grey

Saturday, April 3

8:30 - 9:30 am: Red & Blue Practice

10 - 11:15 am: Goaltender Session

11:30 am - 12:30 pm: Yellow & Grey Practice

1 - 2:15 pm: Blue vs. Red

2:45 - 4 pm: Yellow vs. Grey

4:30 - 5:45 pm: Grey vs. Blue

6:15 - 7:30 pm: Red vs. Yellow

8 pm: Player Meeting with Cents Coaching Staff (Parents Welcome)

Sunday, April 4

9 - 10:15 am: 3rd vs. 4th

10:15 - 11:15 am: Exit Interviews

11:30 am - 12:45 pm: 1st vs. 2nd

12:45 - 1:45 pm: Exit Interviews

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Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce has been gracious enough to provide me with a list of camp participants too. I don't have the specific breakdowns of who is on which team, but at least it broken down by position.

Goaltenders

Michael Desimone (93) - Merritt Midget
Jordan Hospes (93) - Coquitlam Midget
Christian Karl (92) - North Okanagan (KIJHL)
Kolding Larson (93) - North Island Silvertips (BCMML)
James Leonard (93) - North Kamloops Lions Midget AAA
Dylan Quinn (93) - Prince George Midget
Kenny Quinn (92) - Penticton (KIJHL)
Russell Sanderson (94) - Merritt Midget
Mitchell Sheridan (92) - Princeton (KIJHL)
Cody Tent (93) - Williams Lake Midget

Defencemen

Alex Bond (93) - Coquitlam Midget
Colton Dahlen (93) - POE Midget 1
Mitchell Hewson (93) - Okanagan Rockets (BCMML)
Lucas Hildebrand (91) - Grand Forks (KIJHL)
Tyler Jones (92) - Castlegar (KIJHL)
Mike Keyes (93) - North Okanagan (KIJHL)
Brett Laird (91) - Chase (KIJHL)
Bill Marshall (91) - Princeton (KIJHL)
Ryan Murray (93) - Thompson Blazers (BCMML)
Darcy Rail (91) - Columbia Valley (KIJHL)
Richard Sabourin (92) - Okanagan Rockets (BCMML)
Ryan Skinner (92) - Kamloops (KIJHL)

Forwards

Sean Alldridge (92) - Okanagan Hockey Academy Midget AAA
Garrett Bangsund (92) - Merritt Midget
Wyatt Bonneau (94) - North Okanagan Midget Tier 3
Tye Brandt (93) - Thompson Blazers (BCMML)
Brad Buckingham (92) - Calgary Midget AAA
Kyle Clerke (92) - Okanagan Rockets (BCMML)
Jeff Coates (91) - Okanagan Hockey Academy Midget AAAA
Brendan Colter (93) - Merritt Midget
Henry Deuschl (94) - Vernon Midget
Cole Fex (93) - Merritt Midget
Ian Grant (91) - Chase (KIJHL)
Devon Grossler (91) - Princeton (KIJHL)
Dustin Lebrun (92) - Vancouver NE Chiefs (BCMML)
Spencer Kristensen (91) - Princeton (KIJHL)
Patrick Lee (94) - Calgary Royals Midget AAA
Briar McNaney (93) - Columbia Valley (KIJHL)
Colton Malmsten (93) - Okanagan Rockets (BCMML)
Malik Miller (95) - Merritt Bantam
Ben Morgan (91) - Princeton (KIJHL)
Tye Moses (92) - Columbia Valley (KIJHL)
Adriano Mungoli (93) - Okanagan Hockey Academy Midget AAA
Andrew Nichols (91) - North Okanagan (KIJHL)
Sam Nigg (93) - Penticton Midget AAA
Mitchell Nishimura (93) - Calgary Royals Midget AAA
Kolbi O'Brien (92) - Okanagan Hockey Academy Midget AAA
Dylan Playfair (92) - Penticton (KIJHL)
Scott Renner (92) - Chase (KIJHL)
Aaron Riemersma (92) - Comox (VIJHL)
Daylan Robertson (94) - Merritt Midgets
Jamie Russell (92) - North Delta (PIJHL)
Colt Ruthven (92) - Comox (VIJHL)
Jordan Salahar (93) - Okanagan Rockets (BCMML)
Rudi Schiebel (91) - Penticton (KIJHL)
Eric Schmidt (93) - Merritt Midgets
Regan Soquila (93) - Vancouver NE Chiefs (BCMML)
Colton Sparrow (93) - Okanagan Rockets (BCMML)
Evan Stack (91) - Princeton (KIJHL)
Alex Stephens (91) - Valencia (WSHL)
Quinton Sutherland (95) - Kelowna Bantam AA
Zac Thompson (91) - Grand Forks (KIJHL)
Haddow Thul (93) - Calgary Buffaloes Midget AA
Brendan Tyrell (92) - Calgary Royals Midget AAA
Ryan Valdes (92) - Okanagan Hockey Academy Midget AAA
Chris Vinette (92) - Grand Forks (KIJHL)
Brock Wellicome (93) - Valley West Hawks (BCMML)
Chris Williamson (91) - Ambri-Piotta (Switzerland Junior)

Cents Spring Camp Preview, Thiessen named AHL Player of the Week:

I had Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce on the morning show today to talk about Spring Camp, which starts tomorrow. I should have a full schedule for the camp posted later today.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce

Click here to download

All audio property of Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.

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(Former Cents goaltender Brad Thiessen, now with Wilkes Barre-Scranton of the AHL)

Former Cents netminder Brad Thiessen, who happens to be one of the nicest guys around, continues his ascent to a very good pro career as he's the latest winner of the AHL Player of the Week award. Here's the release from the BCHL.

The AHL has also put together a media release. Check it out here.