Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Former Cents Forward Don Nachbaur Named Coach of WHL's Spokane Chiefs, Cents AGM focuses on all the positives:

(Former Cents forward Don Nachbaur, being introduced at a news conference in Spokane today)


Spokane, WA - June 30, 2010

The Spokane Chiefs have named Don Nachbaur, ninth on the WHL’s all-time coaching win list, as the organization’s 11th head coach in franchise history. Nachbaur has won 431 games in 12 seasons, six each in Seattle and Tri-City, as a head coach in the WHL and is a two-time winner of the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy for the WHL’s Coach of the Year (1995-Seattle, 2008-Tri-City).

The contract between Nachbaur and the Chiefs is a five-year agreement.

“I always appreciated the fact that Spokane was a strong, well run franchise,” Nachbaur said.

“When coaching against Spokane I thought they were always one of the toughest teams to play. The word professional comes to mind. It is a great building, Spokane has good teams and you always want to be a part of something like that.”

“We are thrilled to have a coach of Don’s credentials head up our staff. He is a very experienced and accomplished head coach who works extremely hard. He gets the most out of his players and his teams are committed and dedicated to their gameplan,” Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz said.

Nachbaur’s first season as a head coach, 1994-95, resulted in a 42 win campaign and his first coach of the year honor with the Seattle Thunderbirds. In 1996-97 the Thunderbirds won 41 games and the Western Conference Championship. They advanced to the WHL Finals for the only time in franchise history.

Following a two year stint as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League, Nachbaur returned to the WHL with the Tri-City Americans as their head coach in 2003-04. In six full seasons there he recorded a 235-155-25-17 (W-L-SL-OTL) record including consecutive seasons of 47, 52 and 49 wins in his last three years.

The Americans’ 108 point campaign in 2007-08 set a franchise record for wins (52) and points and resulted in the Scotty Munro Trophy for most points in the WHL. Nachbaur also won his second WHL Coach of the Year trophy. In the post-season, he guided the Americans to the Western Conference Finals, eventually losing a seven game series that featured five overtime games, including three that went into double overtime, to the eventual Memorial Cup Champion Chiefs.

“The thing I remember most was how both teams went into each other’s building and won,” Nachbaur said

“It was a close, close series and there are a lot of memories from it. There was good jockeying going on between the coaches with the systems but at the end of the day neither team wanted to lose. It is a credit to both teams and the culture they had in the locker room.

“It goes hand in hand with every team’s rival. We didn’t like losing to them and they didn’t like losing to us and you have to respect that,” Nachbaur said.

Nachbaur helped the Americans win their first two U.S. Division regular season titles in 2007-08 and 2008-09. His WHL teams have qualified for the playoffs each season and he stands as one of 11 coaches in WHL history with over 400 career wins.

The Kitimat, British Columbia native left the Americans organization last July to accept the head coaching position with the Binghamton Senators, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Ottawa Senators. Two weeks ago, Nachbaur resigned from that post.

“I know the WHL and how well it is run,” Nachbaur said. “I have a grasp on what it takes to win in the league. Hockey in North America is very competitive and the WHL doesn’t take a back seat to anybody.”

As a player, Nachbaur spent one season in the BCJHL in 1976-77 with the Merritt Centennials, posting 22 goals and 27 assists in 54 games. He also played two seasons in the WHL, both with the Billings Bighorns, and scored 67 goals and 146 points in 137 games from 1977-79. He still shares the WHL record with five goals in one playoff game helping lead Billings to a 7-4 win over New Westminster in 1978.

The Hartford Whalers selected him in the third round, 60th overall, in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. The first of his 15 year professional career began the following season in the American Hockey League with Springfield. Nachbaur’s career included 223 games in the NHL with Hartford, Edmonton and Philadelphia. He also played 469 games in the AHL, recording 174 goals, 361 points and 1,452 penalty minutes. He retired in 1993-94 after four seasons in Austria.

Nachbaur and his family, wife Kim, 18-year-old daughter Sydney and 14-year-old son Daniel, will make Spokane their home.

(Here's the Cents staff and Board of Directors in a photo taken after last week's AGM. Yes - that is yours truly on the far left!)

(Back row, left to right) Paul Barnes, Nick Vischschraper, Beth Nadeau, Frank Etchart, Tom Reynolds, Brian Barrett and Tod Dean. (Front row, left to right) Brian Wiebe, Maddison Canuel, Jerry Canuel, Andrea Barnes, Cathy Frizzell and Luke Pierce. Missing are Assistant Coach Chad DeLeeuw and Director Betty Doberstein.

By Ian Webster - Merritt Herald

The Merritt Centennials hockey team held its Annual General Meeting last week at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

While the turnout of local citizens was not huge, there was plenty of good news to be heard by those in attendance - not only about the Cents’ season just past, but the organization’s prospects for the coming season and on into the future.

Centennials’ President Jerry Canuel kicked off the Thursday night meeting with a recap of the 2009-10 hockey year, from its somewhat tumultuous start back in September to its resoundingly successful finish in late February.

During that six month period, Merritt’s storied BCHL franchise worked its way through no fewer than three ownership situations, and just as many coaching changes.

“It was a real learning experience for all of us,” understated Canuel on behalf of the entire Centennials’ Executive and Board of Directors.

Canuel then went on to say, “The best thing that could have happened, however, was when we put a local brand on the team with the hiring of Luke [Pierce as Head Coach and General Manager], and the bringing of Maury [Grant] and Josh [Yurkowski] on board. Our attendance went up, there was renewed confidence throughout the community, and a better attitude both on and off the ice.”

Brian Barrett, the Centennials’ current Director of Hockey Operations, and long time supporter of the junior A hockey team in one capacity or another, re-iterated Canuel’s feelings.

“Luke has been such a huge positive to this club, and I see a bright future ahead for the team,” said Barrett. “It’s unbelievable to be involved with a franchise in the best junior A league in Canada.”

Barrett went on to state that operating such a franchise comes with its challenges, as the British Columbia Hockey League continues to become more and more organized and more professional.

“There is a manual now that spells out the procedures and expectations for league members in almost every area of their operations, both on and off the ice. It’s a ‘standards’ document that will be a real challenge for small-market teams like Merritt to meet.”

Following Barrett’s comments, Merritt Centennials’ Treasurer Beth Nadeau was able to report to the AGM that “for the first time in a very long time the Merritt Centennials made money”.

Nadeau went on to say that the team’s revenues were greatly aided by the involvement of the forestry sector, and a small-scale salvaging program that has been initiated with the Ministry of Forests and local private businesses.

Nadeau also made reference to the tremendous work of the Centennials’ Booster Club – a small group comprised of tireless volunteers – which raised over $52,000 to help with the team’s expenses.

Both Director Tom Reynolds and Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel spoke of the improvements that have been made over the course of the past year in the areas of promotion and marketing.

“It was a year spent getting organized, and becoming more professional,” stated Reynolds, while Canuel added, “As the year progressed, a really good vibe evolved.”

Canuel also proudly announced that Merritt was the only franchise in the league to actually increase its average attendance for the 2009-2010 season.

Head Coach Luke Pierce then took centre stage, and said at the outset, “I continue to feel fortunate to be involved with the hockey club, and I’m really excited about how things are coming together hockey-wise.”

Pierce said that many of the important pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place, with a strong scouting and recruiting team assembled across North America and with the hiring of a full-time assistant coach in Chad De Leeuw.

Pierce stated that the signing two weeks ago of one of the best prospects in British Columbia, 16-year-old Jakob Reichert from Langley, for the upcoming season, “is a real coup for our hockey club”.

Brian Wiebe, Program Director for Q101 and an ardent supporter of junior A hockey, went on to detail the immense interest that is “out there” in the Merritt Centennials.

“The team has both a web page and a blog site, and is on Facebook,” Wiebe explained. “The web page had 32,400 unique visitors last year, while the blog has had over 7,000 visits since March.”

It was left to Rusty Brewer, Centennials’ Booster Club member and last season’s BCHL Volunteer of the Year to sum things up best with respect to the evening’s news and events.

“I think that I’ve probably been involved in 25 or more AGMs over the years. Never have I felt the strength that we have right now with the current directors and staff.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Debtless Cents optimistic, but new BCHL protocols a challenge:

This is posted on the Merritt News website.

June 29, 2010

John O'Connor
News Editor

The Merritt Centennials new board of governors will have its work cut out for it with a new league protocol and a promise to deliver more entertaining hockey for fans.

But this year is going to be a little different for the board. For the first time in a long time the Centennials have come out on the plus side in their budget and it looks like they will be able to meet the league's suggested $450,000 operating budget.

A new board of directors was named at the Cents annual general meeting last Wednesday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

The new board is shaped by newcomers Andrea Barnes, Nik Vischschraper and Paul Barnes; while returnees Tod Dean, Brian Barrett, Frank Etchart, and Betty Doberstein round out the remaining seats.

“We've got some stability on the Board with all but one director returning and we're excited about that,” said Jerry Canuel, who will again sit as team president this season. “We've got good community people who have been involved with the Cents and junior hockey in the past, and each director brings a huge amount of enthusiasm to the group.”

Tom Reynolds will sit as vice president with Cathy Frizzell as secretary, and Beth Nadeau as treasurer.

Despite Brian Barrett's comments during the AGM that BCHL team owners appear to be trying to drive out small-market teams like the Cents, the new directorship will get a chance to show that it isn't always the highest payroll that succeeds at winning games and entertaining fans.

“It was a tumultuous start to the year,” admitted Canuel, speaking of the Cents slow start last season.

Following the hiring and firing of three coaches, the Cents finally found what they were looking for in a local man and former Centennial player Luke Pierce.

“That enabled us to bring in our own brand,” said Canuel of hiring Pierce.

“We showed improvement, and I think what we did was instill confidence in the community.”

“Luke has a vision that we've all bought into,” continued Canuel.

Executing Pierce's vision may not be as easy as it would have been before. The BCHL has implemented a new operations protocol manual that each team is expected to abide by.

“It provides each team with the direction they have to go (in a professional manner),” said Barrett.

“A lot of it is probably being brought in because of the Williams Lake situation.”

In May, the BCHL board of governors voted in favour of suspending the Williams Lake Timberwolves franchise due to what it said was the club's lack of “good standing.”

“This year is going to be a real tough year as far as reaching expectations with the operations manual,” continued Barrett.

Pierce appeared not to concerned with the new BCHL protocol but said it goes a little overboard.

Home games at NV Memorial Arena may have a different feel this season as the Cents look to recruit more security staff.

And what of the much-complained-about arena heating? Barrett says there is not much he can do differently without upgrades to the existing system. City council may soon get a visit from the hockey club, looking to improve one of the league's oldest buildings.

The Cents have beefed up the communication side of things by announcing Brian Wiebe as their media liaison person.

Wiebe currently maintains the Merritt Centennials website as well as his own personal blog, which is dedicated to everything and anything Cents. Maddison Canuel will continue in the marketing and sales department.

Merritt Centennials Home Projected Limited, which owns a house on Nicola Lake, is still looking to sell the property for an estimated $795,000.

The board admits that it made an error when it had the opportunity to sell the house, but instead held out to sell higher. The board says as markets dove it made it more difficult to sell.

Nadeau says the Cents budget will be released within the next few weeks.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Nicola Valley Thunder Minor Lacrosse:

Shauna Clinging was on top of things again, getting these lacrosse scores to me this morning:

Merritt Mountain Towing Midget Thunder roared into a B division provincial playoff spot over the weekend. On Saturday they faced off against Kelowna in a grueling match That resulted in a 5-5- tie after three regulation periods. The first twenty sudden death overtime ended with the two team still deadlocked. Dallas Grismer-Voght scored the winner less then five minutes into the second overtime period.

On Sunday they travelled to N. Ok. where they defeated the N. Okanagan Legends 5-2.

The Royal LePage Novice Thunder earned a spot at the zone playoff tournament by finishing 4th in zone. After defeating Kelowna 12-5 they were knocked out of the tournament by Penticton by a margin of 13-3.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cents AGM News, Former Cents Coach/GM Joey Bouchard Returns to Whitecourt, Former Cents Defenceman Ryan Moir Commits to Mount Royal University:

The Cents AGM was this past Wednesday at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena and although there weren't a ton of people in attendance, there was a lot covered.

Among the items was the fact that for the fiscal year of 2009-10, the Centennials Society did NOT lose money. As a former Board Member and past-President, I am so happy to see things turned around for the team financially due to some investors putting money into the operation, plus the ton of fundraising by the Cents Booster Club and regular revenue streams generated by the team. Two playoff home dates helped big time in bringing in some much needed revenue. I've got a feeling this season will produce even more.

The other main item addressed at the AGM was the election of the team's 2010-11 Board of Directors. Here's the official release issued by the Cents on Thursday:


Merritt, BC – June 25, 2010

The Merritt Centennials Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club Society announced today the 2010-11 Board of Directors as elected at its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday June 25, 2010.

The Executive for the upcoming season includes President/Chairman of the Board Jerry Canuel, Vice-President Tom Reynolds, Treasurer Beth Nadeau and Secretary Cathy Frizzell after all allowed their names to stand for a second term.

Also returning to the Board for a second term is Team Governor Brian Barrett and Booster Club President Betty Doberstein, plus Directors At Large Tod Dean and Frank Etchart.

New Directors include Andrea Barnes, Nik Vischschraper and Paul Barnes.

“We’ve got some stability on the Board with all but one Director returning and we’re excited about that,” said Canuel. “We’ve got good community people who have been involved with the Cents and junior hockey in the past and each Director brings a huge amount of enthusiasm to the group. I look forward to working with each of them in the next year to continue to build on our program here.”


For further information, please contact President and Chairman of the Board Jerry Canuel at 250-378-9266 or

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 38 years as the BCHL's longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior 'A' Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

Immediately following the meeting, I had the chance to speak with Cents President and Chairman of the Board Jerry Canuel.

Cents President/Chairman of the Board Jerry Canuel

Click here to download

Joey Bouchard, who was hired by the Cents last summer as coach and GM before resigning in August, has resurfaced with the team he coached last, the junior B Whitecourt Wolverines, as their GM. Here's the release from the Wolverines website:


In a move demonstrating the commitment to excellence that has become the hallmark of the Whitecourt Wolverines, Team Owner & President Brent Stark announced today the following steps designed to bring both the Provincial and National Junior B Hockey Championships to Whitecourt.
Joey Bouchard who previously lead the Wolverines from the bench in their first 2 seasons which saw the team advance to Game 7 of the finals in year 1 and win the NWJHL Championship in Year 2 and who is largely credited with being the architect of the teams core group of players has returned to the organization as Vice President & General Manager.
With a resume that not only included the history of his association with the Wolverines but with Junior A clubs in Alberta coupled with a strong scouting and recruitment background, the aim of Bouchard’s appointment is to maintain the dominating nature of the club on the ice as well as its reputation as a positive force within the community it calls home.
Brent Stark in discussing the appointment with the clubs management group stated that; “Joey has been a vital part of building this club and we are fortunate to once again have Joey in the fold working with our franchise but also assisting us in developing our “life, school, hockey” program which will see our retiring players hopefully move on into college programs utilizing Joey’s significant contacts in that area.”
Stark also stated that the expectations of the team are high from a fan perspective and that the community deserved a provincial / national championship. It is with that fact in mind Stark went on to say the he felt Bouchard would be a natural fit for the position.
On top of his obvious hockey background, Bouchard also brings with him a degree in Education, a fact specifically pointed to by Stark. “ I have always stated that this team was to represent what youth can do with their lives if given the opportunities. Education plays a huge role in that regard. This is why the Wolverines have always been strong supporters of not only the Percy Baxter Hockey Academy, but of Minor Hockey in general. Joey’s appointment brings us back to that goal.”

(Former Cents defenceman Ryan Moir)

Former Cents defenceman Ryan Moir, who played 81 games between 2007 and 2009 in Merritt, has committed to Mount Royal University of the ACAC. Here's the release from the AJHL website:

Canucks Press Release: Moir to Attend MRC
June 21, 2010

Ryan Moir to Attend MRC

June 21st, 2010 – The Calgary Canucks take great pride in announcing that graduating defenseman Ryan Moir has committed to attend Mount Royal University starting with this coming semester.

During his time with our team Ryan was one of the top defensemen and as a testament to that he was chosen as the top defenseman for the Canucks at the recent Annual Awards Banquet. He was also selected to play for the 2010 AJHL South Division All-Star team.

The coaching staff and the entire Board of Directors congratulate Ryan and his family and wish him every success in his future scholastic and hockey endeavours.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Former Cents Forward Don Nachbaur Poised To Coach Chiefs:

This is in today's Kamloops Daily News:

Nachbaur poised to coach Chiefs
June 23,2010

Daily News Sports Editor

Don Nachbaur, who resigned Tuesday after one season as head coach of the AHL’s Binghamton Senators, is expected to be named the next head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.

Two sources told The Daily News on Tuesday that Nachbaur left Binghamton, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in order to become the Chiefs’ head coach.

"It is a difficult day for me as I step down as the head coach of the Binghamton Senators,” Nachbaur said in a statement. “This was not an easy decision for me, but it is based on personal reasons and I think it is the right choice for both myself and my family."

Nachbaur resigned last summer after five seasons as head coach of the Tri-City Americans and signed with Ottawa. Binghamton went 36-35-6-3 with Nachbaur at the helm, but didn’t make the playoffs.

Nachbaur was a fan-favourite in Tri-City as the Americans had unprecedented success with him as head coach. His run finished with back-to-back U.S. Division pennants.

The Chiefs and Americans have a tremendous rivalry that is about to get even hotter.

While Nachbaur moved to Binghamton, his family stayed in Richland, Wash. In fact, his son, Daniel, played for the bantam Spokane Jr. Chiefs, one of the teams that played in the 42nd annual KIBIHT.

With Spokane, Nachbaur will replace Hardy Sauter, who lost his job after last season when the club chose not to exercise an option.

The Chiefs were 45-22-3-2, good for fourth place in the Western Conference, but just two points out of first. They lost a first-round series in seven games to the Portland Winterhawks.

With the Edmonton Oil Kings having signed Derek Laxdal as head coach last week and the Chiefs about to introduce Nachbaur, it leaves the Kootenay Ice as the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams without a head coach.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cents Announce AGM, Former Cents Coach Enio Sacilotto Joins WHL's Chilliwack Bruins:

The Cents have announced the details for their AGM on Thursday. Here's the official release from the team:


Merritt, BC – June 22, 2010

The Merritt Centennials Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club Society would like to invite all residents of the Nicola Valley to its Annual General Meeting on Thursday June 24, 2010 at 7 p.m. in the Mezzanine at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

The evening will consist of reports on team finances for the 2009-10 fiscal year, marketing, season tickets, billeting, booster club, hockey operations and the election of the 2010-11 Board of Directors. Nominations for the Board of Directors will be permitted from the floor during the meeting.

“This is a good opportunity for residents to see how our meetings are run,” said Cents President and Chairman of the Board Jerry Canuel. “They can see our year-end financial report and the whole program.”

“As a community-owned franchise, we want to be as transparent as we can and that’s why we invite anyone to come to our AGM and offer their thoughts or concerns,” continued Canuel. “This is Merritt’s team, our community’s team, and that’s what we want it to be all about.”


For further information, please contact President and Chairman of the Board Jerry Canuel at 250-378-9266 or

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 37 years as the BCHL's longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior 'A' Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

Meanwhile, former Cents coach Enio Sacilotto is back coaching in North America with the Chilliwack Bruins. Here's the release from the Bruins:

Bruins Add to Coaching Staff

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chilliwack Bruins General Manager and Head Coach Marc Habscheid announced today that the Bruins have hired Enio Sacilotto as Assistant Coach.

“We’re extremely pleased to have Enio join our organization,”said Habscheid. “He’ll be a good addition to our coaching staff. He brings a lot of coaching and teaching experience to our club.”

Sacilotto, who specializes in video analysis, practice planning, drill design and practice execution, has spent the last several years coaching in Europe including stints in Denmark, Norway and Switzerland.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to join the Bruins team and work with Marc. Our paths crossed briefly at Hockey Canada a few years back and it’s going to be good to work with him on a full time basis.”

You have to wonder if Sacilotto will wind up coaching last year's Cents back-up Cole Holowenko as the 17-year-old likely has a good chance of cracking the Bruins lineup for the 2010-11 season. By the way, Sacilotto was one of three coaches (along with Chuck Tapp and Roddy Rodgers) behind the Merritt bench during the dismal 1983-84 season. The year was the Centennials worst in franchise history, with a record of 8-51-1. The team's goals-against was 543 or an average of 9 (!) per game, which still stands as a BCHL record.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chase Awarded Expansion KIJHL Team, Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse:

Chase, which lost its Chiefs to Kelowna earlier this year, has been awarded an expansion franchise in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. League governors met over the weekend in Chase for the KIJHL AGM and voted 16-2 in favour of a team in that community rejoining for the 2011-12 season. Brad Fox has been hired by the community-owned franchise as Director of Hockey Operations.

Here's the latest on the Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse Association, courtesy of Shauna Clinging, who handles PR for the group. Way to go kids!

Lots of lacrosse action over the last weekend of the season.

Saturday, the Royal LePage Novices played a close game in Pentiction losing to the Penticton Heat 10-8.

Meanwhile in Kelowna the Contain-It Storage Bantams downed Kodiaks 13-2. Goalie Aaron Montreuil had an outstanding game in net and four assists.

The Royal LePage Novice Thunder faced of against N. Okanagan in Armstrong on Sunday in another close battle. Fred Ware scored the winner with 19 seconds left in the game for a final score of 6-5.

The Century 21 Peewees split a double header in Kelowna on Sunday. They lost the morning game 4-3, but picked up the win 8-7 in the afternoon.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cents Roster, Training Camp Details Released:

With the trade of Matt Mazzarolo earlier this week, the Cents are now down to the maximum number of 20-year-olds allowed in the BCHL. That's not to say that all of the 1990-born players on the roster right now will be with the team come September as coach/GM Luke Pierce indicated at the team's Strategic Plan Presentation that they'll be looking to have a younger lineup this season.

Luke mentioned that he and director of hockey operations Brian Barrett have an idea in mind how they want their roster break-down to be in terms of age. I would expect there to be a significant number of 1991-93-born players with the Centennials this year with the two available 1994-born spots used and a sprinkling of 1990-born players to provide veteran leadership.

Here's what's happened with the Cents roster since the season ended in February:

Additions: Jakob Reichert (93) from Revelstoke (KIJHL)

Subtractions: Colton Sobchak (90) to Alberni Valley (BCHL)
Matt Mazzarolo (90) to Surrey (BCHL)
Daniel Chang (91) to New Mexico (NAHL)

So the roster as of now looks like this:


Dustin Johnson (90)
Alexander MacMillan (90)
Derek Hills (90) (I know he's listed on the roster as a defenceman, but he played up front most of the season)
Sam Gemmell (90)
Jeff Jones (91)
David Sabey (91)
Steve Wall (91)
Silvan Harper (92)


Steve Tresierra (90)
Jeff Zmurchyk (90)
Mitch Jones (91) (I expect Mitch to be traded after he left the team late last season)
Kameran Crawford (91)
Austin Baecker (92) (His WHL rights were acquired by Seattle earlier this year, I'd expect him to go to their camp)


Keith Hamilton (92) (WHL rights belong to Portland and he's already played a full season there in 2008-09, I would expect him to be at their camp)
Cole Holowenko (93) (WHL rights belong to Chilliwack, he was called up by them twice last season, he'll likely have a shot at their camp)

Meanwhile, the Cents have released the details for Training Camp this season. Here's the official release:


Merritt, BC – June 16, 2010

The Merritt Centennials announced today the details for their 2010-11 Main Training Camp. Registration is at 9 a.m. on Monday August 23, 2010 at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

“We strive to give all players a vision and an outcome, to advance them to the next level and maximize their potential as a player and as a person,” said Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce. “We are looking for players who have a superior work ethic, attitude, strong skating ability and most importantly, demonstrate a will to compete every time they’re on the ice.”

“We have high expectations for the upcoming season and recommend any prospective players train hard to allow themselves the opportunity to show our entire organization their best,” continued Pierce.

Camp is being conducted on an invite-only basis and any interested players are encouraged to contact the Centennials office directly.

All attendees are expected to bring their own hockey gear to the rink for registration and also appropriate warm up gear and runners as there is a fitness test portion of camp.

All attendees are responsible for their own meals and accommodations.

For a list of suggested accommodations and restaurants in the Nicola Valley, please visit our website at


For further information, please contact Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce at 250-378-3607.

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 37 years as the BCHL's longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior 'A' Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cents Trade Matt Mazzarolo to Surrey, Jakob Reichert Audio, Minor Lacrosse & Minor Softball Notes:

Man, the Centennials have been keeping this blogger busy in the last couple of weeks with a lot of news. Don't think for a second that I'm complaining, I wouldn't want it any other way!

(Former Cents defenceman Matt Mazzarolo)

Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce continues to tinker with his roster heading into the 2010-11 season as defenceman Matt Mazzarolo (90) was traded yesterday to the Surrey Eagles for future considerations. Here's the release from the team:


Merritt, BC – June 15, 2010

The Merritt Centennials announced today that they have traded defenceman Matt Mazzarolo (90) to Surrey of the BCHL for future considerations.

Mazzarolo appeared in 58 games with the Cents last season, tallying 4 goals, 13 assists and 105 penalty minutes.

The Surrey product was originally signed by Merritt in June of 2008 and posted 1 goal, 6 assists and 110 penalty minutes in 54 games in 2008-09 as a rookie.

Prior to that, Mazzarolo skated with Beaver Valley and Columbia Valley of the KIJHL, winding up with 1 goal, 16 assists and 87 penalty minutes in his lone season in the Junior B circuit.


For further information, please contact Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce at 250-378-3607.

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 37 years as the BCHL's longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior 'A' Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

I talked to Luke about the trade yesterday afternoon.

Cents Head Coach/GM Luke Pierce

Click here to download

I'll take a look at the Centennials updated roster and have further analysis on the trade later today or early tomorrow.

Also, on the heels of the Jakob Reichert signing, I had the chance to talk to the 16-year-old on my morning show today.

New Cents forward Jakob Reichert

Click here to download

Luke Pierce also weighed in with his thoughts about the signing.

Cents Head Coach/GM Luke Pierce

Click here to download

More good results from the Nicola Valley Thunder minor lacrosse squads. PR Director Shauna Clinging sent these results yesterday morning.

Contain-It Storage Bantam Thunder were on the road last night against Kamloops 3. The Nicola Valley team came home with a 9-2 win. Goals were scored by Jarod Murphy (3) Brody Tod (2), Kristian Stead (2), Brayden Thormoset (1).

And Kris Narjes, who handles PR for the Merritt Minor Softball Association, passed along these scores this morning from last night. Way to go!

Merritt teams had 3 games in Kamloops Tuesday night. All successful. The Merritt Squirt Boys beat the Kamloops squirt girls 22-11. Merritt pee wee girls had a close one with Kamloops Bantam house team, beating them 22-19 and the Merritt Bantam boys beat Clearwater Bantam boys 14-12. In that game, Bradley Colter had a 2-run RBI triple.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cents Sign Forward Jakob Reichert, Alumni News:

(New Cents forward Jakob Reichert with Revelstoke this past season)

I received this media release from the Cents this morning, looks like a good pick up. I'll have Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce's thoughts on the signing later today and I hope to have Jakob on the morning show tomorrow. I'll post the audio from that interview afterward.


Merritt, BC – June 15, 2010

The Merritt Centennials of the BC Hockey League are pleased to announce the signing of forward Jakob Reichert (93) for the 2010-11 season.

“We're really excited to have Jakob join our club,” said Cents Head Coach/GM Luke Pierce. “He's a young player who has a lot of potential, and we feel that he can make a big impact at the junior 'A' level. I'm confident that Jakob will not only fit in well with what we're building towards on the ice, but also in the Nicola Valley community.”

Reichert, at 6-foot-3 and 232 lbs., played last season with the Western Canadian Junior ‘B’ champion Revelstoke Grizzlies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He had seven goals and seven assists in 47 regular season games and chipped in six goals and six assists in 22 playoff games.


For further information, please contact Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce at 250-378-3607.

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 37 years as the BCHL's longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior 'A' Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

Here's a bit more about Jakob from the Langley Times:

Rookie season ends with Keystone Cup title

By Gary Ahuja - Langley Times
Published: May 04, 2010 3:00 PM

Troy Mick likened it to a man playing among boys.

That was his description of power forward Jakob Reichert’s game in the second half of the season as the 16-year-old adjusted to his first season of junior B hockey.

“He is a power forward to the fullest,” said Mick, the head coach of the Revelstoke Grizzlies.

The team just capped off a magical season, winning the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League title, the Cyclone Taylor Cup (provincial champions), and most recently, the Keystone Cup (western Canadian champions).

Reichert has played himself onto the radar of a handful of junior A teams, who have expressed keen interest in signing the 6-foot-2, 232-pound forward.

“Right now, he is letting his play do the talking,” Mick said.

Mick hit the jackpot with Reichert in Las Vegas, where the player was attending a Global Hockey Showcase event over the summer.

“I loved everything I saw with him,” the coach said.

“When I first saw him in Langley, he was running guys over, he was so much bigger.

“And he has such good hands for a big boy.”

Allowed to carry two 1993-born hockey players, Mick extended one of those invitations to Reichert, who played AAA midget hockey for the Langley Minor Hockey Association.

And while Reichert did have options to play closer to home, he jumped at the chance to play for Mick.

“The coach is very well known for how he develops players,” he explained about the decision.

When the season began, success did not come instantaneously to Reichert.

“I started the year as a grinder kind of guy, getting pucks deep and playing hard at both ends,” he said of his initial role.

As the season progressed, so did his job, and as Reichert worked his way up, and even found himself with power play time on the second unit.

Reichert wound up with modest numbers, scoring seven times and setting up seven others in 47 regular season games. But he ratcheted up his play in the post-season, nearly matching his regular season output with six goals and six assists in 22 games.

“He has been under the radar, but as we went into the playoffs, more and more teams were taking notice of him,” Mick said.

“The second half of the year, he was really a man amongst boys on the wall,” he added.

“And his play down low was just so good; he is going to be a really good player and I think the best is yet to come.”

Reichert combines a big body, which is difficult for opposing defencemen to bump off the puck, and soft hands, which give him a goal scorer’s touch around the net.

Reichert never imagined he would return home this spring with a slew of championships to show for his efforts.

“It has been a pretty unbelievable year,” he marveled. “It was such a good year and a great way to end, but it was still sad to see it end.

“It was just so fun, I didn’t really want to leave.”

Mick fully expects Reichert, who turns 17 in September, to graduate to the next level, either with one of several junior A clubs which have expressed interest in signing him, or in the Western Hockey League with the Chilliwack Bruins, the team he attended training camp with last summer. He is currently on the Bruins’ protected player list.

The key will be to work out through the spring and summer and improve his skating and foot speed.

“At this stage, he just has to let his play do the talking,” Mick said.

“He has come a long way from the beginning of the year and that is what you want to see, the hard work and the development.

“He has been an absolute pleasure to teach and I would love 20 of him as a player.”

(Former Cents forward Tyler Halliday during his rookie season in 2006-07)

Cents graduating forward Lucas Daoust will be joined on the TRU WolfPack this season by another player who skated here in Merritt in Tyler Halliday. Here's the release from TRU:

For the second year in a row, when the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack hockey team hits the ice, they will do it with a player having experience in the Western Hockey League.

Tyler Halliday, a four year veteran of the WHL has agreed to join the WolfPack hockey program starting in 2010-11. Halliday played with three teams during his Western Hockey League Career beginning with the Red Deer Rebels before moving to the Prince George Cougars, the Kelowna Rockets and then finishing up the Cougars this past season (2009-10). He had nine goals and 12 assists with 163 penalty minutes in 66 games with the Rockets and Cougars last season.

“I am very excited to join TRU and the WolfPack,” says Halliday, “ The school has grown in the past 5 years into one of the best and I am very excited to be a part of it. hockey wise I am anxious to start the season with the team and help them win the BCIHL title.”

Halliday, a grad of South Kamloops Secondary is very familiar with the WolfPack. He played minor hockey with four members of TRU’s 2009-10 squad (Cody Lockwood, David Gore, Mick Ludwig, and Jose Reyes). They were teammates in Midget hockey with the North Kamloops Lions.

He had a number of offers to join CIS Programs. “At first I was just playing out my options and seeing what was available,” he stated. “ I had a few universities call and to see if I was interested and I just kept everything open until I was ready to make my decision. The schools that contacted me were U of Alberta, U of Lethbridge, UBC, Lakehead, and U of Waterloo. But I decided that TRU would be the best fit for me.”

That and he’d be closer to his parents. “I chose TRU because it will be nice to play at home. My parents, Chris and Robin, also agreed to allow me to come back home and live there as well. I also choose TRU because Kamloops is such a hot spot for hockey and other sports and I have heard great things about the school and their sports programs. Living in Kamloops most of my life I know that TRU has an exceptional campus and sporting facilities which really helped with my decision.”

WolfPack coach Lorne Cumming couldn’t be happier with Halliday’s decision to play with the squad. ”Having Tyler Halliday join our WolfPack hockey club is a special day for our organization. Tyler is a player that competes in every game he plays and he has shown he can be a leader at a very high level. We are looking forward to Halli bringing that presence into our culture as we continue to build WolfPack hockey into one of the most attractive university programs available to competitive student players. We feel Tyler will be a guy that sets the tone physically in tough games and can also score a critical goal when we really need one. Clearly ,he won the respect of his team-mates with his example on and off the ice while playing in Kelowna, and Prince George in the Western League and I know that will continue within our WolfPack hockey culture.”

Halliday needs to take some University Prep courses in Math and English for the first semester with an eye to entering the Bachelor of Business Administration degree program hoping to be an accountant.

(Former Cents forward Casey Fratkin during the 2008-09 season)

I don't know how I missed this last month, but I'm really glad to see that former Cents forward/defenceman Casey Fratkin is off to the NCAA to play Div. III hockey. Here's the release from Fratkin's last team, the Drumheller Dragons:

May 20, 2010

Fratkin Commits to Elmira College

The Drumheller Dragons would like to congratulate Casey Fratkin on his recent commitment to the Elmira College Soaring Eagles (NCAA D-III, ECAC West) for the 2010-11 season.

Fratkin, a 1989-born, 5’11”, 185 pound defenceman from Burnaby, BC, recorded 1 goal and 9 assists along with 50 penalty minutes in 31 games played for the Dragons this year.

“I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to play and study at a school of Elmira’s calibre,” comments Fratkin. “Throughout the recruiting process, I was very impressed by their athletic and academic programs, and I can’t wait to begin my college career with the Soaring Eagles. I would like to thank my Teammates and the Dragons organization for their support and guidance, specifically Educational Director Dave Wood. Dave was an invaluable resource both during and after the season, and played an important role in this accomplishment.”

Dragons’ Assistant Coach and Assistant Director of Player Development, David Ferrari, adds, “We are extremely proud of Casey and look forward to following his career in the NCAA. Casey immediately had an impact on our Team when we acquired him, and we are grateful for the hard work and professionalism that he displayed every day.”

Elmira College Head Coach, Aaron Saul, notes, “Casey really fits the mold of a Soaring Eagles defenceman. He is poised and mobile, and is a great competitor. We expect his contribution to our Program to be substantial.”

Fratkin's junior career was a pretty tumultuous one that saw his rights owned by the Cents (twice), Vernon (BCHL), Nanaimo (BCHL), Williams Lake (BCHL), Okotoks (AJHL), Drumheller (AJHL), Kamloops (KIJHL), Chase (KIJHL), North Bay (NOJHL) and La Ronge (SJHL). Moving on to NCAA is a big-time accomplishment for Fratkin and I wish him all the best with the Soaring Eagles.

Monday, June 14, 2010

DeLeeuw Hiring Official, Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse:

I received this media release from the Cents this morning making the Chad DeLeeuw hiring as assistant coach official.


Merritt, BC – June 14, 2010

The Merritt Centennials of the BC Hockey League are pleased to announce the hiring of Chad DeLeeuw as Assistant Coach for the 2010-11 season.

“We’re very happy Chad has agreed to join us here in Merritt,” said Head Coach/GM Luke Pierce. “I am confident that his knowledge and experience as a dominant defenceman in this league will transfer into his coaching ability. Chad brings added enthusiasm to the staff and he relates very well to players. His tremendous leadership abilities are sure to be an asset to our entire organization.”

DeLeeuw played five seasons in the BCHL from 1995-2000. In the 1995-96 season, he was named Nanaimo Clippers most improved player and was also runner-up as Interior Conference Defenceman of the Year award in the 1999-00 season while with Penticton. He has coaching experience at the minor hockey league level in addition to serving as an assistant with Summerland of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

“I'm extremely excited about joining the Centennials organization,” said DeLeeuw. “I'm looking forward to working with Luke, the Board of Directors and all the volunteers that put countless hours into the team. I want to help these young hockey players become strong, confident men who succeed on and off the ice.”

For further information, please contact Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce at 250-378-3607.

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 37 years as the BCHL's longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior 'A' Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

It was pretty successful weekend for Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse teams. Association PR director Shauna Clinging sent me this email this morning:

Century 21 Nicola Valley Peewee posted their first & second wins of the season over the weekend. Saturday the Nicola Valley team triumphed over Kamloops 2 by a margin of 7-4. Sunday they beat out the Shuswap Outlaws 4-3.

The Merritt Mountain Towing Midgets were in Surrey for the Craig Baily Memorial tournament. Friday evening they picked up a 9-1 win over Mission. Saturday morning they tied North Delta 4-4. Saturday evening they picked up a win over Ridge Meadows 10-3. Their results put them into the gold medal match against Alberni Valley where they fell to the island team 7-4.

The Contain-It Storage Bantams played a tough game against Shuswap Outlaws Sunday with the local team losin 6-4. Kristian Stead picked up a hat-trick and Brody Tod a single.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cents 2010-11 Schedule By The Numbers:

Now that the Cents 2010-11 schedule has been released, I thought I'd take a closer look at it.

The Cents 38th BCHL regular season opens on Friday September 10 in Trail and wraps up on Saturday February 19 in Merritt against the Smoke Eaters. It's the third straight season that Merritt ends against the Smokies.

Merritt plays Trail eight times this season (four home, four away). Penticton, Prince George, Salmon Arm, Westside, Quesnel and Vernon each play the Centennials six times (three home, three away). Powell River, Coquitlam, Surrey, Langley, Nanaimo, Victoria, Cowichan Valley and Alberni Valley each face Merritt twice (one home, one away).

Nicola Valley residents will have things besides hockey to enjoy in the fall, as the Centennials start out with a huge number of games on the road, especially in the first month. On December 30th, they play in their 20th road game of the season but will have played 18 games at home. The good news is that the season ends with 9 of 13 on home ice, including five straight at the end of January-beginning of February.

Merritt's longest stretch of road games is 5 (from Sept. 18 - 30) with games in Salmon Arm, Vernon, Powell River, Coquitlam and Penticton. The Cents also play 5 straight away (from Nov. 17 - 24) with games in Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, Victoria, Alberni Valley and Penticton. After those, the Centennials will only play more than two away from home twice.

The schedule is highlighted by one five game stretch at home (from Jan. 29 - Feb. 6) with visits to Merritt by Surrey, Prince George, Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley and Alberni Valley. The Cents also have three different four game home stands: (Oct. 9 - 22 against Salmon Arm, Penticton, Coquitlam and Powell River), (Nov. 5 - 13 against Vernon, Westside, Quesnel and Penticton), (Nov. 26 - Dec. 3 against Prince George, Trail, Victoria and Penticton).

One of the cool features of the BCHL's schedule are the "home and home" series, where teams play consecutive games against the same opponent. Luckily, the Cents have seven such series this year - against Salmon Arm on September 17 and 18, on October 8 and 9, and on January 8 and 11. They'll also play "home and home" series' with Penticton on December 3 and 4, Westside on December 10 and 11, Trail on December 18 and 30, and Surrey on January 28 and 29.

The Centennials have 12 sets of back-to-back games and 6 sets of back-to-back-to-back games. 6 of the back-end games of the 12 back-to-back series are on the road (Trail, Salmon Arm (2), Coquitlam, Penticton and Langley). The 6 back-end home games are against Langley, Salmon Arm, Coquitlam, Trail, Westside and Alberni Valley.

A number Centennials contests will have just 1 or 2 days off between - 19 of the 60 games are after just 1 or 2 off days. The Cents have 3 days off 4 times, 4 days off 4 times, 5 days off 5 times and 6 days off 1 time. Of course, there's also an 11 day break over the Christmas holidays for players to go home and spend time with friends and family.

What else? The Cents have 8 day games, all on Sundays. Three of them are on the road while five are at home. Start times for the home games are 2 pm while the other games vary (Oct. 31 in Prince George at 3 pm, Nov. 21 in Alberni Valley at 2:30 pm, Jan. 23 in Quesnel at 2 pm).

Local fans obviously have plenty of opportunities to see Interior Confernce clubs at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Visits from Coastal Conference clubs are more rare. Here are the eight Coastal Conference teams visits to Merritt this year:

* Langley (October 1)
* Coquitlam (October 16)
* Powell River (October 22)
* Victoria (December 1)
* Surrey (January 29)
* Nanaimo (February 1)
* Cowichan Valley (February 5)
* Alberni Valley (February 6)

By the same token, Centennials fans in in the Coastal Conference cities will get a chance to see their team in person on these dates:

* Powell River (September 24)
* Coquitlam (September 25)
* Cowichan Valley (November 17)
* Nanaimo (November 19)
* Victoria (November 20)
* Alberni Valley (November 21)
* Surrey (January 28)
* Langley (February 12)

Games by weekday:

* Sunday: 8 (5 home, 3 away)
* Monday: 0 (0 home, 0 away)
* Tuesday: 5 (4 home, 1 away)
* Wednesday: 5 (2 home, 3 away)
* Thursday: 3 (1 home, 2 away)
* Friday: 17 (7 home, 10 away)
* Saturday: 22! (12 home, 10 away)

And by month:

* September: 8 (1 home, 7 away)
* October: 12 (7 home, 5 away)
* November: 11 (6 home, 5 away)
* December: 7 (4 home, 3 away)
* January: 13 (6 home, 7 away)
* February: 9 (6 home, 3 away)

Longest single-day driving trips:

* Merritt to Quesnel, 271 miles, Jan 21
* Merritt to Powell River, 275 miles, Sept. 24
* Merritt to Trail, 276 miles, Sept. 10 and Dec. 30
* Merritt to Prince George, 347 miles, Oct. 29

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cents Hire Chad DeLeeuw as Assistant Coach, Strategic Plan Recap, BC High School Rodeo Finals, Mountain Trials Rally, Lacrosse:

OK, here we go with what might be the largest post I've ever made in the blogosphere.

I know some people have had issues with audio playing lately. I'm trying to find a better audio player/sort out why it works for some people and not for others, but I'm not a huge techie when it comes to websites and HTML code, etc. so bear with me while I try to figure it out. I think it may have something to do with your browser (so if you're using Internet Explorer, maybe try Mozilla Firefox and vice-versa) or you may need to download a specific plug-in for the interviews to work. If you're unsure, see if maybe you can right-click on the media player and see if there is a plug-in you need. In the meantime, I'll try to figure out why things are shaking down the way they are.

Firstly, although there's been no media release issued just yet, the Centennials have hired Chad DeLeeuw to replace Maury Grant as an assistant coach this season. Chad played five seasons in the BCHL from 1995-2000 and fans in Nanaimo will remember him as the Clippers most improved player in 1995-96 while fans in Penticton will remember him as a dominant blueliner who was the runner-up as top defenceman with the Panthers during the 1999-00 season. He also serves as Penticton captain that season.

I had the chance to talk to Cents coach/GM Luke Pierce about Chad's hiring yesterday morning.

Cents Head Coach/GM Luke Pierce

Click here to download

I also talked to Chad after he was introduced at the team's strategic plan presentation on Wednesday.

Cents Assistant Coach/Okanagan Scout Chad DeLeeuw

Click here to download

Speaking of the strategic plan presentation, there were about 60 people on hand for it. The tough thing was that the meeting was up against what wound up being the final game of the Stanley Cup Final, which likely hurt attendance. All around though, it was great to see the enthusiasm of not only the fans, billets and volunteers who made it to the meeting, but also the Cents Board of Directors and coaching staff.

I talked to Cents President and Chairman of the Board immediately after the meeting.

Cents President/Chairman of the Board Jerry Canuel

I know this isn't hockey-related, but it's huge for the Nicola Valley. The BC High School Rodeo Finals are in Merritt this weekend. I had BCHSRA President Sandy Chevalier on the morning show yesterday to explain more about it.

BC High School Rodeo Association President Sandy Chevalier

I have to give a big shout-out to the seven Merritt kids taking part in the Rodeo, Clint Maier, Amy Pozzobon, Joe Roberson, Maddison Stoltzfus, Jorry Holmes, Morgan Fosbery and Riley Kynoch.

For more info on the BC High School Rodeo Association, check out their website here.

The crazy-busy weekend of events here in Merritt continues with the West Coast Rally Association's Mountain Trials Rally. It's round three of the Western Canadian Rally Championship and if you've never seen rally racing before I definitely urge you to check it out.

Of course, I had Paul Westwick, the organizer of this weekend's rally on the morning show today.

Mountain Trials Rally organizer Paul Westwick

For more info on the WCRA and the Mountain Trials Rally, check out their website here.

And last but not least, Shauna Clinging, who is the PR Director for the Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse Association, sent me this email this morning, mapping out all the games they are having in Merritt this weekend and a great result for hometown fans last night.

Contain It Storage Bantam Thunder beat Kamloops II by a margin of 11-1 at Shulus Arena last night.

Lots of home game action this weekend Saturday at Shulus and Sunday at NV Memorial.

Saturday 12-Jun

Peewee vs. Kam2
Shulus Arena

Novice vs. Kam1
Shulus Arena

Sunday 13-Jun

Bantam vs. Shuswap
NV Memorial Arena

Peewee vs. Shuswap2
NV Memorial Arena

Novice vs. Shuswap
NV Memorial Arena

Stay tuned to the blog later tonight or tomorrow I should have a break down of the Cents 2010-11 schedule, which was posted earlier. Here's the release from the Cents website:


Merritt, BC – June 11, 2010

The B-C Hockey League has unveiled its complete schedule for the upcoming 2010-11 campaign, with the Merritt Centennials set to kick off their 60-game regular season schedule in Trail on Friday, September 10th versus the Smoke Eaters.

Merritt has 19 coveted Friday/Saturday home games this season. Friday and Saturday start times remain at 7:30 pm, while all Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday games start at 7 pm. Sunday games will begin at 2 pm. All games are at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

For a complete look at the schedule, click the "Game Centre" tab at the top of the page.

Once again this season, all 60 regular season Centennials games can be heard live on Q101 in Merritt and on the BCHL Fan Zone.


For further information, please contact Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce at 250-378-3607.

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 37 years as the BCHL's longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior 'A' Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

Cents 2010-11 Schedule Released:

I've got a HUGE update to post today as the Cents have hired a new assistant coach, plus there's some other info to get out regarding the Cents Strategic Plan Presentation on Wednesday, the BC High School Rodeo Finals here in Merritt this weekend and the West Coast Rally Association's Mountain Trials Rally, which is also in Merritt this weekend, plus a full Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse schedule that was sent to me this morning.


But first, I discovered the Cents 2010-11 schedule this morning on the BCHL website! I'll have analysis and break down of the schedule later, but here's the schedule itself.

FR 10-Sep-10 7:30P Merritt Trail Cominco Arena
SA 11-Sep-10 7:30P Merritt Trail Cominco Arena
FR 17-Sep-10 7:30P Salmon Arm Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SA 18-Sep-10 7:00P Merritt Salmon Arm Sunwave Centre
TU 21-Sep-10 7:00P Merritt Vernon Wesbild Centre
FR 24-Sep-10 7:30P Merritt Powell River Hap Parker Arena
SA 25-Sep-10 7:00P Merritt Coquitlam Coquitlam Sports Centre
TH 30-Sep-10 7:00P Merritt Penticton South Okanagan Events Centre
FR 01-Oct-10 7:30P Langley Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SU 03-Oct-10 2:00P Vernon Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
FR 08-Oct-10 7:00P Merritt Salmon Arm Sunwave Centre
SA 09-Oct-10 7:30P Salmon Arm Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
FR 15-Oct-10 7:30P Penticton Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SA 16-Oct-10 7:30P Coquitlam Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
FR 22-Oct-10 7:30P Powell River Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SA 23-Oct-10 7:00P Merritt Westside Royal LePage Place
SU 24-Oct-10 2:00P Quesnel Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
FR 29-Oct-10 7:00P Merritt Prince George Prince George Coliseum
SA 30-Oct-10 7:30P Merritt Quesnel Quesnel Twin Arenas
SU 31-Oct-10 3:00P Merritt Prince George Prince George Coliseum
FR 05-Nov-10 7:30P Vernon Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SA 06-Nov-10 7:30P Westside Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SU 07-Nov-10 2:00P Quesnel Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SA 13-Nov-10 7:30P Penticton Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
WE 17-Nov-10 7:00P Merritt Cowichan Valley Island Savings Centre
FR 19-Nov-10 7:11P Merritt Nanaimo Frank Crane Arena
SA 20-Nov-10 7:15P Merritt Victoria Bear Mountain Arena
SU 21-Nov-10 2:30P Merritt Alberni Valley Weyerhaeuser Arena
WE 24-Nov-10 7:00P Merritt Penticton South Okanagan Events Centre
FR 26-Nov-10 7:30P Prince George Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SA 27-Nov-10 7:30P Trail Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
WE 01-Dec-10 7:00P Victoria Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
FR 03-Dec-10 7:30P Penticton Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SA 04-Dec-10 7:00P Merritt Penticton South Okanagan Events Centre
FR 10-Dec-10 7:00P Merritt Westside Royal LePage Place
SA 11-Dec-10 7:30P Westside Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SA 18-Dec-10 7:30P Trail Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
TH 30-Dec-10 7:30P Merritt Trail Cominco Arena
SA 01-Jan-11 7:30P Quesnel Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
FR 07-Jan-11 7:30P Merritt Trail Cominco Arena
SA 08-Jan-11 7:00P Merritt Salmon Arm Sunwave Centre
TU 11-Jan-11 7:00P Salmon Arm Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SA 15-Jan-11 7:30P Westside Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
TU 18-Jan-11 7:00P Merritt Vernon Wesbild Centre
FR 21-Jan-11 7:30P Merritt Quesnel Quesnel Twin Arenas
SA 22-Jan-11 7:00P Merritt Prince George Prince George Coliseum
SU 23-Jan-11 2:00P Merritt Quesnel Quesnel Twin Arenas
WE 26-Jan-11 7:00P Trail Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
FR 28-Jan-11 7:00P Merritt Surrey South Surrey Arena
SA 29-Jan-11 7:30P Surrey Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SU 30-Jan-11 2:00P Prince George Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
TU 01-Feb-11 7:00P Nanaimo Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SA 05-Feb-11 7:30P Cowichan Valley Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SU 06-Feb-11 2:00P Alberni Valley Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
WE 09-Feb-11 7:00P Merritt Westside Royal LePage Place
FR 11-Feb-11 7:00P Merritt Vernon Wesbild Centre
SA 12-Feb-11 7:00P Merritt Langley Langley Events Centre
TU 15-Feb-11 7:00P Vernon Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
TH 17-Feb-11 7:00P Prince George Merritt Nicola Valley Arena
SA 19-Feb-11 7:30P Trail Merritt Nicola Valley Arena

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Maury Grant Not Back as Assistant Coach, Strategic Plan Presentation Tonight, Jordan Soquila Wins RBC/Hockey Canada Scholarship:

I had Centennials head coach and GM Luke Pierce on the morning show yesterday to address his assistant coach situation and talk about the team's Strategic Plan Presentation tonight.

Luke confirmed in the interview what I think a lot of people suspected, that Maury Grant wouldn't be back with the Cents in the capacity he was last season. Maury joined Luke as an assistant coach when Dylan and Tyler Forsythe parted ways with the team back in November, but due to work commitments wasn't able to join the Cents during the week for practice. He also commuted from Vernon on game days and for road trips. Luke mentions that it wouldn't be fair to ask Maury to do that again this season, but he will remain with the organization in some capacity, I would assume a scouting role in the Okanagan although that hasn't been worked out just yet.

We should know who the Cents new assistant coach is in the next week or so though.

As for the Strategic Plan Presentation tonight, I really hope that there's a big crowd and I will be there so look for a report here tomorrow if you're unable to make it.

Cents Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce

(Cents graduating captain Jordan Soquila)

Last year's Cents captain Jordan Soquila has received another accolade as he is set to start his post-junior hockey career. Here's the release from the Cents:


Burnaby, BC – June 8, 2010

Merritt Centennials forward Jordan Soquila has been awarded an RBC/Hockey Canada scholarship following his final British Columbia Hockey League season.

Soquila is one of two national winners of the Nickerson Award, which is presented as a $500 scholarship to the top student-athletes who are pursuing a university hockey career in Canada.

The Centennials captain had previously been announced as the BCHL's RBC Junior ‘A’ scholarship winner, picking up a $1000 award towards his studies at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario.


For further information, please contact Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce at 250-378-3607.

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 37 years as the BCHL's longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior 'A' Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Former Cents Forward Andy Oakes Named BCHL Executive of the Year:

Andy Oakes, who played with the Cents in the early 1990's is the BCHL's Executive of the Year as President of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

Here's the release from the BCHL:

Bulldogs' Andy Oakes named Executive of the Year by BCHL Governors

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - Submitted by BCHL Media

Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ President and Governor Andy Oakes has been selected by the British Columbia Hockey League’s Board of Governors as its Executive of the Year for the second consecutive season, the league announced Tuesday.

The award comes on the heels of an outstanding year for Oakes’s Bulldogs, who led the Coastal Conference with 93 points prior to a postseason run that saw the team reach the seventh game of the Conference Finals. Three Alberni Valley players and head coach Nolan Graham were recognized with Conference Awards at the conclusion of the regular season.

Oakes has also taken on a leadership role in the growth of the league, as he chairs the BCHL’s Strategic Planning Committee and sits on the five-member League Executive.

"The BCHL is a great league and it’s an honour to be recognized by your fellow governors for your contributions," says Oakes. "The Bulldogs organization takes great pride in working towards being leaders on and off the ice in the BCHL."

"On behalf of the BCHL and our Board of Governors, I’m pleased to once again congratulate Andy on this well-deserved recognition," Commissioner John Grisdale says. "Andy’s hard work and vision have been rewarded with tremendous success in Alberni Valley, and those same qualities have made him a valuable leader in the continuing growth of our league."

Oakes, who had previously suited up in the BCHL as a player, returned to the league following the purchase of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs by the Okanagan Hockey Schools in 2007. Oakes is the President of Okanagan Hockey Schools and the Okanagan Hockey Academy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

BCHL AGM Notes (Schedule/Rule Changes), Daoust Audio

Now that the BCHL AGM is in the books, I had the chance to talk to Centennials Governor/Director of Hockey Operations Brian Barrett about some of the topics covered at the meetings.

Here are some of the highlights of the interview:

*The Cents open the 2010-11 season with back to back games in Trail on September 10th and 11th
*Merritt's first home game is Friday September 17th in the first half of a home and home series with Salmon Arm
*The Cents play seven of eight games in September away from the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena (in fact, the home opener is the only home game that month for the Cents)
*Merritt's final month of the season features six of nine games at home
*Hits to the head and hits from behind are expected to be called a lot tighter by officials this season and beyond

Cents Governor and Director of Hockey Operations Brian Barrett

I also talked to Lucas Daoust about his commitment to attend Thompson Rivers University and play with the WolfPack next season.

Cents Graduating Forward Lucas Daoust

Don't forget the Cents Strategic Plan Presentation is coming up on Wednesday night at 7 o'clock at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. I hope to see a big crowd of Cents fans!

I've also heard of another Cents player receiving some more scholarship money, I'm digging into that and should have more on the radio and the blog tomorrow. Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce joins me tomorrow on the Q101 Morning Show to update the status of Cents assistant coach Maury Grant and to talk about Wednesday's Presentation. I'll post the interview later tomorrow here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

BCHL Governors Approve Balanced Schedule in the Interior:

One of the highlights of Day One of the BCHL's Annual General Meeting is the decision to return to a balanced schedule in the Interior Conference. I had the chance to talk to Brian Barrett this morning about the AGM.

Cents Governor and Director of Hockey Operations Brian Barrett

So with the change in schedule, the Cents season breaks down like this:

vs. Trail (four times home, four times away)
vs. Salmon Arm, Vernon, Quesnel, Prince George, Penticton, Westside (three times home, three times away)
vs. Alberni Valley, Cowichan Valley, Coquitlam, Burnaby, Nanaimo, Powell River, Surrey, Langey (one time home, one time away)

The other issue that Brian mentioned took up much of the time yesterday was the idea of "standardizing" things like budgets and season ticket amounts across the league. It appears no decision will be made on this issue this weekend and the document will be voted on by the governors within the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pierce's Thoughts on Sobchak Trade, Lucas Daoust Commits to TRU, Cents Governor Brian Barrett Previews BCHL AGM:

On the heels of today's trade between the Cents and Alberni Valley which saw 1990-born forward Colton Sobchak join the Bulldogs, I had the chance to talk to Centennials coach and GM Luke Pierce about the deal.

I haven't received word on what the Cents received in return for Sobchak, but if I were to wager a guess, I'd say it's cash coming Merritt's way. The main reason is because of Sobchak's age and the Cents overabundance of 20 year olds.

Here's what Luke had to say about the deal:

Cents Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce


(Cents graduating forward Lucas Daoust)

A third member of last season's Centennials squad has committed to post-secondary education for 2010-11 after today's announcement that 21 year old forward Lucas Daoust will attend Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops and play hockey for the TRU WolfPack Men's Hockey team.

Here's the official release from the Cents today:

Merritt, BC – June 2, 2010

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce the commitment of 21 year old forward Lucas Daoust to Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC for September 2010 where he will play hockey for the BCIHL’s WolfPack.

"I'm excited that Lucas will get the opportunity to continue his hockey career and play in front of family and friends while pursuing a quality education,” said Cents coach/GM Luke Pierce. “Lucas was a pleasure to work with, and TRU is extremely fortunate to have a player of his character. Lucas has known his career ambition for some time and I'm very happy that this will give him the opportunity to pursue that. We wish him all the best, and thank him for his contributions here in Merritt."

“Lucas brings a strong, day-in-day-out work ethic to our program,” said TRU coach Lorne Cumming. “Our WolfPack culture is to push each other from within and Lucas brings that to our group. He can fill any role he is asked to fill and we look forward to having that added to our forward group.”

“I’m really excited,” said Daoust. “The opportunity to go to school and play hockey at home for the first time in four years is very exciting.”


For further information, please contact Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce at 250-378-3607.

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 37 years as the BCHL's longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior 'A' Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.


The BCHL's AGM gets underway tomorrow in Vancouver with all the usual topics being discussed, but one very interesting discussion will be the "standards" document that Cents Director of Hockey Operations/Governor Brian Barrett talks about. Brian was open to giving me a bit of a preview for the AGM, so here you go!

Cents Governor and Director of Hockey Operations Brian Barrett

The AGM wraps up Saturday with the completion of the 2010-11 BCHL schedule. Brian indicated to me that the interlocking portion of the schedule has already been completed by the league and on Saturday morning the governors and coaches will hash out the Conference portions of the schedule.

The Centennials have put forth a motion for a balanced schedule in the Interior Conference, meaning that all teams will play each other the same number of times. This will likely be easier with just nine teams now in the Conference following the suspension of Williams Lake.