Friday, July 30, 2010

Sad Day For Cents Fans, Friday Movements:

It's been a sad 24 hours for the entire Centennials organization as word was received yesterday of the passing of one of the most passionate hockey fans in Merritt, Elva Reid.

Here's the release from the Cents website:

Merritt, BC - July 30, 2010

It is with much sadness and regret that the Merritt Centennials announce the passing of long-time supporter and friend Elva Reid at the age of 85. Elva had been a Cents season ticket holder since the 1970's and was a mainstay at most games at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, with her cowbell in hand.

Regarding Elva's passing, Cents Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce said, "On behalf of our players and staff, I'd like to pass on my condolences to the family of Elva Reid. Elva will be sadly missed around the community and especially at the Arena. She was a tremendous lady, fan, and supporter of our Hockey Club. She embodied everything that we cherish in our fans, and her passion and love for the Centennials was evident on a nightly basis. Personally, I will miss our conversations prior to each game, as it had become somewhat of a ritual for me. As a team, we would like to dedicate the upcoming 2010-11 season to the memory of Elva Reid."

Elva was not only a huge part of the Merritt Centennials, she was a big part of the City of Merritt. She was an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 96 in Merritt, in addition to many other community groups and causes over the years.

Elva will be greatly missed by all the players, staff and fans of the Merritt Centennials. Our thoughts are with her family at this time.

I know that the team is planning a moment of silence prior to the home opener on September 17th against Salmon Arm, and there might be more in the planning stages. But good on Luke for dedicating the entire season to Elva's memory, going to Cents games won't be the same without her. If you've got any Elva Reid stories, feel free to share them in the comments below.

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Friday Movements:

F Evan Barlow (Salmon Arm, 2003-05) signed a one-year deal with HIFK (Finland SM-Liiga). The Strathmore, Alberta product played most of last season with Idaho Steelheads (ECHL), posting 32 goals and 43 assists. He also skated in eight Abbotsford Heat (AHL) games, notching a goal and three assists. . . .

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mitch Jones Back in BCHL:

It didn't take long for D Mitch Jones (91) to be back with a BCHL team. The league website reports today that Jones has been acquired by Surrey Eagles from Huntsville Otters (OJHL).

I haven't been able to find any record of Jones being traded from Grande Prairie to Huntsville, but obviously that's what happened because the Centennials traded his junior 'A' rights to the Storm last month for future considerations and goaltender Jared Andersen.

Now there's going to be a lot of speculation as to why Jones has been traded twice in the last month, my guess is that he didn't report to Grande Prairie and subsequently was moved to Huntsville. I have no idea what the circumstances are that sees him dealt to Surrey, but for his sake, I hope this is the last of the moves.

I never had a problem personally with Mitch, he was always great to deal with for me, but there are definitely going to be question marks about a player who's entering just his second season of junior 'A' and has had his rights owned by six different teams.

Thursday Movements, Cents Press Round-Up:

Thursday Movements:

D Kyle Hood (Penticton/Cowichan Valley, 2000-04) has signed a one-year contract with Milano Rossoblu (Italy Series A2). Hood, who led all BCHL defencemen in scoring during the 2003-04 season with 66 points, played last year with Arizona Sundogs (CHL), posting 14 goals and 42 assists in 63 games. . . .

F Casey Bartzen (Quesnel, 1998-99) signed a one-year deal with Miskolci Jegesmedve JSE (Hungary MOL Liga). Bartzen, who holds the Millionaires franchise record for points in a season with 109, skated last season with Bisons de Neuilly-sur-Marne (France Ligue Magnus), posting five goals and nine assists in 16 games. . . .

F Jeff Hoggan (Powell River, 1998-99) joins Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg (Germany DEL) for the 2010-11 season. The Hope, BC product split last season between San Antonio Rampage (AHL) and Phoenix Coyotes (NHL). Hoggan had no points in four games with the Coyotes, but posted 13 goals and 20 assists in 70 games with the Rampage. . . .

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The Merritt Herald has two articles this week on the Cents, including one penned by coach and GM Luke Pierce.

COACH’S COMMENTS

Published: July 27, 2010 6:00 PM

By Luke Pierce, Head Coach
Merritt Centennials Hockey Club

As the weather continues to heat up outside, things are cooling down over here at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. With the ice now installed for the upcoming hockey year, it gives me not only a much cooler office, but a serious reminder that the 2010-11 BCHL hockey season is fast approaching. There’s just four weeks remaining until the opening of training camp, and things are really starting to take shape.

We have made numerous changes and announcements over the past three months that I hope you as fans have read about and listened to. This week, I would like to discuss our most recent one - the announcement of the return of Steve Tresierra for the coming season, and his appointment as our team captain.

Leadership is perhaps one of the most crucial concepts in any setting that involves a team, or any group of people that are working towards a common task. There is a reason why such emphasis is placed on these positions; they come with grave amounts of responsibility. The entire premise of leadership is to inspire people to do things that they likely wouldn’t do on their own. Not a simple task, regardless of the situation.

Now, being a captain of a hockey team is much less demanding than leading a country, or commanding troops in a battle, but, nonetheless, there are responsibilities here. So, why have we chosen Steve Tresierra to take this on?

Steve is a natural leader. He is confident, hard-working, respectful and extremely determined to succeed. Although it is not a necessary requirement for successful leadership, he is well-liked by his teammates and generally anyone he comes into contact with. But what I believe will make Steve a great leader is something that I don’t think most people look at. He is a personal leader. By that, I mean he leads himself in a very efficient manner, which is something many people struggle with. I’ve seen leaders in the past who are great at inspiring others, but struggle to control themselves.

At the end of the day, if every player in our room can take on personal leadership, there really is no need for an external source of inspiration and direction. Now, I’m not saying that Steve won’t be able to provide inspiration to his teammates, because with his work ethic, it’s hard not to be inspiring. However, I’m hoping that each player will be able to observe the way he conducts himself and emulate that behaviour to become their own personal leaders.

Steve will have success in helping to create personal leaders because he is not a big talker. He leads by example, by conduct. That is what I’m hoping will become contagious. I’m also confident that Steve is here to win, and that he knows he may have to make some unpopular recommendations at times in an effort to ensure the best interests of the group are being met.

The hardest part about being a leader is telling your peers, and usually friends, that they aren’t working hard enough, or that they shouldn’t be staying out late tonight. But I’m confident that Steve knows why he is here, and that sometimes those decisions have to be made to preserve not only his interests, but the interest of our hockey club.

Steve is set to lead our team at a crucial time in the history of the organization, and I don’t think we could have asked for a better person to take on this responsibility. Congratulations Steve!

Cents name their captain
By Ian Webster - Merritt Herald
Published: July 27, 2010 6:00 PM

With less than a month to go until the Merritt Centennials begin their training camp, things are beginning to heat up on the local Junior A hockey front.

Last week, the Cents formally announced that not only would 20-year-old defenseman Steve Tresierra be returning for a third BCHL season with the team, but that he would be the captain for the 2010-11 campaign.

The confirmation of Tresierra’s place on the roster for the coming season, and his wearing of the “C” on his jersey, is huge as he will certainly be counted on to not only anchor a defensive corps that will have as many as four rookies, but a Centennials’ squad that may see up to ten new faces in the line-up come September.

Understandably, Cents’ head coach and GM Luke Pierce is ecstatic about Tresierra’s return.

“We are delighted that not only has Steve decided to return to Merritt for another season, but that he has agreed to take on the responsibility of being our captain,” stated Pierce in a July 20th press release. “He provides the necessary foundation for creating a culture based on character, work ethic and determination. Steve is a tremendous individual who is well-liked and respected in our community, and is an elite player in our league who commands the respect of his opponents.”

Last season was a breakout one for Tresierra. The durable native of Golden, B.C. collected 7 goals and 20 assists for 27 points in 60 games. His hard work and huge minutes earned him not only the Top Defenseman trophy at the Centennials’ year-end awards ceremony but also selection to the BCHL Interior Conference all-star team.

Whether Tresierra would be back with the Centennials for his fifth and final year of BCHL eligibility was uncertain right up until two weeks ago as the talented blueliner received a number of scholarship offers from both sides of the border. In the end, Tresierra decided that it would be in his best interests to play one more year in Junior A and build on his already formidable reputation as not only an excellent hockey player but a truly remarkable individual off the ice.

In other Cents’ news, Merritt fans will not be able to look forward to the return of all-purpose player Derek Hills, as the 1990-born native of Campbell River has decided to take his game south of the line. He has signed to play with the Amarillo Bulls of the United Stated Hockey League.

Hills, a versatile two-way player who could suit up as a defenseman or on the wing, scored 18 goals and added 30 assists for 48 points last season, fourth best on the Centennials team.

Finally, the Merritt Centennials also announced last week that former player Alex Valenti has committed to play hockey this coming season for the College of St. Scholastica, a NCAA Division III school based in Duluth, Minnesota. Valenti is the second Centennial to be recruited by the Saints, who earlier this summer announced the signing of Ryne Bodger.

The two Cents will join a Saints’ men’s hockey program that last season had no fewer than 19 Canadians on its roster, including six graduates of the BCHL.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cents Announce Exhibition Schedule, Alex Valenti Audio, Wednesday Movements, Kevin MacKay Out In Salmon Arm:

Just a month until the first Cents game of the season! (Albeit exhibition, we'll take it!)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – July 28, 2010

The Merritt Centennials have unveiled the schedule for the upcoming 2010 exhibition season, with the Cents set to kick off their 4-game schedule in Salmon Arm on Sunday, August 29th versus the Silverbacks.

The complete schedule is posted below and online at http://www.merrittcentennials.com

Date Home Away Start Time
Sunday August 29 Salmon Arm Merritt 3:00 pm
Monday August 30 Merritt Salmon Arm 7:00 pm
Wednesday September 1 Westside Merritt 7:00 pm
Friday September 3 Merritt Westside 7:30 pm

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(Former Cents forward Alex Valenti)

I had the chance to catch up with former Cents forward Alex Valenti from his home in Bellingham, Washington on the heels of his commitment to the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota earlier this week.

Former Cents Forward Alex Valenti


Click here to download

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Wednesday Movements:

F Milan Gajic (Merritt/Burnaby, 1997-01) has signed a one-year contract with Victoria Salmon Kings (ECHL) for the 2010-11 season. Gajic, who's from Burnaby, split last season between Florida Everblades (ECHL) and Albany River Rats (AHL). In 33 games with the Everblades, he registered 15 goals and 27 assists and recorded one goal in six games with Albany. . . .

D Dave Simoes (Merritt/Prince George/Williams Lake/Burnaby, 2001-06) has been traded from Mississippi River Kings (CHL) to Allen Americans (CHL) for fellow D Tyler Wooddisse. Simoes had two goals, 13 assists and 171 penalty minutes in 58 games with Mississippi last season. The Vanderhoof product is entering his fourth Central League season. . . .

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Former Cents coach Kevin MacKay won't be back in the BCHL this season after all. Here's the story from the Salmon Arm Observer:

’Backs lose assistant coach
Updated: July 28, 2010 5:12 PM

The merry-go-round continues behind the Salmon Arm SilverBacks bench.

Kevin MacKay, announced by the club in May as the team’s new assistant, has opted not to report to Salmon Arm.

MacKay had a working relationship with former ‘Backs coach Rylan Ferster, who stepped down in June. When the Ferster resignation announcement was made, MacKay’s ties to Salmon Arm were severed.

“He had had discussions with Rylan and had Rylan stayed, he would have come onboard,” said new SilverBacks bench boss Tim Kehler, who was hired in late June.

Kehler said MacKay, who spent the past several seasons as head coach and general manager of the Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, was up front about pursuing other options when the two met about two weeks ago.

“He’s secured other employment,” said Kehler, though he did not know where MacKay was headed and noted MacKay never even set up in a coaching capacity with the SilverBacks and was not on the payroll.

That leaves Kehler in charge of finding a new assistant. He said Monday an announcement will be made in August regarding the position.

In the meantime, Kehler is headed to Prince Albert, Sask. to finalize the inking of three players who were recruited in May.

Bryce Gervais, Taylor Fauchoux and Cody Michelle all spent last season with the Prince Albert Mintos and will report to training camp at the end of August.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monday Movements:

Monday Movements:

D Andrew Derton (Powell River/Vernon, 2000-03) has signed a one-year contract with Miskolci Jegesmedve JSE (Hungary MOL Liga). Derton spent last season playing senior men's hockey with the Fort St. John Flyers, posting 13 goals and 14 assists in 15 games. The Powell River product played with the Eaters Geleen (Netherlands Eredivisie) in 2008-09 with ten goals and 23 assists in 40 games. . . .

F Bryan MacGregor (Vernon, 2002-03) has signed a one-year deal with HC Trinec (Czech Extraliga). MacGregor played last season with Vaasan Sport (Finland Mestis), scoring 25 goals and 32 assists in 43 games. . . .

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cents Roster, Sunday Movements:

With defenceman Derek Hills and forward Daniel Chang off to the NAHL and the trading of forward Colton Sobchak, defencemen Mitch Jones and Matt Mazzarolo, plus the recruitment of Jakob Reichert and acquisition of goaltender Jared Andersen, I thought I'd take a look at what the Cents roster looks like less than a month before training camp.

Thus far the forward ranks shake down like this:

F Dustin Johnson (90)
F Alexander MacMillan (90)
F Sam Gemmell (90)
F Jeff Jones (91)
F David Sabey (91)
F Stephen Wall (91)
F Silvan Harper (92)
F Jakob Reichert (93)
*
*
*
*
*

The (*) indicate a spot in the lineup that needs to be filled. Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce went with 13 forwards last season, including Derek Hills, so in addition to Jakob Reichert, there'll be at least five new forwards in Merritt this season.

As for the blueline:

D Steve Tresierra (90)
D Jeff Zmurchyk (90)
D Kam Crawford (91)
D Austin Baecker (92)
*
*
*

Luke went with seven defenceman last season, so that means there's at least three spots up for grabs on the Cents defence corps. Austin Baecker's WHL rights were acquired by Seattle earlier in the off-season, so it's unknown whether he'll be with the Thunderbirds or back in Merritt this season. I would think Seattle wants Baecker to at least come to its camp after trading for him.

And between the pipes:

Jared Andersen (90)
Keith Hamilton (92)
Cole Holowenko (93)
*

The reason why I put an (*) with the goaltenders is because it's unlikely that Keith Hamilton and Cole Holowenko will be in Merritt this season. Both saw time in the WHL last season and Luke Pierce has mentioned that he doesn't expect Keith to join the Centennials for a couple of months if at all while Holowenko could stick in Chilliwack this season. Jared Andersen was acquired in the Mitch Jones trade with Grande Prairie, but he's unproven as a number one netminder at the junior 'A' level, so I think there is a possibility that the Cents could wind up with two new faces in goal this season (not including Andersen).

Realistically, there could be a minimum of nine new players (not including Reichert and Andersen) in the Cents lineup this season, which should make training camp very interesting starting August 23rd!

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Monday movements. . . .

F Dean Strong (Vernon, 2004-05) signed a one-year contract with Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg (German DEL). Strong had two goals and three assists in 16 games with Worcester (AHL) last season. He also had 16 goals and 21 assists in 34 games with Kalamazoo (ECHL). . . .

Friday, July 23, 2010

Alex Valenti Commits to St. Scholastica, Andersen Audio, Cents Community Challenge, Booster Club AGM, Ouellette Signs With Kassel, Movements:


(Former Cents forward Alex Valenti)

I'm so glad to hear that Alex Valenti, who is the fourth of last season's four graduating Cents players, is moving on to NCAA hockey. Valenti has committed to the College of St. Scholastica for the 2010-11 season. Of course, defenceman Ryne Bodger committed to the same school earlier this off-season, so there'll be some familiarity there for both players.

Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce chatted with me today about the commitment and the fact that all four graduating players from last season will be playing hockey and attending post-secondary institutes in September.

Cents Coach & GM Luke Pierce


Click here to download

I hope to get some reaction from Valenti himself sometime early next week. In the meantime, here's the official release from the team:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – July 23, 2010

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce the commitment of 20-year-old forward Alex Valenti to the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota for September 2010.

“We are very happy that Alex has ensured that his hockey career will continue beyond his time here in Merritt,” said Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce. “I believe that Alex is an elite player who could be considered a major steal for Saint Scholastica.”

Pierce continued, “Alex was a pleasure to coach, and his upbeat personality will bring him success in whatever he chooses to pursue. I want to thank Alex for his time spent here, and I look forward to following his career at the next level.”

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

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Cents goaltender Jared Anderson, who was acquired in a trade last week, joined me on the morning show today to talk about the trade from Grande Prairie, what his expectations are for the season and more. Check it out...

Cents Goalie Jared Andersen


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The Merritt News also did a story on Andersen in this week's paper:

Goalie provides stability to rebuilding Cents team
July 22,2010

Coleman Molnar - News Reporter

With two of his goalies going away to Western Hockey League training camps, Merritt Centennials head coach Luke Pierce knew he needed to find some more stability in net. This is where Jared Andersen comes in.

Andersen was traded from the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm in exchange for defenceman Mitch Jones. At six feet tall and 175 pounds, Andersen will be the third goalie signed to the team this year, but he understands his future role on the team is yet to be determined.

“I think the situation is kind of up in the air,” said Andersen.

“They (the goalies) might come back, and they might not.”

Pierce has torn feelings about his prospecting goalies, as any coach would. Keith Hamilton will be attending the Portland Winterhawk’s training camp in late August, while Cole Holowenko is being looked at by the Chilliwack Bruins.

“It puts you in a kind of wait-and-see position, which isn’t always easy,” explains Pierce.

“We’d like to see them succeed in their goals, which are to play in the WHL, but at the same time we’d like to know what we’ve got coming in here.”

Pierce expects Hamilton to stay on in Portland for at least the first couple months, but is unsure about Holowenko’s status. The acquisition of yet another goalie is something that Pierce may have to deal with before the season starts.

“We’re going to keep looking here to try and get some certainty.”

As for Andersen, he is focusing on his training and letting the politics of the sport he loves take care of themselves.

“I’m going to try not to worry about it right now and just work my hardest for the rest of the summer,” said Andersen.

“If they both do come back, I can try to beat them out for a starting spot by working as hard as I can.”
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I had Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel on my morning show yesterday to explain what the 2010 Community Challenge is all about.

Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel


Click here to download

Here's the official release from the team:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – July 20, 2010

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce a fun and exciting contest for fans to get involved in.

It’s called the Cents 2010 Community Challenge!

“We are looking for 20 people in the community who are willing to sell up to ten season tickets each to help us reach our goal of ‘500 Makes Cents’ for the 2010-11 season,” said Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel.

“Also, the person who sells the most season tickets will receive a signed team jersey and an autographed photo of Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick and former Cents captain Casey Pierro-Zabotel,” continued Canuel.

For further information, please contact Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel at 250-280-2439 or marketing@merrittcentennials.com
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The Cents Booster Club, which I think is the absolute lifeblood of the organization, has its annual general meeting coming up next Thursday. I really hope that they get a great turnout and that this tireless group of people who care so much about the Centennials and our community receive a ton of requests from people wanting to volunteer. The reality is that without the Booster Club, the Cents likely would have left Merritt a long time ago.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – July 21, 2010

The Merritt Centennials Booster Club would like to invite all residents of the Nicola Valley to its Annual General Meeting on Thursday July 29, 2010 at 6 p.m. at the Ska-Lu-La Workshop at 1775 Coldwater Avenue.

The evening will consist of reports on booster club finances for the 2009-10 fiscal year 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.

“We'd like to hear from you even if you only have a few spare hours a month to donate, any amount of volunteer time is a huge help,” said Cents Booster Club President Betty Doberstein. “As part of our fundraising, we do catering and bar services for any event, and even have a full supply of dishes for rent at a reasonable rate.”

For further information, please contact Cents Booster Club President Betty Doberstein at 250-378-6940 or bettydoberstein@hotmail.com or Secretary Rusty Brewer at 250-378-4744 or rustybrewer@hotmail.com

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(Former Cents forward Mike Ouellette - seen here with his Austrian Club Team last season)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC - July 22, 2010

The Merritt Centennials would like to congratulate Mike Ouellette after signing with the Kassel Huskies of the German Elite League for the 2010-11 season.

Ouellette, who was BCHL Interior Conference Rookie of the Year in 2001, spent the 2009-10 season with Medvescak Zagreb of the Austrian League, finishing second in team scoring with 48 points in 52 games.

The Kamloops product is a veteran of 149 AHL games and 75 ECHL games over four pro seasons. Ouellette received a scholarship while playing for the Centennials and played four years at Dartmouth College after graduating from the BCHL in 2001.

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Any junior hockey fan who frequents the blogosphere, likely visits Greg Drinnan's Taking Note blog on a regular basis. (You can see a link on the left side down a bit.)

Greg's blog does an amazing job keeping tabs on the whereabouts of former WHL players and I'd like to start doing a similar thing for former BCHL players on this blog, regardless of whether they played for the Cents or not.

I'll start with this list of recent moves and hopefully can update on a daily basis or as player movements happen.

F Cory Larose (Langley, 1995-96) signed a one-year contract with Vienna Capitals (Austria EBEL). Larose had eight goals and nine assists in 22 games with Langenthal (Swiss NLB) and no points in two games on loan to Langnau (Swiss NLA) last season. . . .

D Matt Suderman (Surrey, 2003-04) signed a one-year deal with Hull Stingrays (England Elite Ice Hockey League). Suderman had one goal and two assists in 21 games with HC Morzine-Avoriaz (France Ligue Magnus) last season. . . .

D Craig Gaudet (Nanaimo, 2003-06) signed with Alaska Aces (ECHL). Gaudet had three goals and seven assists with St. Cloud State University (NCAA) last season. . . .

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tresierra Audio, Alumni Update:


(New Cents captain Steve Tresierra)

The Cents announced defenceman Steve Tresierra as their 2010-11 captain yesterday, I had the chance to talk to coach and GM Luke Pierce about the decision and also had Steve on the morning show today.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce


Click here to download

Cents Captain Steve Tresierra


Click here to download

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I don't know how I missed this last month, but I stumbled across the news on the Osoyoos Storm website. Former Cents forward Jeff Taylor (2005-07) is the new assistant coach of the KIJHL expansion franchise.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 11th, 2010

Osoyoos, BC: The expansion Osoyoos Coyotes have hired Jeff Taylor as an Assistant Coach for the upcoming KIJHL season. Taylor joins Head Coach Ken Law on the coaching staff of the new franchise and looks forward to helping to create an exciting and competitive team in the Osoyoos Coyotes’ first year of operation.

Osoyoos Coyotes President, John Kapusty, says the organization is pleased with the way the team building is progressing.

“Our management group is confident that our newest addition, Assistant Coach Jeff Taylor, will become another asset to our organization,” says Kapusty. “He has impressed us right from the onset, is very personable, an excellent communicator and is excited to begin his coaching career in Osoyoos. Jeff knows what it takes to win and we expect him to bring that presence to practice and games to help our club be competitive.”

Head Coach Ken Law adds, “we believe Jeff is up for the challenge of working with a first year team. I look forward to coaching with Jeff. He certainly has the skill sets to perform the role and responsibilities we are giving him.”

The 24-year old Taylor has, until this point, called Dawson Creek, BC home. He is expected to relocate to Osoyoos by mid-August. Taylor played two seasons of Junior “B” Hockey in Osoyoos for the Storm. He was a member of the KIJHL Championship team in 2004/2005 and was recognized as the club’s Most Dedicated Player. The following season, 2005/2006, Taylor was Team Captain, finished second in KIJHL scoring and won the Okanagan Division MVP Award. The Merritt Centennials of the BCHL recruited Taylor to play Junior “A” during the 2006/2007 season. Since ending his competitive playing days, Taylor spends much of his time working out and wakeboarding --- two activities he knows he’ll be able to enjoy in Osoyoos.

Coyotes GM and Director of Hockey Operations, Roy Schultz comments, “What Taylor lacks in coaching experience, he more than makes up for in enthusiasm and playing experience. We’re excited to have him join our club.”

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Meanwhile, former Cents forward Ryan Stanimir (2008-09), who played last season with Williams Lake has decided to join Victoria. Stanimir committed to the University of Alabama-Huntsville for the 2010-11 season earlier this year and I'm unsure what changed, but he'll be back in the BCHL for his 20-year-old season.

RYAN STANIMIR SIGNS WITH VICTORIA GRIZZLIES

July 17, 2010 Victoria Grizzlies -

The Victoria Grizzlies are excited to announce the addition of Ryan Stanimir for the 2010 – 2011 season. Ryan led the Williams Lake Timberwolves in scoring last season registering 27 goals and 27 assists with 73 minutes in penalties.

The Timberwolves players were all allowed to move on as free agents when the franchise was suspended early this year.

Coach Victor Gervais commented, “Were excited Ryan chose our program for his last junior season. He’s coming off a big year in our league and we expect him to be able to build off of last season. Ryan has an excellent shot and proved he can score last season. Anytime you can acquire a player with his numbers and not have to give up anything is a big win for our organization.”

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cents Name Steve Tresierra 2010-11 Team Captain:


(New Cents Captain Steve Tresierra)

Good news from the Cents this morning as not only has the team confirmed that Steve Tresierra is returning to Merritt, but also that the veteran has been named captain for the 2010-11 season. He succeeds Jordan Soquila, who is off to Queens University this season after playing out his junior career last season.

Here's the official release from the Cents:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – July 20, 2010

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce their captain for the 2010-11 season. Wearing the “C” will be three-year BCHL veteran defenceman Steve Tresierra.

“We are delighted that not only has Steve decided to return to Merritt for another season, but that he has agreed to take on the responsibility of being our captain. He provides the necessary foundation for creating a culture based on character, work ethic and determination,” said Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce. “Steve's a tremendous individual who is well liked and respected in our community, and an elite player in our league who commands the respect of his opponents.”

Pierce continued, “He sets the precedent for what is expected of our players and it will be the responsibility of each member of this team to emulate the characteristics that led to Steve being given this honour.”

Assistant captains will be named at a later date.

For further information, please contact Cents Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce at 250-378-3607 or luke@merrittcentennials.com

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.

I'll have reaction from Luke Pierce and Steve himself on the blog hopefully later today.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cents Defenceman Derek Hills Bolts For NAHL:


(Former Cents defenceman Derek Hills)

I received word this morning that Cents defenceman Derek Hills won't be back with the team this season after deciding to join the Amarillo Bulls of the North American Hockey League.

I had the chance to chat with Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce about Hills' decision.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce


Click here to download

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vacation, Jeff Zmurchyk Helps Out, More Andersen Trade Reaction, Former Viper Bayda Off To Europe, Kirk Fraser Leaves Radio NL:


(North Shuswap Lake Beach)

I haven't been able to post lately because I've been taking a little R&R time at Shuswap Lake Provincial Park. Now that I'm back in Merritt, let's play a little catch-up.

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(Cents defenceman Jeff Zmurchyk helping out last month at Tim Hortons Camp Day in Fernie)

I received this photo from Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce last week, who in turn received it from Fernie coach and GM Will Verner. It's Cents defenceman Jeff Zmurchyk helping out with Camp Day at Tim Hortons in Fernie, which happens to be Jeff's hometown. Check out Jeff's KIJHL profile here.

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With the Cents acquisition of goaltender Jared Andersen from Grand Prairie, more reaction is coming from the trade. Here's the write-up from the Merritt News:

Faron Herring
Special to the News

With their goaltending future a little cloudy at the moment, the Merritt Centennials pulled the trigger on a trade Monday they hope will help provide future insurance between the pipes.

The Cents acquired goaltender Jared Andersen and future considerations from the AJHL's Grande Prairie Storm in exchange for defenceman Mitch Jones.

The six-foot, 175-pound Andersen split time last season with the Canmore Eagles and Grande Prairie, compiling a record of 5-6-1 with a 3.53 GAA and .887 save percentage.

Prior to that, Andersen toiled for the Shattuck St. Mary's Prep School where he recorded a 17-7-3 record.

His GAA of 2.32 and save percentage of .910 were instrumental in leading the team to the 2008 Under-18 U.S. National Championship.

“The acquisition of Jared gives us another proven goaltender heading into training camp next month,” said Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce.

“With two years under his belt at the junior ‘A' level, we feel this trade gives us the type of depth in goal we feel we need to build towards becoming a strong team this season.”

The trade may signal the end of last year's goaltending tandem of Keith Hamilton and Cole Holowenko. Both goalies are trying to hitch onto WHL teams this season.

Should they stay, Pierce added there would be healthy competition for the starter's role at training camp.

“It's a good problem to have,” said Pierce. “We wanted to make sure we had someone to open the season with.”

Pierce said Andersen's character reference was instrumental in the swap – a decision made easier for the Cents since both clubs share goaltending coach Jamie McCaig.

“He's a very good kid in the dressing room and a very hard worker,” he noted.

The outgoing Jones recorded five goals and 23 assists last season with the Centennials after coming over from the Penticton Vees.

The 18-year-old rearguard amassed 74 penalty minutes in his short time with the Cents.

“We are extremely excited to be adding a quality defenceman like Mitch to our hockey club,” said Storm head coach and GM Mike Vandekamp.

“He has good size, good mobility, and will add skill to our blue-line.”

And from the Merritt Herald (thanks to Ian for the shout out!):

Cents sign experienced goalie

The Merritt Centennials announced this week that they have acquired 20-year-old goaltender Jared Anderson from the Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in exchange for defenseman Mitch Jones (91).

Anderson, who is from Fort St. John, B.C., appeared in 13 Junior ‘A’ games last season, split between the Storm and the Canmore Eagles of the AJHL. He finished with a 5-6-1 record, a 3.53 GAA and a .887 save percentage.

Prior to joining Canmore in 2008, the 6’0” 175 lb. netminder played with the renowned Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep School, compiling a record of 17-7-3, with a 2.32 GAA and a .910 SA in leading his team to the U-18 U.S. National Championship.

“The acquisition of Jared gives us another proven goaltender heading into training camp next month,” said Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce. “With two years under his belt at the Junior ‘A’ level, we feel that this trade gives us the type of depth in goal that we need to build towards becoming a strong team this season.”

For more details on Merritt Centennials activities, including player transactions and alumni updates, be sure to log onto Q101 Program Director Brian Wiebe’s excellent blog: Making Cents.

And from the Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune:

Storm continue to beef up on the blueline

DON MOON – Special to the Herald-Tribune

Grande Prairie is definitely sending a message to the rest of the AJHL: If you want to play in our end of the rink, be prepared to pay the price.

The AJHL club continued to beef up its blueline corps this week by adding two sizable players while saying goodbye to their backup goalie from a year ago – Jared Andersen.

Andersen was dealt to the Merritt Centennials of the BCHL in exchange for Mitch Jones, while the team also added Ben Woodley out of London, Ont.

Over the last couple of months the Storm has added four new defencemen – all well over six feet tall.

The Storm acquired Jones, who is expected to be on the ice when the team opens its fall camp in the Canada Games Arena on Aug. 26.

Jones was traded to the Storm in exchange for Anderson.

"We are extremely excited to be adding a quality defenceman like Mitch to our hockey club," said Storm coach/general manager Mike Vandekamp.

"He has good size, good mobility, and will add skill to our blue line."

Jones, who started last season with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL where he played six games, played 53 games his first year of Junior A hockey scoring five goals and assisting on 23 others while taking 74 penalty minutes.

The 6-foot-2,185 pounder is expected to be a regular with the Storm.

"Mitch will be a very good defenceman for us at even strength, but will also be expected to play in all special teams situations," said Vandekamp.

Andersen appeared in 13 games last season split between Grande Prairie and the Canmore Eagles, finishing with a 5-6-1 record, a 3.53 goals-against-average and a .887 save percentage. The six foot, 175 lb. goaltender has a career record of 15-27-3 with a 4.43 goals-against-average and a .864 save percentage in 48 career appearances.

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(Former Vipers forward Ryan Bayda)

Former Vipers forward Ryan Bayda (98-99) is leaving North America to play in the German Elite League. Here's a link to the media release.

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(Former Kamloops Blazers play-by-play voice Kirk Fraser)

Word came out this past week that Kamloops Blazers play-by-play announcer Kirk Fraser is hanging up his microphone to take a full time job at Shaw Cable as a producer. With Kirk's resignation after 11 years in the booth calling Blazer hockey, I know that Radio NL Operations Manager Jim Reynolds' mailbox will be packed full of people applying for the job. There are some VERY good broadcasters in the BCHL and I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of them applied for the job and would be considered for it. It'll be interesting to see where the successful candidate comes from.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Andersen Trade Audio, Former Cents Forward Blair Riley at Phoenix's Prospect Camp:


(New Cents Goaltender Jared Andersen)

After the announcement of the acquisition of goaltender Jared Andersen from Grande Prairie, I had the chance to chat with Luke Pierce about the deal.

The big question on Cents fans minds is how does the trade affect incumbent goaltenders Keith Hamilton and Cole Holowenko, Luke answers that question and more, have a listen.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce


Click here to download


(San Antonio Coach Ray Edwards maps out a drill at Phoenix Coyotes camp)

Former Cents forward Blair Riley, who's from Kamloops, wrapped up four days at the Phoenix Coyotes Prospect Development Camp today. Riley signed a pro tryout contract with AHL Springfield last season, but is considered a free agent heading into this season. A wrap-up of the Coyotes camp is here.

Cents Acquire Goaltender Jared Andersen from Grande Prairie, Cents tryout Sean Maktaak Traded in the KIJHL:


(New Cents goaltender Jared Andersen)

The Cents have shored up their goaltending for the 2010-11 season with the acquisition of Jared Andersen (90) and future considerations from the Grande Prairie Storm of the AJHL. Heading to Alberta is defenceman Mitch Jones (91), who was actually sent home by the Cents late last season for personal reasons.

Here's the release:

Merritt, BC - July 12, 2010

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce the acquisition of goaltender Jared Andersen (90) and future considerations from the Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in exchange for defenceman Mitch Jones (91).

Andersen, who's from Fort St. John, BC, is entering his third season of junior 'A' hockey. He appeared in 13 games last season split between Grande Prairie and the Canmore Eagles, finishing with a 5-6-1 record, a 3.53 goals-against-average and a .887 save percentage. The 6'0" 175 lb. goaltender has a career record of 15-27-3 with a 4.43 goals-against-average and a .864 save percentage in 48 career appearances.

Prior to joining Canmore, Andersen played with the renowned Shattuck St. Mary's Prep School, compiling a record of 17-7-3 with a 2.32 goals-against-average and a .910 save percentage in leading the team to the 2008 Under-18 U.S. National Championship.

"The acquisition of Jared gives us another proven goaltender heading into training camp next month," said Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce. “With two years under his belt at the junior 'A' level, we feel this trade gives us the type of depth in goal we feel we need to build towards becoming a strong team this season."

For further information, please contact the Cents office 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'll have an interview with Luke regarding the trade later today.

Also, forward Sean Maktaak (92), who was one of the Cents last cuts out of training camp last season had his KIJHL rights traded yesterday. Here's the release from the Fernie Ghostriders website:

The Fernie Ghostriders would like to announce the acquisition of Sean Maktaak.

Coach Will Verner " We are very excited to get Sean's Jr. 'B' rights from the Creston Valley Thundercats. Sean Maktaak closes the deal made with Creston on December 1, 2009. Sean will take a run at playing in the BCHL for Merritt Centenials and we wish him the best of luck during his tryout. We have been watching Sean from the first time he played against your Riders in September 2008. Our coaching and scouting staff could not believe how hard Sean competed during the exhibition season. We felt Creston had a gem of a 16 year old and we have tried to acquire Sean since the end of his 16 year old season.

It'll be interesting to see how Sean does at camp next month in his efforts to make the jump to junior 'A'.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Deleeuw ascends to Cents' bench as Pierce keeps it all in the family, Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse Awards:

This is in this week's Merritt News:

John O'Connor - News Editor

If keeping it all in the family is the direction the Merritt Centennials coaching staff is taking, Alberta's Suter family may have a new rival to contend with.

Things worked out for the beleaguered Merritt Centennials last season when they hired local man Luke Pierce. So, why not hire another member of a clan, who seems to have hockey in their blood?

The Merritt Centennials new assistant coach, Chad DeLeeuw, a second cousin to head coach Luke Pierce, says he recognizes the team is in a bit of a rebuilding phase, and says his duties will be more than just on-ice direction.

The Cents' latest addition, a former BCHL defenceman who played for five seasons in the league, will help head coach and general manager Luke Pierce carry out the three-year plan to make the Cents a RBC Cup contender.

“I'm extremely excited about joining the organization,” says DeLeeuw.

“I just want to put in my share of work and effort and hopefully get this team further into the playoffs.”

DeLeeuw brings to the bench 10 years of coaching experience, mostly minor hockey coaching at the rep level, and most notably, a season with the Junior B Summerland Sting of the KIJHL, where he was an assistant coach.

“We're very happy Chad has agreed to join us here in Merritt,” said Pierce.

“I am confident that his knowledge and experience as a dominant defenceman in this league will transfer into his coaching ability.”

DeLeeuw was named the Nanaimo Clippers most improved player in the 1995/1996 season and was runner-up as the BCHL interior conference defenceman of the year award in the 1999/2000 season while playing for the Penticton Panthers.

“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,” continued Pierce.

“I'm just looking to help these young guys become more confident and better people on and off the ice,” says DeLeeuw.

“They had a good season there last year, especially when Luke took over. So, I just want to continue on from there and hopefully build up a strong contending team, especially for the 40th anniversary.”

DeLeeuw adds that he looks forward to helping develop players off the ice through various community-oriented efforts.
“I'm just looking to help these young guys become more confident and better people on and off the ice.”

Deleeuw's contract begins in August.



The lacrosse season is starting to wind down in the Nicola Valley. I received this email from Shauna Clinging this morning:

Alpha Design Tykes were all honoured with a medal.

Royal LePage Novice Sportsmanship - Fred Ware
Novice Outstanding Athlete - Mac Stead
Novice Most Improved - Parker Finch


Century 21 Pee Wee Sportsmanship - Rahul Chabra
Pee Wee Outstanding Athlete - Cole Tod
Pee Wee Most Improved - Tyrell Suzuki

Contain It Storage Bantam Sportsmanship - Brody Tod
Bantam Outstanding Athlete - Kristian Stead
Bantam Most Improved - Ben Neighbour

Merritt Mountain Towing Midget Sportsmanship - Kenny Hartwig
Midget Outstanding Athlete - Gordie Bowes
Midget Most Improved - Trevor Lindley

Thank you from Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse Association to all our
sponsor this season and we wish our midgets well at Midget "B" Provincials.

Congrats to all the winners!