I know there hasn't been a lot of activity on the blog lately, and that's because my life has undergone some major changes.
You likely noticed the new header a couple of weeks ago which removed my references (at least graphically) to both the Centennials and Q101 and also introduced a new name for the blog. I also removed the Canucks logo too, but that had nothing to do with personal changes in my life or pledging allegiance to another NHL team. It's simply because I want Brian's Banter to be a hub for BCHL info and although I'll obviously mention the NHL, it won't be a focus at all.
As of last Friday, December 9th, I am no longer employed at Q101 in Merritt. I had an amazing nine and a half years there with Radio NL at first, and then with Q101 for the last two years, but this fall, an opportunity presented itself to me that I just couldn't give up. And with that, I started my new job as Assistant Instructor with BCIT's Radio Program and Operations Manager for Evolution 107.9 here in Burnaby.
How the new job affects me is that I've moved from Merritt to the Lower Mainland and although my accommodations are temporary right now, the move is a permanent one. I'm definitely going to miss everyone in Merritt who listened to the Brian Wiebe Morning Show for the last nine years and truly appreciate all the kind words and support.
How the new job affects the Centennials is that I'm no longer webmaster, etc. for the club, although I will continue to help on a volunteer basis with alumni information and media releases, etc. There are a number of things I can do from afar to maintain a good working relationship with the entire Cents organization and I plan to do those things as long as they let me.
And finally, the relocation from Merritt to the Lower Mainland affects the blog in that, as mentioned earlier, it's no longer going to be a strict Merritt focus. Over the last six months, I've been gradually moving towards a more broad BCHL focus anyway, that was my plan before this new job even came to fruition. That focus takes effect immediately, although I plan on still keeping the Centennials facts, etc. on the left hand side for now. They will likely be relocated in the future, just not right now.
I want to thank Elizabeth Laird, Al Clarke (who's been a Cents fan almost longer than anyone in the Nicola Valley) and everyone I've worked with during my time at Merritt Broadcasting Ltd. for encouraging and supporting the extensive BCHL and Centennials coverage on the air, not only during the morning show, but throughout the entire programming day - year round - with sports stories, promos, interviews, etc. I'm sure the coverage of the Cents in Merritt will continue to be second-to-none with Alex and Graham Turnbull at the station. I hope my replacement has even a fraction of as much interest in the BCHL and the Centennials as I do.
I also have to thank all of the play-by-play announcers I've had the priviledge of working with in Merritt. Starting out with Todd Miller (now voice of the Vernon Vipers), Marlon Martens (who I replaced on the morning show and is now calling Victoria Royals games), Keegan Goodrich (now working in media relations for Hockey Canada in Calgary) to Alex Grebenyuk, who's grown immensely as a broadcaster since I hired him four years ago. A huge thanks goes out to all past and current BCHL broadcasters as well for their cooperation.
Within the Cents organization, there are too many people over the years to mention who have been so helpful and accommodating (most of the time) to my requests. I apologize if I miss mentioning you, I assure you that it doesn't underscore your efforts nor diminish my appreciation of our time working together. From the Board of Directors level, special thanks - in no particular order - to Rick Mettler, Fred Riley, Saug Sekhon, Don Jones, Cathy Frizzell, Tom Reynolds, Patrick Lindsay, Josh Statham, John Morash, Gary Dixon, Jerry Canuel, Brian Barrett, Beth Nadeau, Betty Doberstein, Nonie Miyazaki, Frank Rizzardo, Tod Dean, Scott Hostrawser, Paul & Andrea Barnes, Frank Etchart, Harry Doberstein and Rusty Brewer just to name a few.
On the coaching level, I have to thank Al Glendinning, Joey Bouchard, Dylan Forsythe, Luke Pierce, Joe Martin, Joe Quewezance, Gilles Leberre, John Bradley, Bill Birks, Richard Molenaar, Tyler Forsythe, Chad DeLeeuw, Wayne Wittal, Kyla Knox, Jason Kitzan and Paul Ayotte. Again, I apologize if I've missed anyone.
There are countless volunteers who devote their precious time to the Centennials to ensure that they remain the BCHL's longest continuously-run franchise. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make my time in Merritt so enjoyable.
I've also had the pleasure of connecting with some of the Cents alumni through Facebook and it seems that almost all of them look fondly upon their time in Merritt, just as I will. It certainly seems that being involved on any level with the Centennials has left a positive impression on them and they consider themselves part of the community forever. I definitely consider Merritt a second home now and will always proudly talk of the Centennials and the efforts by all involved to keep the smallest market in the BCHL with a team.
One of the most-asked questions I've gotten since I've told people I am working at the station that carries Coquitlam Express games is whether my allegiances now shifts to that franchise. The short answer is no. I can't imagine myself cheering for any other team in the BCHL other than the Centennials. They are in different conferences, so we'll see how things go once I'm settled in.
And with this blog shifting from a Centennials focus, the door has opened for Alex to take over the Merritt aspect of blogging and you can find his blog at centscentral.blogspot.com. I know I'll be checking it every day!
So although this is the end of the "Making Cents" Merritt Centennials blog as you know it, this the beginning of what I hope becomes THE online source for all BCHL coverage (next to the official league site of course!) with "Brian's Banter". So please leave comments, share stories and share, tweet and Facebook anything you think anyone else might like to read. Thanks for stopping by!
Please make a note that very soon, the new URL for the blog will be http://bchlbriansbanter.blogspot.com. So change your bookmarks!