Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cents Spring Camp Schedule, Luke Pierce's Thoughts, Brandon Pfeil to Represent Canada, Ryan Moir & Mount Royal Stay ACAC Champions, Devin Gannon Traded to Cowichan Valley:

The Cents first Spring Evaluation Camp gets rolling in Merritt tomorrow. Here's the schedule as released earlier this week:

Friday, April 1st
3:00pm - 4:00pm Player Registration
5:15pm - 6:30pm Blue vs. Black
7:00pm - 8:15pm Red vs. White
8:45pm - 9:15pm Parents and Players Meeting (Optional)

Saturday, April 2nd
9:00am - 10:00am Red & Blue Practice
10:30am - 11:30am Black & White Practice
12:30pm - 1:45pm Blue vs. Red
2:15pm - 3:30pm Black vs. White
4:00pm - 5:15pm White vs. Blue
5:45pm - 7:00pm Red vs. Black
7:30pm - 8:30pm Goaltender Session

Sunday, April 3rd
8:30am - 9:45am Blue vs. Black
10:00am - 11:00am Exit Interviews
11:15am - 12:30pm White vs. Red
12:45pm - 1:45pm Exit Interviews

I had the chance to talk with Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce earlier this week about what's coming up during the camp.



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A huge honour for Centennials defenceman Brandon Pfeil as he's been chosen to represent Canada in a tournament next month in Russia. Here's the release from the BCHL website:


For the first time ever, 20 BCHL players will wear the Maple Leaf and represent Canada at the 2011 Russian Invitational Tournament in Podolsk, Russia.

Canada will be one of four teams at the event which also features the Russian National Junior Team, a Russian Select Team and the Slovakian National Junior Team. Hockey Canada was invited to enter a squad after being contacted by Russian goaltending legend Vladislav Tretiak.

For most of these players, it will be their first chance to wear the Team Canada jersey.
“We’re incredibly excited to be making this trip and giving these young men an opportunity to represent their country,” said Team Canada general manager Ron Paterson. “It’s been a lot of planning and paperwork but I’m sure it will be more than worthwhile once we get there.”

Podolsk is a town of over 180,000 people situated about 50 kilometres south of Moscow. Each team in this event will play in three games in a round-robin format. The team with the most total points at the end will be declared the winner. Canada’s games are on April 15, 16 and 17 but it is not yet known which team will provide the opposition on which date.
“We’ll be able to practise and get a couple of exhibition games in against some select teams beforehand,” said Paterson. “It’s going to be very worthwhile for these players and good for the BCHL as well.”

Canada will be guided by 2011 BCHL Interior Conference coach of the year Tim Kehler of the Salmon Arm SilverBacks. The team leaves on April 8 and returns on April 19.

COMPLETE ROSTER:

G – Khaleed Devji (West Vancouver, BC/Coquitlam Express)
G – Kris Moore (Calgary, Alta./Salmon Arm SilverBacks)

D – Troy Paterson (Surrey, BC/Cowichan Valley Capitals)
D – Justin Fillion (Prince George, BC/Victoria Grizzlies)
D – Brandon Pfeil (West Vancouver, BC/Merritt Centennials)
D – Mitch Jones (Delta, BC/Surrey Eagles)
D – Josh Manson (Prince Albert, Sask./Salmon Arm SilverBacks)
D – Jayson Reardon (Lumby, BC/Salmon Arm SilverBacks)

F – Brayden Jaw (Vancouver, BC/Nanaimo Clippers)
F – Mike Hammond (Victoria, BC/Salmon Arm SilverBacks)
F – Evan Richardson (Nanaimo, BC/Victoria Grizzlies)
F – Jake Charles (West Vancouver, BC/Coquitlam Express)
F – Austin Carroll (Vancouver, BC/Coquitlam Express)
F – Malcolm McKinney (West Vancouver, BC/Coquitlam Express)
F – RJay Berra (Prince George, BC/Prince George Spruce Kings)
F – Brett Knowles (Vanderhoof, BC/Salmon Arm SilverBacks)
F – Bryce Gervais (Battlefords, Sask./Salmon Arm SilverBacks)
F – Devin Gannon (Kamloops, BC/Salmon Arm SilverBacks)
F – David Killip (Kelowna, BC/Salmon Arm SilverBacks)
F – Jarryd Ten Vaanholt (West Vancouver, BC/Salmon Arm SilverBacks)

Head Coach – Tim Kehler, Salmon Arm SilverBacks
Assistant Coach – Colin O’Hara, Salmon Arm SilverBacks
General Manager – Ron Paterson, Surrey Eagles
Trainer – Wayne Hubbard
Massage Therapist – Larry Martin
Media relations – Eddie Gregory
Equipment Manager – Dan Ilich


Former Centennials defenceman Ryan Moir and his Mount Royal teammates remain ACAC champions after a ruling today. Here's the story from 660 News Radio in Calgary:

The Mount Royal Cougars senior men's hockey team has plenty of reason to smile.

The team has been reinstated as provincial champions after the ACAC tribunal ruled that the team would not have to replay game 5 of the championship.

Cougars Captain Darnell Glass tells 660News there were handshakes all around when they got the news.

"Excited for the guys, excited for our team, I think we worked hard for this all year long and to have the league realize that we were in the right and we deserve it was a great feeling for us."

The ACAC had originally ordered the Cougars to replay game 5 against the SAIT Trojans, which the Cougars had originally won, after it was ruled the backup goalie they used in the last game was ineligible.


Forward Devin Gannon, who played three games with the Centennials as an AP in 2007-08, has been traded from Salmon Arm to Cowichan Valley as part of the futures which saw Mike Hammond head to the Silverbacks earlier this year.

Here's the release from the Capitals website:

The Cowichan Valley Capitals Jr A Hockey Club would like to announce the 2 players that were received as the futures from Salmon Arm in the player trade from January.

Joining the Capitals are 1991 forward Devin Gannon (Kamloops, BC) and 1992 forward Brandon Mistal (Kamloops, BC).

Brandon is a right shot, 5'8 and 170 lbs. Mistal will be entering his 3rd season in the BCHL. He has played 88 games, where he has acquired 9 goals, 12 assists, 21 points and 24 penalty minutes with Salmon Arm. Brandon was a role player with Salmon Arm - killing penalties, blocking shots and working hard every shift. He will be counted on to take on more of an offensive role this season.

Devin is a right shot, 6'0 and 172 lbs and will be entering his 3rd season in the BCHL. Gannon has played 121 games and acquired 31 goals, 44 assists, 75 points and 125 penalty minutes in his BCHL career. Devin was one of the top offensive players with Salmon Arm last season and will take on that role with the Capitals for the 11/12 season. Devin is heading to Russia next week with a contingent from the BCHL, which includes Capitals defenceman Troy Paterson, to play in a tournament for a couple of weeks.

We welcome both players to the Capitals family and will see them in August for Main Camp.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cents Merritt Spring Camp Full, but Second Camp Added for Abbotsford in June, TRU WolfPack Falls 5-2 to SFU in BCIHL Championship:

I'll have more on Spring Camp in the next day or so with Cents Head Coach/GM Luke Pierce, but the team announced today that this weekend's camp is full and now another evaluation camp is set for June in Abbotsford. Finally, some news about the current Centennials team! Not that I'm sick of talking about all the great Merritt alumni, but it's good to look ahead to the future too!

The Merritt Centennials would like to announce that their 2011 Spring Camp scheduled for April 1 - 3 at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena is now full.

"The response we've received from players interested in becoming a member of the Centennials organization has been excellent," said Cents GM/Head Coach Luke Pierce. "Because there was such significant interest, I'm pleased to announce that we're planning a second camp for June."

The Centennials will hold another Spring Evaluation Camp in Abbotsford on the weekend of June 24, 25 and 26.

For more information regarding either the Merritt camp this weekend or the Abbotsford camp in June, please contact Cents GM/Head Coach Luke Pierce by phone at 250-378-3607 or email luke@merrittcentennials.com

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(Former Cents netminder Anthony Manfredi - photo courtesy TRU Athletics)

The WolfPack battled hard but came up short losing 5-2 to SFU in the BCIHL Championship Final Sunday night.

SFU held a 1-0 lead after 1 period with a Power Play goal from Colby Kulhanek at 7:56.

The Clan stretched their lead to 2-0 after the 2nd period on another Power Play marker from Paul Mascone at 3:54.

SFU extended their lead to 3-0 on yet another Power Play goal from Mascone at 12:56 of the 3rd period.

TRU finally got a puck past SFU goaltender Justin Mulholland with a Power Play marker of their own from Zac Rasmussen at 11:48 of the 3rd period.

SFU restored their 3 goal lead with their 4th Power Play goal of the night from Ben Van Lare at 9:51 of the 3rd period.

WolfPack veteran Joel Leonard kept TRU’s hopes alive with a goal 13 seconds later to narrow the score to 4-2.

But Ben Van Lare sealed the victory with an empty net goal at 2:02 of the 3rd period.

Despite the loss TRU goaltender Anthony Manfredi was solid once again for the ‘Pack.

TRU Head Coach Lorne Cumming said, "I thought the guys put in a good effort. We didn’t get the start we wanted but we battled hard. Unfortunately we hit a couple of posts that could have been the goals that made the difference. And while it is very disappointing to loose I am very proud of all of our players."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Merritt Midgets finish fourth at Provincials, Cents Alumni Tyler Halliday leads TRU WolfPack over UVic:


The Merritt Midget Reps finished fourth at the Provincials after a 4-3 loss today against Whitehorse. The Junior Cents roster featured no fewer than six players who have attended either Spring Camp or Training Camp with the Junior A Centennials (Malik Miller, Cole Fex, Briar McNaney, Eric Schmidt, Brendan Colter & Mike Desimone) and were coached by former Cents assistant coach Joe Quewezance and former Cents player Cuyler Dickie.

Merritt finished the tournament with a 3-3 record, but lost its last two straight to come home with the fourth place finish. I know I speak for the entire community when I congratulate the Midgets for everything they accomplished and there's absolutely no shame in being among the top four in their division for the province.

(Former Cents forward Tyler Halliday)

There's a distinct Centennials flavour on the TRU WolfPack's BCIHL team, as six players (Lucas Daoust, Tyler Halliday, Jassi Sangha, Anthony Manfredi, Riley Wall & David Gore) have played in Merritt as a signed or affiliate player.

Here's the story from the TRU Athletics website:

The TRU WolfPack Men’s Hockey team opened the BCIHL Championship Tournament with an impressive 6-3 win over UVIC Vikes.

Kyle Allan opened the scoring at the 16:53 mark of the first period with an assist from Lucas Daoust.

Andrew Fisher scored on the Power Play at 15:12 of the 1st period assists coming from Joel Leonard and Tyler Halliday.

UVIC pulled within 1 on a goal from Tommy Adair at 12:04 of the 1st period.

Darcy Huisman scored a clutch goal with :43 seconds left in the 1st period to restore the 2 goal advantage. Joel Leonard and Andrew Fisher drew the assists.

TRU scored 2 goals in the second period; Joel Leonard, assists Tyler Halliday and Andrew Fisher at 5:02 and Zac Rasmussen assisted by Jassi Sangha at 2:28 to stretch the ‘Pack’s lead to 5-1 after 2 periods.

Jesse Anderson scored at the 15:31 mark of the 3rd period assisted by Taylor Stuart and Kyle Allan.

UVIC responded with two 3rd period goals; Thomas Bruton on a Penalty Shot at 11:20 and Brett Campbell at 2:29.

Riley Wall had an exceptional game in net for the ‘Pack stopping 22 of 25 Vikes shots. UVIC netminder Tim Manuel stopped 23 of 29 WolfPack shots.

Notes: The WolfPack now face SFU Friday night 7:30 pm at Bill Copeland Arena the winner of that game proceeds directly to the BCIHL Final Sunday at 6:30 pm while the loser faces an elimination semi-final Saturday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Midget Rep Centennials onto Semifinals at Provincials, Wade MacLeod signs Pro Tryout Contract, scores in his first AHL game, Steve Munn to retire?:


The Merritt Midget Rep Centennials won their game at the Tier 3 Midget Provincials in Cranbrook today 6-3 over Windermere and then got some help from West Vancouver to advance to the semifinals tomorrow.

The Jr. Cents meet Sooke tomorrow night at 8 o'clock. Brendan Colter, who was in camp with the Jr. A Centennials last August, had four goals in the win today. The Midgets needed Smithers to win outright or West Vancouver to win by a substantial margin tonight to advance as only the top two teams move on to the semifinals. With the win, West Vancouver, Merritt and Smithers all finished with a record of 3-1. Merritt and West Van both advanced due to owning the tiebreaker over Smithers.


A huge congrats goes out to former Centennials sniper Wade MacLeod, who signed a pro tryout contract on Monday with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League and then went out and scored his first pro goal tonight in a 3-2 loss to the Connecticut Whale, a team which started the season with another ex-Centennial in Brandon Wong on its roster.

Wade played on a line with 2008 Columbus first round draft pick Nikita Filatov and Ben Guite, a veteran of 175 NHL games.

Here's the story on Wade scoring his first pro goal from the Falcons website:

FALCONS ONE SHORT AGAINST WHALE

March 23, 2011 - The Springfield Falcons built a two goal lead Wednesday night, but the Connecticut Whale came back with three unanswered goals of their own to skate away with a 3-2 win over the Falcons at the XL Center. Rookies Wade MacLeod and Paul Dainton both made their AHL debuts on Wednesday night with MacLeod scoring a goal and Dainton stopping 31 of 34 shots.

The Falcons night started out well as MacLeod scored his first goal as a pro in his first period as a pro giving the Falcons a 1-0 lead at 18:02 of the first period. MacLeod signed an ATO contract on Monday, had his first practice with the Falcons on Tuesday and made his AHL debut on Wednesday. MacLeod recently finished his collegiate career with Northeastern University.

Dainton, who signed an ATO contract Monday, was impressive making his first AHL/Pro start Wednesday night. Dainton recently completed his college career at UMass-Amherst.

In the second period, the Falcons built a 2-0 lead at 8:59 when Cody Goloubef tallied his fifth goal of the year assisted by Tomas Kubalik and Trevor Smith. Connecticut cut their deficit to 2-1 when Derek Couture scored his second marker of the year at 11:52 of the second period.

In the third period, Connecticut started the frame with a power play and Dale Weise took advantage as he tied the score at 2-2 with a power play marker just 54-seconds into the final period. With the game deadlocked midway through the third period, John Mitchell converted at 11:17 giving the Whale their first lead of the night at 3-2. The goal marked the second time this month that Mitchell tallied a late third period goal against the Falcons leading Connecticut to victory.

Here's the story from the Northeastern Huskies website about Wade signing with Springfield:

Boston, Mass. - March 21, 2011

Northeastern men’s hockey alum Wade MacLeod signed an amateur tryout agreement with the Springfield Falcons as announced by the club on Monday afternoon, March 21.

Springfield is an American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.

MacLeod leaves Northeastern as the most battle-tested Husky, skating in 149 career games, marking the most of any skater in program history.

"It's amazing how quickly the last four years have gone by," MacLeod said. "I could not have excelled and made it to the next level without the help of my coaching staff and teammates."

The Coquitlam, B.C., native led the Huskies in scoring for the last three seasons and posted career-highs in his senior go-round in goals (22), assists (23) and points (45).

For his career, MacLeod tallied 61 goals and 76 assists for 137 points in 149 games played. MacLeod’s 61 goals tied NU assistant coach Sebastien Laplante’s total for 21st-best in Northeastern history. The 5-11 forward’s 76 helpers are also tied for 21st most of all-time, drawing even with David O’Brien (76).

MacLeod leaves Huntington Avenue tied as the 20th-most prolific scorer in program history (137 points), tying Gerry Cowie (1978-82) and Paul McDougall (1978-82).

MacLeod attained 35 career multi-point games, including 11 this season. He finished as a +8 for his career and netted 12 game-winning goals along the way.

MacLeod was named a Hockey East Second-Team All-Star on March 17 at the annual league banquet in Cambridge, Mass.


It sounds like former Centennials defenceman Steve Munn is preparing to hang up the skates at the end of the 2010-11 season.

Here's an article from The Star newspaper's website in Sheffield, England:

STEVE MUNN has delivered a two-goal ‘goodbye’ to Sheffield Steelers fans.

The defenceman scored a unique double for the champions, as they confirmed the title in Sunday’s 7-2 win over Braehead Clan. Munn, the darling of thousands of Steelers fans, dedicated the goals to the supporters as he intends to retire at the end of the Play Offs, which start tonight (Dundee Stars, home, 7.30pm.)

“I haven’t scored two goals since I was about nine years old” laughed Munn.

“I have a lot of clubs in my bag that I don’t really bring out very often. I have a lot of tricks - a secret weapon, you know!

Munn, 32, said the last team for which he bagged a brace was probably ‘Esso Blues’ (a junior side sponsored by a petrol station in Saskatchewan, Canada.) “We had nine skaters, that’s three D, six forwards and a goalie! That’s probably the last time I scored two goals in a game.

“But this (title) is pretty special. This is probably it for me, this year. To win another championship, especially the big one here, in a place where my family really has been the happiest we’ve ever been, is really special.

“We are terribly sad to be leaving in a couple of weeks. To win it again, and go out on that note, especially with this group of people is just amazing. I have so many good friends here not just on the team but throughout the city. Sheffield will always be a special place for us.”

Munn said he had a few commercial “irons in the fire.”

“I am aggressively pursuing alternative employment. Nothing is impossible, I would never say never to coming back here. At the end of the day we are so happy here.

“It’s killing my wife to have to leave. And killing me. But I have a couple of degrees burning a hole in my pocket. I have got some pretty big ideas and ambitions for life after hockey. If things don’t pan out you might see me back here in August.

“I hope people in Sheffield have enjoyed me being here as much as I have enjoyed being here. That’s all I can hope for.”

Steelers won the title courtesy of having more regulation time wins than second-place Cardiff Devils, who had the same number of points as Ben Simon’s side. Belfast Giants came third, a point behind.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Former Cents Coach & GM Mike Vandekamp leaves Grande Prairie to join Nanaimo:

Former Cents coach & GM Mike Vandekamp is back in the BCHL with the Nanaimo Clippers.

Here's the story from the Grande Prairie Tribune after a media conference this morning:

Vandekamp out, Bablitz in
By RAGNAR HAAGEN, Herald-Tribune staff

The Grande Prairie Storm Junior A hockey team is getting a makeover.

No, it won't be the uniforms, and the players on the ice won't change any more than previous years.

The difference is behind the bench.

Mike Vandekamp is heading for greener pastures: Literally.

Vandekamp has told the Daily Herald-Tribune that he is leaving Grande Prairie and the snow behind, to accept an offer from B.C.'s Nanaimo Clippers to become their new head coach and general manager.

"I have a childhood friend that now owns the Nanaimo Clippers and he and his partners have decided to make a change in the position of head coach and general manager there," explained Vandekamp.

"We talked, and as a family, we decided that it was a move that we wanted to make."

This decision was not long in the making; in fact Vandekamp said that it all happened in less than a week.

"It's pretty fresh," noted Vandekamp. "Basically, this past week has been very busy in regards to (the decision to move)."

Vandekamp has also said that he is leaving on amicable terms with the Storm and their management, and had nothing but good things to say about the organization.

"It's been an absolutely terrific opportunity right from day one," said Vandekamp. "By far, this has been the most well run, organized, most professional organization that I've been a part of.

"A very small amount of this has been a professional decision; it's been a lot more of a family decision. My wife is a southern British Columbia person and when some of this came about, it was certainly partially driven from home. It's just a lot closer to her family from a geographical standpoint."

Taking his place behind the bench of the Grande Prairie Storm will be a person familiar to anyone who has followed Storm hockey over the years. Former player, and current assistant coach Blaine Bablitz will take over the head coaching duties starting today.

Bablitz played two seasons with the Storm from 1997-99 and was chosen AJHL Rookie of the Year in his first season. He scored 156 points in his two years with the team and still sits 11th in career points with the franchise.

In 2007, he was hired as the first ever full-time assistant coach with the Storm by Vandekamp. During their four seasons together they put together the best winning percentage of any group of coaches in the team's history. In 242 regular-season games the pair had a .674 win percentage and also won 27 of 45 playoff games in four seasons.

They helped the Storm to the 2008-2009 AJHL championship and finished second in the North Division three times during their coaching partnership.

"I'm very thankful and extremely excited about the opportunity that the organization is offering me," said Bablitz. "They've come to terms with giving me the chance to prove myself in this position, and I look to continue the success of the team on the ice and within the community of Grande Prairie.

"Not only are we here to be a competitive and successful team, but we're here to be a part of the community and do our best to affect the youth in it and be a positive influence on everyone in the town."

Bablitz will have his work cut out for him, as the Storm will lose last year's leading scorer and reigning AJHL Player of the Year, Tanner Fritz. However, Bablitz has already given thought to what sort of team he hopes to build.

"Our team will be hard working and aggressive and puck pursuit-orientated, which is not too far away from the lines of the team we've been in the past," said Bablitz.

"It will be organized and technically sound. Hard work will be the main focus, (because) that's the key to junior level hockey."

The team officially introduced Bablitz as the new head coach at a press conference this morning at the Crystal Centre.

Midget Centennials open Provincials with an 8-6 win over Grand Forks:


The Merritt Midget Reps opened the Provincial Tier 3 Championship tournament in Cranbrook with an 8-6 win yesterday over Grand Forks.

The Midgets meet West Vancouver this afternoon at 1:15.

West Van opened with a 10-2 shellacking of Windermere yesterday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Canucks Alumni Beat Conservation Officers 8-5, Cents Extend Spring Camp Registration Deadline:

I had the honour and privilege of working with Canucks P.A. announcer John Ashbridge here in Merritt during Saturday's game between the Vancouver Canucks Alumni and the Society of BC Conservation Officers.

Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce acquitted himself quite well for the Conservation Officers, notching an assist in an 8-5 loss. Former Cents assistant coach and current coach of the Merritt Midgets Joe Quewezance also looked good, wearing number 89. Both Luke and Joe actually played defence most of the game although it's hard to say anyone really "played" defence.

Here's the summary John Ashbridge did for the Canucks Alumni website:

CANUCK ALUMNI WIND UP ANOTHER UNDEFEATED SEASON WITH ROAD WIN IN MERRITT

The local boy came home to collect three points on the night, as the Vancouver Canuck Alumni collected the "W", defeating the B.C. Conservation Officers province-wide squad, 8-5 in Merritt last Saturday night (March 12th), capping off another undefeated season for the veteran squad.

Mike Brown, who grew up in the Nicola Valley and played his junior hockey with the Merritt Centennials, scored once and set up two more in a close contest with the well-trained Conservation crew before a crowd of several hundred at The Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. It's the third time in five years these two teams have met, with the Alumni taking both prior encounters, in 100 Mile House and Smithers. It's more than just a game for the Conservation officers; it's a chance for them to draw a team from among hockey-playing members serving in all corners of the province, some of them seeing their professional colleagues face-to-face for one of the rare times each year. And they've always iced a solid team and put on a good show, something for which the Alumni - and the fans - are truly grateful.

For this contest, the opponents were bolstered by Merritt hockey stalwarts Joe Quewezance and the coach of the Centennials, Luke "The Legend" Pierce. They even held a get-together practice the day before the game ... alas, to no avail. Backstopped mainly by Ken "Beach Ball" Owens in net, the CO's kept the score close until the third period when the hosts found they simply didn't have the legs for the final 20 minutes and the Alumni pulled away from a 3-3 tie to collect the two points.

Alumnus Dusty Imoo outskated almost everyone as he netted one and helped on two more while B.J. MacDonald, working as Brownie's winger, also scored once and set up a pair. For the second game in a row, veteran d-man Doug Bodger was in the lineup, joined by fellow Islander Gary "Bones" Bromley. And, true to form, Wayne Van Dorp claimed victory at the pre-game buffet, downing two (2) plates of lasagna before embarking on his usual pre-game whine about the lack of dessert choices.

There was a lot of BCHL representation in the Canucks line-up. Here's who played in the green and blue:

30 - Mark Lake
3 - Doug Bodger
4 - Phil Von Stefenelli
6 - Dusty Imoo
14 - B.J. MacDonald
15 - Gary Bromley
16 - Sean Crowther
18 - Steve Clippingdale
21 - Rick Amann
23 - Wayne Van Dorp
25 - David Bruce
27 - Mike Brown

Referee: Stan Vyse
Linesman: Chris Oddleifson
Linesman: Doug Hardy


Meanwhile, the Centennials have extended the deadline for registration for their Spring Evaluation Camp here in Merritt. Here's the release from their website:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC - March 16, 2011

The Merritt Centennials announced today that the deadline for registration for their 2011 Spring Evaluation Camp in Merritt on April 1-3 has been extended from March 15th to March 31st. Sign-in is from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2011 at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

"We've had a great response from some very good players for the Camp so far," said Cents Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce. "But we decided to extend the deadline because didn't want to exclude any prospective players who were unable, for whatever reason, to register before March 15th."

The cost of the camp is $150.

For complete details, please visit www.merrittcentennials.com and click on "2011 Spring Camps".

Friday, March 11, 2011

Canucks Alumni Coming to Merritt for Charity Game:


I'm so excited for tomorrow night's game at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena between the Society of BC Conservation Officers and the Canucks Alumni Team.

I'm honoured to have the opportunity to work with legendary Canucks P.A. announcer John Ashbridge, who travels with the alumni team when he can to be part of their events.

Also I'm excited to see Cents coach & GM Luke Pierce on the ice at Memorial Arena for the first time since the 2003-04 season, when he was playing for the Vernon Vipers. Luke's playing for the Conservation Officers and is sure to bring some speed and toughness to their line-up. Former Cents assistant coach and the current coach of the Merritt Midget Reps, Joe Quewezance was set to play for the Conservation Officers too, but word is that Joe has a bad back and may be relegated to coaching.

Here's the release from the Conservation Office in Kamloops:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kamloops, BC - March 11, 2011

Vancouver Canucks Alumni Hockey Team vs the Society of BC Conservation Officers – Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, March 12, 2011.

On March 12th 2011, the Vancouver Canucks Alumni Hockey team will travel to Merritt to play in a charity hockey game against members of the BC Conservation Officer Service.

The goal of the game is to raise funds to support families who require financial support to get their children into organized sports. All proceed from the game will be donated to the MERRITT YOUTH & FAMILY RESOURCES SOCIETY to be managed through the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program, a community based program which aids youth in gaining access to organized sports. All the money raised in Merritt will stay in Merritt.

The Alumni Team and the Conservation Officer team have played two previous games, 100 Mile House and Smithers and have raised nearly $10,0000 for local charities. The games are fun, exciting and showcase the skill level that the Alumni team members, all retired NHL players, still maintain.

The Conservation Officer Team is made up of officers from all over BC who travel on their own time and at their own expense to play in the game to support as many children as possible having access to the benefits of organized sports of any type.

The game starts at 7pm on Saturday March 12th.

Tickets are available in Merritt at Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, Murray GMC and at the Merritt Herald office for $15. VIP packages are available for $200 which includes two game tickets and 2 tickets for the dinner with the teams after the game.

So far financial support for the game has been received from ROCK Construction & Mining, Fountain Tire, Kal Tire, JS Reimer Trucking, Nicola Motor Sports, The Douglas Lake Ranch and Inland Kenworth.

For more information on the game please contact Sgt. Steve Wasylik @ 250-318-5010.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cents Award Winners Reaction:


(Lino Chimienti - Leadership & Ability)


(Steve Tresierra - Best Defenceman/Most Dedicated Player/Ska-Lu-La Award)


(Blaine Bokenfohr - Most Gentlemanly Player)


(Brandon Pfeil - Best Plus-Minus)


(Reece Willcox - Most Promising Player)


(Evan Stack - MVP Playoffs)


(Jeff Jones - Most Valuable Player/Most Game Winning Goals)


(Regan Soquila - Academic Scholar/Rookie of the Year)


(Billy Marshall - Most Improved Player)


(Steve Wall - Unsung Hero)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Midget Rep Centennials Win OMAHA Tier 3 Championship, Cents Announce 2011-12 Season Ticket Info:


Congrats to the Midgets! Good luck at Provincials!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 6, 2011 - Merritt, BC

The entire Merritt Centennials organization would like to congratulate former assistant coach Joe Quewezance and former player Cuyler Dickie as the Tier 3 Tracker Sportswear Merritt Midget Rep team won its second straight Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association championship Sunday afternoon at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. The Midgets claimed the title with a 6-4 over Winfield in their best-of-three final series.

Quewezance, who was an assistant coach for Centennials in the mid-2000's, is the Head Coach of the Midget Cents while Dickie is his Assistant Coach. He played 37 career games in the BCHL with Merritt, registering two points and 36 penalty minutes.

The Merritt Midget Reps feature 1993-born forward Eric Schmidt, who got into three games with the Centennials this past season as an affiliate player.

The Cents look forward to cheering on their Midget counterparts at the Provincials in Cranbrook, BC from March 20 to 25.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 7, 2011 - Merritt, BC

The Merritt Centennials today announced the availability of season-ticket packages for the upcoming 2011-12 season.

Starting once again in September 2011, Merritt Centennials home games at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena will feature talented players working to join the hundreds of BC Hockey League alumni who have graduated to play at the highest collegiate and professional levels.

Season ticket packages for all 30 home games start as low as $8.33 per game.

In addition to tickets for all 30 Merritt Centennials regular season home games, each season ticket holder also receives an invitation to a VIP meet & greet with the players and coaching staff and the team's post-season banquet, an exclusive autograph session, a chance to win an autographed Centennials jersey, and an exclusive Centennials season ticket holder pin. Season ticket holders also receive priority for playoff ticket sales, first right to renew seats for the 2012-13 season, free admission to all home exhibition games and the opportunity to select a seat in the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena from which to enjoy the entire season of Cents hockey.

Current season ticket holders are able to renew their seats for the 2011-12 season before June 30, 2011 at which time their seats will be released for general sale if not renewed.

To purchase season tickets or for more information, contact Season Ticket Coordinator Karen Webster at (250) 378-2345 or Marketing Manager Rachael Sanders at (250) 378-3604.

"In opening season ticket sales, we're giving hockey fans in Merritt and throughout the Nicola Valley an early opportunity to be part of a new and exciting chapter in this region's rich hockey history," said Cents president Jerry Canuel. "The family-friendly atmosphere and budget-friendly ticket pricing ensures our fans get a great value for their entertainment dollar as they cheer on their Merritt Centennials."

Early bird packages for the entire 30-game season start at $170 for children (6-12), $200 for students (13-19) and seniors (60+), and $250 for adults.

More than 200 BCHL graduates have gone on to play in the NHL and countless others have enjoyed careers at some level of professional hockey. Four current and former BCHL players were chosen in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, including one first-round selection. Additionally, more than 185 former BCHL players competed in NCAA Division I ranks in 2010-11.

The task of developing the talent of Merritt Centennials players looking to follow in the footsteps of alumni like Brad Thiessen, Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Brandon Wong belongs to Head Coach/GM Luke Pierce. Pierce’s junior hockey career began with Revelstoke of the KIJHL. He played for the Grizzlies for two seasons before returning to Merritt to suit up for the Centennials from 2001-03. He closed out his three years in the BCHL with the Vernon Vipers in 2003-04 and earned a scholarship to Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. He played five seasons of CIS hockey for the Palladins while earning a Masters of Business degree. Pierce was the captain of his RMC team in his final two years, and was also an assistant coach during the 2008-09 season.

The Nicola Valley Memorial Arena is one of the great ‘hockey barns’ of British Columbia. Its puck atmosphere is unrivaled, and players and fans alike love both the quality of the ice and the close proximity of the seating. Originally built in 1956, the NVMA underwent a $3 million retrofit in 1996 that saw the addition of first-class dressing rooms, offices, and a grand foyer.

For more information on the Merritt Centennials, visit http://www.merrittcentennials.com. Fans can connect with team by searching "Merritt Centennials" on Facebook or by visiting http://www.twitter.com/merrittcents

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Merritt Midget Cents face MUST Win today:

The Merritt Midget Centennials won Game Two of their best-of-three OMAHA championship series 8-4 over Winfield yesterday and host Game Three today. Here's the email I received from Tami-Jo Desimone:
Merritt Midgets won the 2nd game today in Winfield 8-4 forcing a third and final game. The game has now been moved to the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena at 12:00 March 6th. Come out and cheer loud and proud for the Merritt boys.
Admission is free for the game so let's get a big crowd to rock the rink and cheer on Merritt's final minor hockey playoff team! If the Midgets win, they'll advance to Provincials for the second year in a row.

Cents 2010-11 Player Awards:

Here are the award winners from last night. If you look at yesterday's post, I wasn't too far off with some of my candidates! I'll have reaction from all the winners either later today or tomorrow.

Most Improved Player: Billy Marshall

Academic Scholar: Regan Soquila

Most Promising Player: Reece Willcox

Most Game Winning Goals: Max Vallis/Jeff Jones

Best Plus-Minus: Brandon Pfeil

Most Gentlemanly Player: Blaine Bokenfohr

Rookie of the Year: Regan Soquila

Leading Scorer: Jeff Jones

Best Defenceman: Steve Tresierra

Unsung Hero: Steve Wall

MVP Playoffs: Evan Stack

Leadership and Ability: Lino Chimienti

Most Valuable Player: Jeff Jones

Joe Tennant - Most Dedicated Award: Steve Tresierra

Ska-Lu-La Award: Steve Tresierra

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cents Awards Ceremony Tonight:


The Cents hand out their hardware tonight at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Merritt. There are a number of awards which I can't name candidates because I don't know which players meet the criteria, but I thought I'd give it a shot for the other awards. Last season's winner is in brackets and my candidates for this year are below.

Most Improved Player: (Matt Mazzarolo)
* Evan Stack
* Sean Maktaak
* Reece Willcox

Academic Scholar: (Cole Holowenko)
* I'm unsure of all the players marks, but the ones who are in school are eligible for the award.

Most Promising Player: (Silvan Harper)
* Regan Soquila
* Reece Willcox
* Tyler Steel

Most Game Winning Goals: (Dustin Johnson/Colton Sobchak)
* Based on stats, this award will go to Jeff Jones and Max Vallis as they had 3 GWG each during the season.

Leading Scorer: (Dustin Johnson)
* Jeff Jones (22g, 37a in 59 games)

Best Plus-Minus: (David Sabey)

Most Gentlemanly Player: (Stephen Wall)
* Evan Stack
* Regan Soquila
* Reece Willcox

Rookie of the Year: (Jeff Jones)
* Regan Soquila
* Jakob Reichert
* Reece Willcox

Best Defenceman: (Steve Tresierra)
* Steve Tresierra
* Billy Marshall
* Reece Willcox

Joe Tennant Award - Most Dedicated Player: (Steve Tresierra)
* Steve Tresierra
* Regan Soquila
* Steve Wall

Unsung Hero: (Jeff Zmurchyk/Derek Hills)
* Brent Fletcher
* Blaine Bokenfohr
* Silvan Harper

Leadership & Ability: (Jordan Soquila)
* Steve Tresierra
* Lino Chimienti
* Steve Wall

Most valuable player: (Jordan Soquila)
* Jeff Jones
* Lino Chimienti
* Steve Tresierra

Friend of Ska-Lu-La: (Steve Tresierra)

I'll have a summary of the award winners later tonight and hopefully audio from each of the winners tomorrow or Monday.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Merritt Minor Hockey News:

I received this email from Robyn Grebliunas, public relations director for Merritt Minor Hockey, it's a good wrap-up of what's been going on with in the Assocation:

The McDonald’s Peewee Girls sponsored a six team Jamboree on the weekend, 85 Girls participated in the two day event from Williams Lake, 100 Mile House, Kamloops, Kelowna, Lillooet and Merritt. The girls were divided into two divisions, senior and junior and were assigned to a team for the weekend. In the senior division the “Red” team came out on top and in the junior division the “Blue” team were victorious. The Merritt Peewee girls would like to thank the 12 coaches who came in from the communities to volunteer and all of the sponsors and who helped make this weekend a huge success. The Girls look forward to hosting the 2nd Annual Jamboree next season. - Laura Christy, Female Director

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GRAD HOCKEY GAME-TUESDAY MARCH 15, 6:45PM-8:15PM AT THE NICOLA VALLEY MEMORIAL ARENA

Everyone welcome to attend
2 mini games Grads vs RCMP and Grads vs Teachers
Admission by donation to the Food Bank
50/50 raffle proceeds to Dry Grad
For more info, contact Patty Beers 378-9503

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Merritt Minor Hockey Awards Night
March 16, 2011
7:00pm
Multi-Purpose Room, MSS

Cents Spring Camp Details, Former Cents netminder Brad Thiessen Named AHL Goaltender of the Month:

I couldn't find where I posted this before, but I chatted last month with Cents coach & GM Luke Pierce about this year's Spring Camp in Merritt. As Luke mentions in the interview, there are also plans for an Abbotsford camp in June with details still to be worked out.



Here's the official release about the Spring Camp:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – February 10, 2011

The Merritt Centennials announced today the details for their 2011 Spring Evaluation Camp in Merritt on April 1-3. Registration is from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2011 at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

“Last year, six players who attended our Spring Evaluation Camp received invites to our Main Training Camp in August and wound up on our roster for the season," said Cents Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce. "We are once again this year looking for players with a superior work ethic, attitude, strong skating ability and most importantly, demonstrate a will to compete every time they’re on the ice.”

The cost of the camp is $150.

For complete details, please visit www.merrittcentennials.com and click on "2011 Spring Camps".

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Brad Thiessen of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins has been named the Reebok/AHL Goaltender of the Month for February. Thiessen allowed 12 goals in 10 appearances during the month, posting an 8-2-0 record, a 1.28 goals-against average, a .943 save percentage and three shutouts.

After missing six games – plus the AHL All-Star Classic – due to injury, Thiessen returned to the Penguins crease on Feb. 7 with a 21-save shutout of Albany. He was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week after stopping 99 of 102 shots in five games from Feb. 7-13, and led Wilkes-Barre to a big two-game sweep in Norfolk with 35 saves in a 3-0 win on Jan. 18 and 26 stops in a 2-1 shootout victory on Jan. 19. All told, Thiessen made 199 saves on 211 shots during February.

In recognition of his achievement, Thiessen will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Penguins home game.

Thiessen (26-6-0), who shared the Reebok/AHL Goaltender of the Month award with teammate John Curry in October 2010, leads the American Hockey League with 26 wins, a 1.90 goals-against average and six shutouts (tied) in 34 games, and his .924 save percentage is good for ninth in the league. The second-year pro from Aldergrove, B.C., was 14-14-1 (2.45, .914) with four shutouts in 30 AHL games as a rookie with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2009-10.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Merritt Midget Reps in Final Playoff Round:

I received this email this morning from Tami-Jo Desimone:


Come out and watch this year’s OMAHA League winners play their Final round of Playoff games this weekend.

Merritt Midget Rep Tracker Sportswear vs Winfield Bruins

Friday: March 4th-4:30-6:30 pm Shulus Arena
Saturday: March 5th 3:00-5:00 pm Winfield Arena
Sunday: March 6th 12:00-2:00 pm Shulus Arena (3rd game if needed)

This year’s team is on the road to defend the OMAHA Championship won by the Merritt Team during the 2009-10 season and head to the Provincials again.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lots of media - Games 3 & 4 Highlights, Luke Pierce & Steve Tresierra Post-Game:





Immediately following Game Four's loss, Centennials coach and GM Luke Pierce chatted with me and Radio NL's Ian Douglas about the series.



I also caught up with graduating Centennials captain Steve Tresierra after his final junior game.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cents vs. Salmon Arm Game Four Preview:



Merritt (0-3) vs. Salmon Arm (3-0)

Last Games Played:

Friday, February 25 Game One: Salmon Arm beat Merritt 7-2
Saturday, February 26 Game Two: Salmon Arm beat Merritt 4-3
Monday, February 28 Game Three: Salmon Arm beat Merritt 4-3 in overtime

Tonight is Game Four of the first round of the BCHL Playoffs between the Merritt Centennials and the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Gorillas lead the best of seven series 3-0. The Centennials are on a three game losing streak while the Silverbacks are on a three game winning streak. Tonight's game is live on Q101 in Merritt with Alex Grebenyuk and Paul McLellan. Our pre-game show will be on the air at 6:30 with the opening faceoff is at 7 o'clock.

Let's take a look at the Merritt Centennials: (0-3)

Home record: 0-1
Road record: 0-2

Cents leading scorers in the series:

Jeff Jones (1-4-5)
Regan Soquila (3-1-4)
Evan Stack (0-4-4)
Kameran Crawford (2-0-2)
Max Vallis (1-0-1)
Billy Marshall (1-0-1)
Silvan Harper (0-1-1)
Reece Willcox (0-1-1)
Sean Maktaak (0-1-1)
Blaine Bokenfohr (0-1-1)

Lino Chimienti (0-2, 5.92 GAA)
Tyler Steel (0-1, 3.18 GAA)

Let's have a look at the Salmon Arm Silverbacks: (3-0)

Home record: 2-0
Road record: 0-0

Silverbacks leading scorers in the series:

Brett Knowles (2-6-8)
Devin Gannon (4-1-5)
Mike Hammond (3-1-4)
Bryce Gervais (0-4-4)
Paul DeJersey (2-1-3)
Devin Muller (0-3-3)
Charlie Vasaturo (2-0-2)
Jerryd Ten Vaanholt (1-1-2)
Dustin Cave (1-0-1)
Brad Reid (0-1-1)
Morgan Zulinick (0-1-1)
Jayson Reardon (0-1-1)
Josh Manson (0-1-1)
Clinton Atkinson (0-1-1)
Brandon Mistal (0-1-1)

Kris Moore (3-0, 2.55 GAA)

Let's take a look back at last night's Game Three:

Game Three: Monday, February 28 @ Merritt: Silverbacks win 4-3 in overtime over Merritt

Let's take a look back at Saturday night's Game Two:

Game Two: Saturday, February 26 @ Salmon Arm: Silverbacks win 4-3 over Merritt

From MerrittCentennials.com:

Jarryd Ten Vaanholt tipped a Bryce Gervais shot over the glove hand of Lino Chimienti with 2:26 left in regulation to lift the Salmon Arm Silverbacks to a 4-3 win over the Merritt Centennials in Game Two of the BC Hockey League Interior Conference Quarterfinal series.

Brett Knowles, Mike Hammond and Devin Gannon also scored for Salmon Arm (2-0).

Regan Soquila, with two, and Kameran Crawford scored for the Centennials (0-2). Jeff Jones had two assists for Merritt while Silvan Harper, Evan Stack and Reece Willcox each had a single helper.

The Cents outshot the Silverbacks 45-32 with Merritt's Chimienti making 28 saves in a losing effort. Kris Moore stopped 42 shots for Salmon Arm.

The Backs went 2-for-3 on the power play, while the Centennials converted once on their seven man advantages.

Merritt hosts Games Three and Four on Monday and Tuesday at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Game time is 7 pm both days and reserved seating tickets are available starting at 1:30 pm at the Memorial Arena Box Office.

http://www.merrittcentennials.com/leagues/hockey_boxscores.cfm?clientID=3359&leagueID=8957&gameID=929026

Game One: Friday, February 25 @ Salmon Arm: Silverbacks win 7-2 over Merritt

From MerrittCentennials.com:

Mike Hammond had a pair of goals and an assist as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks beat the Merritt Centennials in Game One of their BC Hockey League Interior Conference Quarterfinal series Friday night.

Charlie Vasaturo added two goals, Brett Knowles had two assists, and Paul DeJersey had a goal and an assist for Salmon Arm (1-0). Dustin Cave and Devin Gannon also posted goals in the win.

Billy Marshall and Max Vallis tallied for Merritt (0-1) while Jeff Jones, Blaine Bokenfohr and Sean Maktaak each had assists in the loss.

Kris Moore made 24 saves for the Silverbacks to earn the win. Lino Chimienti started in net for the Centennials and stopped 8 of 13 shots in 32:13 of work. His replacement, Tyler Steel, turned aside 16 of 18 shots.

The Cents scored on one of their four power play chances, while Salmon Arm went 2-for-3 with the man advantage.

Game Two of the series is Saturday night at the Sunwave Centre before returning to Merritt for Games Three and Four this coming Monday and Tuesday.

http://www.merrittcentennials.com/leagues/hockey_boxscores.cfm?clientID=3359&leagueID=8957&gameID=929021

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce After Game Three: