Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tim Kehler Resigns from Salmon Arm Silverbacks:

The Silverbacks will have their third new coach in three seasons this September following today's resignation of Tim Kehler after one season.

Here's the release from the Backs website:

Tim Kehler has announced today that he is leaving the Salmon Arm SilverBacks Organization to pursue other coaching opportunities. We would like to thank him for his contribution to the organization this past season and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours.

Speculation is that the recent trade between Salmon Arm and Kindersley was signed off by Silverbacks owner Randy Williams and had little to do with Kehler at all. No word as to whether that's the reason for Tim's resignation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce with Abbotsford Evaluation Camp Recap:

I had the chance to chat with Centennials Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce yesterday to recap this past weekend's Evaluation Camp in Abbotsford.

Creston Valley Advance Features Cents Assistant Coach Joe Martin's Move to BCHL:

Creston Valley Thunder Cats lose coach to BCHL

The departure of former head coach and general manager Joe Martin of the Creston Valley Thunder Cats is now part of local hockey history and the hiring of Brent Heaven as the new head coach and general manager starts a new era.

“It is sad to see Joe go, but Brent will be an awesome addition to continue where Joe left off and take our club in a new direction,” said president Joanne Endicott. “We are looking forward to the team that Brent will build and develop.”

This season was one of the most exciting in Thunder Cats’ recent history, with the team pushing Kootenay International Junior Hockey League rival Fernie Ghostriders to a seventh game in round 2, losing the final by one goal.

“It was the best team that I can ever remember,” said Endicott.

Martin is the second Creston Valley Thunder Cats coach to get a coaching job in the British Columbia Hockey Leauge coaching junior A, accepting the position of assistant coach and assistant general manager with the Merritt Centennials . (The other was Shane Luckinchuk going on to coach in the BCHL with the Powell River Kings.) His contract expired at the end this season, and after lengthy negotiations, he signed on for another two years, but it only lasted for a few days.

“It was totally unexpected, but I got a call offering this position and it is a terrific opportunity for me,” said Martin.

Over the past four years, the Cats under Martin have won a regular season division title, the first round of two playoff series, travelled to the Yukon and moved 10 players on to college hockey and 10 players on to junior A hockey, while boasting a regular season record of 112-68-24.

“There are so many good memories for me in Creston — just being able to go to the rink everyday is a huge highlight — taking part in community events, bus trips with the best staff in the KIJHL, and the knowledge that every day we are trying to develop young men into great citizens of life,” said Martin. “Leaving Creston was a difficult decision that we did not prepare for. Katelyn and I are proud to have lived in the community for four years.”

“It speaks volumes about Joe when players at the end of last season only want to come back if Joe was signed,” said Endicott. “He had such deep respect from the boys that it is very sad to see him leave us, but we are so happy that he gets this opportunity. Joe not only was a great coach, but a great mentor to the players on a personal level.”

One of Martin’s last official acts as general manager was to be part of finding his replacement, and he brought Heaven to the forefront for the club.

“From day one, Joe said that Brent was our guy,” Endicott said. “It’s rare that when you leave a job that your employer requests you help find your replacement, but that is how much respect our executive committee has for Joe, as we knew he would find us the best person he could.”

Martin starts his new job later this summer in Merritt.

“I would like to thank all the Thunder Cat supporters and volunteers who helped put the Thunder Cats on the map,” he said. “I hope a championship is in the near future.”

Salmon Arm-Kindersley Trade:

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Kindersley Klippers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League have hooked up on a pretty big trade.

Here are the details from SJHL.ca:

The Kindersley Klippers have made a 3 for 1 trade with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Kindersley sends homegrown product Sean Flanagan to the Silverbacks for 20 year old forward Jarryd Ten Vaanholt (1991-West Vancouver, BC), 19 year old forward Josh McKissock (1992-Vancouver, BC) and 19 year old defenceman Justin Elliott (1992-Vancouver, BC).

Ten Vaanholt had 50 points in 58 games for the Silverbacks last season while McKissock and Elliott played sparingly getting five and two points respectively.

In Flanagan, the Klippers give up one of the best 1991 born defencemen in the SJHL. He had 30 points in 52 games and was a member of the Canada West team that played at the World Under 18 Challenge.

Here's the breakdown on the deal:

To Salmon Arm:
D Sean Flanagan (92)

To Kindersley:
F Jarryd Ten Vaanholt (91)

F Josh McKissock (92)

D Justin Elliott (92)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cents Abbotsford Spring Camp Update:

The Centennials second evaluation camp of the off-season is this weekend in Abbotsford. I talked with Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce about the camp earlier this week:



Here are the players taking part this weekend:

Team White

Forwards
Scotty Patterson
2011-12 age: 18

Ryan Leggett
2011-12 age: 16
Coquitlam Chiefs (CMHA AAA midget)

Bryan Read
2011-12 age: 18
Alberni Valley Bulldogs (AVMHA AAA midget)

Chris Vinette
2011-12 age: 19

Matt Martin
2011-12 age: 18

Sidney Harper
2011-12 age: 15
Burnaby Winter Club (BWC AAA midget)

Connor Bowen
2011-12 age: 17

Brett Harris
2011-12 age: 16

Austin Ferguson
2011-12 age: 16

Brady Mende
2011-12 age: 16
Winfield Bruins (WMHA Tier 3 Midget)

Michael Scobie
2011-12 age: 18

Joel Gaudet
2011-12 age: 17


Defense
Dakota Klassen
2011-12 age: 17
Mission Sasquatch (MMHA Midget AAA)

Simon Horlick
2011-12 age: 18

Jason Anderson
2011-12 age: 16
Aldergrove Bruins (AMHA Midget AAA)

Mike Little
2011-12 age: 17
New West Midget Tier 2 (NWMHA Midget 2)

Andrew Hodder
2011-12 age: 18
Houston Flyers (HMHA Midget)

Goaltenders
Nick Taylor
2011-12 age: 19


Sky Buller
2011-12 age: 19


Team Black
Forwards
Adam Rossi
2011-12 age: 19

Danny Wilson
2011-12 age: 17
Langley Eagles (LMHA Midget A2)

Jeff Wight
2011-12 age: 16
Coquitlam Chiefs (CMHA Midget AAA)

Cameron Anderson
2011-12 age: 19

Rhett Willcox
2011-12 age: 15

Devon Elford
2011-12 age: 17

Kenny Prato
2011-12 age: 18
Langley Eagles (LMHA Midget AAA)

Matt Cox
2011-12 age: 16

Travis Oddy
2011-12 age: 18

Steven Pantazopoulos
2011-12 age: 19

Cory Ruck
2011-12 age: 17

Trevor Forward
2011-12 age: 17


Defense
Ross Mancuso
2011-12 age: 19

Zach Landon
2011-12 age: 16

Jonathan Webber
2011-12 age: 18
Cloverdale Midgets (CMHA Midget A1)

Eric Roberts
2011-12 age: 16

Evan Diamantopoulos
2011-12 age: 16
Semiahmoo Midgets (SMHA Midget)

Goaltenders
Jordan Liem
2011-12 age: 18

Griffin Baillie
2011-12 age: 15
Merritt Jr. Centennials (MMHA Bantam AAA)

Nicholas Clark
2011-12 age: 17


Team Blue

Forwards
Karl Schopf
2011-12 age: 19

Braeden Monk
2011-12 age: 18

Landon Matechuk
2011-12 age: 16
Langley Eagles (LMHA Midget AA)

Kolton Grieve
2011-12 age: 17

Thanvir Bandesha
2011-12 age: 17

Marco Ballarin
2011-12 age: 16
New West Midget Tier 2 (NWMHA Midgets)

Nolan Kinney
2011-12 age: 17

Michael Pond
2011-12 age: 18

Brandon Formosa
2011-12 age: 18

Tyler Hall
2011-12 age: 17

Nathan Sharpe
2011-12 age: 18

Justin Woodroff
2011-12 age: 18
Chilliwack Jr. Bruins (CMHA Midgets)

Defense
David Rudin
2011-12 age: 17

Ryan Rushton
2011-12 age: 19
Port McNeill Ice Devils (Men's Commercial Hockey League)

Ryan Parmar
2011-12 age: 18

Kyle Hazelwood
2011-12 age: 15
Chillwack Jr. Bruins (CMHA Bantam AAA)

Nico Ballarin
2011-12 age: 17
New West Midget Tier 2 (NWMHA Midgets)

Goaltenders
Braeden Krogfoss
2011-12 age: 16

Tyler Krogfoss
2011-12 age: 18


Team Grey

Forwards
Kevin Boyce
2011-12 age: 19
Grandview Steelers (PIJHL Jr. B)

Brandon Livingstone
2011-12 age: 17
Cloverdale Midget AAA (CMHA Midgets)

Robert Izsak
2011-12 age: 19
Campbell River Storm (VIJHL Jr. B)

Matthew Bissett
2011-12 age: 17

Jacob Stanley Taylor
2011-12 age: 16
Langley Eagles (LMHA Midget AAA)

Brenden Heinrich
2011-12 age: 17

Michael Roberts
2011-12 age: 16

Brandon Ned
2011-12 age: 18

Danton Heinen
2011-12 age: 16

Robbie Christensen
2011-12 age: 18
Dallas Ice Jets (TAHA Tier I U18)

Carson Spooner
2011-12 age: 17

Dylan Lynum
2011-12 age: 18


Defense
Braeden Hikichi
2011-12 age: 19

Dominic Centis
2011-12 age: 18

Julian Davis
2011-12 age: 17
Vancouver Thunderbirds (VTBMHA Midget AAA)

Austen Bietenbeck
2011-12 age: 16
Langley Eagles (LMHA Midget AA)

Tyler Martin
2011-12 age: 18

Jason Lee
2011-12 age: 16
Port Coquitlam Pirates (PCMHA Pirates A2)

Goaltenders
Tate Sproxton
2011-12 age: 16
Cloverdale Midget AA (CMHA Midgets)

Ryan Waldhaus
2011-12 age: 18


Team Red

Forwards
Zach Sanderson
2011-12 age: 15
Merritt Jr. Centennials (MMHA Bantams)

Michael Bell
2011-12 age: 16

Kyle Jangula
2011-12 age: 17
Cloverdale Midget AA (CMHA Midgets)

Sean Lan
2011-12 age: 18

Robert Johnson
2011-12 age: 17

Greg Bamford
2011-12 age: 17

Hayden Mowbray
2011-12 age: 17

Ryland Davidson
2011-12 age: 17
New West Midget Tier 2 (NWMHA Midgets)

Kurt Thrussell
2011-12 age: 16

Scott Mackey
2011-12 age: 19

Brendan Lamont
2011-12 age: 17

Josh Gray
2011-12 age: 19


Defense
Robert Jang
2011-12 age: 18

Trevor Leblanc
2011-12 age: 19

Brandon West
2011-12 age: 18
Houston Flyers (HMHA Midget)

Matthew Denton
2011-12 age: 18

Anthony Gardner
2011-12 age: 16
Langley Eagles (LMHA Midget AA)

Goaltenders
Phoenix Logan-Hill
2011-12 age: 17

Jared Knott
2011-12 age: 19

Russell Sanderson
2011-12 age: 17

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cents Players Featured on WHL Protected Lists:

The Small Thoughts at Large blog has done a great job at compiling a summary of listed prospects for WHL clubs. There are some Centennials on the list...

Calgary Hitmen
Tyler Steel -- Acquired: listed player
Goaltender, 6'2", 175 lb, 2011-12 age: 18
Merritt Centennials (BCHL Jr A) 30 3.49 7 16 0 0.889
Merritt Centennials (BCHL Jr A - PLF) 3 4.96 0 1 0 0.878

Everett Silvertips
Kieran Friesen -- Acquired: listed player
Defense, 6'1", 190 lb, 2011-12 age: 19
Princeton Posse (KIJHL Jr B) 24 2 5 7 54
Merritt Centennials (BCHL Jr A) 1 0 0 0 0
Everett Silvertips (WHL) 25 0 0 0 12
Everett Silvertips (WHL - PLF) 3 0 0 0 0

Portland Winterhawks
Dylan Chanter -- Acquired: listed player
Defense, 6'1", 185 lb, 2011-12 age: 16
Kelowna Pursuit of Excellence (BCAHA AAA midget) 59 4 18 22 38
Kelowna Pursuit of Excellence (CSSHL Prep) 14 0 4 4 2
North Okanagan Knights (KIJHL Jr B - PLF) 1 0 0 0 0

Reece Willcox -- Acquired: 2009 3rd round bantam pick
Defense, 6'2", 185 lb, 2011-12 age: 17
Merritt Centennials (BCHL Jr A) 53 5 9 14 16
Merritt Centennials (BCHL Jr A - PLF) 4 1 2 3 0

Victoria Royals
Jakob Reichert -- Acquired: listed player
Center, 6'4", 230 lb, 2011-12 age: 18
Merritt Centennials (BCHL Jr A) 33 7 11 18 45
Merritt Centennials (BCHL Jr A - PLF) 4 0 0 0 2

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce Featured in BCHL Off-Season Newsletter:

This was sent out yesterday by BCHL Communications Director Brent Mutis...

Cents hit Lower Mainland in search of young talent at Abbotsford spring camp

The weather may (finally) be making a turn for the better but the Merritt Centennials are putting things back on ice this weekend in Abbotsford.

It's the Cents second spring camp and it runs from Friday to Sunday. The team held their first camp in April at their home rink. Merritt has held Lower Mainland spring camps in years past, but this one is the first for head coach Luke Pierce, who is hoping to find some key pieces at the completely-full event.

"We're happy with the group that's coming in; we've got 90 kids," said Pierce, adding most are 1994-, 1995- and 1996-born players. "We're hoping to fill some holes. It's a younger camp than the one we had in Merritt... but at least a handful can make our team this year."

The popularity of the Cents Abbotsford camp speaks to the direction the club is headed in. For Pierce, one of the youngest coaches in the BCHL at 27, it's a good sign.

"We felt there was a lot of demand for these camps," he said. "We got a look at the Okanagan kids in Merritt so we're doing the same in the Lower Mainland now."

BCHL Grads on the Move:

F Rick Cleaver (Salmon Arm, 2003-04) has been acquired by Toledo Walleye (ECHL) to complete a trade with the now-defunct Victoria Salmon Kings (ECHL). The Port McNeill product had 36 points (22g, 14a) in 64 games with Victoria in 2010-11. . . .

D Steve Vanoosten (Chilliwack/Williams Lake, 2003-05) has signed a one year deal with Briancon (French Elite League). Vanoosten had 32 points (7g, 25a) in 70 games with Stockton Thunder (ECHL) last season. . . .

F Jason Krog (Chilliwack, 1992-95) inked a one year deal with HV71 (Swedish Elite League). The Fernie native had 75 points (19g, 56a) in 80 games as the captain of Chicago Wolves (AHL) in 2010-11. . . .

F Drew George (Vernon, 2009-10) has committed to Sacred Heart University (NCAA) for the 2011-12 season. George had 57 points (21g, 36a) in 47 games with Weyburn Red Wings (SJHL) last season. . . .

F Cody Campbell (Burnaby, 2006-08) has signed for the 2011-12 season with Gap (French Elite League). The Maple Ridge product was with University of Alabama-Huntsville last season, but didn't play any games. . . .

Former Cents Goaltender Graeme Gordon Commits to SFU:

The Simon Fraser University’s Men’s Ice Hockey program is pleased to announce a commitment from goaltender Graeme Gordon (North Vancouver, B.C.) to attend SFU and join the team for the 2011/12 British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League season.

Gordon brings an impressive resume to SFU that includes 2009 and 2010 RBC Cup championships with the British Columbia Hockey League’s Vernon Vipers. The 22-year old spent three seasons in the BCHL, compiling a career record of 60 wins, 35 losses and 2 ties in 103 games with the Vipers, Merritt Centennials and Salmon Arm SilverBacks.

The 2010/11 campaign saw Gordon post a 30-7-0 record with a 2.06 GAA and .911 SV% during the regular season before recording another 19 playoff wins to help Vernon capture league, regional and national titles. “It’s exciting to be able to add a player of Graeme’s calibre and experience,” says SFU general manager Jeff Dubois.

“He brings a winning background and has played in lots of big games and high-pressure situations. We’re looking forward to him filling a large role at SFU over the next number of seasons.”

“I’m looking forward to joining SFU because of the quality of the academics the university has to offer and the team’s past championship success,” says Gordon, who spent the 2010/11 season with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds of Canadian Interuniversity Sport. “I hope to bring my RBC Cup experience to the team and contribute to a few more championships during my tenure.”

Cents Abbotsford Spring Camp Schedule:

Centennials Spring Camp 2011

Friday, June 24th
12:00pm – 2:00pm Player Registration @ Abbotsford Centre Ice Arena
3:00pm – 4:15pm Practice A
4:30pm – 5:45pm Practice B
6:00pm – 7:15pm Practice C
7:30pm – 8:45pm Practice D

Saturday, June 25th
10:00am – 11:30am Red vs. White
12:00pm – 1:30pm Blue vs. Black
2:00pm – 3:30pm Red vs. Grey
4:00pm – 5:00pm Goalie Session
5:30pm – 7:00pm White vs. Blue
7:30pm – 9:00pm Black vs. Grey

Sunday, June 26th
9:00am – 10:00am White vs. Black
10:15am – 11:15am Blue vs. Grey
11:30am – 12:30pm Red vs. Black (Exit Interviews for Black)
12:45pm – 1:45pm White vs. Grey (Exit Interviews for White & Grey)
2:00pm – 3:00pm Red vs. Blue (Exit Interviews for Red & Blue)

Cents Abbotsford Spring Camp Full:

I'm a couple days late in posting this, but Cents Coach & GM Luke Pierce asked me to send this out earlier this week. Good to see another great response from players hoping to become Centennials!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – June 20, 2011

The Merritt Centennials would like to announce that their 2011 Prospect Evaluation Camp scheduled for June 24 – 26 in Abbotsford is now full.

"Once again, we're overwhelmed with the response from players interested in becoming a member of the Centennials organization," said Cents GM and Head Coach Luke Pierce. "We sincerely appreciate all the interest and can't wait to see the players on the ice in Abbotsford, ready to make an impact."

For more information regarding the Prospect Evaluation Camp in Abbotsford, please contact Cents GM and Head Coach Luke Pierce by phone at 250-378-3607 or email luke@merrittcentennials.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Former Cents forward Rick Boyd: The Longest Road to Pro Hockey:

This is posted on the American Junior Hockey website, the story of former Centennials forward Rick Boyd. It's a great read.

Rick Boyd: The longest road to pro hockey
by: Rick Boyd

In looking back through the years and serving as a coach, referee, and former minor pro player, I have always been asked by many, "how did you get here?" Not only have I been asked that question by fans, parents and players I have coached, but many want to know what the right path is for a player today trying to achieve a career in the game of hockey.

There are several meanings to the word career when dealing with any sport and it varies from a young player dreaming of being the next Sidney Crosby to mom and dad just wanting a return on their investment in which little Billy gets a full ride to the University of his choice. There is one thing for sure though in all the different versions of that answer, I never advised any player or parent to follow the path or the journey I went on to get to where I am today.

A minor pro career that spanned over ten seasons, although not consecutively, that took me through all of the provinces and most of the states, and has me settled in a little community most known for floods and the location that Slap Shot was filmed. A retired player who had a desire to guide young players on a better path, a safer journey with a better opportunity to achieve their ultimate goal of playing at the highest level possible, there was always one thing for sure, "do as I say, not as I did!"

Lacing them up for the first time at 3 years old in a little rink outside of 100 Mile House in northern British Columbia I can barely remember much about those early years except how cold it was on those outdoor rinks and how warm the hot chocolate was by the wood burner in the warming room. It wasn't long before my family moved a little further south to Chilliwack B.C. where playing in the indoors seemed like such a great idea, my youth hockey was pretty normal as it was for most, my father coached the team my older brother and I played for the top teams in the organizations we played in.

After a couple years our family headed in land to a small farming and logging community of Enderby B.C., the town was small as was the hockey program and we would consistently get slapped around by the likes of Vernon and Penticton both which would select their travel teams from hundreds of kids and we would take who ever showed up. It was around squirts when I realized that I wasn't going to keep pace with my brother who had a knack for scoring and looked like a young Gretzky both in looks and ability so I decided that if we already had the scoring covered I would take care of the net.

I started playing goal around 10 or 11 and there I would stay until moving up and through minor hockey. My brother and I started attending junior try outs at 15-16 and again and again we were unsuccessful at cracking a line up for a BCJHL team. We tried out for Kelowna, Vernon, Summerland, Salmon Arm and Merritt. I made it down to the number three guy a few times and was edged out by older more experienced goalies, my brother on the other hand had the skill and talent but was missing a key ingredient, a mean streak! We would return and play for our local minor hockey program and wait for the next fall to try out again.

I returned home again after another fall of try outs and I decided that I was done with playing goal and I was going to become a defenseman, maybe not the best idea I ever came up with but I figured why not. I was age eligible for Juvenile and went out for the local team, after a brief few games it was decided by the coaches, the league a few other people that I probably shouldn't be allowed to play any longer that season, for some reason they saw no humor in the style in which I played or I guess you could say fought. With nothing going on around home I decided that I would pack my belongings and head to the city. After hitch hilking out to Calgary Alberta I got my first job repossessing cars for a local repo company and that would certainly cure the craving I would always have for excitement. After a few months of living large in the big city in a mobile home on a car lot that I shared with to bull mastiffs and a couple hundred repossessed cars I wondered into town for a night out, it was shortly thereafter that I was looking at 2 years behind bars for several assault charges, it was time to head home.

At 18 years old my life had taken a real terrible turn in the wrong direction, I came back to B.C. trying to figure out how to turn things around and try to get my life back although my life was about to belong to the courts. The court proceedings were delayed several times as one of the victims in the assault was still in very serious condition in the hospital and could not attend the pre trial hearings, although not the best situation for that gentleman, this proved to save my life!

The summer turned to fall and once again I attended training camp in Merrit and once again I got cut and sent home, only this time I followed my brother and his buddy down to the Kootney International Junior B league. I suited up a couple games with the Creston Clippers, it was very obvious that this particular group wasn't very interested in development and or moving up to the next level based on the party's and extracurricular activities. Shortly thereafter I asked for my release and headed up the highway to play for the Kimberly Knights of the same league. This program was well run and looking to move players up the ladder. During one game against the Clippers I was accused of actually knocking my own brother's tooth out and like I said to the ref., "if you didn't see it you can't call it!"

December 8th that year I got a phone call from my parents at home to inform me that my girlfriend had been in an accident while snow skiing and had been taken to the hospital in Vancouver. I left Kimberly to join her and her family in Vancouver where I learned that she had broke her back in the accident and was paralyzed from the chest down. This was a real eye opener and life changing experience for everyone involved. After spending part of the holidays with her in Vancouver and then returning home to prepare to head back to play the rest of the season in Jr. B, as she had told me that she wanted me to go and continue to play.

Prior to my return to Kimberly I took time out to attend a Merritt vs. Vernon Lakers game in Vernon. At the game I realized that Merritt had hired a new coach, through an introduction after the game I was invited to return to Merritt for yet another try out as the team had one player card remaining and the coach was going to let a group of players try out for that one position. Over 30 players showed up for the one spot and although I had originally been released again two days later the coach called and informed me that he had changed his mind and would me to join his team. After all those tryout's I had finally made it! I played out that season or what was left of it and put up some respectable numbers at least in the penalty minute column; I did score my first goal on the very last game of the season.

Once the season ended and summer rolled around it was time to face the past, the court case was finally going to happen and in talks with my lawyer he advised me to change my plea to guilty, have the case moved from Alberta to British Columbia as part of an agreement so my family would be able to visit me throughout my two year stay with federal government. If it wasn't for a lot of unbelievable great hockey people my life may have been over, my Merritt Centennials host Mom, other booster club members, family, teachers and my coach ,Chuck Tapp who offered to be responsible for me all stood up and said good things the judge and that along with agreeing to perform 650 community service hours, 2 years probation and a 9 o'clock curfew for a year I was able to walk out of that court room.

I returned to Merritt as a veteran player, named an assistant captain and played on a team with a group of players that I will never forget, we finally snapped the Merritt losing streak, made the play offs where we beat the Lakers in 7 games and then lost to the Penticton Knights who I believe went all the way to the Canadian Junior A finals. Penticton's number one scorer was drafted that spring first overall by the Detroit Red Wings, Joe Murphy.

That season ended on a bit of a high note yet a little low, my junior eligibility was now over, I had hurt my knee in game 2 and eventually would find out that it was broken, the top of the posterior cruciate had snapped off in a bad hit but I managed to play that year and most of the next in College before finally going to a real doctor and requiring surgery to pin it back together.

I was invited to play for the Camrose Lutheran College Vikings and attended camp in the fall which lasted 6 weeks before I felt that school was not for me, it took about 400 miles to realize that I had made a very poor decision and called Coach Mike Johnston if I could come back in the next semester, he said that I could if I stayed in shape. Once again I followed my brother to the Kootneys where we would play for the Cranbrook Royals in the Canadian Sr. Hockey League.

Once again I would stay there a couple games and realize that the life style would only be one that would put me back in trouble so I headed back to Kimberly where the Dynamiters Sr. team was looking for a defenseman. It was there that I was able to travel to Alaska and play the Gold Kings in a three game series, which proved to be quite an experience, a Senior league hockey team that sells out every home game and the fans love to throw beer on you.

I returned to college after Christmas and would finish the year and then required surgery to repair my bad knee, in discussions with Coach Johnson after the season it was decided that college was not really a good place for me and that he would no longer be requiring my services. Coach Johnson went on to coach several Canandian National Teams, with the Canadian Olympic program, assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks and is currently the General Manager and Head Coach of the Portland Winter Hawks, I should have listened and respected him as both a coach and a mentor. Several years later while he was with Vancouver and they were playing in Pittsburgh I had the opportunity to go down after the game and apologize for being such a thorn in his side during my brief stay in Camrose. Coach Johnson was the true professional and accepted my apology and we actually had a great conversation, it is truly one hockey experience that I really messed up, I had the chance to play for a great coach and get a college education.

The following summer in my home town of Enderby, Gary Rissling of the Pittsburgh Penguins decided to run a conditioning camp for Junior, College and pro players. During our sessions he would always out work everyone on the ice and preached a good clean life style and professionalism. Gary really cared about the players he was helping and to this day I attribute my desire to help players from the summer I spent skating with him. I was invited to join a close friend of mine Gary Stewart to attend try outs in Salt Lake City with the IHL Golden Eagles, I knew I was getting in over my head but took a shot, the shot lasted about as long as I figured it would and before long I was heading home. Looking to continue playing I had heard about a new semi professional league that was starting down near the coast. The Pacific Northwest Hockey League, PNHL, this league would later become known as the Pay Now Hockey Later League.

After attending tryouts and getting drafted in the first round, the league organizers figured they could cash in a little more and held a second camp, this camp was held in Bellingham Washington and again a great turnout and more money for the owners. Eventually we would be sent off to our new cities and start preparing for the season. As we sat in the dressing room about to get dressed for our first team practice we were told that the league organizers had headed south with all the money, not good! No money of my own and nowhere to turn I pulled a player agent card out of my pocket and made the call.

Art Breeze, a player agent out of Calgary had seen me play at the try out for the PNHL but never being one to think I was that good I never figured I would need an agent, well I needed a bus ticket more than anything. I called and he delivered, a one way ticket from Vancouver Island to Moose Jaw Sask., what the heck was I thinking? Off I would go to one of the coldest places on earth in the winter, another trip to Alaska to play the Gold Kings again and I was becoming a real fixture in the Canadian Senior leagues

Upon returning from our Alaska adventure it was time for Christmas break and I headed back home and with the thought in my mind of telling my dad that the ride was over. I had given it my last shot and I was thinking the game of hockey wasn't going to work out for me. My Dad and I were sitting at the kitchen table on Christmas day it was about 8:00 pm, Dad and I were discussing what was next for me when the phone rang. A soft spoken gentleman asked if he had the right number, and once I confirmed that I was who he was looking for he asked if I had seen the movie Slap Shot, I responded rather quickly as we had all seen that classic many times. He then asked if I would like to play for the Chiefs? I was in shock but excited and after looking in the atlas to see where Johnstown PA was located I agreed to make the trip.

On January 6, 1988 we were skating out on the ice at the War Memorial to the rocking sounds of Gary Glitter with over 4000 screaming fans joining in and 13 seconds in to that first game I had my first fight and before the night was over I had fought three times, picked up a couple helpers and we won 5-3.

The season was short but as a group thrown together we made a huge impact in the community and what would become the East Coast Hockey League. After one trip through the league several teams dropped out and never played another game which left only three teams. The Virginia Lancers were being coached by John Torterella who is now the bench boss with the New York Rangers and Stanley Cup winning coach of Tampa Bay and the other bench was being manned by Rick Dudley who has a had a great career in pro hockey as a coach and General Manager.

Once the season ended I had kept a series of plays and fights on video tape, I sent the tape to Phil Esposito who was the General Manager of the New York Rangers and was fortunate enough to be invited to training camp the next fall.

I skated at the Rangers camp and during my very first shift I managed to get into to three fights, yes three fights. After I fought a well know NHL tough guy Reid Simpson I went to pick up my gloves and as I bent over an opposing player kicked my glove away, I straightened up, hauled back and cracked him. Once that tussel ended in a wrestling match on the ice I got up and was heading towards the bench when Mr. Simpson felt we should go again and we did and I thought for sure both lungs we going to collapse as I gasped for air for the next 40 minutes.

The rest of camp was as expected and I was assigned to the Indianapolis Ice in the IHL. This was so far from where I had come but I was on my way. Playing in the IHL was an experience that was so full of mixed emotions, a coach that sent so many mixed signals and you just never knew where you really stood. In January that year I was traded to Flint to play for the Spirit, a struggling team with an uncertain future. I finished that season and returned to Johnstown to get married and then learned that I had been invited to try out for the Hartford Whalers. During the Whalers camp I had to take a couple days off to fly home and be with my wife for the birth of our first daughter, upon returning I felt I continued to play well but knowing that I was far from ready to play in the NHL, I was assigned to Binghamton of the AHL and relocated.

Hartford had established a zero tolerance rule as far as off- ice behavior and zero tolerance didn't include fighting with bouncers on a road trip. I was sent to Fort Wayne of the IHL for my off- ice activities but decided to return to Johnstown and the Chiefs as a player assistant coach, husband and father. Over the next couple months I would work on getting back to the AHL and by January I was on my way back up only with the Maine Mariners the number one farm team of the Boston Bruins. I finished the season in Maine and spent the summer trying to convince the Bruins in to signing me prior to training camp, although my AHL coach Rick Bowness tried to get things together for me it never happened and I never went back, I think about that decision a lot but feel it was the right decision to make for my family.

During the next season I would start as the Captain and player assistant coach of the Johnstown Chiefs but by the middle of January I had been traded to Louisville and then to Hampton Roads where I was part of the Championship team coached by the legend John Brophy.

I was able to go out a winner and end a career that never should have been had it not been for some good people and a lot of miles. Over the next several years I came out of retirement 4 times to play two full seasons with Nick Fotiu in Johnstown, Roanoke Express and again for the Chiefs for two games under Scott Allen. During the last outing it was announced that I had just become the only player in the ECHL to play in three separate decades, once I heard that I knew it was time to hang them up for good. I miss the fans, the noise, the team mates and the fight. Hockey has been a long road for me as a player but worth every mile.

I have been fortunate enough to make a life through the game of hockey as it made it possible for me to come to Johnstown and meet my wife, with my wife we have three unbelievable children that have had a lot of success in school and athletics. Our youngest has started his journey and no one has any idea where that journey will take him or how many great hockey people he will meet on the way. The road map for hockey is one of many highways, roads and detours which along the way every player and parent must try to figure out if this is something that they really want. The game requires a multitude of sacrifices and hours of hard work each day but the reality of it all is that when it is all over and you sit down to write about it it really is worth it.

Enjoy the Ride!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cents Announce Renewal Deadline for 2011-12 Season Tickets:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – June 20, 2011

The Merritt Centennials would like to remind all current season ticket holders that the deadline for season ticket renewal is Thursday, June 30, 2011. The office will be open with extended hours from 9 am – 4 pm on Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

Beginning July 1, any unclaimed season tickets will be available to the general public.

Office hours starting June 20 are Monday to Friday 12 – 4 pm.

As a season ticket holder, you will have your seat reserved for all 30 home games and are also given first right of refusal on all Centennials playoff games. In addition, season ticket holders receive free admission to all Centennials home exhibition games.

To renew your season tickets or purchase a season ticket for the 2011-12 season, please contact the Merritt Centennials Marketing Office at 250-378-3604 or visit the office located at 2185 Voght Street, Merritt, BC.

For more information, please contact Cents Season Ticket Coordinator Karen Webster at 378-2345 or Cents Marketing Manager Rachael Sanders at 378-3604.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cents Summer Depth Chart:

With the signing of Dylan Chanter earlier this month, I decided to take a look at the Centennials depth chart with nine weeks to go until training camp.

Forwards:

Chad Brears (91)
Evan Stack (91)
Max Vallis (91)
David Sabey (91)
Steve Wall (91)
Brent Fletcher (92)
Silvan Harper (92)
Dustin Lebrun (92)
Sean Maktaak (92)
Dylan Playfair (92)
Jakob Reichert (93)
Regan Soquila (93)

Defence:

Billy Marshall (91)
Kameran Crawford (91)
Richard Sabourin (92)
Brandon Pfeil (92)
Reece Willcox (94)
Dylan Chanter (95)

Goalie:

Lino Chimienti (91)
Tyler Steel (93)

The easiest thing to note with the Cents roster, and I've said it before, is that there are too many 1991-born players, which means two will have to go before the team even steps on the ice on September 23rd.

The other thing you'll notice with this list, is that there are 20 players on it. BCHL rules implemented this year state that teams aren't allowed more than 21 players. Even if you subtract the two 1991-born players who need to be either traded or released, that would mean three open spots for the Cents heading into the season.

Assuming there are just three open spots is a little misleading too. Max Vallis has been drafted by teams in both the NAHL and the USHL and you would think is being courted by one or both of those teams, which means he may not return to Merritt.

Another thing to consider is that despite all the advances made by the Cents in 2010-11, this is still a club that got swept in the first round of the playoffs and Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce will strive to put the best team on the ice, regardless of who's wearing the jersey. I would suggest that no returning player come to camp in August assuming that their spot on this team is guaranteed.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Canucks Injuries Revealed:


This isn't to say that Boston was 100% percent healthy during the Stanley Cup Final, because everyone I'm sure was labouring at some point, but we found out today what the Canucks were up against in terms of injuries.

Here's a summary:

Dan Hamhuis (abdominal tear)
Ryan Kesler (hip)
Henrik Sedin (back)
Christian Ehrhoff (shoulder)
Kevin Bieksa (MCL bruise)
Alex Edler (2 broken fingers)
Chris Higgins (foot)

These of course were in addition to Mikael Samuelsson (sports hernia) and Mason Raymond (fractured vertebrae).

Ex-BCHLers Win the Stanley Cup:


It's nothing new to say that Boston won the Stanley Cup Wednesday night in Vancouver, but I thought I'd note the number of former BCHLers who will receive Cup rings from the Bruins.

Players
Milan Lucic (Burnaby Express, 1st Cup win)
Mark Recchi (Langley Eagles, 3rd Cup win)

Off-Ice Staff
Dean Malkoc (Powell River Paper Kings, 1st Cup win)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Merritt Minor Hockey Association Executive Short 12 Volunteers, Including President and Secretary:

The Merritt Minor Hockey Association needs volunteers in a bad way after last night's Annual General Meeting.

12 executive positions are unfilled, including President, Secretary, Coach Co-ordinator, Timekeeper and Public Relations.

Here's a complete list of the executive:
President - vacant
1st Vice-President - Mike Bjarnason
2nd Vice-President - Shane Jarvie
Secretary - vacant
Registrar - Elaine Grant Gill
Ice Ambassador - Sonya Lang
Risk Manager - Lynn Tulliani
Equipment Manager - Trent Dolgopol
Female Division Director - Laura Christy
Referee In Chief - Kerry Ashley
Assistant Ref-In Chief - Ian Webster
Superleague Director - Shelley Tomkinson
Power Skating Director - Lynn Tulliani
Past President - Scott Robertson
Coach Coordinator - vacant
Public Relations - vacant
Trophies & Awards - vacant
Initiation Director - vacant
Novice Director - vacant
Atom House Director - vacant
Peewee House Director - vacant
Bantam House Director - vacant
Midget House Director - vacant
Timekeeper - vacant

Friday, June 10, 2011

All Hands on Deck for the Cents:

I haven't had a chance to summarize Tuesday's AGM for the Cents, but Ian Webster wrote a great article in yesterday's Merritt Herald.

All hands on deck for the Merritt Centennials

By Ian Webster - Merritt Herald

The Merritt Centennials hockey club received a resounding vote of confidence from its volunteer leadership group at the organization’s annual general meeting on Tuesday night of this week as all twelve members of its executive and board of directors allowed their names to stand for re-election, and were voted in unanimously.

At the AGM, which was held in the mezzanine of the Nicola Valley memorial Arena, returning Cents’ president Jerry Canuel took the opportunity to thank the multitude of volunteers and businesses in the community for their tireless work, and continuous support of the local Jr. A hockey team.

“It’s unbelievable what people do for this club,” he stated, “the longest continuously-run franchise in the British Columbia Hockey League! That said, we have to encourage more people - younger people - to get involved. This club is a tremendous asset, and we wouldn’t ever want to lose it.”

Numerous reports were submitted at the annual general meeting from various executive members and committee heads.

Notable was treasurer Beth Nadeau’s financial statement for the fiscal year ending May 31 which showed a $3,150 net income for the hockey club on a budget of over $425,000.

Cents’ vice-president Tom Reynolds cautioned those in attendance not to get too excited about a positive balance sheet.

“Presently, we have in place a non-hockey fundraising activity that this year alone contributed $121,650 to the Centennials’ organization. This is a number that we have to work to bring down to zero. It’s a subsidy that we just don’t know how long is going to last. We have to prepare the team to operate without that money.”

As an addendum to the financial report, Reynolds ventured an estimate of the value of the Merritt Jr. A hockey club.

“What the team is actually worth we don’t know, but the Quesnel Millionaires just sold for $600,000, plus $250,000 to move [to Chilliwack]. Quesnel’s a similar market to us, so it’s conceivable that our team is worth somewhere between $600,000 - $850,000,” said Reynolds.

Canuel brought the AGM to a close by stating, “What we’ve got is stability, both from a management and coaching perspective. The bottom line, however, is that we need more seats filled. We need more people to attend games, not just to support our team on the ice, but to help make us more financially viable as a small-market BCHL franchise.”

Also, here's the official release sent out by the Centennials after the AGM:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC - June 8, 2011

The Merritt Centennials Junior 'A' Hockey Club Society announced today the 2011-12 Board of Directors as elected at its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, June 7, 2011.

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

Also returning to the Board for a third term is Team Governor Brian Barrett and Booster Club President Betty Doberstein, plus Directors At Large Tod Dean and Frank Etchart. Directors on the Board for a second term include Andrea Barnes, Nik Vischschraper, Scott Hostrawser and Paul Barnes.

"We're so excited to have complete stability at the Board level with all of our Directors returning," said Canuel. "Our Board features good community people who have been involved with the Cents and junior hockey for a number of years and each Director brings a huge amount of enthusiasm to the group. I look forward to working with each of them in the next year to continue to build on our program here."

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

Monday, June 6, 2011

Former Cents tryout Jackson Playfair signs with Langley:

Jackson Playfair, who attend Cents training camp last season and spring camp this season, has been signed by the BCHL's Langley Rivermen.

Here's from the Langley Advance newspaper:

On Thursday, the team also signed 11 new players for the 2011/12 season, including Jackson Playfair, the son of Abbotsford Heat head coach Jim Playfair.

“The new ownership coming in was something exciting that’s going to be good for the community,” the junior Playfair said. “Seeing how the community supports the team, I think that’s going to be huge. I wanted to play as close to home as I could. Having the opportunity to be close to family is a pretty big thing for me, personally.”

Playfair, a 6’2” forward who turns 17 on June 8 and scored 31 points with the Major Midget League’s Fraser Valley Bruins last season, said he is excited to make the jump to junior A hockey. “I think I’ve prepared myself physically and mentally to be able to step into the league and be able to condition myself to play here.”

Former Cents goaltender Keith Hamilton Traded from Portland to Victoria:


Keith Hamilton, who spent most of the 2009-10 season with the Centennials, has been traded in the Western Hockey League.

Here's from the WHL site:

Victoria, BC – The Victoria Western Hockey League (WHL) Franchise is proud to announce they have completed a trade with the Portland Winterhawks for goaltender Keith Hamilton in exchange for Victoria’s 3rd, 4th and 8th round picks in the 2012 Bantam Draft.

The Kelowna, BC native joins Victoria after compiling a 17-6-0-2 record with one shutout during the 2010-11 season. Over that span he earned a 2.91 goals against average that ranked 11th in WHL and a save percentage of 0.914 that ranked 6th in the league. The second-year major junior netminder had two relief appearances during the 2011 WHL Playoffs where he played 41 minutes and allowed two goals.

“Keith is a technically sound goalie who comes to us from a very successful program in Portland,” General Manager and Head Coach Marc Habscheid said. “He will push for the starting job this year, and has solidified our goaltending corps as we now have three quality goaltenders at different age ranges in Hamilton, Braden Gamble and Jared Rathjen.’

The 19-year-old Hamilton was a member of the silver medal winning Team Pacific at the 2009 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge Cup.

----------------------------------

Portland, OR -- The Portland Winterhawks have traded goaltender Keith Hamilton to the Victoria WHL franchise (formerly the Chilliwack Bruins) in exchange for third, fourth and eighth round picks in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.

Hamilton put up career-highs across the board last season with a record of 17-6-0-2, including a 29-save shutout on March 5 at Vancouver, a goals against average of 2.91 and 91.4% save percentage. He also saw action in two playoff games, posting a 2.94 goals against average and 92.3% save percentage.

Hamilton also played nine games for the Winterhawks in the 2008-09 season. He spent the 2009-10 season with the Merritt Centennials with the British Columbia Hockey League while remaining on the Winterhawks’ protected list.

“In his three years with our organization both as a backup and a starter, Keith showed terrific character and became a very good goaltender. This trade will allow Keith the opportunity to get more playing time and a chance to be a starter in the league,” said Portland Winterhawks General Manager & Head Coach Mike Johnston. “In addition, we didn’t want to enter next season with two 19-year-old goalies. In recent weeks we have signed two promising young goaltenders in Brendan Burke and Jarrod Schamerhorn, and we’re confident one of them will step up and do a good job as the backup next season.”

Former Cents tryout Jordan Paddock Traded from Melville to Powell River:

Defenceman Jordan Paddock, who played his bantam hockey in Merritt and used to live here, has been traded back to BC by Melville. Jordan also attended training camp with the Cents last August before going to the Millionaires.

Here's from the Kings website:

The Powell River Kings have acquired 18-year old defenseman Jordan Paddock from the Melville Millionaires in exchange for defenseman Klay Kachur.

Chad Van Diemen says, “In Jordan Paddock, we added a very reliable two-way defenseman. He has ties in BC as he’s lived in Campbell River and played Bantam in Merritt.”

Paddock played in Melville for one season where he had 11 points in 52 games as a 17-year old. He was invited to the try-out camp for Team Canada West last fall.

“It’s always very difficult to move a guy like Klay Kachur. He`s a great team guy, a leader in the dressing room and he always did what was asked of him. We’d like to thank Klay for his contributions to the team and the community.”

Kachur had 2 goals and 10 assists for the Kings as a 19-year old in 58 games last season. The coaching staff could rely on Kachur’s adaptability to cover both the blue line as a defenseman as well as step up as a forward when required. Kachur played for the Kings for two seasons.

The entire Kings’ organization wishes Klay all the best in the future with the Melville Millionaires.

Here's from the Millionaires website:

After playing as a 17-year-old with the Melville Millionaires, the Mils are sending Jordan Paddock to the BCHL's Powell River Kings, in exchange for 20-year-old defenseman Klay Kachur.

Paddock's dad is an RCMP officer and is being transfered to B.C., and the Mils are accomodating Jordan by keeping him close to family.

Kachur's returning to his home province, a native of Lanigan, SK.

Paddock had 1g-10a-11p in his rookie season, while Kachur had 2g-10a-12p last season in Powell River, and played in the BCHL final for the second time. The Kings have been to the final in three straight seasons. Powell River had a record of 46-9-3-2 last season, before falling to the Vernon Vipers in the final, also for a 3rd straight year.

The numbers are similar between Paddock and Kachur, so the Mils might not gain a lot in terms of offense, but they do get older and bigger on the blue line. Kachur stands 6'2", 195 lbs, and also had 88 PIM's last season.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cents Governor & Director of Hockey Operations Brian Barrett on BCHL Annual General Meeting:

I caught up with Centennials Governor & Director of Hockey Operations Brian Barrett during a break in yesterday's BCHL Annual General Meeting.

Cents sign Defenceman Dylan Chanter from POE Midget 1:


I forgot to post this a couple of days ago, but the Cents have signed their first player for the 2011-12 season.

Here's the release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Merritt, BC – June 1, 2011

The Merritt Centennials of the BC Hockey League are pleased to announce the signing of defenceman Dylan Chanter (95) for the 2011-12 season.

“We are delighted to be adding a player of Dylan’s calibre to our hockey team. As a 1995-born player we feel that Dylan is physically ready and able to contribute at our level immediately,” said Cents Head Coach/GM Luke Pierce.

“Along with his talent, he will add some size and grit to our blue-line and he has the type of character and commitment that we desire in our players,” Pierce continued. “We want to welcome Dylan to our organization and community and look forward to seeing him in a Centennials jersey come September.”

“I’m extremely excited to become a part of the Centennials family and the community of Merritt,” said Chanter. “I’m looking forward to a great season and helping the team achieve our goals.”

Chanter, at 6-foot-1 and 180 lbs., played last season with the Pursuit of Excellence Midget 1 team. He had four goals, 18 assists and 38 penalty minutes in 59 regular season games.

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

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 39 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 chatted with Cents coach & GM Luke Pierce about the signing:



I also was able to catch up with Dylan about committing to Merritt:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kamloops Storm Looking for a New Head Coach:


This news was released this afternoon by the KIJHL's Kamloops Storm:

Press Release

The Kamloops Storm will be looking for a new coach for the 2011-12 season.

Last year's coach, Tyler Liebel, has accepted a job with the Burnaby Fire Department.

This will be the fourth head coach for the Storm since moving to Kamloops 5 seasons ago. Part of Junior B hockey is helping coaches learn and grow and we have been very fortunate to have had great hockey guys and lots of hockey knowledge to help our young players.

General Manager Barry Dewar sees no difficulty in finding a worthy replacement and has already been approached by a few guys who heard of the opening.

"We even had a guy from Germany and Alaska contact us, so once it is known, I am sure we will get lots of interest," said Dewar.

It is expected that Liebel will help the BCHL's Coquitlam Express next season.

Trail and Cowichan Valley Hook Up for Huge BCHL Trade:

Jim Ingram made his first trade with his former team as Cowichan Valley picked up F Travis St. Denis (92) from Trail for F Chase Kaiser (92), D Nicholas Wong (91) and F Clayton Chessa (91).

Obviously Ingram knows St. Denis very well after his years in the Kootenays and you have to wonder if there may be other moves between the former Smokies coach and GM and Bill Birks, who took over when Ingram resigned earlier this off-season.

Here's the release from the Smoke Eaters website:

TRAIL, BC – The Trail Smoke Eaters have bolstered their depth by adding three BCHL veterans in a trade with the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

Trail sent three year Smoke Eater Travis St. Denis (92) to the Capitals for F Chase Kaiser (92), F Clayton Chessa (91) and D Nicholas Wong (91).

“We're excited to get these players here," said Trail Coach Bill Birks. "They are veterans who have proven themselves in this league."

"They are coming here to play big minutes and have a lot of responsibility."

Kaiser, Chessa and Wong were the three top scoring returning players on the Capitals roster.

Kaiser scored 12 goals last season for Cowichan Valley. It was the second full BCHL season for the 5'9, 170lbs Duncan product.

Chessa has collected 40 points over 92 games in the BCHL with the Capitals, Quesnel Millionaires and Surrey Eagles. The 5'11, 190lbs forward comes to Trail in his 20 year old season as a veteran of both the Interior and Coastal Conference grind.

Wong was the second leading scoring defenceman on the Capitals roster. He scored 24 points in 56 games last season. The 6'0, 198lbs Burnaby product has played three seasons and 157 games in the BCHL.

St. Denis leaves the Smoke Eaters after three impressive seasons with his hometown team. He produced 137 points over 149 games with Trail. St. Denis also earned a scholarship to Quinnipiac in NCAA Division 1 while donning the orange and black.

The Smoke Eaters organization would like to welcome Kaiser, Chessa and Wong to Trail, and thank St. Denis for all he has contributed to the franchise.