Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cowichan Valley Releases Two, Signs One from NAHL and One from WHL:

The Cowichan Valley Capitals have signed two players without previous BCHL experience while they've released two players who skated with the club last season.

To Cowichan Valley:
F Matt Grant (93)

To Cowichan Valley:
F Connor Wright (92)

Released by Cowichan Valley to Fernie (KIJHL):
F Austin Evans (94)

Released by Cowichan Valley outright:
F Stephen Saretsky (91)

Here's the article from the Cowichan Valley Citizen summarizing the moves with Cowichan Valley associate coach/GM and former Cents defenceman Jim Ingram.

Crunch Time: Battle for roster spots goes on, with pre-season beginning Sept. 9

By Kevin Rothbauer, Citizen August 31, 2011

Down to about a third of the numbers they started camp with, the Cowichan Valley Capitals are much closer to unveiling the roster that will start the British Columbia Hockey League.

"I would say we're about seven players away from getting down to numbers," said associate coach Jim Ingram, noting that there are fewer than 30 players remaining, with the staff needing to trim that down to 21 before Sept. 23. "There are some extremely tough decisions we have to make."

Camp opened on Aug. 22, just over a month before the opening faceoff. The Caps won't even play their first pre-season game until Sept. 9. Ingram wasn't keen on having so much time between the date players first donned their practice jerseys and the first day of meaningful games, but he's learned to see the benefits.

"I wasn't big on starting as early as we did, but now I'm happy with it," he said. "It's good that we do have that extra time now."

The two weeks between the end of camp and that first exhibition game against the Victoria Grizzlies will give the coaches more time to work with the players, and more time for the players to get accustomed to their surroundings and to each other.

It also raises the stakes for the players who are on the bubble with regards to making the final 21.

"They have a tremendous opportunity to make or not make the club," said Ingram. "It's totally up to them."

On the other hand, the players will be anxious to face some real competition.

"It's not so much that it's going to be tough, but the boys are going to be antsy," the coach acknowledged. "By the end, they'll be ready to get into game situations and hit guys other than the guys they're dressing with."

Monday saw the remaining hopefuls engage in a hard-skating practice, focusing on cardio rather than shooting. It wasn't easy, but Ingram was impressed with the efforts.

"Guys keep themselves in great shape these days," he said. "They were tired, but they made it through."

There have been a few surprises in camp; players who weren't expected to get this far, but who are making a case for their inclusion in the final roster. Among them are forwards Dane Feeney (22 points for the major midget North Island Silvertips in 2010/11) and Connor Wright (20 points in the junior A North American Hockey League), and defenceman David London (won a junior B championship in the Kootenay league as a playoff call-up from major midget).

"They're real solid players, and they're going to make it tough for us," said Ingram.

Less surprising, but still pleasing, have been Steven Iacobellis (acquired over the summer to complete January's Mike Hammond trade), Matt Brown (a veteran of four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League), and Matt Grant (brother of Cowichan's 2010/11 scoring leader Jordan, and who played last year with Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League).

This is Ingram's first year back with the Caps after coaching in Trail for three seasons, and some of the Cowichan veterans with whom he was previously unfamiliar have also opened his eyes. Specifically, Brendon MacDonald and Keyler Bruce, two hard-working Alberta boys, have stood out for their leadership capabilities and maturity.

"They're a couple of guys noted for other things, not their play style," said Ingram.

A few other players with whom Caps fans are familiar won't be returning to the fold after the coaches decided they just didn't fit with the plans for 2011/12. Dante Godinho (13 points in 39 games last year) was traded to the Victoria Grizzlies for future considerations, while Austin Evans (eight points in 47 contests) and Stephen Saretsky (13 points in 47 games) were released.

Evans found a job with the junior B Fernie Ghostriders, while Saretsky is still weighing his options.

"It's tough, but at the same time, we have to make these types of decisions," said Ingram, noting that the BCHL has lowered its rosters from 23 players last season to 21 this year. "We can't keep everybody, unless the rules change drastically and let us keep 100 guys on our roster."

It all boils down to finding ways to improve on last year's 21-30-1-8 record and return to the playoffs. "We've got to improve our hockey team," said Ingram. "And I think that's what we're doing."

Cents Training Camp Recap: Day Three


Merritt Centennials Training Camp Day Three Recap

Day Three of training camp is complete after a practice each in the morning and a spirited 3-on-3 competition in the evening for both Team Red and Team White .

The roster still sits at 45 players (26 forwards, 14 defensemen, 5 goaltenders) for the annual Red versus White game tomorrow night at 7:00 PM at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Admission for the game is just $2 at the door.

Tomorrow's Schedule

Wednesday, Aug. 31

9 - 10:15 a.m. - White Practice

10:45 a.m. - 12 p.m. - Red Practice

12 - 1 p.m. - Lunch (Arena Mezzanine)

1 - 3 p.m. - Player Interviews (with select players)

7 - 9:30 p.m. - Red vs. White Inter-squad Game

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Team Red Wins First Intrasquad Game 5-4 Over Team White:

A good crowd was on hand last night at Memorial Arena to catch the Centennials first intrasquad game of training camp, with Team Red coming out on top 5-4 over Team White.

I've had a few people ask me about posting the camp rosters, but Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce has asked that I don't go public with them.

On the Cents website today, there is a scoring summary though:

Merritt Centennials Training Camp Day Two Recap

Day Two of training camp is complete following the first of two inter-squad games. The roster sits at 45 players (26 forwards, 14 defensemen, 5 goaltenders).

INTER-SQUAD GAME at 7:00 pm, Monday, August 29, 2011

Team Red 5, Team White 4

Goal Scorers

1. Scotty Patterson (Sean Maktaak, Evan Stack)
2. Sean Maktaak (Evan Stack)
3. Evan Stack (Scotty Patterson, Ross Mancuso)
4. Reece Willcox (Blake Culbert)
5. Jordan Salahor (unassisted)

1. Brendan Lamont (Regan Soquila, Steve Wall)
2. Billy Marshall (Brendan Lamont)
3. Payton Schaefer (unassisted)
4. Jordan Steel (Dylan Playfair, Brandon Pfeil)

Tomorrow's Schedule

Tuesday, Aug. 30
10 - 11 a.m. - Team White Practice
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Team Red Practice
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. - Lunch (Arena Mezzanine)
7 - 7:45 p.m. - Team White 3 on 3
8 - 8:45 p.m. - Team Red 3 on 3

I caught up with Assistant Coach and Assistant GM Joe Martin following the game:

Cowichan Valley-Victoria Trade:

Two Vancouver Island rivals hooked on a trade today as Cowichan Valley sent F Dante Godinho (92) to Victoria for future considerations.

It's not confirmed on either team's website, but the BCHL has posted the move.

To Victoria:
F Dante Godinho (92)

To Cowichan Valley:
Future Considerations

Monday, August 29, 2011

Scott Campbell Hired as Salmon Arm Silverbacks Play-By-Play Announcer:

Although not confirmed by the Silverbacks, Scott Campbell tweeted this today: Pumped to be the PxP voice of the @SASilverbacks @bchllive Back to BC this weekend!

Scott previously did play-by-play for the Portage College Voyageurs of the ACAC in Lac La Biche, Alberta.

Welcome to the BCHL Scott, look forward to meeting you at the rink!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Salmon Arm Looking for New Play-By-Play Broadcaster:

There will be another new voice in another BCHL market this season following the resignation of Patrick Haas from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

Chilliwack, Penticton, Powell River, Prince George, Trail and Westside will also have new PBP announcers this season.

Here's the announcement on the Silverbacks job from their website:

The Salmon Arm SilverBacks are sad to announce the resignation of their long time broadcaster Patrick Haas. After 5 years as the voice of the SilverBacks Patrick has announced he will be stepping down to join his family who has recently relocated to Calgary and to continue his passion for broadcasting baseball.

Owners Randy and Terry Williams “would like to thank Patrick for his hard work, dedication and extraordinary professionalism during his time in Salmon Arm. Patrick’s preparation and attention to detail really made his broadcasts a joy to listen to. We know that those same qualities will lead to his success in both marriage and broadcasting.”

With the departure of Haas the SilverBacks are now looking to fill his spot in the broadcast booth for the upcoming season. The team is currently accepting applications for the position of broadcaster/play by play man for the 2011-2012 season.

The selected applicant will broadcast all 60 regular season games (Home and Away) as well as any playoff games.

For more information or to apply for the broadcast position applicants should email their questions, resume and cover letter to

Langley Adds G Jimmy Kruger (92) and F Justin Cintas (93):

The Langley Riverman have added two imports to their roster, G Jimmy Kruger (92) from the NAHL's Texas Tornado and F Justin Cintas (93) from the WSHL's San Diego Gulls.

Both Kruger and Cintas will count towards Langley's import total this season. Teams in the BCHL are allowed to have eight imports.

To Langley:
G Jimmy Kruger (92)

To Langley:
F Justin Cintas (93)

Here's the article from the Rivermen website:

With training camp just weeks away on the first ever season of the Langley Rivermen, the local club is continuing to add new members to the roster. The Langley Rivermen are pleased to announce a pair of signings for the upcoming 2011/2012 season:

Jimmy Kruger, 19 years old (born 1992): Jimmy is a goaltender making his way to the Rivermen this season from the Texas Tornado of the NAHL. Kruger had an outstanding year with Texas racking up a record of 24-9-4-3 (W-L-OTL-SOL) with a sparkling 2.36 GAA and a .914 SV%. At 6 foot 3, 190 pounds, Kruger is a big goalie that plays an even bigger game,

“He is a big guy that moves extremely well and should adapt to the league quite easily,” said Bobby Henderson on his new recruit, “he is the ultimate competitor and that’s all you can ask for from anyone who goes in between the pipes.”

In addition to being a strong academic performer, the Minnesota native also received goaltender of the month honours for both September and October last season.

Justin Cintas, 18 years old (born 1993): Justin comes from the San Diego Gulls of the Western States Hockey League. Playing in his hometown of San Diego, the 5 foot 9, 170 pound forward put up 5 goals and 19 assists in 40 games for the Gulls last season.

“Justin is an energy guy with playmaking ability that every team likes to have,” said Assistant Coach Bobby Henderson, “we look for his role to grow with the team as the season goes along as he has plenty of assets to provide help the club with.”

Justin also has smarts to go along with his game as he was named to the All-Academic team in Roller Hockey during the 2010-2011 season

Coquitlam Signs F Ben Murphy from EJHL's Bay State Breakers:

I'm not sure how I missed this earlier this month, but Coquitlam has signed F Ben Murphy (91) from the Bay State Breakers of the EJHL for the 2011-12 season.

The addition gives the Express just four 20 year old players, so head coach and GM Jon Calvano still has room to add two more if he wants.

It doesn't really count as a trade, but Coquitlam did have to provide a transfer fee to Bay State for signing Murphy.

To Coquitlam:
F Ben Murphy (91)

Here's the article from the Coquitlam Now newspaper announcing the signing:

In just over two weeks from now, puck meets ice.

At that point, the Coquitlam Express will get an early jump on the 2011-12 B.C. Hockey League season.

Re-tooling and addressing areas of need have kept head coach Jon Calvano busy the past few months.

Upon returning from an elite hockey program tournament trip to Boston - where his 13-14 year olds won the Beantown tourney - Calvano announced two more acquisitions for the Express.

The B.C. Hockey League squad, ramping up for the 2011-12 season and a heated chase for one of just four conference playoff berths, added 18-year-old defenceman Jason Bird and 20-year-old centre Ben Murphy.

"We're pretty excited about the camp and the players who we've brought in," said Calvano. "There's going to be a lot of new faces. We've brought in a number of highly recruited players, but there will be plenty of opportunities for position battles and spots."

Bird, a six-foot-one, 191-pound blueliner, was acquired from the Ontario junior league's Vaughan Vipers, where he posted two goals and eight assists in 42 games.

"Jason has that junior experience, he's a stay-at-home type who moves the puck well and has a strong shot," Calvano said of the Etobicoke, Ont. native.

Murphy's rights were purchased after he made a favourable impression during Coquitlam's May camp for import players. Last year the six-foot-one forward played 42 games for the U.S.-based Eastern Junior Hockey League, racking up a team-high 18 goals and 14 assists.

"Last year when we were playing the likes of Surrey and Langley we found that down the middle, while we had the skill in Massimo (Lamacchia) and Destry (Straight), we were lacking a bigger presence to line up against their big guys," noted Calvano. "Murphy's a guy who we can match against those larger players who can counteract their size."

Cents 2011 Training Camp Day One Schedule:

Well, today's the day that Cents have been waiting for since March 1, it's the opening of the 2011-12 season with training camp at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

Here's how today's schedule breaks down:

1 – 2 p.m. - Camp Orientation at Nicola Valley Memorial Arena
3 – 4:15 p.m. - Team Red Fitness Test
4:30 – 5:45 p.m. - Team White Fitness Test

I hope to have Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce's thoughts on day one's fitness testing later today or early tomorrow. I also hope to get a camp roster posted too, if Luke allows me to. I know some teams don't like to post their camp rosters online and if Luke doesn't want me to, I'll respect that.

Cents Head Coach & Luke Pierce Talks Training Camp:

Cents head coach & GM Luke Pierce joined me on Thursday to talk about the upcoming season and training camp, which starts today with up to 45 players expected in Merritt for orientation and fitness testing.

A sample of topics covered in the interview include:
- D Kameran Crawford's request to be moved
- Players at WHL training camps (Jakob Reichert - Victoria, Reece Willcox, Dylan Chanter - Portland)
- Goaltending situation with Lino Chimienti and Tyler Steel returning
- Leadership core of 2011-12 Cents
- Sense of urgency with the team
- Potential of local players

Nanaimo-Drayton Valley Trade:

Photo courtesy of Mark Yager (

The Nanaimo Clippers took a step towards ridding themselves of a goaltending glut after sending G Charles-Alexy Premont (92) to the AJHL's Drayton Valley Thunder for future considerations on Friday.

Prior to move, the Clippers had three goaltenders with BCHL experience on their roster after acquiring G Billy Faust (91) from Penticton earlier this summer.

Here's the skinny on this trade...

To Nanaimo:
Future Considerations
To Drayton Valley:
G Charles-Alexy Premont (92)

And here's the release from Nanaimo's website:

The Nanaimo Clippers have transferred the playing rights of Charles-Alexy Premont to the Drayton Valley Thunder of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for future considerations.

Premont compiled a 10-8 record with a 3.38 GAA in 27 appearances with the Clippers in the 2011-12 season.

The Nanaimo Clippers wish to thank Charles for his hard work and dedication to the Clipper organization.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

BCHL Alumni Update - August 27:

F Patrick Cey (Vernon, 2005-07) has signed with Colorado Eagles (ECHL) for the upcoming season. Cey had 12 points (5g, 7a) in 25 games with UMass-Lowell (NCAA) during 2010-11. . . .

D Spencer Brooks (Quesnel/Merritt, 2007-09) wasn't offered a contract following a tryout with HC Innsbruck (Austria). The Smithers product didn't play anywhere last season, but had 4 points (1g, 3a) in 15 games with Portage College (ACAC) in 2009-10. . . .

G Scott Gudmanson (Salmon Arm, 2006-07) has been released after a tryout with EC Salzburg (Austria). He wrapped up a four year college career with University of Wisconsin (NCAA) last season, posting a 16-11-1 record, a 2.22 GAA and a .921 save percentage in 29 games. . . .

D Peter Merth (Coquitlam, 2003-06) has signed a one year extension with Wheeling Nailers (ECHL). The New Westminster native had 12 points (1g, 11a) in 69 games with the Nailers last season. . . .

F Ethan Cox (Powell River, 2004-06) inked a one year extension with Alaska Aces (ECHL). The 24 year old from Richmond had 32 points (15g, 17a) in 56 games with Alaska in 2010-11. He also had one point (0g, 1a) in 3 AHL games with Peoria Rivermen and Portland Pirates. . . .

Cents Announce 10 & 15 Game 'Cents Packs' for 2011-12 Season:

The Cents sent out this media release to highlight their 10 and 15 game packs for the upcoming season.

These Cents Packs are a great deal for people who can't make it to all 30 home games for whatever reason and I encourage anyone interested in attending part of the season to pick one of these up, they really are a great deal.


Merritt, BC - August 26, 2011

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce a flexible ticket option for all fans - 10 game Cents Packs!

Cents Packs are the perfect option for those who cannot commit to season tickets or those who are looking to attend just a few hockey games this year. With 10 game Cents Packs, you get the flexibility of choosing each game and still receive a discount off the regular walk-up ticket price.

You get a 10 game punch pass, good for any 2011-12 Cents regular season home game. You can use all 10 punches for ten tickets to one game, you can use the punches to get a single ticket to ten different games, or you can mix and match anywhere in-between. You choose every game!

10 game Cents Packs are just $120 for adults, $80 for students 13-18 years old and seniors, and $60 for children from 6-12. Seating is based on availability and 15 game packs are also available. Cents Packs may be purchased by calling the Centennials Marketing Office at 250-378-3604, visit the office located at 2185 Voght Street, Merritt, BC or visit anytime! .

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

Cents 20 Year Old Situation:

On the eve of training camp, I thought I'd take a look at the Centennials 20 year old situation.

After F Max Vallis (91) joined the Omaha Lancers of the USHL and D Kameran Crawford (91) asked to be moved and subsequently is trying out with the NAHL's Wenatchee Wild, the Cents have six 20 year olds on their roster, which is the limit in the BCHL.

Of the 20 year olds, three were recruited from the Princeton Posse prior to last season (Chad Brears, Evan Stack, Billy Marshall), one was recruited after being release from Vernon's camp back in 2009 (David Sabey) and two were acquired via trade (Lino Chimienti and Steve Wall).

Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce hasn't named his captain just yet, despite already having Steve Tresierra pegged with the letter already at this point last year, but you've got to think that the 20 year olds on the roster this season will be counted on as leaders whether they have a 'C' or 'A' on their jersey or not. In fact, Lino Chimienti assumed a big-time leadership role after his acquisition last season and Steve Wall has already served one season as an assistant capatin.

Here's the skinny on each of the 20 year olds heading into the 2011-12 season.

F Chad Brears (91)
How acquired: Recruited from Princeton Posse in 2010

F Evan Stack (91)
How acquired: Recruited from Princeton Posse in 2010

F Steve Wall (91)
How acquired: Trade with Spruce Grove (June 2009)

F David Sabey (91)
How acquired: Recruited from Columbia Valley Rockies after being released from Vernon Vipers training camp (August 2009)

D Billy Marshall (91)
How acquired: Recruited from Princeton Posse in 2010

G Lino Chimienti (91)
How acquired: Trade with Grande Prairie (October 2010)

Former Centennials Captain Cam Brodie Resigns with ECHL's Stockton Thunder:

D Cam Brodie, who played 19 games with the Centennials as their captain during the 2008-09 season, has resigned for another season with Stockton Thunder of the ECHL.

Here's the article from the ECHL website...

Ringwald, Brodie return for second seasons in Stockton
August 26, 2011

STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Thunder, proud ECHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League, and head coach Matt Thomas announced today that the team has signed defensemen Dan Ringwald and Cameron Brodie.

Brodie skated in 60 games for the Thunder as a rookie last season, scoring two goals, totaling 12 points (2g-10a) and posting 51 penalty minutes. His +7 rating was third among Thunder rookies. The White Rock, British Columbia native previously appeared in 12 games for the University of British Columbia (CWUAA) in 2009-10, scoring two goals, adding an assist and 22 penalty minutes.

His five year (2004-09) experience in junior hockey was spent in the British Columbia Hockey League with Surrey, Langley, Trail Smoke, Vernon and Merritt, totaling 63 points (15g-48a) from the blueline in 224 career games while posting 375 penalty minutes.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cents Training Camp Begins this Sunday:

This was in yesterday's Merritt Herald and I think it's interesting to note the recruited players mention by name in the article.

Here's the line on the guys mentioned...

F Trevor Forward (94)

D Ross Mancuso (92)

D Owen Solecki (94)

F Payton Schaefer (93)

F Eric Schmidt (93)

(Elite Prospects has Eric confused with F Eric Schmit (92), who's from Strathmore, AB and played with Puget Sound. Eric Schmidt played Merritt Minor Hockey last season)
F Brendan Colter (93)

Cents’ training camp begins this Sunday
By Ian Webster - Merritt Herald

“We’re excited, for sure.”

Those were the succinct words of head coach and GM Luke Pierce on the eve of the Merritt Centennials​’ fall training camp, slated to get underway this Sunday with an orientation session at 1 p.m., followed by fitness testing from 3 - 5:45 p.m.

This year’s five-day camp will look and feel very different from the past few seasons. Gone are the 100+ players in attendance, and endless rounds of scrimmages. Instead, just 40-45 invitees are expected to report to the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena on Sunday, including a record 18 returnees from the last season’s 2010-11 BCHL campaign.

The camp schedule features just two full-blown intersquad games, on Monday and Wednesday nights, surrounded by many more practise times, meetings and player interviews.

“It’s a completely different feeling from last year at this time,” says Pierce, “where there was a lot of uncertainty. This time around, we have a big group of returning players, combined with a good group of youngsters. By keeping it small, the hope is that the guys will bond a lot quicker. And we’re going to get to work right away on establishing our culture, our identity.”

Competition at camp is expected to be fierce as veterans and rookies battle for the 21 coveted positions on the local Junior A team. That number is two lower than in past BCHL seasons, and was just one of several significant changes implemented by the league during a busy off-season.

New faces to this year’s training camp will be from far and wide. They include Trevor Forward from Newfoundland, Rob Mancuso from Texas, and Owen Solecki out of Burn’s Lake in north-central B.C.

Somewhat more familiar local hockey products invited to the Cents’ camp are Payton Schaefer, Eric Schmidt, Brendan Colter and possibly Justin Sulz and Russell Sanderson.

Pierce, along with newly-hired assistant coach and assistant GM Joe Martin, will waste little time paring the numbers down as training camp progresses.

“I anticipate trimming training camp down to 30 [players] by Thursday,” explains Pierce, “and then down to 24-5 following our first two exhibition games against Prince George and Westside. By the last weekend of exhibition play, I’d like to see us be at 21-2. We want to use those final exhibition games to really prepare for our season, and not really to make a bunch of last minute decisions.”

Pierce states that a strong start to the regular season is one of his clear goals for this year’s Centennials’ team. “It’s something we haven’t been able to achieve in the past.”

The Cents’ bench boss feels that getting out of the gate fast is going to be crucial if his team is going to achieve his other stated objectives - to remain in the mix at the top of the BCHL’s Interior Division and to make the play-offs.

The latter goal became all that much more of a challenge when the league declared during the summer that only the top four teams in each of the divisions would proceed to the post-season.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cents Defenceman Kam Crawford Joins Wenatchee Wild of NAHL:

It's been rumoured for a long time and now Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce has been able to confirm with me that D Kam Crawford (91) won't be back in Merritt this season.

Crawford, who asked to be moved for his final year of junior hockey, is trying out with the Wenatchee Wild of the North American Hockey League and is listed on their training camp roster.

If Crawford doesn't make the Wild team this season, the Centennials will still hold his Canadian junior 'A' playing rights unless they release him. If they do, he'll be free to sign with any other junior 'A' team in Canada. The Cents don't need to release Crawford should he want to play junior 'B' this season.

Kam's a good guy who wore a letter for the Centennials last season and I'd like to wish him all the best wherever his final season of junior hockey takes him.

With Crawford and Max Vallis out of the picture for now, the Cents roster looks like this heading into training camp:

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

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

Lino Chimienti (91)
Tyler Steel (93)

I'll have a pre-training camp interview with Luke posted sometime tomorrow as things are starting to get busy, hockey season is almost here!

Former Cents AP Russell Sanderson Signs With KIJHL's Chase Heat:

(Sorry I couldn't get a better pic of Russell)

G Russell Sanderson (94), who dressed for one game with the Cents last season as the back-up goaltender, has signed with the expansion Chase Heat of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

Sanderson has attended the Centennials last two spring camps and main training camp last season. He played with the Thompson Blazers of the BC Major Midget League in 2010-11, posting a record of 1-25-0 on a team that went 1-38-1 on the season.

G Russell Sanderson (94)

Cents Add Kyla Knox as Athletic Therapist and Trainer:

The Cents have filled one of the most important roles in the organization with the addition of Kyla Knox as the team's trainer and athletic therapist. She's got a ton of experience and looks to be a great addition to the team! Knox takes over from Jason Kitzan, who didn't have his contract renewed after last season.

Here's the release from the Cents website...


Merritt, BC - August 24, 2011

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce the hiring of Kyla Knox as their Trainer and Athletic Therapist. Knox has been an athletic therapist for the Quesnel Millionaires for the past two seasons. Her previous experience includes three seasons with the Okanagan Hockey Academy, including two seasons with the KIJHL's Summerland Sting. She joined OHA after spending two seasons with the Powell River Kings of the BCHL.

Knox has also been a part of the BC High Performance Program, serving as the Athletic Therapist for Team BC's U18 Female Team. Her professional credentials include Canadian Athletic Therapist Certified, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Athletic Trainer Certified. Knox grew up in Winnipeg, where she attended the University of Manitoba. She graduated with a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science.

"I am so excited to be the newest team member of the Centennials," said Knox. "I am happy to start the next chapter of my life in such a close knit community like Merritt and am confident that this is going to be a great season.”

Nanaimo-Newmarket Trade:

(Photo by Grant Campbell)

Nanaimo hooked up on a trade with Newmarket of the OJHL yesterday, acquiring D Josh Phillips (91) for future considerations.

Phillips gives the Clippers one too many 20 year olds heading into the season, so something's got to give there by way of a trade or release. It'll be interesting to see what Mike Vandekamp does.

To Nanaimo:
D Josh Phillips (91)

To Newmarket:
Future Considerations

Here's the release from the Nanaimo Clippers website:

The Nanaimo Clippers are pleased to announce the acquisition of 20 year old Defenseman Josh Philips from the Newmarket Hurricanes of the OJHL.

"I am very excited to be adding Josh to our hockey club." Added Coach Vandekamp "I am very familiar with Josh both as a player and a person. He previously played for me for a year and a half. He is a strong mobile defenseman who is very skilled. He will add offence and be very reliable in our own end. He will play quality minutes for us in all situations and be a solid guy in our dressing room."

We would like to welcome Josh and his Family to the Clipper Family.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Prince George-Dauphin Trade:

The BCHL website confirms this morning that Prince George has traded F Kyle Manlow (91) to Dauphin of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for future considerations.

The move leaves the Spruce Kings with room to add one more 20 year old player for this season, after acquiring F Nick Huard (91) earlier this summer.

Here's how today's trade shakes down...

To Dauphin:
F Kyle Manlow (91)

To Prince George:
Future Considerations

Coquitlam Express Release Four Players:

This is likely an impact of the 21-man roster implemented by the BCHL this season.
According to Eddie Gregory's Coquitlam Expressions blog (over there on the left and down a bit), the Express have released four veteran players.

Gone from the roster are F Jake Charles (92), F Cameron Lawson (93), F Tyler Griffith (92) and F/D Cody Castro (92). It'll be interesting to see if these players find their way onto other BCHL rosters or wind up playing hockey in other leagues this season.

F Jake Charles (92)

F Cameron Lawson (93)

F Tyler Griffith (92)

F/D Cody Castro (92)

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce Talks About Exhibition Game vs. SFU:

Cents Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce joined me on the Q101 Morning Show yesterday to talk about the recently announced exhibition game against Simon Fraser University.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

'Smart Hockey' Comes to Merritt:

This is posted on the Merritt News website today...

'Smart hockey' comes to Merritt
August 23, 2011

John O'Connor - News Editor

As the BCHL and Western Hockey League continue a neck-and-neck battle for junior hockey players from across the country, Canada’s elite Junior A league is upping the ante with some interesting cross-league games.

Two-time defending B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League champions Simon Fraser University Clansmen will visit the Nicola Valley Memorial arena for an exhibition game against the Merritt Centennials Sept. 9.

The BCIHL, founded in 2006, is a college-level league where many junior hockey players end up, including many from the BCHL.

"We are excited to be hosting SFU here in Merritt in what will be a unique opportunity for us," said Cents head coach/GM Luke Pierce. "The game promises to be very competitive and we will approach it as another chance for us to prepare for our season."

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express and Langley Rivermen will also get a crack at SFU in exhibition games scheduled for September.

"The game provides our players the chance to get a first-hand look at a very good team in what is quickly becoming a very attractive league for our graduates to play in," Pierce continued. "It goes hand-in-hand with our approach towards promoting education for our players, and I'd like to thank SFU general manager Jeff Dubois for reaching out to us and giving us this tremendous opportunity."

The opportunity offered by the young league is a compliment to the BCHL and its “smart hockey” concept it tries to promote. The BCHL continues to increase its number of players graduating to the university/college hockey level and, unlike the Western Hockey League, offers players the chance to earn an education and play in the highly sought after U.S. college hockey system, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

"We're looking forward to making the trip to Merritt and giving a couple of ex-Centennials on our roster the chance to face their old team," said SFU general manager Jeff Dubois. "It's also a good opportunity for fans in Merritt to see how good the calibre of play is in the BCIHL and leave a positive impression on some potential future recruits."

The BCIHL currently has 7 teams: Selkirk College Saints, SFU Clansmen, TWU Titans, UFV Cascades, UVic Vikes, UFV Cascades, and the TRU Wolfpack out of Kamloops.

Alberta has a similar but much older league, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC), which is comprised of 16 teams and has been around since 1964.

Cents Notes

The Cents announced last week the cancellation of their inaugural alumni golf tournament, scheduled for Aug. 27, due to lack of availability of some alumni.

“Only a handful of alumni were able to attend the event, and the Centennials would like to formally apologize to all those who have already signed up,” the team said in a press release Friday. “The Cents will now focus their efforts on the 2012 Alumni Golf Tournament as the team celebrates its 40th consecutive season of junior ‘A’ hockey in the BC Hockey League.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cents Announce Exhibition Game Against SFU Clan Men's Hockey Team:

The Centennials announced today another game on their exhibition schedule as they'll face the BCIHL's SFU Clan men's hockey team. There are a few story lines heading into this game that I'm looking forward to.

First, the game is the Centennials first home game since Game Four of last season's playoffs. Second, the SFU team features former Cents defenceman Todd Fletcher while his brother Brent is a member of this year's Centennials team and it'll be great to see the siblings face off against each other. Third, the game marks the return of goaltender Graeme Gordon to the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Gordon played 22 games in Merritt, split between the 2007-08 and 2008-09 season, compiling a 5-15-0-0 record.

I'll have more on the game as we get closer to the date, although I'll get an interview with Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce regarding the game posted tomorrow.

Here's the release from the Cents website.


Merritt, BC - August 22, 2011

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce that they've added a game against the Simon Fraser University Clan of the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League on Friday, September 9th at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena to their exhibition schedule.

"We are excited to be hosting SFU here in Merritt in what will be a unique opportunity for us," said Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce. "The game promises to be very competitive and we will approach it as another chance for us to prepare for our season."

"The game provides our players the chance to get a first-hand look at a very good team in what is quickly becoming a very attractive league for our graduates to play in," Pierce continued. "It goes hand-in-hand with our approach towards promoting education for our players and I'd like to thank SFU general manager Jeff Dubois for reaching out to us and giving us this tremendous opportunity."

"We're looking forward to making the trip to Merritt and giving a couple of ex-Centennials on our roster the chance to face their old team," said SFU general manager Jeff Dubois. "It's also a good opportunity for fans in Merritt to see how good the calibre of play is in the BCIHL and leave a positive impression on some potential future recruits."

Former Centennials Forward Blair Riley Signs With ECHL's Chicago Express:

(Photo courtesy of Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Former Centennials forward Blair Riley (pictured above during last season's Phoenix Coyotes prospect camp) has signed a one-year deal as a free agent with the Chicago Express of the East Coast Hockey League.

Here's the posting from the Express website...

Express add Riley, Palm, Vermeulen
By: Bob Mills

Hoffman Estates, IL - The Chicago Express, proud member of the ECHL and proud affiliate of the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, announced today that LW Blair Riley, D Trent Palm, and F Travis Vermeulen have been added to the roster.

Riley, 25, spent the bulk of last season with the Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL) where he scored 20 goals, good enough for second on the Wranglers, and added 20 assists for 40 points. He also racked up 114 PIM in 59 games with the Wranglers. He played five playoff games with Las Vegas, scoring 4 goals and 5 points. The 6-0, 209 pound forward earned playing time with both the San Antonio Rampage and the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL last season, scoring a goal and adding two assists in 12 combined games with the two clubs.

From Kamloops, BC, he played four seasons at Ferris State University, where he amassed 87 points on 42 goals and 45 assists in 147 games. His best season came in 2009-10, when he led the Bulldogs in goals (18) and points (38) while finishing second in PIM (58) and third in assists (20). Before attending Ferris State, he skated three seasons in the BCHL, scoring 210 points (104g, 106a) in 180 games.

Penticton-Victoria Trade:

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Pinder's Vees blog)

Although not confirmed on either team's website or under the "Transactions" tab on the BCHL website, Penticton PBP voice Fraser Rodgers tweeted it and F Carter Rigby (94) is now listed on the Victoria roster, so the deal is done.

Here's how it breaks down...

To Victoria:
F Carter Rigby (94)

To Penticton:
Future Considerations

Salmon Arm-Woodstock Trade:

D Bennett Hambrook (92) is back in the BCHL after being acquired from the Woodstock Slammers of the Maritime Junior Hockey League for future considerations.

Hambrook was dealt to Woodstock earlier this off-season by Prince George in two separate deals that saw the Spruce Kings acquire F Nick Huard (91).

Here's how this latest deal shakes down...

To Salmon Arm:
D Bennett Hambrook (92)

To Woodstock:
Future Considerations

Cowichan Valley-Okotoks Trade:

(Photo courtesy of Bruce Campbell/OWW)

It hasn't been announced on either team's website, but the BCHL site reports that Cowichan Valley has traded F Jordan Clark (93) and future considerations to the AJHL's Okotoks Oilers for F Scott Bolland (92).

Here's how the deal breaks down...

To Cowichan Valley:
F Scott Bolland (92)

To Okotoks:
F Jordan Clark (93)

+ Future Considerations

Former Cents Defenceman Shane Oatway Commits to TRU WolfPack:

Former Centennials D Shane Oatway (90) has committed to the TRU WolfPack of the BCIHL for the 2011-12 season. Oatway played 67 games in Merritt during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons before being traded to Camrose. He had 12 points (3g, 9a) and 55 PIM in a Cents uniform.

Oatway is the eighth player to join the WolfPack who has played at least a game with the Centennials. Others include Anthony Manfredi, Jassi Sangha, Shane Mainprize, David Gore, Tyler Halliday, Lucas Daoust and Riley Wall.

Here's the release from the WolfPack website:


The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s hockey team has its fourth recruit for the 2011-12 BC Intercollegiate Hockey League Season.

Defenceman Shane Oatway (Kamloops, BC) has agreed to join the program for the coming year. “I wasn’t looking at other schools, “ the 6’0” player said. “ I had my heart set on going to TRU”.

Oatway split last season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League between the Drayton Valley Thunder and the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. He appeared in 57 regular season games in 2010-11 scoring four goals and adding 29 assists. He also had 81 penalty minutes. He played in 13 playoff games with the Barons and had three goals and four assists and six minutes in penalty time.

The year previous with Drayton Valley (2009-10), Oatway had nine goals and 17 assists in 52 games with 72 penalty minutes.

He also played with the Merritt Centennials of the BC Junior Hockey League in 2007-08.

Oatway played under current WolfPack general manager Chris Hans with the Thompson Blazers Major Midget team in 2006-07.

“My strengths as a player are my passing and the ability to read the play,” said the Sa-Hali Secondary Grad (2008). “I want to play in front of my friends and family.”

Oatway is in the Bachelor of Science program at TRU. He plans to take upgrading classes while deciding what degree to pursue.

“We are pleased to have Shane join our club,” said Hans. “ Shane is a complete defenceman. He is solid in his own end of the ice and brings good offensive skills. Shane is a hard working, honest, competitive hockey player who I expect will play a significant role on the hockey team this year.”

Oatway joins Mike McCance (Whistler, BC), Duncan Schulz (Kamloops, BC) and Shane Mainprize (Valemount, BC) as the other recruits committing to the WolfPack for 2011-12. The TRU training camp begins Tuesday September 7 th at Memorial Arena.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chilliwack Chiefs Announce 2011-12 Broadcast Team, Includes Former Cents Forward Cam Campbell:

I'm not sure what happened since the announcement earlier this summer that Randy Merkley would be back behind the mic in Chilliwack calling the Chiefs games this season, but the Chiefs (?) announced Merkley's replacement on their site.

I'm confused by the whole thing, because even on The Hawk's website, Merkley is still listed as their sports director.

Regardless, another young, fresh face joins the ranks of BCHL broadcasters with Marcus Fitzgerald taking over the Chiefs gig.

Collin M. also sent me a note to remind me that Cameron Campbell played two seasons here in Merritt, great to see a Centennials alumni in the broadcast booth. Campbell actually played with the Cents from 1992-94.

Here's the release from the Chiefs website...

Broadcast Team Announced
Friday, August 19, 2011

89.5 The Hawk is pleased to welcome Marcus Fitzgerald as Sports Director/News Reporter and Play-By-Play Host of the Chilliwack Chiefs. Marcus has spent the previous 4 years as Morning Co-Host, News & Sports Anchor, Hockey Color Analyst/fill in Play-By-Play Hostfor the Brooks Bandits Junior A Hockey team.

He has been extremely active in his community as an assistant coach to the St. Joseph's Collegiate Intermediate boys basketball team; involvement in the "Relay for Life" and the Southern Alberta Summer Games Opening Ceremonies.

Marcus has great natural talent and we look forward to what he will be bringing to the team.

Marcus was born and raised in Port Coquitlam, therefore he is very happy to be relocating to Chilliwack in early September.

The Chilliwack Chiefs are pleased to announce Cam Campbell as Colour Commentator on ALL Chilliwack Chiefs Broadcasts on 89.5 The Hawk.

Cam Campbell has an extensive hockey background that includes playing in the Chilliwack Minor Hockey system and for the 1994-95 Chilliwack Chiefs, who won a BCJHL Championship.

Cam has coached Minor Hockey for 17 years and was a Head Coach of the Abbotsford Pilots Jr. B team. He is currently the Head Instructor at Goal Line Hockey Training Centre and is a proud dad of two boys aged 9 and 12.

Glen Ringdal, President of the Chilliwack Chiefs and Kevin Gemmell, Station Manager of 89.5 The Hawk are pleased to bring a Professional and knowledgeable team to Chiefs Fans as 89.5 The Hawk carries ALL HOME and AWAY Chiefs Games for the 2011-2012 season.

Games will be heard Live on 89.5 The Hawk and Online at

Alex Rawnsley Hired as New Play-By-Play Voice of the Powell River Kings:

Although not confirmed on the Kings website just yet, it's been all over Twitter and now he's got a blog set up, that Alex Rawnsley is taking over the play-by-play duties of the Powell River Kings after Fraser Rodgers left to Penticton to take over for Ryan Pinder, who's off to the AHL's Abbotsford Heat.

Alex also has his own website and I'll get a link to his Kings blog over on the left side of this page soon. In the meantime, welcome to the BCHL full-time Alex and I look forward to meeting you when Powell River visits Merritt on Thursday, October 13th.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cents Cancel 2011 Alumni Golf Tournament:

As part of the planning committee, I'm choked that the Cents Alumni Golf Tournament has been canceled for this year, but think that with the franchise celebrating its' 40th consecutive season of BCHL hockey in Merritt in 2012, it should be a big one next year.

As the release states, if you're looking for more information about the alumni golf tournament, send a note to Cents Marketing Manager Rachael Sanders at

Here's the release from the Cents website...


Merritt, BC - August 19, 2011

The Merritt Centennials announced today that they have reluctantly been forced to cancel their upcoming Alumni Golf Tournament scheduled for Saturday, August 27th.

Only a handful of alumni were able to attend the event and the Centennials would like to formally apologize to all those who have already signed up.

The Cents will now focus their efforts on the 2012 Alumni Golf Tournament as the team celebrates its’ 40th consecutive season of junior ‘A’ hockey in the BC Hockey League. An announcement for the 2012 Tournament will be released as soon as the date is confirmed.

Please be sure to check the Centennials website at for updates on the pending 2012 tournament.

For more information, please contact Cents Marketing Manager Rachael Sanders at 250-378-3604 or

Cents Announce Need for Arena Staff Volunteers:

The Cents are looking for volunteers once again this season, especially in a security capacity. Volunteering is a great way to contribute to our community and looks great on a resume!

Here's from the Cents website...


Merritt, BC - August 19, 2011

The Merritt Centennials would like to announce an immediate need for arena staff volunteers for the upcoming 2011-12 season.

"We require a committed group of individuals to ensure safety and enjoyment for all who attend Cents home games, including players and officials," said Cents Director of Security Nik Vischschraper. "BC Hockey League standards require a distinct group of personnel on hand for games and the Cents faces strict consequences if these standards are not met."

"As a result, we're looking for people who are looking for a great way to be involved with the team, enjoy working with people and have experience with crowd control," Vischschraper continued.

"We would like to improve upon last year's security team by setting a high standard of conduct at our games." Vischschraper adds. " We are looking for well-qualified, responsible volunteers who are willing to dedicate a few hours on select nights to the Centennials organization.

Vischschraper encourages anyone who is interested to contact him at 250-315-3171 prior to Wednesday August 31st, but also notes that it's a serious responsibility and not just "free admission" to the game.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cowichan Valley Signs QMJHL Veteran Matt Brown:

Photo courtesy of René Baillargeon, Le Journal de Québec

The Cowichan Valley Capitals have filled one of their import spots and 20-year-old spots with F Matt Brown (91), who has four years of experience in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with Moncton and Quebec.

Here's an article from the Truro Daily News confirming the move...

Brown to skate in BCHL this season
Published on August 18, 2011 - Joey Smith RSS Feed

Bearcats miss out on experienced major junior forward

TRURO - Matthew Brown aspires to play professional hockey and feels a season in the heavily scouted British Columbia Hockey League will give him the best opportunity to attain that goal.

As a result, Brown, 20, will suit up with the Cowichan Valley Capitals of the 16-team BCHL for his final season of junior hockey.

"I kind of wanted to go with the best opportunity to play pro," said Brown, an Upper Brookside native. "It's my last year of junior and my agent (Al Roy) felt this would be the best opportunity as far as professional exposure goes. There's some NHL scouting out here and (other) professional scouting and that's kind of something that was a decisive factor in the whole situation."

Brown has played the past four seasons in the Quebec major junior league for two teams. He was drafted by the Moncton Wildcats in 2007 and was traded to the Quebec Remparts in January 2010.

He said his first option this season was to return to the Q-league. However, teams are permitted to keep just three 20-year-olds, and with an abundance of overage players available this season, Brown found himself exploring other options before settling on Cowichan.

"They told me they want me to come out here and put up points and be one of the go-to guys, so there's not much more you can ask for as far as a nice spot to play and the position that I'm going to be in," said Brown, who landed in B.C. on Tuesday.

Brown said he gave serious consideration to skating this season for his hometown Truro junior A Bearcats after playing for Bearcats coach and GM Shawn Evans at a tournament in Massachusetts this summer.

"I was talking with Shawn a lot over the summer and I was definitely keeping Truro in mind," said Brown.

Evans said he tried hard to convince Brown to play in Truro and is "very disappointed" he didn't land the six-foot, 195-pound centre.

"Matt would have done many things for our program and for our town," Evans said.

"But at the same time, Matt's still a player that has the right to go play and make the decisions that he feels are best for him."

Cowichan finished last in the eight-team Coastal Conference last season and missed the playoffs. Brown, who had six goals and 19 points in the Q last season, said he looks forward to the challenge of helping the Capitals return to the post-season.

"They really want to get back and I'm going to be playing a key role, so I'm really excited for that," he said.

Brown will make his new home in Duncan, B.C., a city located halfway between Victoria and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

"It's unreal," he said. "The scenery is absolutely beautiful out here and the people that I've met so far are just awesome."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Victoria Royals Add Former Cents Coach Enio Sacilotto as Assistant Coach:

The Victoria Royals have retained Enio Sacilotto as an assistant coach after he served in the same capacity last season when the team was in Chilliwack.

Sacilotto was one of three coaches (along with Chuck Tapp and Roddy Rodgers) behind the Merritt bench during the dismal 1983-84 season. The year was the Centennials worst in franchise history, with a record of 8-51-1. The team's goals-against was 543 or an average of 9 (!) per game, which still stands as a BCHL record.

Here's the release from the Royals website:

Victoria adds Sacilotto, Cooper and Didmon.

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Victoria, BC – The Victoria Royals are pleased to announce that they have added Enio (EN-yo) Sacilotto (Sach-i-LAH-toe), Ben Cooper and Craig Didmon to their coaching staff for the 2011-12 season.

Sacilotto has 21 years of coaching experience with his most recent as an assistant coach with the Chilliwack Bruins last season. The 53-year-old will now join the former Bruins franchise in Victoria for his second season with the team.

“We are very happy to welcome back Enio into the fold for this season,” General Manager and Head Coach Marc Habscheid said. “He has a plethora of experience that he will bring to the arena every day. From a continuity standpoint this is large for both the players and myself to have someone we have worked with previously.”

The Vancouver, BC native’s coaching exploits have taken him around world. He has been a head coach for 20 seasons including stops in professional leagues in Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Denmark and England.

Sacilotto has previously spent time in the junior ranks as a head coach and general manager in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) with the Penticton Vees for three seasons, and one year in Croatia coaching their U-20 and U-18 teams.

Victoria Royals Pleased to Add Former Cents Colour Commentator Marlon Martens as Radio Voice:

The Victoria Royals made it official today, announcing former Cents colour commentator and Merritt Broadcasting Ltd. Program Manager Marlon Martens as the WHL's teams new play-by-play announcer. Marlon played a role in hiring me here in Merritt and I took over the Morning Show and Program Manager duties when he moved on to Lethbridge back in 2002.

Here's the release from the Royals website:


Victoria and The Zone @ 91.3 welcome veteran play-by-play voice

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Victoria, BC – The Victoria Royals and radio broadcast partner The Zone @ 91.3 are pleased to welcome Marlon Martens as the new play-by-play voice for the upcoming 2011-12 season.

Martens arrives in Victoria after providing play-by-play coverage for the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes from 2005 until 2007. Prior to moving into the play-by-play seat, Martens provided colour commentary for the team.

The Langley, B.C. native began calling games for the British Columbia Hockey League’s (BCHL) Burnaby Bulldogs while attending the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Martens first went on-air at Radio NL in Merritt, where he eventually became Program Manager, while also providing colour commentary for the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

UPDATE: Powell River-Pembroke Trade:

We now know what Powell River gave up to acquire RBC Cup winning goaltender Jamie Phillips from Pembroke.

The BCHL website reports this morning that F Mike Sones (92) and future considerations are off to the Lumber Kings as the deal is now official after being reported here last week.

So here's how it breaks down...

To Powell River:
G Jamie Phillips (93)

To Pembroke:
F Mike Sones (92)

Future Considerations

Cents Looking for Billet Families for 2011-12 Season:

The Cents are on the lookout for billet families once again this season.

Here's from the team's website:


Merritt, BC - August 15, 2011

The Merritt Centennials Billet Family Program plays a major role in our team's success both on and off the ice. It takes special people to open their homes and hearts to our players and we take the utmost care to ensure our players are placed in environments that are conductive to care, understanding and safety.

We ask that our players be treated like any other member of your family. It is important that the player respects the rules of his billet family and the billet family respects the rules of the hockey club. The values and principles for success that are essential to become a member of the Merritt Centennials will be demanded at the rink, in the home, in the community and in school.

· Single or double bed per player
· Dresser and closet space
· Towels and shower supplies are responsibility of billet family
· Players may share a room with another player, but not with billet family members
· Laundry and mending are usually done by the billet family, but the player is encouraged to help
· Dry cleaning is player's responsibility
· Long distance phone calls are player's responsibility
· Parking space is required for players' car (if applicable)
· A desk or table with adequate lighting for school work
· A computer with Internet access

The Merritt Centennials currently provide the following benefits to our billet families:

· A monthly stipend to help cover costs
· A full 30-game season ticket for each family member living in the household

If you and your family are interested in hosting a Centennials player and would like some more information, please contact Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce at 378-3607 or email

Former Cents AP Scott Morisseau Traded in the KIJHL for Former Cents Tryout Josh McGladery:

Former Centennials affiliate player F Scott Morisseau (91) has been traded in the KIJHL from Fernie to Castlegar for F Josh McGladery (92) and future considerations.

Morisseau played two games with the Cents during the 2009-10 season, posting two goals. McGladery was with the Cents through training camp and the exhibition season last year before being released and ultimately joining the Rebels.

Here's how the deal breaks down...

To Castlegar:
F Scott Morisseau (91)

To Fernie:
F Josh McGladery (92) + Future Considerations

Here's the release from the Rider News blog (over on the left):

The Fernie Ghostriders have traded the CHA playing rights of Scott Morisseau, 1991 to the Castlegar Rebels for Josh McGladery and future considerations. We wish Scott the best of luck with his new team and thank you for his time in Fernie.

Josh skates very well and is very hard to play against. McGladery who is 5'10, 180 Pounds and shoots left, will suit up on the blue line for your Riders. Josh played forward this past season yet he has played many years on the blue-line and he will bring a much needed toughness and confidence to our defense core. Josh is planning on attending a Junior 'A' camp and we wish him well with his tryout for Junior 'A.' Welcome to Fernie.

Interview With Cents Coach & GM Luke Pierce:

I had the chance to chat with Centennials Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce about a range of topics late last week.

I asked Luke about a multitude of things, including training camp, the Cents first exhibition game in 100 Mile House, the defection of Max Vallis to the USHL, his thoughts on trades between now and the start of the season and more.

Cents Release Training Camp Schedule:

I missed posting this on the blog last week, but the Centennials have released their training camp schedule, which starts a week from Sunday.


Merritt, BC - Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce their 2011-12 Training Camp schedule. (Subject to change without notice).

Sunday, Aug. 28
1 – 2 p.m. - Camp Orientation @ Nicola Valley Memorial Arena
3 – 4:15 p.m. - Team Red Fitness Test
4:30 – 5:45 p.m. - Team White Fitness Test

Monday, Aug. 29
8:30 – 10 a.m. - Red Practice
10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. - White Practice
12 – 1 p.m. - Lunch (Arena Mezzanine)
1 – 2:30 p.m. - Player Interviews (with select players)
7– 9:30 p.m. - Red vs. White Inter-squad Game

Tuesday, Aug. 30
10 – 11 a.m. - Losing Team Practice
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. - Winning Team Practice
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. - Lunch (Arena Mezzanine)
7 – 7:45 p.m. - Team White 3 on 3
8 – 8:45 p.m. - Team Red 3 on 3

Wednesday, Aug. 31
9 – 10:15 a.m. - White Practice
10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. - Red Practice
12 – 1 p.m. - Lunch (Arena Mezzanine)
1 – 3 p.m. - Player Interviews (with select players)
7 – 9:30 p.m. - Red vs. White Inter-squad Game

Thursday, Sept. 1
9 – 10 a.m. - Losing Team Releases
10 – 11 a.m. - Winning Team Releases
12 – 12:30 p.m. - Lunch (Arena Mezzanine – Remaining Players Only)
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. - Group Meeting with Remaining Players
3 – 5 p.m. - Practice
5:30 – 6:30 p.m. - Team Run

Friday, Sept. 2
10 – 10:45 a.m. - Pre-game Skate
11 – 11:45 a.m. - Skate for Players Not Dressing
1:30 p.m. - Depart for 100 Mile House
3 p.m. - Pre-game Meal in Clinton
7 p.m. - Exhibition Game in 100 Mile House vs. Prince George Spruce Kings

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nanaimo-Grande Prairie Trade:

For the second time in three days, D Scott Milnthorp (92) is on the move as Nanaimo traded him to Grande Prairie of the AJHL today for future considerations.

Milnthorp is now with his third team this off-season after being acquired by Prince George as futures from an earlier deal with Grande Prairie and then moved to Nanaimo in last week's trade between the Clippers and Spruce Kings that saw the Fitzgerald triplets among others move to PG.

Milnthorp is obviously no stranger to GP as he was moved there last October by the Cents in the three way trade between the Storm and Victoria. I'll admit I'm a bit surprised by this move though, because Clippers coach and GM Mike Vandekamp obviously traded for Milnthorp last season, so I thought that he would have found a home in Nanaimo after Vandekamp traded for him again. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors though, maybe Milnthorp didn't want to leave northern Alberta in the first place and wasn't going to report to the Clippers. I have no idea if that's true, but it could be.

Regardless, here's how the latest move breaks down...

To Grande Prairie:
D Scott Milnthorp (92)

To Nanaimo:
Future Considerations

UPDATED: Salmon Arm-Drumheller Trade:

The Silverbacks and Drumheller Dragons hooked up on a trade for the second time in three days, with Salmon Arm acquiring F Mike Betz (92) for future considerations.

The question is, how did Drumheller end up with the rights to Betz after he was dealt earlier this summer from Penticton to the OJHL's Markham Waxers in the deal that brought Brandon Tanev to the Vees? (And ultimately Travis St. Denis since that's who Penticton got when it flipped Tanev to Cowichan Valley).

Thanks to Trail PBP man Chris Wahl (check out his blog on the left there) for pointing out that the AJHL's Grande Prairie Storm picked up Betz from Markham and then flipped him to the Calgary Canucks.

So there's still obviously another deal yet to be announced here that sees Betz move from Calgary to Drumheller, but because that doesn't involve BCHL teams, I won't get into it here unless it turns out that it does.

What does matter is that Betz is back in the BCHL after a whirlwind summer that's seen his rights with SIX teams. This move has been confirmed on the BCHL website.

Here's how the trade shakes down...

To Salmon Arm:
F Michael Betz (92)

To Drumheller:
Future Considerations
To Markham:

UPDATED: Prince George-Salmon Arm-Drumheller Trade:

We now know how Drumheller ended up with the rights to F Paul De Jersey (92).

Again, although neither team site shows the trade, the BCHL website announced earlier today that Salmon Arm moved De Jersey to Drumheller for D Matt Brown (91). Then the Dragons flipped De Jersey to Prince George for future considerations.

So the revised trade breaks down like this...

To Prince George:
F Paul De Jersey (92)

To Salmon Arm:
D Matt Brown (91)

To Drumheller:
Future Considerations

The deal also gives the Silverbacks the maximum number of 1991-born players on their roster although there are plenty of rumours flying that D Josh Manson (91) won't be back. Those rumours haven't been confirmed though.

Salmon Arm-Surrey Trade:

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Surrey Eagles have hooked up on a trade that sees D Doug Wedel (92) move the Backs for future considerations.

There's no announcement on either team's website, but the deal is listed on the BCHL site.

To Salmon Arm:
D Doug Wedel (92)

To Surrey:
Future Considerations

Friday, August 12, 2011

Prince George-Salmon Arm-Drumheller Trade:

I'm not sure what the Salmon Arm Silverbacks get in return in this deal, but in the Spruce Kings announcing all of their trades today, they mentioned that PG has acquired F Paul De Jersey (92) from the AJHL's Drumheller Dragons for future considerations.

I can't find any record anywhere, either on the Dragons website or the Silverbacks site, of De Jersey's rights being moved to Drumheller, but obviously there is another deal here that we're unaware of, or else Prince George wouldn't have been able to acquire the 19-year-old.

As I know it, here's how the deal breaks down...

To Prince George:
F Paul De Jersey (92)

To Drumheller:
Future Considerations

Prince George-Trail Trade:

The second deal of the day sees the Spruce Kings pick up D Ben Matthews (91) from the Trail Smoke Eaters for F Todd Skirving (92).

Here are the details on this deal...

To Prince George:
D Ben Matthews (91)

To Trail:
F Todd Skirving (92)

There's no release from the Trail side, but the Spruce Kings have summarized all of today's moves on their website:

Six New Players Including a Set of Triplets
Friday, 12 August 2011


PRINCE GEORGE, BC – The Prince George Spruce Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) are excited to announce the completion of three separate player trades that will make a significant change to the team’s 2011-12 roster. Coming to the Spruce Kings are Paul DeJersey, Ben Matthews, Myles Fitzgerald, Leo Fitzgerald, Gerry Fitzgerald and Jesse Ursic.

Paul De Jersey is a ’92 born right handed forward that was acquired in exchange for future considerations from the Drumheller Dragons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). De Jersey is no stranger to the BCHL having played the previous three seasons with the Coquitlam Express and most recently with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

Ben Matthews is a 6' 4" 210lbs 20 year old defenceman from Chugiak, Alaska. Matthews was acquired from the Trail Smoke Eaters in exchange for Todd Skirving. In two seasons with the Smoke Eaters, Matthews has played in 107 games with a record of 8 goals, 23 assists and 130 penalty minutes.

In a four for three player trade with the Nanaimo Clippers, the Spruce Kings acquired the playing rights of the Fitzgerald triplets - Myles, Leo and Gerry who are all 150 lbs 5'7" 17 year old forwards. Have played most of their rookie seasons on the same line together, the Fitzgerald triplets combined for 172 games, 25 goals, 42 assists and 74 minutes in penalties. Also in the trade is 6'4" 200lbs 17 year old defenceman Jesse Ursic who played in 42 games in his rookie season. Going the other way is Trevor Fitzgerald (no relation to the triplets), Josh Bryan and Scott Milnthorp.

Nanaimo-Prince George Trade:

Prince George Spruce Kings GM Mike Hawes had a busy day on Friday, making three separate deals to shore up his team.

The biggest move was acquiring F Myles Fitzgerald (93), F Gerry Fitzgerald (93), F Leo Fitzgerald (93) and D Jesse Ursic (93) from Nanaimo for F Trevor Fitzgerald (92), D Josh Bryan (93) and D Scott Milnthorp (91).

Milnthorp was Merritt Centennials property for a brief time in October of last season after being acquired from Victoria along with D Brett Kolins (92) and future considerations for F Dustin Johnson (90). The Cents flipped Milnthorp and the rights to D Austin Baecker (92) to the AJHL`s Grande Prairie Storm for G Lino Chimienti (91).

In case you're wondering how Milnthorp ended up with the Spruce Kings, it's because he was part of the future considerations in the trade that saw F Derek Henderson (90) go to the Storm at the deadline last season.

Trevor Fitzgerald, meanwhile, became PG property as the future considerations from the Ryan Renz deal with Vernon. In fact, Fitzgerald had been suspended by the Spruce Kings for refusing to report to them.

Regardless, here's how today's deal breaks down...

To Prince George:
F Myles Fitzgerald (93)

F Leo Fitzgerald (93)

F Gerry Fitzgerald (93)

D Jesse Ursic (93)

To Nanaimo:
F Trevor Fitzgerald (92)

D Josh Bryan (93)

D Scott Milnthorp (91)

Here's the release from the Clippers website:

Clippers swap Fitzgeralds with Spruce Kings
Published: Friday, August 12, 2011

The Nanaimo Clippers have acquired Forward Trevor Fitzgerald as well as Defensemen Josh Bryan and Scott Milnthorp from The Prince George Spruce Kings, in exchange for Jesse Ursic, Leo, Myles and Gerry Fitzgerald.

The Nanaimo Clippers would like to thank Jesse, Leo, Myles and Gerry for their contribution to our Club and would like to welcome Trevor, Josh and Scott to the Community of Nanaimo.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Powell River-Pembroke Trade:

I've yet to hear what the Kings gave up in this trade, but I can confirm the deal that sees Powell River pick up RBC Cup winning G Jamie Phillips (93) from the CJHL's Pembroke Lumber Kings.

Here's how the deal breaks down as I know it so far. I'll update this once I know the details.

To Powell River:
G Jamie Phillips

To Pembroke:

Here's a profile of Phillips by a local TV station in Ontario:

He certainly seems to have a great potential after putting up some impressive numbers in the CJHL, it'll be interesting to see if he's able to translate it to success in the BCHL.