Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Salmon Arm Fires Assistant Coach Dan Cioffi:

This is posted on Salmon Arm's website:

SilverBacks Make Coaching Change

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks wish to announce that they have made a coaching change. They have released Associate Coach Dan Cioffi from his position effective immediately. “My vision for this hockey club differs from Dan’s an enormous amount. I feel that our club needed to have one unified vision and we needed to make this change in order to accomplish our goal. As an organization we wish Dan all the best and thank him for the time he spent in Salmon Arm” stated Head Coach and General Manager Colin O’Hara.

The SilverBacks have promoted Jayson Reardon to fill the vacant position. Jayson recently played for Coach O’Hara and is very familiar with the expectations that are put in front of this group. “Jayson still has a fire and passion for this team, community and league. He understands where this group should be and that the work ahead needs to be unified” said Coach O’Hara

Weekly Recap With Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce:

Cents Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce joined me on the Q101 Morning Show earlier this week to talk about the protest of Westside's roster for last Wednesday's game, the home-and-home weekend series with Prince George and any potential moves ahead of tomorrow's December 1st roster cut-down deadline.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The End of the Doyle Cup:

As was confirmed on Dan Marshall's Clippers radio show on 106.9 The Wolf tonight, 2012 represents the last year the BCHL and AJHL champions will face off for the Doyle Cup.

It's also the last year that the SJHL and MJHL champions compete for the Avanet Cup.

Starting in 2013, the five team tournament will be a Memorial Cup style format, except it'll feature the four league champions from the BCHL, AJHL, SJHL and MJHL, plus the host team.

It's already been determined that a BCHL team will host the inaugural tournament from April 26 - May 5, 2013. Teams around the circuit have until December 15 to submit a hosting bid, with Nanaimo owner Ken Wagner being the first to go public with the Clippers desire to host.

Word is that the top two teams in the Western Canadian Junior A Championship would advance to the RBC National Junior A Championship, which is in Summerside, PEI.

The Centennials won the predecessor to Doyle Cup -- the Pacific Centennials Cup -- in 1978.

Here's a list of previous Doyle Cup winners:

1985 - Penticton Knights
1986 - Penticton Knights
1987 - Richmond Sockeyes
1988 - Calgary Canucks
1989 - Vernon Lakers
1990 - New Westminster Royals
1991 - Vernon Lakers
1992 - Vernon Lakers
1993 - Kelowna Spartans
1994 - Olds Grizzlys
1995 - Calgary Canucks
1996 - Vernon Vipers
1997 - South Surrey Eagles
1998 - South Surrey Eagles
1999 - Vernon Vipers
2000 - Fort McMurray Oil Barons
2001 - Camrose Kodiaks
2002 - Chilliwack Chiefs
2003 - Camrose Kodiaks
2004 - Nanaimo Clippers
2005 - Camrose Kodiaks
2006 - Burnaby Express
2007 - Camrose Kodiaks
2008 - Camrose Kodiaks
2009 - Vernon Vipers
2010 - Vernon Vipers
2011 - Vernon Vipers
2012 - TBD

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Penticton-Salmon Arm Trade:

(Bryce Gervais is the newest member of the Penticton Vees)

On the heels of a pretty big trade last week between the Vees and Silverbacks, the future considerations involved in the deal have been revealed. The original deal was F Myles McCauley (91), F Garrett Hendrickson (92) and futures from Penticton to Salmon Arm for futures.

Thanks to the power of the internet, the particulars of the future considerations are becoming public sooner than the parties involved wanted.

Fraser Rodgers has the deets on his blog (over there on the left), but essentially the completion of F Bryce Gervais (92) moving to Penticton was supposed to announced on Monday after he played this weekend for Salmon Arm. After the deal was leaked online (on the BCHL Message Board among other places), Fred Harbinson felt it necessary to inform D Shane Hanna (94) that he would be the Vees player joining the Silverbacks in the trade.

The trade officially breaks down like this:

To Penticton:
F Bryce Gervais (92)

To Salmon Arm:
D Shane Hanna (94)

F Myles McCauley (91)

F Garrett Hendrickson (92)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Centennials Continue Their Winning Ways:

This was is Thursday's Merritt Herald:

Centennials continue their winning ways

By Ian Webster - Merritt Herald
Published: November 10, 2011 1:00 PM
Updated: November 10, 2011 1:52 PM

The Merritt Centennials racked up three more wins this past week – two of them in overtime - to maintain their strong third place position in the BCHL’s Interior Conference standings.

The Cents (22) currently sit just two points back of second place Vernon (24) and only four points behind division-leading Penticton (26).

More importantly, Merritt is beginning to create some breathing space between themselves and the chasing pack. In a fourth-place tie, Chilliwack and Prince George (17) now sit five points in arrears, while Westside (16) is another point back in sixth. At the bottom of the heap are Salmon Arm (12) and Trail (9).

Last Wednesday, in Salmon Arm, a dramatic overtime goal by 20-year-old centre Chad Brears lifted the Centennials to a 3-2 victory over the Silverbacks. The game winner came just 45 seconds into the first period of OT on a great scoring play by the team’s number one forward line of Brears, Evan Stack and Regan Soquila.

Other Cents’ goals on the night were netted by Brent Fletcher and Brendan Lamont in a span of four minutes at the beginning of the second period. It was 17-year-old Lamont’s first goal in the BCHL and a fitting start to a stellar week of play by the über-talented rookie.

Between the pipes, Merritt netminder Tyler Steel was as solid as a rock in turning aside 26 of 28 shots and giving up only one even-strength goal.

Friday night’s rematch between the Cents and Backs at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena was every bit as exciting as Wednesday’s game, especially since the result turned out the same: a 3-2 win for the Centennials, and Brears once again the last-goal hero.

On a night that saw plenty of rubber directed at both goalies (the Cents’ Lino Chimienti and the Backs’ Kurt Williams), the two teams traded goals evenly through the first 40 minutes. Scoring for Merritt were Payton Schaefer in the first period and Brears in the second, while Bryce Gervais and Kody Dhaliwal replied for the visiting Apes.

With time winding down in the third, and another round of overtime seemingly imminent, Brears latched onto a pass from defenseman Richard Sabourin and wired a wicked shot from the left face-off dot past Williams for the game winner.

Chimienti held the fort for the remaining 3:38 of regulation, and the Cents skated off with their second win in three nights over the Silverbacks.

If the two wins over Salmon Arm were the appetizer and the entrée on the weekend menu, then Saturday night’s 3-2 victory over the first-place Vees, in Penticton no less, was indeed the dessert.

The win was especially delicious given that the Cents had not won in the Lakeside city in almost six years – a span of 18 games.

Merritt got off to a great start in Penticton, scoring the game’s first two goals at timely points of the opening stanza. Hard-working Evan Stack tallied at the 5:27 mark on the powerplay, then Billy Marshall added another with just 30 seconds remaining in the period.

The Cents continued to dominate through a scoreless second period, but let things slip in the third. A pair of powerplay goals by Connor Reilly and Grant Nicholson, the latter with less than a minute remaining, evened things on the scoreboard and sent the contest into extra innings.

Victims of an OT loss to the Vees on the same ice one week earlier, the Cents were not about to have history repeat itself in a span of seven days.

Merritt came out four-on-four with guns ablazing, and were promptly rewarded. A tenacious forecheck by Fletcher behind the Vees’ net resulted in a turnover. The 19-year-old Pitt Meadows native fed the biscuit to a pinching Richard Sabourin, and the blueliner made no mistake, putting the puck smartly past Pen stopper Michael Garteig for the victory.

The Cents will be looking to make it four in a row this coming Friday when they host the Prince George Spruce Kings for the first time this season. Game time is 7:30 pm.

Five-On-Five, The Cents Are a Force to be Reckoned With:

This was in Thursday's Merritt Herald:

Five-on-five, the Cents are a force to be reckoned with

By Ian Webster - Merritt Herald
Published: November 10, 2011 1:00 PM
Updated: November 10, 2011 1:49 PM

Even strength, the Merritt Centennials​ might just be one of the best teams in the BCHL right now.

The Cents are currently on a three-game win streak, following victories over Salmon Arm (twice) and Penticton in the past eight days. They also own a record of 8-1-0-1 in their last 10 games, the best in Canada’s top Junior A league.

To top things off, the Merritt Centennials were an honorable mention in this week’s Canadian Junior Hockey League nationwide Top-20 rankings, a distinction that has eluded a Cents’ team for close to a decade.

The one ‘fly in the ointment’ so to speak has been the (mis)play of Merritt’s special teams. With the man advantage or disadvantage, the Cents have been horrific. If the team can ever get its powerplay and penalty kill on track, it is almost scary to think how good this year’s squad could be.

The numbers simply don’t lie when it comes to odd-man situations. Thus far this season, the Cents have just 13 powerplay tallies in 75 opportunities for a mediocre 17.3% efficiency rating (fourth worst in the league).

Even more telling, the Centennials have given up 25 goals in 90 occasions when they were down one or more players for a league-worst 72.2% PK.

Turn the numbers around and you can see just how good this year’s Centennials are when playing their opposition even up. Of Merritt’s 56 goals scored in 18 games, 43 have been at even strength for a rating of 76.8% (second best in the league). Of the 62 total goals scored against them, Merritt has only allowed 37 while at even strength for an impressive stat of 59.7%, almost five percentage points better than any other team.

Monday, November 7, 2011

BCHL Team Reports:

This is posted on the Hockey Now website:

November 04, 2011
Posted in BC Edition, Junior A

By Brent Mutis /

Only four teams are making the playoffs in each conference this season in the BCHL and nothing is a sure bet so far as just four points separate first from sixth in the Coastal Conference and there are just three points between third and sixth in the Interior Conference. There seems to be better balance throughout the league this year as just four teams lack a winning record and scoring looks to be on the rise as 37 players are averaging better than a point per game.


Chilliwack Chiefs
The Chiefs aren’t a real high scoring bunch but are stingy, with a conference-low 38 goals against. Mitch Gillam is becoming a star in goal after moving west from Ontario while Malcolm Gould and David Bondra, son of Peter, have been point-a-game players.

Merritt Centennials
Allowing more goals than you score isn’t a recipe for success but the Cents are making it work in the meantime as they sit third in the Interior. Only Regan Soquila is over a point per game but Reece Willcox, Brandon Pfeil and Billy Marshall are a good blueline corps with the latter two also being in the top five in team scoring.

Penticton Vees
The Vees have, hands down, the most potent offence in the league at better than five goals a game. It’s no surprise Minnesota Wild second-rounder Mario Lucia leads the way with 29 points in 14 games but Travis St. Denis is right behind. Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Mike Reilly leads BCHL defencemen with 10 goals and 21 points.

Prince George Spruce Kings
One of the true good news stories of the early part of the season has been the turnaround in the North. The Spruce Kings won just 13 games last year but with Paul De Jersey busting out big time (28 points in 13 games), Jujhar Khaira’s game on the rise and Michael Colantone contributing, PG has a legit shot to be a playoff team this season.

Salmon Arm SilverBacks
A big turnover of personnel on the blueline seems to be troubling the ’Backs in the early going as there are five new faces on the back end. The forward group of Brett Knowles, Bryce Gervais, Devin Muller and Morgan Zulinick have been pretty reliable to score but they haven’t been able to outscore the 4.29 goals against per game the team is allowing.

Trail Smoke Eaters
After three of the top scorers in the league last year – Sam Mellor, Scott Jacklin and Travis St. Denis – moved on to college or other teams, the Smokies have a bit of an identity crisis. Head coach Bill Birks moved goalie Matt Larose for defensive help but then had to ship rearguard Rajan Sidhu to Alberta to get another goalie in James D’Andrea. Trail has a league-worst 72 goals against.

Vernon Vipers
A 7-0 start had the Snakes atop the standings early but they’ve since cooled to a 9-4 mark. A roster numbers crunch forced the team to release captain Patrick McGillis and the team has been spiraling since. Defencemen Luke Juha and Brett Corkey were away for Team Canada West tryouts and an extended absence could mean more trouble.

Westside Warriors
Connor Dempsey has been a good find as was Seb Lloyd until a broken collarbone put him on the 60-day disabled list. Tyler Krause is enjoying a breakout season while newcomer Steven Racine has been good in net. The team recently dealt defenceman Brayden Sherbinin to Cowichan Valley for Josh Monk who played for head coach Rylan Ferster when both were in Salmon Arm.


Alberni Valley Bulldogs
The ‘Dogs partnered with the Trail Smoke Eaters Oct. 20 in the biggest player transaction of the year so far, moving defencemen Marley Keca, Tanner Hicks and forward Tanner House in exchange for defenceman Daniel Delbianco and goalie Matt Larose who’s been great since the move.

Coquitlam Express
Head coach Jon Calvano will be happy to see the calendar flip over as the Express finished October with four straight losses. Still, Coquitlam is just a game below .500 and seems to have a gem in Alexander Kerfoot who has 15 points in 12 games as a 17-year-old.

Cowichan Valley Capitals
Tied for the final playoff spot at the start of the week, the Caps are playing good hockey but have seenNanaimo and Victoria get hot recently to move past them. Devin Gannon continues to provide leadership and scoring while Troy Paterson has offered good support from the blueline.

Langley Rivermen
Rollercoasters are more consistent than the Rivermen have been so far this season. They beat Alberni Valley 7-1 Oct. 15 only to lose to Victoria by the same score next game. Darnell Dyck and Mario Puskarich have shown flashes but the team is last in the conference with a two-goal-per-game average.

Nanaimo Clippers
October finished well for the Clips with a four-game winning streak that saw goalie Billy Faust play stellar in net in each of those victories. Nanaimo is getting scoring by committee with Kyle Kramer having a breakout year and Andrew Gladiuk, Brett Hartskamp, Trevor Fitzgerald and Graeme McCormack chipping in.

Powell River Kings
There’s a real test ahead for the Kings as head coach Kent Lewis is away coaching Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge and four players were away at the tryout camp. But they’re back atop their familiar perch in the Coastal Conference as Cohen Adair and Craig Dalrymple have been great.

Surrey Eagles
Tyler Morley has been a dynamo for Surrey, leading the team in goals and points while Andrew Hunt has provided excellent goaltending with the second-best save percentage in the league. It’s been a pretty good recipe but some more secondary scoring is probably top of the list of priorities.

Victoria Grizzlies
A slow start has given way to a torrid pace lately for the Grizz as Jarryd Ten Vaanholt, Wesley Myron and Wade Murphy really found their offensive game until Myron was sidelined. The addition of Mike Moran from Penticton has also been beneficial but the 63 goals against is worst in the conference.

Centennials Hand Vees First Home Loss:

This was posted on yesterday:

Centennials hand Vees first home loss
by Contributed - Story: 66965
Nov 6, 2011 / 10:03 am

The Penticton Vees suffered their first home loss of the 2011-2012 season on Saturday, a 3-2 overtime victory for the Merritt Centennials. It’s the first win in Penticton for the Cents’ since February 5th, 2005.

Merritt would open the scoring for the second straight game against the Vees when Evan Stack struck on the power-play at 5:27 of the first period.

The Centennials added one more before the period was out when Billy Marshall’s wrist shot eluded starter Chad Katunar on the blocker side.

Penticton would start to find their legs in the second period, coinciding with a goaltending change, as Mike Garteig came in to replace Katunar to start the second.

Despite creating numerous scoring chances off the rush and cycle the Vees were unable to solve Merritt netminder Tyler Steel in the second frame; including several chances by Joey Benik on the power-play.

The Vees weren’t discouraged as they continued their strong play into the third period and were rewarded on the power-play. Connor Reilly had his slap-shot deflect of Centennials defenseman, Billy Marshall and past Steel at 4:50.

The goal seemed to give the Vees life as they continued to pressure the Cents’ who seemed to fall back on their heels, trying to cling to a one goal lead.
Penticton would find the equalizer in dramatic fashion late in the third period. With Tyler Steel being assessed a delay of game penalty; the Vees pulled the goalie for a 6-on-4 power-play in the final minute of the third.

In a scramble after a Joey Benik point-shot, Grant Nicholson, from behind the net, banked the puck off Steel and in for the tying goal at 19:30.

For the second straight meeting the two teams would have to decide the outcome in overtime.

Early in the four-on-four overtime session, Brent Fletcher intercepted a puck behind the Vees net and centered a pass in the slot for Richard Sabourin, who screamed a one-timer past Garteig’s glove for the game-winning-goal at 1:17.

-Fraser Rodgers

Former Cents AP Casey Rogers Traded From Okotoks to Olds in AJHL:

D Casey Rogers (92), who played eight games with the Cents as an affiliate player during the 2009-10 season, has been traded in the AJHL from the Okotoks Oilers to the Olds Grizzlys.

Here's the line on Rogers, as you can see, he's bounced around a bit since his brief time in Merritt.

Cents Garner Honourable Mention in CJHL Top 20 Rankings:

Vees in top 3, Vipers stay, Cents get mention in weekly poll

Monday, November 7, 2011 - Submitted by CJHL Network

The Canadian Junior Hockey League today announced its Weekly Top 20 rankings. Last week’s rankings and the leagues in which the teams belong to are in parenthesis.

The weekly rankings are selected in consultation with NHL Central Scouting and are proudly presented by

1. Woodstock Slammers(MHL) (1)
2. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (4)
3. Penticton Vees(BCHL) (3)
4. Newmarket Hurricanes(OJHL) (5)
5. Fort McMurray Oil Barons(AJHL) (10)
6. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (12)
7. St. Michael’s Buzzers(OJHL) (2)
8. Trenton Golden Hawks(OJHL) (8)
9. Carleton Place Canadians(CCHL) (16)
10. Winnipeg Blues(MJHL) (13)
11. Cornwall Colts(CCHL) (6)
12. Wisconsin Wilderness(SIJHL) (11)
13. Nepean Raiders (CCHL) (17)
14. Soo Thunderbirds(NOJHL) (7)
15. Winkler Flyers(MJHL) (9)
16. Brooks Bandits(AJHL) (14)
17. Cobourg Cougars (OJHL) (19)
18. Amherst Ramblers(MHL) (15)
19. Vernon Vipers(BCHL) (18)
20. Les Cougars du College Champlain - Sherbrooke(LHJAAAQ) (NR)

Honourable Mention: Merritt Centennials (BCHL), Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL), Nipawin Hawks (SJHL), Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL), Brockville Braves (CCHL).

Weekly rankings are based upon a variety of factors, including the league in which the teams play, winning percentage, win-loss record, total points accumulated, goals-for versus goals-against ratio, etc.

The CJHL is comprised of the ten Junior A hockey leagues across Canada. More information on the CJHL can be found by clicking on the league website.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Former Cents AP Cole Buckley Traded From Revelstoke to Grand Forks in KIJHL:

G Cole Buckley (92), who played one game as an affiliate player with the Centennials back in the 2009-10 season, has been traded in the KIJHL.

Buckley played last season with Revelstoke and Kimberley before ending the season in Castlegar. His rights wound up back with Revelstoke and the Grizzlies moved the Penticton native to Grand Forks early last week for future considerations.

Here's the deal according to the KIJHL website:

02-Nov-11 The Grand Forks Border Bruins have acquired the playing rights to 1992 G Cole Buckley from the Revelstoke Grizzlies in exchange for future considerations.

Here's the line on Buckley:

Harbinson Gets Fired Up At Pierce During Coach's Corner:

This was in yesterday's Penticton Western News:

By Emanuel Sequeira - Penticton Western News
Published: November 05, 2011 10:00 AM

Penticton Vees coach Fred Harbinson fired back at Merritt Centennials​ bench boss Luke Pierce during Thursdays Coach’s Corner.

The shot stemmed from the incident at the end of the Vees’ 5-4 overtime victory against the Centennials at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Oct. 29. Vees rookie forward Mark McLellan suffered an upper body injury and Pierce was livid with officials when they allowed the Vees to make one more change. Pierce felt it was illegal.

“Some of the things he said were really uncalled for,” said Harbinson, who was getting started. “Surprising from a guy, I’ve done nothing but praise how hard he has his team play. The one thing I learned way back when I started this thing is that when you only have about 40 wins as a coach, you shouldn’t be downgrading a program like ours. And not that we’re high on a pedestal or anything but to question our integrity about a line change and stuff, hey, everybody does what they have to do. You can call timeouts, you can send your guys out a little late, you can do what you want and it’s up to the referee to decide what’s going on. For him to point a finger saying that we tried to fake an injury, first off his story is completely wrong. It’s uncalled for. I suggest to him, if he thinks this is his way to motivate his team, I guess with our seven guys out, here’s your best shot, you better take it. It really pissed me off that some of the things that he directed to our hockey club, especially when he only has about 40 wins to his name right now. Five, six or 10 years down the road, after he has won something in this league, then he will have a little opportunity to talk.”

“They were allowed to replace a player after the allotted time slot there for line changes,” said Pierce, who hammered his hand on the top of the boards several times that night. “It ended up leading directly to the goal. They (calls) always come back to burn you. When they (games) mean that much, especially with the way the structure is this year with only four teams (qualifying for the playoffs), we need every point we can get.

“We felt that was a game that we could have won and should have won,” he continued. “To lose it in that fashion was tough to handle and I think we cooled off a lot after the fact. In the heat of the battle it was definitely a tough pill to swallow.”

With the loss still fresh in their minds, Pierce said the Centennials have incentive to skate away with two points Saturday.

“Anytime you have kind of a heart-breaking loss there, guys get a little more hungry,” he said. “We’re going to need every incentive we can get to try and get the monkey off our back in Penticton.”

The focus for the Centennials will be to play disciplined hockey. They don’t want to give the Vees’ dangerous power play too many chances to blow the game open. Pierce also said that they can’t get shut out on their opportunities and then be giving up four goals to the Vees.

“They have a very dangerous power play that is going to capitalize,” said Pierce, adding he wants his team to keep pucks deep, drive the net hard and score greasy goals.

Puck drop for Saturday’s game at the SOEC is 7 p.m.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cents Add Defenceman Daniel Buchanan as an AP:

The Centennials have added another defenceman to their AP reserve roster with the signing of blueliner Daniel Buchanan (93) from the KIJHL's Kamloops Storm.

Buchanan will make his junior 'A' debut tonight on the Cents defence, playing with assistant captain Richard Sabourin. He's shown at the junior 'B' level that he can put up some impressive numbers with 20 points in 19 games this season with the Storm, which is actually second overall among all defencemen in the KI.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cents Add Defenceman Mitch Hewson as an AP:

(Photo courtesy of Ian Webster - Merritt Herald)

With forward Brayden Low (94) moved to the main roster, the Centennials have added another affiliate player to their reserve roster.

Defenceman Mitchell Hewson (93), who attended both training camp and spring camp earlier this year, has signed as an AP.

Here's the line on Hewson:

Coquitlam Express-Olds Grizzlys Trade:

The Coquitlam Express continue to tinker with their roster as they've moved F Mitchell Deacon (93) and futures to the Olds Grizzlys in exchange for F Tyler Bourne (91). Bourne is the Grizzlys' leading scorer with 23 points in 22 games this season, which is more than any player on the Express roster.

Although the deal hasn't been reported yet on the BCHL, AJHL, Coquitlam or Olds website, it has been reported with quotes from Grizzlys coach (and former Centennial) Kevin Willison by radio station 96.5 CKFM in Olds.

To Coquitlam Express:
F Taylor Bourne (91)

To Olds Grizzlys:
F Mitchell Deacon (93)

+ Future Considerations

Here's the posting from the CKFM website regarding the trade:

Thursday, November 3rd 2011 06:00

Taylor Bourne has been dealt to the BCHL. Grizzlys get an 18 year old forward & futures in return. After a week off, Olds will return to action on Friday in Okotoks.

A shocking deal was executed by the Olds Grizzlys on Wednesday.

The team's leading scorer Taylor Bourne was traded.

He heads to the BCHL's Coquitlam Express in exchange for forward Mitch Deacon & future considerations.

The 20 year old Bourne had 11 goals and 23 points in 22 games this season - since joining the Grizzlys in 2009 he has put up 52 goals and 110 points in 136 career AJHL games.

In a press release Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operations Kevin Willison stated 'Taylor had a great career here in Olds over the past 2 seasons and will be a tough hole to fill when it comes to the offense. Taylor put up great numbers as an Olds Grizzly, and was a very exciting player to watch when on his game and will be missed by everyone. Taylor thought that the BCHL would be a better fit for his style of play and the possibility of catching an NCAA scholarship for next season'.

The 18 year old Deacon comes to Olds after registering 7 goals and 10 penalty minutes in 22 games last year for Coquitlam.

The Port Moody, BC product is 6 foot 3, 195 pounds.

This season Deacon had 4 PIMs in 2 games without notching a point.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cents Defenceman Reece Willcox to Represent Canada West at WJAC:

For the first time since 2007, the Merritt Centennials will have a representative at the World Junior A Challenge as defenceman Reece Willcox was named to Team Canada West late this afternoon.

Casey Pierro-Zabotel was the last Cents player to wear the maple leaf at the WJAC as he led Canada West to a gold medal in 2007, posting seven points in five games.

Here's the joint release from the Centennials and Hockey Canada as posted on


Calgary, AB - November 1, 2011

Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League, announced Tuesday the 22 players who will represent Canada West at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge, Nov. 7-13, 2011 in Langley, B.C.


The roster was selected by Canada West head coach Kent Lewis (Powell River, B.C./Powell River, BCHL), along with assistant coaches Dean Brockman (St. Benedict, Sask./Humboldt, SJHL) and Andrew Milne (St. Albert, Alta./Canmore, AJHL), following a three-day selection camp at the Langley Events Centre, host venue for the 2011 World Junior A Challenge.

“Getting down to 22 players was by no means an easy decision,” said Lewis. “We had some tremendously talented players in camp, and they did not make our jobs easy as a coaching staff. We’re excited about the players we’ve selected and look forward to getting started.”

Players named to the Canada West selection camp roster were selected from the CJHL’s five western Junior A leagues: the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL).

17-year-old defenceman Reece Willcox is the lone Merritt Centennials player on the roster. The Surrey product is the first Cents player to represent Canada West since forward Casey Pierro-Zabotel did back in 2007.

Canada West’s roster for the 2011 World Junior A Challenge includes:

* two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards;
* 14 players from the BCHL, seven players from the AJHL and one player from the SJHL;
* four players returning from the 2010 World Junior A Challenge (Holland, Jardine, Juha [played for Canada East], St. Denis);
* three players who participated in the 2011 RBC Cup, Canada’s National Junior A Championship (Camrose – Jardine; Vernon – Corkey, Hadley);
* one player who participated in the 2011 TELUS Cup, Canada’s National Midget Championship (Vancouver North West – Kerfoot);
* one player selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft (Jardine – Chicago, 6th round, 169th overall).

Canada West will play in Group A, joined by Sweden and the United States, while Canada East, the Czech Republic and Russia will comprise Group B. Preliminary round play will run until Wednesday, Nov. 9, with both semifinals taking place Friday, Nov. 11. The gold medal game, which will be shown nationally on TSN/RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, is set for Sunday, Nov. 13 (check your local listings). All preliminary round games, quarter-finals, semifinals and the bronze medal game can be seen live via webcast through FASTHockey at

Full-tournament 15-game ticket packages are on sale, including tickets to all 13 games at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge, both CJHL Prospects Games and a free souvenir tournament program, for only $150, as well as single-game tickets and a flex package. To purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.

Canada West has appeared in four of the five gold medal games at the World Junior A Challenges, winning gold in 2006 in Yorkton, Sask., and 2007 in Trail, B.C., before settling for silver in 2008 in Camrose, Alta., and 2009 in Summerside, P.E.I. It finished fourth last year in Penticton, B.C.

For more information on the 2011 World Junior A Challenge, please visit, or follow along via social media at

Westside Signs Former Cents Tryout James Leonard, Releases Rob Kennedy:

According to Jon Zacks' Warriors blog, Westside has signed former Centennials tryout G James Leonard as the back-up to Steve Racine.

Since dressing as a back-up for the Cents as an AP back in the fall of 2009 and attending their spring camp in 2010, Leonard has played for the Kamloops Midget Lions AAA, Golden Rockets of the KIJHL and Spruce Grove of the AJHL.

There's no report that Leonard was traded to Westside from Spruce Grove and this is simply a release-and-sign situation, but I can't see that being the case only because it begs the question as to why the Saints would release an 18-year-old with a 6-0 record. I realize that Spruce Grove had three goalies on the roster, but I'm thinking they must have received something for Leonard, even if it was just cash. I guess we can keep an eye on either team's (and league's) transaction wire to see.

To Westside Warriors:
G James Leonard (93)

Weekly Recap With Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce:

Centennials Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce joined me on the Q101 Morning Show today to recap last week's 6-5 OT win against Salmon Arm and 5-4 OT loss in Penticton. Our "Bringing It Back" feature is brought to you by KFC in Merritt.

Luke also talks about the lack of production from his top line and the play of affiliate players Eric Schmidt, Scott Patterson and Braeden Hikichi.