Friday, June 29, 2012

Trail Smoke Eaters Veteran Sam Mellor Returns to the BCHL:

(Sam Mellor in action vs. Williams Lake during the 2009-10 season - photo by Randy Emery)

The Trail Smoke Eaters have received a huge boost with the return of F Sam Mellor (92) to the team from the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

I've heard rumours as to why Mellor has decided to return to the BCHL, but I'm not going to delve into them here. Regardless of why he's back, his return gives Bill Birks a proven point producer at the junior A level as alongside Travis St. Denis and Scott Jacklin, Mellor posted 67 points in 45 games during the 2010-11 season. The trio had a whopping 194 points between them.

I suppose there is a chance that Birks winds up trading Mellor and if he does, I would expect that the line of suitors would be long and the return that Trail gets could shape the franchise for a number of years. It's interesting to see how it all plays out. It's like the Smoke Eaters have either added one of the best players without giving anything up or they have the luxury of adding a number of assets for a player who they didn't expect to have anyway - not a bad spot to be in.

F Sam Mellor (92)

Langley-Surrey Trade:


I meant to post this a couple of days ago, but the Langley Rivermen picked up some goaltending insurance from Surrey as they acquired G Conor Barrie (93) from the Eagles for future considerations.

I would expect that the Rivermen go into the 2012-13 season with James Barr (93) and Barrie as their netminders, but I can't expect that Surrey is going to hand its goaltending duties to rookie Glenn Ferguson (94) so there's likely a big recruit or trade in the works for the Eagles to grab a number one goalie. We'll see.

Meantime, here's how this deal breaks down...

To Langley Rivermen:
G Conor Barrie (93)
To Surrey Eagles:
Future Considerations

Here's the release from the Langley website:

Township of Langley, BC, Thursday, June 28, 2012: The Langley Rivermen Junior “A” Hockey Club is pleased to announce the acquisition of goaltender Conor Barrie from the Surrey Eagles in exchange for future considerations. This past year was Conor’s first year in the BCHL where he recorded 6 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie in 11 games played to go along with 3.49 goals against average and a .885 save percentage.

“I think it is a pretty good opportunity for me and talking to the coaching staff this morning, they seem really excited and I can’t wait to head out there in August and get started,” Barrie said.

Barrie believes the Rivermen will have a strong team next season as he noticed quite the difference in their play at the latter half of last year,

“You could tell by watching them that they were making some pretty big strides and would be ready to compete come next season and I hope I can contribute anyway I can”.

Rivermen Associate Head Coach Jordan Emmerson really liked what he saw from Barrie last season,

“He played real well against us last season and is a guy that moves well and is technically sound in the net,” Emmerson said, “he provides stability with James Barr coming back with us and we expect Conor to come in and do a good job”.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cents Play-By-Play Voice Alex Grebenyuk Joins the Vancouver Giants:


This is posted on the Merritt Centennials website, all the best to Alex with the Giants! What this means the fate is of his Cents Central blog, I don't know, but I'm sure Alex will address that before starting his new job in Vancouver.

My hope is that whomever Q101 decides to hire as the new voice of the Centennials, that person has the desire to do a blog on the Cents much like I did for four years and Alex did for the past six months.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Vancouver, BC - June 28, 2012

The Vancouver Giants are pleased to introduce their new Director of Media Relations & Broadcasting for the upcoming 2012-13 season, Alex Grebenyuk.

Alex, who calls Richmond his home, has spent the last 4 seasons doing play by play for the BCHL's Merritt Centennials, prior to that having called a handful of games for the Burnaby (now Coquitlam) Express. In addition, he has also done volunteer work with the Giants as a reporter, as well as helping Sportsnet with the 2007 Memorial Cup in Vancouver.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to get this opportunity with the Giants," says Grebenyuk. "It's kind of like a dream come true; to be back home on the Coast, and working for the team I've passionately followed from the ground up. It's a superb organization with a great staff, and I can't wait to get started."

"We are very happy to be bringing Alex on board this season", says Vice President of Operations Peter Toigo. "He comes with a great deal of passion and enthusiasm, and has valuable experience having been involved with our team in the past. He has an exciting style of broadcast that I believe our fans will enjoy. We'd like to officially welcome Alex to the Vancouver Giants and look forward to working with him."

Grebenyuk begins his new role with the Giants on Monday, July 16.

The Cents would like to thank Alex for all of his hard work and dedication over the last four seasons and wish him the best of luck in Vancouver.


For further information, please contact Cents Media & Communications Coordinator Brian Wiebe at 604-432-8595 or info@merrittcentennials.com

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 40 seasons as the BCHL's longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior 'A' Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

UPDATED - BCHL Alumni Set to Hit the NHL Free Agent Market:

Former Nanaimo Clippers defenceman and pending NHL unrestricted free agent Jason Garrison
(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

With July 1st coming up on Sunday and the doors to NHL Free Agency swinging open, there are a number of former BCHL players who are set to hit the market. 

There are 17 who are eligible for unrestricted free agency and 10 who are restricted free agents. The unrestricted free agents are sort by position alphabetically while the restricted free agents are sorted alphabetically by NHL team with their rights.
There may some I've missed on this list, if you have any corrections, please send them to bmwwiebe@gmail.com.

Unrestricted Free Agents 
F Byron Bitz (Nanaimo) 

F Gilbert Brule (Quesnel) 

F Andrew Ebbett (Salmon Arm) 

F Tanner Glass (Nanaimo/Penticton) 

F Kyle Greentree (Victoria) 

F Tyler McNeely (Surrey/Coquitlam) 

F Brendan Morrison (Penticton) 

F Rod Pelley (Prince George/Vernon) 

F Casey Pierro-Zabotel (Merritt) 

F Raymond Sawada (Nanaimo) 

F Trevor Smith (Quesnel) 

F Matt Watkins (Vernon) 

D Tyler Eckford (Surrey) 

D Jason Garrison (Nanaimo) 

D Greg Zanon (Victoria/Surrey) 


G Mark Dekanich (Coquitlam) 

G Brad Thiessen (Penticton/Prince George/Merritt) SIGNED - 1 year, two way contract worth $525,000 at the NHL level, unknown salary at the AHL level


Restricted Free Agents
Dallas F Jamie Benn (Victoria) 

Dallas D Jordie Benn (Victoria) 

Minnesota D Chay Genoway (Vernon) 

Montreal D Brendon Nash (Salmon Arm)  SIGNED - 1 year, two way contract worth $575,000 at the NHL level, $75,000 at the AHL level

New York Rangers D Lee Baldwin (Burnaby/Victoria) 

Philadelphia F Harry Zolnierczyk (Alberni Valley) 

Pittsburgh G Marc Cheverie (Nanaimo) 

San Jose D Matt Irwin (Nanaimo) SIGNED - 1 year, two way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level, $105,000 at the AHL level
Toronto D Cody Franson (Trail) 

Winnipeg D Brett Festerling (Quesnel) 

Winnipeg F Ben Maxwell (Surrey)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

BCHL Alumni at NHL Development Camps:


A number of NHL teams are holding their summer prospect development camps this week and there is a BCHL flavour to some of them.

A quick scan of all NHL team websites with the development rosters posted shows 12 former BCHL players taking part, including a league-high five at Edmonton's camp.

Here's how it breaks down:

Vancouver Canucks
G Joel Rumpel (Penticton)
G Andrew Walsh (Salmon Arm, Langley, Prince George)
D Shayne Taker (Cowichan Valley)
D Justin Dasilva (Powell River)
D Jake Baker (Merritt, Nanaimo, Victoria, Trail)
Edmonton Oilers
D Kyle Bigos (Vernon)
D Joey Laleggia (Penticton)
F Connor Jones (Vernon)
F Kellen Jones (Vernon)
F Jujhar Khaira (Prince George)
Phoenix Coyotes
G Chris Rawlings (Salmon Arm/Powell River/Cowichan Valley)
F Brett Hextall (Penticton)
F Austin Carroll (Coquitlam)
Boston Bruins
F Justin Courtnall (Victoria/Burnaby)
F Ben Sexton (Penticton)
New York Islanders
G Kevin Boyle (Westside)
F Blair Riley (Merritt/Nanaimo)
Ottawa Senators
F David Dziurzynski (Alberni Valley)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

BCHL Represented Well at NHL Entry Draft:

(Jujhar Khaira, the 1st BCHL player selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft)

The BCHL was represented very well at the NHL Entry Draft this weekend in Pittsburgh. Not only did five players get drafted directly from the BCHL, but one alum, one former player and one recruit were also chosen.

So let's break down those who were selected with BCHL ties.

F Jujhar Khaira (94) from the Prince George Spruce Kings
3rd round, 63rd overall to the Edmonton Oilers
G Sean Maguire (93) from the Powell River Kings
4th round, 113th overall to the Pittsburgh Penguins
D Joey Laleggia (92) from the University of Denver (played for Penticton from 2009-11)
5th round, 123rd overall to the Edmonton Oilers
D Reece Willcox (94) from the Merritt Centennials
5th round, 141st overall to the Philadelphia Flyers
F Alex Kerfoot (94) from the Coquitlam Express
5th round, 150th overall to the New Jersey Devils
F Wesley Myron (92) from the Victoria Grizzlies
6th round, 177th overall to the Vancouver Canucks
F Lou Nanne (94) from Edina High (committed to Penticton for 2012-13)
7th round, 188th overall to the Minnesota Wild
G Jamie Phillips (93) from the Toronto Junior Canadiens (played for Powell River for half of 2011-12)
7th round, 190th overall to the Winnipeg Jets  Here's the release from the BCHL regarding the Draft: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Burnaby, BC - June 24, 2012

The British Columbia Hockey League was pleased to see five of its players and one graduate selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft this weekend at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

Prince George Spruce Kings forward Jujhar Khaira (Cloverdale, B.C.) broke the ice when the Edmonton Oilers grabbed him early in the third round 63rd overall.

Powell River Kings goalie Sean Maguire (Powell River, B.C.) was next to go, in the fourth round 113th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Reece Willcox (Surrey, B.C.) of the Merritt Centennials was taken in the fifth round 141st overall by the Philadelphia Flyers.

Coquitlam Express forward Alex Kerfoot (West Vancouver, B.C.) was also taken in the in the fifth round, 150th overall by the New Jersey Devils.

Rounding out the draft for current BCHL players was Wesley Myron (Victoria, B.C.), a forward from the Victoria Grizzlies who was selected in the sixth round 177th overall.

Also selected was Joey Laleggia from the University of Denver. The Burnaby, B.C. native played two seasons for the Penticton Vees before heading off to college.

Jujhar Khaira, F, 6-foot-2, 198 pounds (29G, 50A, 69PIM for Prince George)
Two-time BCHL Academic All-Star
Committed to Michigan Tech for 2012-13 season

Sean Maguire, G, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds (17-12-1, 2.33GAA, .913sv% for Powell River)
Two-time recipient of the Wally Forslund Trophy for best BCHL goalie tandem
Committed to Boston University for 2012-13 season

Reece Willcox, D, 6-foot-3, 184 pounds (5G, 18A, 26PIM for Merritt)
2012 BCHL Academic All-Star
Committed to Cornell for 2012-13 season

Alex Kerfoot, F, 5-foot-9, 153 pounds (25G, 44A, 24PIM for Coquitlam)
BCHL Coastal Conference Rookie of the Year, Most Sportsmanlike Player and 1st Team All-Star

Wesley Myron, F, 6-foot-2, 182 pounds (17G, 25A, 18PIM for Victoria)
Committed to Boston University for 2012-13 season

Joey Laleggia, D, 5-foot-9, 182 pounds (11G, 27A, 35PIM for U. of Denver)
2011 BCHL MVP, Top Defenceman and All-Star
2012 NCAA Rookie of the Year

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nanaimo-Swan Valley Trade:


While a former coach of the Clippers is making headlines for returning to the BCHL with Victoria (more on Bill Bestwick to the Grizzlies tomorrow), Nanaimo is doing its own part in staying noteworthy as Mike Vandekamp swung a big 3-for-1 trade today.

The deal sees the Clippers acquire a number one goaltender while creating a bit more room to add 20-year-old players by sending two out. 

If you're wondering how Bourbeau wound up as Nanaimo property, he is the future considerations in a January 10th trade with the now-defunct Dawson Creek Rage which saw D Zach Ovics (93) join the NAHL team.

There is a question mark to the trade, and that's whether or not F Mike Sones (92) winds up in Swan Valley as he's commited to Mercyhurst University starting with the 2012-13 season. The only way I can see him playing with the Stampeders this coming season is if Mercyhurst feels that he could use another year at the junior A level.

Nonetheless, this is how today's deal breaks down:

To Nanaimo:
G Jayson Argue (93)

To Swan Valley:
F Mike Sones (92)

F Brett Hartskamp (92)

G Paul Bourbeau (92)
Here's the release from the Clippers website:

The Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Club would like to announce that we have acquired Goaltender Jayson Argue from the Swan Valley Stampeders (93) in exchange for Forwards Mike Sones (92), Brett Hartskamp (92), and Goaltender Paul Bourbeau (92). Bourbeau was acquired by the Clippers as future considerations in a deal reached at the January 10th deadline with the Dawson Creek Rage.
 
In his two seasons with the Stampeders, Argue, a 6ft 180lb native of Swan River, MB, received an impressive four team awards, three league awards and was a finalist for Canadian Jr. A Hockey Player of the Year.
 
2010-2011  Stampeders Rookie of the Year
2011-2012  Stampeders Regular Season MVP
2011-2012  Stampeders Playoff MVP
2011-2012  Stampeders Fan Favorite
2011-2012  MJHL 1st All Star Team
2011-2012  MJHL Top Goaltender
2011-2012  MJHL MVP
2011-2012  CJHL Player of the Year Finalist
 
In addition to the welcoming Jayson to Nanaimo, the Clippers would like to thank Mike and Brett for their contribution to our Hockey Club and wish them all the best in the future.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Where Are They Now: Penticton Vees/Panthers:


As we move further along alphabetically through the BCHL looking at former players, we come to the recently crowned RBC Cup champion Penticton Vees.

Although there are no players still playing pro or college hockey who toiled for the team when it was known as the Knights, there are a number who skated for the Panthers and Vees - as the team has been known as since 2004.

Penticton's alumni is among the most decorated in the BCHL today.

Aaron Agnew Marc Belanger T.J. Caig Jon Cara Mike Card Kyle Cumiskey Tyler Czuba Eric Dylla Tanner Glass Matt Hanson Kyle Hood Liam Huculak Dallas Jackson Marcel Juhasz Duncan Keith Chuck Kobasew Jaroslav Kudrna Andrew MacKenzie David Mann Brendan Morrison David Rutherford Jeff Tory Mike Towns David Rathjen Brad Thiessen Matt Zaba Beau Bennett Paul Bezzo Michael Boivin Jeff Ceccacci Luke Challier Deron Cousens Luke Curadi Zac Dalpe Bo Dolan Dustin Donaghy Nigel Dube Joel Eisenkirch Eric Filiou Jesse Fratkin Todd Gebert Jimmy Geerin Max Grassi Mark Hall Brett Hextall Tanner Hlookoff Tyler Hlookoff Joey Holka Tanner House Phillip Ischi Colton Jobke Ryan Johansen Derik Johnson Jake Johnson Dustin Johnson Mitch Jones Zach Josepher Devon Krogh Eric Kroshus Justin Krueger Joey LaLeggia Brian Lebler Michael Lebler Alex MacLeod Isaac Macleod Mark MacMillan Denver Manderson David Mann Curtis McKenzie Sam Mellor Garrett Milan T.J. Miller Daman Milsom Casey Minson Sam Mitchell Bryant Molle Chris Moulson Kyle Mountain Dustin Mowrey Trevor Nill Brendan O'Donnell Kaare Odegard Travis Ouellette Matt Paltridge Anthony Perdicaro Andrew Pickering James Polk Brodie Reid Brad Reid Matt Ridley Bryan Ross Cory Schneider Ben Sexton Erik Slemp Austin Smith Alex Szczechura Matt Tinordi Evan Trupp Brent Vandenberg Ryan Viselli John Williams Sean Bonar Alex Evin Corey Milan Bryan Mountain Joel Rumpel Evan Smith Jordan White

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prince George-Oakville Trade:


For the second time in just over a week, the Prince George Spruce Kings have hooked up with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL on a trade.

This time, the Spruce Kings send F Patrick Chore (93) and future considerations to the Blades for F Liam Board (93). Chore never really got on track offensively with PG after joining the Sprucies from the KIJHL's North Okanagan Knights, where he averaged more than a point per game in 25 games. He only had four assists in 37 games at the junior 'A' level.

I'll admit I don't know much about Board, but upon first glance, he looks like the type of player who could be poised for a breakout season in his second-to-last year of junior 'A' hockey. Granted, there are some differences between the BCHL and the OJHL and despite those, I would think that Board should slot somewhere onto the top or second line in Prince George.

To Prince George:
F Liam Board (93)
To Oakville:
F Patrick Chore (93)
& Future Considerations

Here's the release from the Spruce Kings website:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRINCE GEORGE, BC – The Prince George Spruce Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) have acquired Liam Board from the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) in exchange for Patrick Chore and future considerations.

Liam Board is a '93 born 6 foot 185 pound forward from Oakville, ON who is coming off his first season with the Oakville Blades. In 43 regular season games, Board has a record of 17 goals, 18 assists and 34 minutes in penalties.

"We're very happy to be able to acquire Liam from Oakville," said Spruce Kings General Manager, Mike Hawes. "He will be a big addition to our lineup next season as he is a solid two way player that can provide leadership on and off the ice. We have some big holes to fill this season with the departure of a number of players to NCAA programs; Liam will go a long way in helping us fill those vacancies."

Board and the rest of the Spruce Kings will now focus on their off-season preparations in advance of the team’s main training camp for the 2012-13 BCHL season which gets underway at the Prince George Coliseum on August 24, 2012.

The Prince George Spruce Kings would like to thank Patrick Chore for his contributions to the team during the 2011-12 season and wish him well in his future hockey career.

Merritt-Chilliwack Trade:


Less than a month after acquiring F Austin Plevy (94) from the Langley Rivermen, the Merritt Centennials have flipped him to the Chilliwack Chiefs along with the junior 'A' rights to G Keith Hamilton (92) for F Derek Huisman (92).

I've heard lots of rumours as to how this deal came about and I'm not going to speculate on them here, but the trade sees Plevy reunited with his 2010-11 coach, Harvey Smyl and a Chiefs organization he's very familiar with. In Huisman, the Centennials acquire a bonafide first line centre who can not only score (he had 30 goals last season), but is also physical, plays well defensively and can play both the power play and penalty kill.

I mentioned at the time of Merritt acquiring Plevy that I thought he was poised for a breakout season in 2011-12 and I stand by that. However just like Jakob Reichert, Centennials head coach and GM Luke Pierce has smartly dealt him to a team in the opposite conference so any damage on the score sheet that Plevy could do to the Cents is only during two games - one in Chilliwack and one in Merritt.

The inclusion of Hamilton's rights in the trade is curious as the Kelowna native has spent the last two seasons in the WHL and is set for his 20-year-old season with the Victoria Royals. If he comes back to the BCHL for whatever reason, I can't see Hamilton being a back up to Mitch Gillam (92) so it's likely the Chiefs would move his rights elsewhere. Chilliwack also has Bryton Udy (93) to consider as well although he's no longer listed on their roster and I'm trying to figure where he's gone.

To Merritt:
F Derek Huisman (92)
To Chilliwack:
F Austin Plevy (94)

G Keith Hamilton (92)

Here's the release from the Centennials website:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC - June 14, 2012

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce the acquisition of forward Derek Huisman (92) from the Chilliwack Chiefs in exchange for forward Austin Plevy (94) and goaltender Keith Hamilton (92).

Husiman, who's from Smithers, has 94 points in 116 career BCHL games, including 65 points in 58 games during the 2011-12 season. He was second on the Chiefs in scoring last season after finishing fourth on the Quesnel Millionaires in scoring as a rookie in 2010-11.

Prior to that, Huisman played with the Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League for parts of two seasons, compiling 49 points in 64 games.

The Cents organization looks forward to seeing Derek on the ice in training camp in August and wishes both Austin and Keith all the best in their hockey futures.

For further information, please contact Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce at 250-378-3607.

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 40 seasons as the BCHL's longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior 'A' Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

Here's the release from the Chiefs website: 

The Chilliwack Chiefs have acquired 18 year old forward Austin Plevy along with the playing rights to 20 year old goaltender Keith Hamilton from the Merritt Centennials in exchange for 20 year old forward Derek Huisman.

Plevy is entering year 3 in the BCHL and has tallied 17 goals and 28 assists in 111 career games, which included 43 points in 58 games last season in Langley.

He was also on Team West at the Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Game in November 2011 and played for the Chiefs in Langley two seasons ago. 

Head Coach and General Manager Harvey Smyl on acquiring Plevy, “Austin is a hard working, extremely skilled forward, who has a very high compete level, he will bring the effort and attitude we expect from a Chief.”

As for Plevy he is thrilled for the chance to play in Chilliwack, “I am so excited to get the opportunity to play for Harvey Smyl and the Chiefs again. Chiefs fans are amazing and Prospera Centre is one of the premier places to play junior hockey.” 

The Chiefs organization would like to thank Derek Huisman for his hard work on and off of the ice in Chilliwack.
 

Powell River-Toronto Trade:


The Powell River Kings have had a history of success with players from Ontario and they hope that trend continues with their latest acquisition, which is dated May 24th on the BCHL transactions page.

The Kings have acquired F Robbie Murden (92) from the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots of the OJHL for future considerations. As the roster stands now, the addition of Murden gives Powell River one too many 20-year-old players, but there's lots of time between now and September 7th for Kent Lewis to sort that out.

As for Murden, he's averaged 1.24 points-per-game in the OJHL, so if he adjusts quickly to the BCHL game, the Kings have likely added another highly skilled offensive weapon into their arsenal.

The deal hasn't been confirmed by either team but as I mentioned above, it is listed on the BCHL website.

To Powell River:
F Robbie Murden (92)
To Toronto:
Future Considerations

Victoria-Dauphin Trade:


In a strange turn of events, the Victoria Grizzlies and Dauphin Kings of the MJHL made their third trade with each other in the last six months.

According to the just-updated transactions page on the BCHL website, the Grizzlies have moved F Jeff Archibald (92) and F Taylor Wells (92) to the Kings for future considerations in a deal dated May 1st.

What we didn't know was that Archibald and Wells were originally traded to Victoria after the season as the future considerations from the January 10th trade that sent G Jamie Tucker (91) and F Mike Collins (91) to Dauphin. I placed a call to Grizzlies Governor Mark Wagstaff today and he confirmed that was indeed the case.

From what I can tell, Dauphin still owes Victoria futures, whether or not that is cash or more players to be named later remains to be seen.

So I guess for now the trade looks like this:

To Dauphin:
G Jamie Tucker (91)
F Mike Collins (91)
To Victoria:
F Jeff Archibald (92)
F Taylor Wells (92)
And then:

To Dauphin:
Archibald and Wells

To Victoria:
Future Considerations

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Langley-Lloydminster Trade:


The Langley Rivermen continue to retool their roster as they try to climb out of the basement of the BCHL's Coastal Conference. The Rivermen have committed to a lot of new recruits for 2012-13 and have also made two deals - sending Austin Plevy and Sebastien Pare to Merritt for Jakob Reichert and sending Jackson Playfair to Nanaimo for futures.

According to the AJHL website, the Rivermen also made a deal last week (June 4), trading D Raymond Bell (93) to the Lloydminster Bobcats for future considerations and Brandon Astle confirmed it on Twitter today. No doubt Bell's 6'5", 201 lbs. frame was enticing to the Bobcats and as a '93 born player, he's got two years of junior 'A' eligibility left.

So the deal breaks down like this:

To Lloydminster:
D Raymond Bell (93)
To Langley:
Future Considerations

Here's from Brandon Astle's Twitter account:

Can confirm D-man Ray Bell (93) has been traded to the Lloydminster Bobcats of the AJHL for future considerations.

Here's from the AJHL website:

04-Jun-12 The Lloydminster Bobcats acquire the CHA rights of Raymond Bell from the Langley Rivermen (BCHL) for future considerations.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Insight Into the BCHL Scheduling Meeting:


I had the pleasure of sitting in and helping out with the BCHL Scheduling Meeting yesterday at the Hilton Vancouver Airport in Richmond.

The AGM was considered "in-camera", so there aren't many details I can give you prior to them being released by the league, but I can give a little insight into how the 2012-13 schedule was pieced together.

The first thing for teams within each division to go over was the interlock portion, which was on Friday night. This portion of the schedule was done in advance of the AGM by the BCHL and it means that each team will play every other team in the league both home and away in 2012-13. So for teams in the Interior Division, 20 of their games were already scheduled. And for the Mainland and Island Divisions, 22 games were already scheduled.

The BCHL Showcase schedule also needed to be sorted out. The first time event, which runs September 7 - 9, features all BCHL teams and counts as regular season games in the standings. I can't divulge too much about the Showcase schedule other than obviously the Chiefs games are considered "prime" because Chilliwack is hosting the event and there are some out-of-division match-ups. Due to the fact that all 16 teams are taking part and there are 32 games to be scheduled over three days, I can also say that there are games at different times throughout, so it's a great opportunity to get your BCHL fix!

As for the inter-divisional schedule, I was overseeing the Island Division table, just to keep the team representatives on point and to record a master copy of the schedule they hammered out. Obviously having a team like Powell River in this division represents many challenges since most games need to accommodate when the ferry runs back to Vancouver Island.

Teams also had a number of blackout dates where they didn't have ice or whatever and those needed to be accommodated too. They tried to balance things like not having too many home games on a weekend (like three in a row) or an imbalance of home and road games in a month or too many games in one month and not enough in another. The Christmas break also presented some challenges as some teams like to schedule games on the weekend before Christmas while others don't and some like games between Christmas and New Year's while others don't.

Others don't want too many Sunday games as they're not a good draw for them and they avoid scheduling games that conflict with other high profile sporting events like Grey Cup or Super Bowl. Others have special events planned for specific dates and HAVE to have a game scheduled or want to book a weekend where they have two home games on a Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday for a Parent's Weekend or similar event.

Veteran team personnel like Powell River's Doug McCormick, Victoria's Mark Wagstaff and Nanaimo's Mike Vandekamp obviously have a ton of scheduling experience, but that didn't necessarily give them an edge over anyone else as the teams tried to give and take to get the best schedule for all involved. As I observed, not one team got every single thing they wanted, but they bartered back and forth until a workable agreement could be reached.

The most interesting thing I noticed was that as the teams were negotiating their schedules, there were certain scenarios that got them really pumped up for the season, whether it was the scheduling of a home-and-home series or back-to-back games in a specific team's rink or a situation where a team plays another 3-4 times in a week, they really got excited about the possibilities from a marketing and fan's point of view.

I truly thank the five teams in the Island Division (Alberni Valley, Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, Powell River & Victoria) for working with me and allowing me to oversee their scheduling and as I mentioned on Twitter yesterday, I appreciate John Grisdale, Brent Mutis and the BCHL for allowing me to help out! I'm a fan of this league first and a media member second, so it was a lot of fun to see a side of the league's operations that not many fans get to see.

Now I know most fans (and broadcasters) are champing at the bit to see the 2012-13 schedule, but there are still some i's to be dotted and t's to be crossed before it can be released. As I mentioned, the basic schedule is done, but it now needs to be double and triple checked before being released, keep an eye on the blog and on the BCHL website to see it!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Westside-Winkler Trade:


The changes continue in Westside as Rylan Ferster tries to turn around the Warriors after missing the playoffs last season. The latest move sees D Curtis Toneff (93) go to the Winkler Flyers of the MJHL for future considerations.

The deal, which was posted on the MJHL website but not confirmed by either team, sees Toneff join his fourth team in three seasons. He was the futures from the trade that saw Westside move D Klay Kachur to the SJHL's Battlefords North Stars at the January 10th trade deadline.

To Winkler:
D Curtis Toneff (93)

To Westside:
Future Considerations

Langley-Nanaimo Trade:


The Langley Rivermen have made their second trade in the last few weeks as they moved out F Jackson Playfair (94) to Nanaimo for future considerations.

Word is that Playfair asked for a change of scenery from Langley and the Rivermen accommodated. With the Clippers, he gets a chance to play in the inaugural Western Canada Cup between the BCHL, AJHL, SJHL and MJHL as Nanaimo is the host for the 2013 tournament.

To Nanaimo:
F Jackson Playfair (94)
To Langley:
Future Considerations

Here's the release from the Clippers website: 

The Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Club are pleased to announce the acquisition of 18 year old forward Jackson Playfair from the Langley Rivermen in exchange for future considerations. The 6'2" 208lb Fort St. James native played his first season in the BCHL with Langley last season. He tallied 6 goals and 12 assists for 18 points along with 69 penalty minutes.

Coach Vandekamp: "We are very excited to add Jackson to our lineup. He is a big, strong, power forward who will add to the competitive nature of our team. He is a hard working, physical player, who will have a strong presence both on the ice and in our dressing room. He is a young player with a bright future in a Clippers uniform and we look forward to seeing Jackson on the ice in August."

Here's the release from the Rivermen blog:

The Langley Rivermen Junior “A” Hockey club has traded forward Jackson Playfair (1994) to the Nanaimo Clippers for future considerations. In his first BCHL season, the Fort St. James native played in 53 games recording 6 goals, 12 assists and 69 penalty minutes.

Playfair got off to a bit of a slow start at the beginning of the season, but as the season went along he really found his game. At 6’2, 206 pounds and still growing, Playfair should compliment the Clippers line-up if he plays up to his capabilities.

At the year-end awards banquet, Playfair was named the Rivermen’s most improved player.

The Rivermen organization would like to wish Jackson all the best in Nanaimo.

Prince George-Oakville Trade:


The Spruce Kings added a veteran to their blueline with acquisition of D Bradley Ryan (92) from the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League in exchange for F Adam Fares (93) and future considerations.

Fares never suited up with Prince George after being acquired from the Trail Smoke Eaters for futures just last week. It's kind of a homecoming for Fares as he returns to Ontario, but he's still not too close to home as Oakville is still about 18 hours away from Thunder Bay. Regardless, it's still closer than PG or Trail.

In Ryan, the Spruce Kings get a guy with 131 junior A games under his belt and a lot of playoff experience too as Oakville went on decent runs in each of his three seasons with the Blades, playing a total of 47 games.

To Prince George:
D Bradley Ryan (92)
To Oakville:
F Adam Fares (93)
+ Future Considerations

Here's the release from the Spruce Kings website:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRINCE GEORGE, BC – The Prince George Spruce Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) have acquired Bradley Ryan from the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) in exchange for recently acquired Adam Fares and future considerations.

Bradley Ryan is a '92 born 6' 5" 205 pound defenceman from Mississauga, ON who has played the past three seasons for the Oakville Blades. In 131 regular season games played, Ryan has a record of 4 goals, 48 assists and 212 minutes in penalties. Ryan has also played in 47 post season games including the 2010 RBC Royal Bank Cup National Championship in Dauphin, MB.

"I'm thrilled to be able to acquire a veteran defenceman like Bradley," said Spruce Kings General Manager, Mike Hawes. "He's a big skilled player who will play big minutes for us while providing leadership on and off the ice."

Considered to be one of the most consistent players with the Oakville Blades, Ryan has emerged as one of the top defencemen in the OJHL. Ryan is excited to be a member of the Spruce Kings with the opportunity to play in Prince George and in the BCHL. The team's main training camp for the 2012-13 BCHL season gets underway at the Prince George Coliseum on August 24, 2012.

 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Vernon-Trail Trade:


The details of last season's future considerations continue to be released around the BCHL and we found out about the completion of another trade today.

The original transaction on January 10th was this:

The Trail Smoke Eaters trade the playing rights of Clayton Chessa (91)(F) to the Vernon Vipers in exchange for future considerations.

Now we know that the futures going to Trail are defenceman Max Mowat (93). There are rumours (specifically on the BCHL Message Board) that the deal was originally to be forward Brendan Persley (93) and he balked at going to Trail, but no word if there's any truth to that. (Most things on that message board should be taken with a grain of salt!)

Anyway, how the deal breaks down now, is like this:

To Vernon:
F Clayton Chessa (91)

To Trail:
D Max Mowat (93)

Here's the release from the Smoke Eaters website:

TRAIL -- The Trail Smoke Eaters have announced the completion of a trade with the Vernon Vipers. 
 
The Smokies have acquired the playing rights to defenseman Max Mowat (93) from the Vipers, to complete a transaction from January.
 
Mowat, from Vernon, BC, has played 80 games in the BCHL, totalling 3 goals and 25 points. The 5'11", 185 lb blueliner also a member of the Vipers' 2011 Fred Page Cup championship team, and appeared in 2 games at the 2011 RBC Cup in Camrose, Alberta.
 
"To get a guy with that kind of winning experience is huge for the players in our dressing room," stated Smoke Eaters head coach/general manager Bill Birks. "Max will be a leader on our team next year and I anticipate he will play in all situations on our blue line."

"He's a physical player with a good first pass, and very quick feet," Birks added.
 
The Smoke Eaters would like to welcome Max Mowat to the organization.
 
For further information, please contact the Smoke Eaters office at (250) 364.9994.
 
And here's the release from the Vipers website:
 
The Vernon Vipers hockey club has completed a trade with the Trail Smoke Eaters. Max Mowat has been traded to Trail which completes the futures trade that brought Colton Cyr to Vernon at the January 10th trade deadline.

The Vernon Vipers would like to thank Max for his contribution to the hockey club and would like to wish him well in his future endeavours.

For more information please contact the Vipers office at 250 542 6022.