Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Only Thing You Can Count On In Life Is Change:


When I moved away from Merritt last December, I thought this day might come, I just didn't know when. In case you didn't see it on the Merritt Centennials website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed, I have officially resigned as the team's Media & Communications Coordinator. Despite the fact that I lived far away from the Nicola Valley, a lot of the work I did for the Cents was behind the scenes and could be administered electronically. I also didn't want to leave the Centennials in lurch to find someone to replace me.

Once I made the conscious effort to take this blog in a more general BCHL direction after leaving Merritt, I realized that I had to be more impartial than in the past and only post items here that presented the facts, with sources, etc. for your information and reading enjoyment. I figured that maintaining a position with the Centennials wouldn't jeopardize that impartiality, and it wasn't until now that I felt it could potentially be questioned.

The reason for my resignation is that I've been hired by TEAM 1040 to provide colour commentary along side Jeff Paterson for all 12 of their BCHL broadcasts during the 2012-13 season. As one radio station broadcasting games for 10 of the BCHL's 16 teams, we approach our broadcast very similar to the way that Hockey Night in Canada does for the NHL. We try to be impartial and not cheer for either side, we feel that we call games even for both teams because we're there to increase the exposure of not only the BCHL, but also both teams' players, coaches, etc.

As a result, as I mentioned in the Cents media release: "Because my role on TEAM 1040 is to be completely impartial, I feel it's best that I not be associated in an official capacity with any specific organization in the BCHL."

I'm really excited about the opportunity this presents for me and my family and I am thrilled to be working with such a great group at TEAM 1040 and the level of hockey that I pay more attention to than any other - the BCHL.

Lastly, I know it's been a long time since I've posted on the blog here, but it's not for a lack of want. It's unrelated to the situtation with this new gig... I simply haven't had time between family life and work life, but I'll strive to post more often going forward.

Thanks for reading,
Brian

Here's the Media Release from the Centennials website:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC - September 28, 2012

The Merritt Centennials are disappointed to announce the resignation of Media & Communications Coordinator Brian Wiebe, effective September 30, 2012.

Wiebe has served on the Board or as a volunteer with the Centennials for nearly ten years in various roles. He's resigned to focus on his position as colour commentary for the BC Hockey League radio broadcasts on TEAM 1040 in Vancouver.

"I truly cherish the time I spent not only in Merritt helping the Centennials, but also in the last ten months behind the scenes after moving away from the Nicola Valley," said Wiebe. "Because my role on TEAM 1040 is to be completely impartial, I feel it's best that I not be associated in an official capacity with any specific organization in the BCHL."

Wiebe's contacts, convictions and genuine love of the game has benefitted the Centennials throughout the years. The entire organization wishes him all the best in his future hockey endeavours.

An immediate replacement as Media and Communications Coordinator for the Cents has not been determined.

For further information, please contact Cents Secretary Heather Fader at 250-378-8344 or email info@merrittcentennials.com.

Friday, September 7, 2012

2012-13 BCHL Season Preview:


With the start of the 51st BCHL season here, I put together the following season preview for the latest edition of Smart Hockey Magazine. This will appear in the magazine itself and online on the BCHL website. 

As always, your feedback is encouraged in the comments section below! 

Alberni Valley Bulldogs

The Dogs, who became the BCHL's sixth community-owned franchise during the off-season, look to return to the playoffs after missing the post-season dance in 2011-12. Coach Kevin Willison starts his first full season behind the bench in Alberni Valley after being hired last December. Newly hired GM Spiros Anastas comes with an impressive resume, including his most recent stint as Assistant Coach and Video Coordinator at Western Michigan University.

Key Arrivals: Jay Deo (Calgary - AJHL), Zack Funk (Shattuck St. Mary's), Nathan Craft (Cariboo - BCMML)
Key Departures: Yan Kalashnikov (released), Artsiom Kalashnikov (released), Justin Morello (traded to Drumheller - AJHL)

Chilliwack Chiefs

The BCHL experienced a warm welcome back to the Fraser Valley in 2011-12 as the Chiefs finished second overall in attendance and made the playoffs for the 19th straight season. Hosting the inaugural BCHL Showcase with hundreds of pro and college scouts in attendance provides a further profile boost for Coach and GM Harvey Smyl's program. A return to the Mainland Division comes games with more geographic rivals in Surrey, Langley and Coquitlam.

Key Arrivals: Austin Plevy (Merritt - BCHL), Ryan Donohoe (Lindsay - OJHL)
Key Departures: Derek Huisman (traded to Merritt - BCHL), Malcolm Gould (Michigan Tech - NCAA), David Bondra (Michigan State - NCAA)

Coquitlam Express

The Express are built up of a strong group of returnees, led by Coastal Conference Rookie of the Year and Most Sportsmanlike Player Alex Kerfoot, who recently committed to Harvard. They also boast the highest scoring group of returnees in the entire BCHL. Coquitlam finished just seven points out of first in their division in 2011-12, despite winding up in fourth place. Jon Calvano returns for his third season behind the bench and first after adding general manager to his title.

Key Arrivals: Callum Hofford (The Hill Academy Varsity), Adam Rockwood (Vancouver NE - BCMML), Mark Begert (Boston College - NCAA)
Key Departures: Cody Michelle (traded to Okotoks), Joona Kunnas (Jokerit U20 - Finland), Clinton Atkinson (Miskolci Jegesmedve - Hungary) 

Cowichan Valley Capitals

The Caps look to build off the third best season in franchise history, but are looking for offence as their top five scorers from a year ago have moved on. General manager Jim Ingram enters his first season as Head Coach after sharing duties with Dale Purinton in 2011-12. Dave Johnston has come on as an assistant to Ingram. Cowichan finished just four points out of first in the division last season, thanks to an 8-1-0-1 run in its last ten games. 

Key Arrivals: Corey Scammon (Cushing Academy - USHS), Jamie Waddington (Vancouver NE - BCMML), Grant Nicholson (Penticton - BCHL)
Key Departures: Devin Gannon (Mount Royal - CIS), Brett Knowles (University of Minnesota-Mankato - NCAA), Brady Rouleau (Victoria - BCHL)

Langley Rivermen

The Rivermen had a tough time in their first BCHL season, scoring the fewest goals in the Coastal Conference. A number of high end recruits up front should help boast Langley's goal total in 2012-13 though. Assistant coach Bobby Henderson was promoted to Head Coach and GM following the resignation of Steve O'Rourke in March. The Rivermen are returning a solid group including Bo Pellah, who finished first among under-17 defencemen in scoring a year ago.

Key Arrivals: Jakob Reichert (Merritt - BCHL), Mitchell McLain (Brainerd High - USHS), Trevor Cope (Victory Honda U18 - MWEHL)
Key Departures: Darnell Dyck (Lindenwood - ACHA), Austin Plevy (Chilliwack - BCHL), Jim Kruger (Dartmouth - NCAA)

Merritt Centennials

One year ago, the Cents posted their highest point total in over 30 years, advancing to the Interior Conference Final and allowing the third fewest goals-against in the BCHL. Merritt returns a large group of forwards and stalwart Tyler Steel in goal, but only three defencemen. The Cents were dominant at home in 2011-12, losing only six times in regulation, but want to improve on a road record that saw them finish just three games over .500.

Key Arrivals: Derek Huisman (Chilliwack - BCHL), Sebastien Pare (Langley - BCHL), Diego Cuglietta (Kamloops - KIJHL)
Key Departures: Evan Stack (UMass-Amherst - NCAA), Reece Willcox (Cornell - NCAA), Brandon Pfeil (Brown - NCAA)

Nanaimo Clippers

Despite being hosts of the inaugural 2013 Western Canada Cup, the Nanaimo Clippers want to win their way into the tournament. Mike Vandekamp enters his second full season in the Harbour City after the Clippers missed the playoffs in 2011-12 for the first time in 26 years and only the third time in franchise history. With some of their recruits, the offence should be improved after finishing with the second fewest goals-for in the Coastal Conference.

Key Arrivals: Jayson Argue (Swan Valley - MJHL), Kevin Miller (St. Albert Raiders - AMHL), Greg Fraser (Prince George - WHL)
Key Departures: Billy Faust (University of Vermont - NCAA), Andrew Gladiuk (Bentley - NCAA), Graeme McCormick (Bemidji State - NCAA)

Penticton Vees

After the best season statistically in BCHL history, what do you do for an encore? That's the task for GM and Head Coach Fred Harbinson and the Vees as they look to build upon a magical 2011-12. There are big shoes to fill as just four players return from the RBC Cup winning squad of a year ago. Among those returning to the Peach City is forward Wade Murphy, who averaged 1.5 points-per-game as an 18-year-old and finished fourth in BCHL scoring. Troy Stetcher should be a solid anchor on the blueline.

Key Arrivals: Sam Mellor (University of Alaska-Anchorage - NCAA), James De Haas (Toronto Lakeshore - OJHL), Louie Nanne (Edina High/Team Southwest - USHS)
Key Departures: Mike Reilly (University of Minnesota - NCAA), Mario Lucia (University of Notre Dame - NCAA), Steven Fogarty (University of Notre Dame - NCAA)

Powell River Kings

The Kings have been the bridesmaids four years running in the Fred Page Cup Final and with the recruits Head Coach and GM Kent Lewis has brought in, Powell River should contend once again in 2012-13. Derek Bachynski joins the Kings staff as an assistant from the University of Windsor's men's hockey program after Geoff Grimwood was hired by the WHL's Victoria Royals. Evan Richardson looks to improve on his 55 points in 48 games before heading off to Boston College next season.

Key Additions: Robbie Murden (Toronto Lakeshore - OJHL), Luke Ripley (Dawson Creek - NAHL), J.J. Coleshaw(Tisdale - SMHL)
Key Departures: Craig Dalrymple (Ohio State - NCAA), Sean Maguire (Boston University - NCAA), Cohen Adair (Northern Michigan - NCAA)

Prince George Spruce Kings

It was an off-season of change for the Spruce Kings as Prince George only returns six players from the 2011-12 edition. After returning to the playoffs for the first time in two seasons, the Spruce Kings will rely on the experience of those six returnees to lead them back to the BCHL post-season and beyond the first round. On the bench, Brad Rihela was hired by PG as an assistant coach replacing Kurt Walsten, who went to Drumheller of the AJHL. Blane Buckham is also on board as goaltending coach.

Key Arrivals: Coltyn Hansen (Victoria - BCHL), Tanner Fjellstrom (Cariboo - BCMML), Bradley Ryan (Oakville - OJHL)
Key Departures: Jujhar Khaira (Michigan Tech - NCAA), Paul DeJersey (Providence - NCAA), Fitzgerald triplets (Victoria - BCHL)

Salmon Arm Silverbacks

It was uncharted territory for fans in the Shuswap in 2011-12 as the Silverbacks missed the playoffs for the first time since joining the league in 2001. Troy Mick is in as Head Coach, GM and Minority Owner and brings with him a decade of experience behind the bench in the KIJHL, BCHL and WHL. Mick has never endured a losing season as a coach and Salmon Arm should content for a top four spot in the Interior. Brandon West joins as an assistant coach after leaving West Kelowna.

Key Arrivals: Colin Dzijacky (Grande Prairie - AJHL), Brayden Sherbinin (Cowichan Valley - BCHL), Ryan Schwalbe (Shattuck St. Mary's Midget Prep - USHS)
Key Departures: Morgan Zulinick (Wisconsin - NCAA), Devin Muller (Davos - Switzerland), Myles McCauley (University of Windsor - CIS)

Surrey Eagles

The Eagles finished 2011-12 just just three points out of first place in the Coastal Conference, thanks to a stellar home record of 20-5-2-3. Surrey lost five of its' top six scorers to college commitments, but Head Coach and GM Matt Erhart has brought in a number of high-end recruits that could make up for the losses. Ex-NHLer Peter Schaefer was hired as an assistant coach. The Eagles should vie for top spot in the Mainland Division once again in 2012-13.

Key Arrivals: Edward Dyson (Dawson Creek - NAHL), Harlan Orr (Okanagan Rockets - BCMML), Craig Wyszomirski (Providence College - NCAA)
Key Departures: Andrew Hunt (Clarkson - NCAA), Tyler Morley (University of Alaska-Fairbanks - NCAA), Steve Koshey (University of Alabama-Huntsville - NCAA)

Trail Smoke Eaters

There are plenty of new faces in the Kootenays as the Smoke Eaters look to bounce back from missing the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. A big deal brought impact forward Alex Holland in from Victoria (via Penticton). Head Coach and GM Bill Birks added longtime KIJHL coach Brent Heaven as an assistant coach to replace Bob Dever. Hopes are high that with all the changes, the Smokies will contend for a playoff spot this season.

Key Arrivals: Austin Adduono (Dawson Creek - NAHL), Tyler Berkholtz (Alberni Valley - BCHL), Alex Holland (Victoria - BCHL)
Key Departures: Luke Bertolucci (Edmonton - WHL), Erik Cooper (St. Norbert - NCAA III), Clayton McEwan (Over-Age)

Vernon Vipers

Coming off their worst season statistically in ten years and missing the playoffs, the collective eye in Vernon is on not only this season, but next as well since the Vipers host the RBC Cup in 2014. Jason Williamson, in his second season as Head Coach and GM, has added some strong newcomers to a returning group that includes top players like Adam Tambellini and Aaron Hadley. Jason Read and David Robinson have joined Williamson behind the bench as assistant coaches.

Key Arrivals: Pearce Eviston (Portland - WHL), Craig Martin (Beaver Valley - KIJHL), Landon Robin (Beardy's - SMHL)
Key Departures: Michael Zalewski (RPI - NCAA), Patrick McGillis (Queen's University - CIS), Darren Nowick (Northern Michigan - NCAA)

Victoria Grizzlies

The only thing that was consistent in Victoria during the off-season was change. The Grizzlies have new ownership, a new coach and GM in longtime BCHL bench boss Bill Bestwick, and a host of new players. A number of 'Future Considerations' transactions from 2011-12 deals have been relied upon to restock the cupboards. After allowing an average of more than five goals against per game last season, the addition of DJ Jones and Zach Urban to the blueline should help.

Key Arrivals: Fitzgerald triplets (Prince George - BCHL), Zach Urban (Penticton - BCHL), Brady Rouleau (West Kelowna - BCHL)
Key Departures: Braxton Bilous (West Kelowna - BCHL), Wes Myron (Boston University - NCAA), Coltyn Hansen (Prince George - BCHL)

West Kelowna Warriors

The Warriors bring back a lot of experience to their roster and look poised to return to the upper echelon of the BCHL after missing the post-season for the first time since relocating to West Kelowna in 2006. Rylan Ferster enters his second season as Head Coach and GM, having brought Shane Naka in as part-time assistant coach to replace Brandon West. Marcus Basara and Max French lead the way up front and could be poised for breakout seasons.

Key Arrivals: Tyler Briggs (Lloydminster - AJHL), Jetlan Houcher (Lloydminster Midget AAA - AMHL), Adam Plant (Penticton - KIJHL)
Key Departures: Connor Dempsey (Dartmouth - NCAA), Travis Blanleil (Penticton - BCHL), Ben Betker (Everett - WHL)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chilliwack-Powell River Trade:


The Chilliwack Chiefs add a bit more grit and experience to their roster on Saturday as they acquired 19-year-old forward Tanner Cochrane from the Powell River Kings for future considerations.

The deal was officially announced by the Chiefs as they had claimed Cochrane off of BCHL waivers. What that means is that Powell River had a deal done to trade Cochrane to a junior 'A' team outside of BC in exchange for money.

In any instance where a player is traded from the BCHL to a league outside of BC for cash, he must clear BCHL waivers first, meaning the other 15 BCHL teams can claim him instead of the player being traded out of province. That's exactly what happened with Cochrane and Chilliwack and now Powell River gets the cash considerations from the Chiefs as opposed to the other team they had a deal with.

We'll never likely know what trade Powell River had worked out the team with the outside of BC and the transaction should officially go down as Cochrane from the Kings to the Chiefs for futures.

To Chilliwack Chiefs:
F Tanner Cochrane (93) To Powell River Kings:
Future Considerations

Here's the official release from the Chiefs website:

The Chilliwack Chiefs have acquired 19 year old forward Tanner Cochrane off of waivers. The 6’0 ,180lb Kamloops product spent the 2011-12 season playing for the Powell River Kings recording 4 points and 69 penalty minutes in 41regular season  games while collecting 2 points and 15 PIMs in 14 post season contests.

Chiefs General Manager and Head Coach Harvey Smyl says his latest acquisition should add some more grit to the roster, ”Tanner is a very physical player who likes to finish his checks. We expect him to bring some more intensity to our line-up.”

As for Cochrane, he can’t wait to put on the Chiefs uniform, “I am pretty excited to have the chance to play in Chilliwack. The Chiefs have such a great tradition of success on and off of the ice and I hope I can be a part of that.”

The Chiefs first Save on Foods BCHL Showcase game is this Friday at Prospera Centre at 7:30pm vs the Penticton Vees. Ticket packages are available.

Season tickets are on sale for the 2012-13 BCHL season, for more information call 604 392 4433 or visit chilliwackchiefs.net.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

BCHL Tonight - September 1, 2012


Today's Scoreboard (Exhibition)

Powell River at Nanaimo 0-4 F

Wenatchee (NAHL) at Penticton 1-4 F

Grande Prairie (AJHL) at Prince George 5-2 F

Surrey at Chilliwack 1-3 F

Alberni Valley at Cowichan Valley 1-3 F

Salmon Arm at Vernon 1-3 F

Merritt at Trail 3-8 F

Tomorrow's Schedule
 
Powell River at Victoria - 1 pm

Wenatchee (NAHL) at Langley - 7 pm

Victoria-Oakville Trade:

 

The Victoria Grizzlies freed up another 20-year-old spot, giving them room for three, by trading defenceman Stefan Gonzales to the OJHL's Oakville Blades for 18 year goaltender Michael Stiliadis.

Stiliadis had strong numbers with the Blades last season and should join Brady Rouleau to form a formidable due in goal for the Grizzlies.

Gonzales joined Victoria in a trade last season after playing 11 games in Chilliwack and provided strong leadership on the Grizzlies blueline.

The deal hasn't been confirmed on either team's website, nor the BCHL website, but the Victoria Times-Colonist confirmed on Twitter (@tc_vicsports) that a deal was being worked on to bring Stiliadis to our provincial capital and Gonzales confirmed it on his Twitter account that he'd been dealt to Oakville. The trade was also mentioned on the Grizz Roar Blog.

To Victoria Grizzlies:
G Michael Stiliadis (94)
To Oakville Blades:
D Stefan Gonzales (92)

TEAM 1040 On Board For Another BCHL Season:

 

Great news for the BCHL and its' fans as TEAM Radio will provide a huge boost of interest with coverage of the league. It's also very cool to see that 11 of the BCHL's 16 teams will be represented on the broadcasts with just Vernon, Penticton, Victoria, Powell River and Nanaimo not having any games on the TEAM 1040 schedule.

Here's the release from the BCHL website:

The British Columbia Hockey league is pleased to announce it has renewed a partnership with TEAM1040 for the coming season and will again have 12 games broadcast across the station’s radio network.

“Blake Price, Jeff Paterson and Matt Baker have done phenomenal work on our games the last few seasons so we’re thrilled to be on TEAM1040 again,” said BCHL communications director Brent Mutis. “The quality of coverage we’ve had on TEAM1040 is outstanding and we’re proud to have them as a supporter of our league.”

The TEAM1040 broadcast schedule for 2012-13 is as follows:

Friday, Sept. 14     Langley Rivermen @ Coquitlam Express
Sunday, Sept. 23   Alberni Valley Bulldogs @ Surrey Eagles
Saturday, Oct. 6     Coquitlam Express @ Chilliwack Chiefs
Sunday, Oct. 21      Trail Smoke Eaters @ Surrey Eagles
Saturday, Oct. 27   Surrey Eagles @ Langley Rivermen
Friday, Nov. 2          Prince George Spruce Kings @ Langley Rivermen
Friday, Nov. 23        West Kelowna Warriors @ Coquitlam Express
Friday, Jan. 11        Merritt Centennials @ Coquitlam Express
Sunday, Jan. 13      Surrey Eagles @ Langley Rivermen
Sunday, Jan. 27      Salmon Arm SilverBacks @ Surrey Eagles
Sunday, Feb. 10       Alberni Valley Bulldogs @ Chilliwack Chiefs
Saturday, Feb. 23     Prince George Spruce Kings @ Chilliwack Chiefs.

In addition to the broadcasts, there will also be weekly BCHL Player of the Week reports and feature interviews Tuesday’s during Matt Sekeres’ mid-day show.

The BCHL regular season officially begins in Chilliwack with the BCHL Showcase presented by Save-On-Foods. The event runs Sept. 7 to 9 at Prospera Centre.

UPDATE: Chilliwack-Lindsay Trade:


*UPDATE* - The BCHL has posted the details of this trade on its website and it's interesting to note that it is different than the Chiefs originally released.

Per the BCHL Transactions page: The Chilliwack Chiefs Hockey Club transfers the playing rights of David Bondra (F) and future considerations to the Lindsay Muskies Hockey Club of the OJHL in exchange for the playing rights of Ryan Donahoe.

So Bondra has been included despite the fact that he's off to school this year (Michigan State University). Bondra is a 20-year-old, so I would think that his inclusion in this deal is a formality as it's unlikely that he'll defer his attendance to Michigan State to go to Lindsay.

My original post is below (with the details of the trade corrected):

The Chilliwack Chiefs have made their second (announced) trade of the off-season, bolstering their forward ranks by bringing in a player with more than a 100 junior A games under his belt.

They've brought in 20-year-old forward Ryan Donohoe (92) from the Lindsay Muskies of the OJHL for future considerations. For Donohoe, it's the second time this off-season that he's been traded as he was moved from Wellington to Lindsay earlier in the summer.

Barring any other moves, Donohoe takes up the Chiefs last available 20-year-old spot.

To Chilliwack Chiefs:
F Ryan Donohoe (92) To Lindsay Muskies:
F David Bondra (92) + Future Considerations

Here's the release from the Chiefs website:

The Chilliwack Chiefs have acquired 20 year old forward Ryan Donohoe from the Lindsay Muskies in exchange for future considerations.

Donohoe is a veteran of four junior hockey seasons in the OJHL where he recorded 107 points in 135 games played along with 150 penalty minutes.

Head Coach and General Manager Harvey Smyl likes the qualities his new acquisition boasts, “From all of the reports I have received, Ryan is very skilled, works hard at both ends of the ice and will bring strong leadership qualities.”

As for the 6’0, 170lb Ontario product, he is excited to be on his way to Chilliwack, “I am looking forward to coming out west. I have heard that the Chiefs fans are the tops in the Country and that Prospera Centre is one of the best places to play junior hockey.”