Sunday, August 31, 2014

Langley Snags Netminder Bo Didur from Rival Surrey:

The Langley Rivermen made their second off-season deal with the rival Surrey Eagles on Friday, acquiring 17-year-old goaltender Bo Didur in exchange for future considerations.

A month ago, the Rivermen picked up 17-year-old Domenic Masellis from the Eagles in the first trade between the longtime division foes.

Didur's acquisition comes as the Rivermen lost 20-year-old veteran Tyrell King to retirement. King was picked up in a three-way trade from the SJHL's Kindersley Klippers back in June, but announced on his Twitter account that he was leaving the game.


The number one job in Langley now looks to be between Didur and 18-year-old Darren Martin, who the Rivermen also acquired via trade in June from the SJHL's Battlefords North Stars.

Didur had outstanding numbers in major midget in 2012-13 and respectable numbers on an Eagles team which finished second to last in the Mainland Division and allowed 31 goals more than it scored.

The trade leaves Surrey without any goaltenders on its roster as 20-year-old Devon Fordyce was dealt to Okotoks of the AJHL earlier this summer.


To Langley Rivermen:
G Bo Didur (97) To Surrey Eagles:
Future Considerations

Here's the release from Langley:

The Langley Rivermen have acquired goaltender Bo Didur from the Surrey Eagles for future considerations.

The seventeen year old Didur played in twenty-four regular season games and six playoff games for the Eagles last season.

Prior to his rookie year with the Eagles, Didur played for the Northwest Giants in the BC Major Midget Hockey League, where he went undefeated in the regular season, winning twenty-three games in 2013.

“Bo has proven himself to be one of the top goalies in the country for his age,” said head coach Bobby Henderson. “We are fortunate to add a player of Bo’s ability to our organization. He comes in familiar with our group, as he has played with several of our guys in the past,” he said. “Bo has a reputation of being an outstanding character and possesses a work ethic that will allow him to continue to develop and climb the ranks.”

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Three BCHL Teams Ranked in Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 Pre-Season Rankings:

I know the validity of these rankings are of great debate among teams, fans, and broadcasters of Canadian Junior Hockey League teams, but regardless, the league is out with its first Top 20 Rankings of the 2014-15 season.

There are three BCHL teams featured in the Top 20 (Penticton Vees - 2nd, Langley Rivermen - 9th, Merritt Centennials - 14th) while one other (Powell River Kings) received an honourable mention.

Here's the release from the CJHL:

The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) announced its Pre-Season Top 20 rankings for the 2014 - 2015 season. The leagues in which the teams belong to are in parenthesis.

The CJHL Pre-Season 2014-2015 Top 20 Rankings

1.    Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL)

2.    Penticton Vees (BCHL)

3.    Georgetown Raiders (OJHL)

4.    Portage Terriers (MJHL)

5.    Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)

6.    Drumheller Dragons (AJHL)

7.    Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL)

8.    Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)

9.    Langley Rivermen (BCHL)


10.  Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL)

11.  Woodstock Slammers (MHL)

12.  Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)

13.  Pembroke Lumber Kings (CCHL)

14.   Merritt Centennials (BCHL)

15.   Aurora Tigers (OJHL)

16.  Truro Bearcats (MHL)

17.  Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL)

18.  Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL)

19.  Selkirk Steelers (MJHL)

20.  Les Pantheres de Saint Jerome (LHJQ)

Other teams to watch and honourable mention goes to the Powell River Kings (BCHL), Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL), Battlefords North Stars (SJHL), Oakville Blades (OJHL), Kemptville 73’s (CCHL),

The pre-season rankings are based upon a variety of factors which includes the league in which the teams belong to, last season’s results in regular season and playoffs as well as initial recruiting efforts for the upcoming season. The first in-season Top 20 CJHL Weekly Rankings will be announced on September 30, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Surrey Eagles Bring Defenseman Latrell Charleson Back to the BCHL:

The Surrey Eagles continued to load up on local players as on Thursday they acquired 19-year-old defenseman Latrell Charleson from the Hawkesbury Hawks of the Central Canada Hockey League for 19-year-old blueliner Philippe Johansson.

If Charleson's name is familiar, it's because the 6-foot-4, 220 lb. has played in the BCHL before. He got into 23 games as a 17-year-old rookie with Prince George in 2011-12 and played 20 games with the Spruce Kings in 2012-13 before being released in December 2012. The Surrey product then joined the junior B North Delta Devils and also affiliated with the Coquitlam Express, playing eight games with them.

How Charleson's Canadian Junior Hockey League's rights got to Hawkesbury is a bit of a mystery. He was recruited by the Battlefords North Stars of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in June 2013 and played with them last season. Then this past July, Charleson was traded to the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Lloydminster Bobcats. What I can't find any record of is how Charleson's rights ended up with Hawkesbury, which enabled them to trade him to Surrey. We may never know.

Meanwhile, Johansson, who is committed to Brown University for 2015-16, really came into his own during the BCHL playoffs, putting up two goals and three assists in six games for the Eagles.

To Surrey Eagles:
D Latrell Charleson (95) To Hawkesbury Hawks:
D Philippe Johansson (94)

Vernon Adds Four Year Junior A Veteran Defenseman Jake Emilio from Cobourg:

With only two returning defensemen, the Vernon Vipers added a significant piece to their blue line on Thursday, acquiring 20-year-old Jake Emilio from the Cobourg Cougars of the Ontario Junior Hockey League for future considerations.

Back in April, Cobourg announced that Emilio had committed to the NCAA Div. III Middlesbury College Panthers for this September, but I assume Vernon wouldn't have traded for the Kleinburg, Ontario product if he wasn't going to play for the Vipers. In fact, Emilio is in training camp with Vernon right now.

He's a two-time OJHL All-Star, representing the East Division in 2012-13 and the North-East Conference last season.

To Vernon Vipers:
D Jake Emilio (94) To Cobourg Cougars:
Future Considerations

Victoria Reaquires Goaltender Michael Stiliadis in Four Team Trade:

The Victoria Grizzlies crease got a bit more crowded on Thursday as GM and Head Coach Brad Knight was part of a complex trade involving four different Canadian Junior Hockey League teams in four different leagues.

The first deal saw the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Whitecourt Wolverines trade 19-year-old forward Connor McCallum and future considerations to Cornwall Colts of the Central Canada Hockey League in exchange for 20-year-old defenseman Pierre Ouellette.

The Colts then traded McCallum to Grizzlies in exchange for future considerations. Victoria then flipped McCallum and future considerations to Dauphin Kings for 20-year-old goaltender Michael Stiliadis, who was named Most Valuable Player at last spring's RBC Cup tournament in Vernon.

Stiliadis had expressed to Dauphin that he was interested in returning to the BCHL for his last season of junior hockey and the Kings accommodated. The Woodbridge, Ontario product played for the Grizzlies in 2012-13 season, posting a 2.97 goals-against-average and an .897 save percentage in 31 games played. He was acquired from the OJHL's Oakville Blades by Victoria in late August of 2012.

In terms of the break down of Stiliadis rejoining Victoria, I'll only focus on the BCHL portion of the deal.

To Victoria Grizzlies:
G Michael Stiliadis (94) To Dauphin Kings:
F Connor McCallum (95) + Future Considerations

Here's the release from Dauphin on the deal:

The Dauphin Kings were a part of a 4 team trade this last week. Coming to the Kings is 19 year old forward Connor McCallum who played last season with the Whitecourt Wolverines in the AJHL as well as future considerations.

“Connor will bring tenacity, a strong work ethic and excellent character to our hockey club.” said Kings HC/GM Marlin Murray “He’s a big body that competes hard.”

The 6’2”, 200lb forward will arrive in Dauphin later this afternoon for the Kings Main Camp.

Going to the Victoria Grizzlies is 20 year old goaltender Michael Stiliadis.

“Stilly was very good for us last season and as a team are likely not as successful without him” stated Murray. “We were advised by his father and family advisor in the summertime that he would only be reporting to the BCHL for his final year of Junior A hockey. We are happy to get Connor and maximum PDF back in the deal because many BCHL teams had their goaltenders solidified for the upcoming season. We want to wish Stilly all the best.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Alberni Valley Deals 19-Year-Old Defenseman Bo Pellah to Surrey:

It looks like 19-year-old defenseman Bo Pellah will make his return to the BC Hockey League with Surrey after his Canadian Junior Hockey League rights were traded to the Eagles by Alberni Valley for future considerations.

Pellah, who's from New Westminster, played last season with the Youngstown Phantoms and Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League, posting 22 points (6g, 16a) in 50 games.

In June, he informed the Bulldogs that he was looking to return to the BCHL after determining that the USHL wasn't the best fit for his style of play. At that time, Alberni Valley revealed that it had received a number of calls from teams looking to acquire Pellah.

He was a Coastal Conference Second Team All-Star in 2012-13 after a 33-point split between the Bulldogs and Langley Rivermen. Pellah decommitted from Penn State University back in March. He had committed to the school as a 16-year-old in December 2011.

The trade isn't posted on either teams' website, but is posted under "Transactions" on the BCHL website.

To Surrey Eagles:
D Bo Pellah (95) To Alberni Valley Bulldogs:
Future Considerations

Monday, August 25, 2014

Vernon Vipers Add Former NHL Tough Guy Eric Godard to Coaching Staff:

Forced to hire a completely new assistant coaching staff, Vernon Vipers GM and Head Coach Jason Williamson solidified his help behind the bench, just days before training camp is set to begin.

The Vipers announced earlier this off-season that they hired Kevin Kraus to replace David Robinson, who decided to step away from Vernon as Assistant Coach. Kraus, who played for the Vipers from 2007-08 to 2009-10, was an assistant in Salmon Arm last season.

Then when Associate Coach Kris Mallette left the Vipers last month to join the Kelowna Rockets as an Assistant Coach, Williamson found himself in the position of having to hire another assistant for the second time in three months. And once again, the Vipers looked north and picked up former NHLer Eric Godard to fill the role. Godard, like Kraus, was an assistant with the Salmon Arm SilverBacks in 2013-14.

The announcement of Godard's hiring is on the 107.5 Kiss FM website:

Vernon Vipers start their BCHL camp Friday morning at Kal Tire Place, with coach and GM Jason Williamson saying it will be a new look team.

"It's a totally fresh team, players that I have 100% recruited them all. It's a fresh staff. I'm excited about working with Kevin Kraus (assistant coach), and officially we've actually brought Eric Godard on too (as an assistant coach), so I'm excited about that," says Williamson.

The 34 year old Godard is a Vernon native who played 335 games in the NHL with the New York Islanders, Calgary Flames and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

He was known as an enforcer with 833 career penalty minutes.

"He'll be a guy that works mainly with the forwards, but just an assistant to help with whatever we need, really," says Williamson.

Both Kraus and Godard were with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks last season.

Canada West World Junior A Challenge Coaching Staff Has Distinct BCHL Flavour:

Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League jointly announced the coaching staff today for the 2014 World Junior A Challenge from December 14 - 20 in Kindersley, Saskatchewan.

Although Trent Cassan, a coach from the SJHL was named as the Head Coach for Canada West, there is a distinct BCHL flavour to Cassan's assistants.

Merritt Centennials GM and Head Coach Luke Pierce along with Vernon Vipers GM and Head Coach Jason Williamson were both named assistants. Tim Fragle, who is the GM and Head Coach of the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Spruce Grove Saints, is a former BCHL player, having skated for the Trail Smoke Eaters from 1998 to 2000 before joining Merritt for eight games in the latter part of the 1999-00 season.

Of course, in addition to the managerial roles they each have now, Pierce and Williamson are both former BCHL players. Williamson played three seasons for the Vipers from 1999 to 2002 and Pierce spent two seasons as a Centennial from 2001 to 2003 before joining Vernon for his 20-year-old season of 2003-04.

Canada West hasn't won gold at the WJAC since 2011, but has claimed a medal at every tournament since its inception in 2006. Canada West won the bronze last year.

Here's the release from the CJHL regarding today's announcement:

The Canadian Junior Hockey League, in partnership with Hockey Canada, announced today that Trent Cassan, head coach and general manager of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's Yorkton Terriers, will be the head coach of Canada West at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, scheduled for Dec. 14-20 in Kindersley, Sask.

Cassan will be joined by assistant coaches Tim Fragle (head coach and general manager, Sherwood Park Crusaders, Alberta Junior Hockey League), Luke Pierce (head coach and general manager, Merritt Centennials, British Columbia Hockey League) and Jason Williamson (head coach and general manager, Vernon Vipers, British Columbia Hockey League).

“I am honoured and excited to be able to work with many of the top CJHL players from all over Western Canada,” said Cassan. “The World Junior A Challenge is a first-class event with premier players from all over the world. My experience at the 2013 event in Yarmouth, N.S., was a positive one, and I look forward to working with the staff and representing Canada West in Kindersley in December.”

Trent Cassan, 31, will make his second appearance with Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge, having won a bronze medal as an assistant coach in 2013. Cassan has been head coach and general manager in Yorkton for the past five seasons, leading the team to the SJHL championship and RBC Cup national championship last season. A Terriers alumnus (2002-04), Cassan was named SJHL Coach of the Year in 2012-13.

Tim Fragle, 34, will be an assistant coach with Canada West for the first time at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge.  Entering his fifth year as head coach and general manager in Sherwood Park, Fragle has 16 years of coaching and instructional experience.  He finished his CJHL playing career with the Crusaders, serving as captain in 2000-01.

Luke Pierce, 31, will make his first appearance with Canada West at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge. The head coach of Team West at the 2013 CJHL Prospects Games, Pierce has been the head coach and general manager of the Centennials for the past five seasons, guiding Merritt to the playoffs every year, and winning BCHL Interior Division Coach of the Year honours in 2012-13.

Jason Williamson, 33, will be an assistant coach with Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge for the first time. He has been the head coach and general manager in Vernon for the past four years, and was an assistant coach for three years prior to that. Williamson has made four trips to the RBC Cup, Canada’s National Junior A Championship, winning the national title with the Vipers in 2009 and 2010, and finishing as runner-up in 2011. He played three seasons in Vernon (1999-2002), making two trips to the BCHL final.

Canada West has appeared in six of the eight gold medal games at the World Junior A Challenge, winning gold in 2006 (Yorkton/Humboldt, Sask.), 2007 (Trail/Nelson, B.C.), and 2012 (Langley, B.C.). It also won silver in 2008 (Camrose, Alta.), 2009 (Summerside, P.E.I.), and 2012 (Yarmouth, N.S.), and won bronze in 2013 (Yarmouth, N.S.).  It finished fourth in 2010 (Penticton, B.C.).

For more information on the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca/wjac, or follow along through social media at www.facebook.com/wjrac and www.twitter.com/hc_wjac.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

SFU Men's Hockey Releases Exhibition Schedule:

In addition to the two previously announced exhibition games against Bowling Green State University and Miami University, the Simon Fraser University Men's Hockey team has filled out its exhibition schedule with four other games.

Only one of the games is against a fellow BC Intercollegiate Hockey League team, two are against Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference teams and one is against a Canadian Interuniversity Sport team.

The six game exhibition schedule is also interrupted by the start of the 2014-15 BCIHL season on September 26 and 27, when SFU travels to Cheney, Washington for back-to-back games against the University of Washington Eagles.

It's interesting to note as well, that due to ice being unavailable at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre, SFU won't host a game - exhibition or otherwise - until Friday, October 10 against Selkirk College.

The exhibition schedule looks like this (all times Pacific):

Tuesday, September 9 at University of British Columbia - Thunderbird Sports Centre - 7:15 pm

Friday, September 12 at Trinity Western University - Langley Events Centre - 7 pm

Friday, September 19 at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology - SAIT Campus Centre Arena - 6 pm

Saturday, September 20 at Red Deer College - SAIT Campus Centre Arena - 3 pm

Saturday, October 4 at Bowling Green State University - BGSU Ice Arena - 9 am

Sunday, October 5 at Miami University - Goggin Ice Centre - 2 pm

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Salmon Arm Picks Up Hometown Forward Shane Danyluk:

The Salmon Arm SilverBacks added a significant piece to their forward group on Wednesday, acquiring the Canadian Junior Hockey League rights to 20-year-old Shane Danyluk from West Kelowna.

Danyluk was placed on waivers in the Western Hockey League earlier this week by Prince Albert, where he played the last four seasons. Once he cleared waivers, the SilverBacks needed to pick up his Canadian Junior A playing rights, which were held by the Warriors.

Salmon Arm swung a deal with West-K, sending 19-year-old forward Michael Roberts and future considerations to the Warriors to get Danyluk. 

For Roberts, West Kelowna is the fifth BCHL team he's suited up for after previously spending time in Vernon, Surrey, Trail and of course, Salmon Arm. He's proven to be a big scorer at the junior B level, but has yet to translate those point totals to the BCHL, putting up 33 points (12g, 21a) in 117 career games.

Danyluk, who's never played junior A hockey, jumped directly to the WHL from the BC Major Midget League in 2010. He put up decent numbers with the Raiders, posting 77 points (25g, 55a) in 248 career games.

To Salmon Arm SilverBacks:
F Shane Danyluk (94) To West Kelowna Warriors:
F Michael Roberts (95) + Future Considerations

Here's the release from the SilverBacks:

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club has made a significant acquisition today by acquiring the Hockey Canada playing rights for Salmon Arm local Shane Danyluk ’94. Danyluk is being acquired from the West Kelowna Warriors for Michael Roberts and future considerations.

“Shane has just completed 4 years at the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders and amassed 25 goals and 52 assists for a total of 77 pts in 248 games. Shane will be a dynamic forward for the ‘Backs this season,” states GM Troy Mick. "Shane wanted to play his last year of Junior eligibility in his hometown in front of family and friends.  We are absolutely thrilled that he will be wearing a ‘Backs jersey this year.  When you acquire a player of Shane’s caliber, you have to give up a good player. We wish Michael Roberts the best of luck this coming season."

And from the Warriors:

The West Kelowna Warriors have acquired Michael Roberts (95) from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in exchange for the CJHL playing rights of Shane Danyluk (94) and future considerations.

Roberts, a native of Vernon, BC has played in 2 BCHL seasons, donning the uniform of the Vernon Vipers, Surrey Eagles, Trail Smoke Eaters, and lastly the Silverbacks.

In 117 BCHL Games, he’s scored 12 goals and added 21 assists for 33 points. Roberts also put up 49 points in 44 games, including 27 goals for the Revelstoke Grizzlies of the KIJHL in 2011/2012.

“In acquiring Michael we get a veteran player than can play in all situations,” said Head Coach Rylan Ferster, “I have known Michael for a number of years and know exactly the type of person we are bringing in.”

Langley and Cowichan Swap 19-Year-Old Defensemen:

The Cowichan Capitals traded a player who didn't even suit up for them on Wednesday, moving 19-year-old defenseman Jacob Kearley to Langley in exchange for 19-year-old defenseman Charlie Pelnik and future considerations.

Kearley was acquired by the Caps back in June from Victoria in a move which was contested by the Newmarket, Ontario native and his family. They stated he had a no-trade clause with the Grizzlies, but the move eventually went through anyway. 

There's no word whether Kearley's move to Langley had anything to do with the original deal between Victoria and Cowichan. Both Kearley and Pelnik are very good players and this is a trade that has the potential to work out well for both teams.




To Cowichan Capitals:
D Charlie Pelnik (95) + Future Considerations

To Langley Rivermen:
D Jacob Kearley (95) Here's the release from the Capitals:

The Cowichan Capitals Hockey Club has acquired 19 year-old defenceman Charlie Pelnik from the Langley Rivermen in exchange for defenceman Jacob Kearley.

The 6'4" 215 pound Pelnik hails from Cary, North Carolina and is entering his second season in the BCHL having put up 10 points and 88 penalty minutes in 53 games last year. 

"Charlie is a big body with a physical presence that can move pucks and make it difficult for opponents," said Capitals Head Coach and General Manager Bob Beatty.

"He adds a veteran presence that will compliment our defensive core very well."

Pelnik has already secured an NCAA Division I scholarship to the University of North Dakota for the 2015-16 season.  He is responsible with the puck in his own zone and is an intimidating force with plenty of grit.

The Capitals would like to welcome Charlie to the Cowichan Valley and look forward to seeing him at training camp later this month.

And from the Rivermen:

The Langley Rivermen have acquired defenceman Jacob Kearley from the Cowichan Valley Capitals in exchange for Charlie Pelnik.

The 19 year-old Kearley hails from Newmarket, Ontario and at 6'3" and 216 pounds, the physical blue liner adds some serious size and grit to the Rivermen's back end.

"We're adding a big body with a lot of skill, who can play both offensively and defensively," said Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson.

As a rookie last season with the Grizzlies, Kearley had 6 goals and 20 assists and 46 penalty minutes in 57 games.

Pelnik played in 53 games with the Rivermen last season, accumulating 10 points and 88 penalty minutes.

“Charlie’s a good quality defenseman and he’ll fit in well with Cowichan Valley,” said Henderson. "It’s a good move for both organizations.”

The Rivermen would like to welcome Jacob to Langley and look forward to seeing him on the ice for the upcoming 2014-2015 season.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BC Intercollegiate Hockey League Releases 2014-15 Regular Season Schedule:

Following the withdrawl of Thompson Rivers University, the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League had to go back to square one with its 2014-15 schedule.

The revised schedule is now complete and the BCIHL's five teams will each play 24 games (12 home, 12 away) starting on Friday, September 26 and wrapping up on Saturday, February 28.

The full regular season schedule is available here: http://www.bcihl.ca/leagues/schedules.cfm?clientID=3692&leagueID=11139

Schedule highlights include the first rematch of the 2014 BCIHL championship series when Trinity Western University hosts Selkirk College on Saturday, October 11. The Saints, who are back-to-back defending BCIHL champions, face TWU five times during the 2014-15 regular season.

Simon Fraser University faces Selkirk College for the first time on Friday, October 10 at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre, reigniting arguably the BCIHL's most fierce rivalry. The Clan visit Castlegar for two games on Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8. It's the last meeting between the two teams for nearly three months as SFU and Selkirk don't meet again until Friday, February 6.

Kootenay region rivals Selkirk College and Eastern Washington play the first of their ten games on Friday, October 3.

Opening weekend games on Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27 include the University of Victoria hosting Trinity Western University for two games while Simon Fraser University plays a twin bill at Eastern Washington University.

The 2014-15 regular season concludes on the final weekend of February with all five teams in action, including UVIC on the Mainland for games against TWU and SFU while Selkirk makes one last trip to Cheney to face EWU.

All 120 regular season BCIHL games are available to watch at http://bcihl.fasthockey.com/

Sunday, August 17, 2014

SUNY-Canton Forward Vance Bridgman Commits to SFU for 2014-15:


The Simon Fraser University Men’s Hockey team is pleased to announce its eighth student athlete commitment for the 2014-15 season. Joining SFU is forward Vance Bridgman of North Pole, Alaska. The 22-year-old is coming off two seasons of NCAA Div. III hockey with the State University of New York at Canton.

“Vance will be a versatile player for us as he can play forward and defense,” said SFU Head Coach Mark Coletta. “He put up some pretty good point totals during his last year of junior hockey and then was moved to defense when he got to university.”

Bridgman, who is listed at 6’1” and 195-pounds, had two goals and four assists in 18 games with SUNY-Canton in 2013-14. He was a two-sport athlete at North Pole High School in Alaska, competing in hockey and baseball.

“I'm excited to come to SFU because of the challenge in the classroom and on the ice. Joining a program that has proven to be a winner is also something I'm really looking forward to being apart of,” said Bridgman.

Bridgman started his junior hockey career in 2010-11 with the Southern Oregon Spartans of the Tier III Northern Pacific Hockey League, contributing 50 goals and 43 assists. He lead the league in goals and was named a NORPAC First Team All-Star. Bridgman also added eight goals and three assists in seven playoff games with the Spartans. He joined the Idaho Junior Steelheads of the Western States Hockey League for 2011-12 and posted 18 goals along with 29 assists in 42 games. He had three goals and eight assists in nine playoff games with the Steelheads as they won the WSHL Championship. In August 2012, he committed to attend SUNY-Canton and played 14 games as a freshman in 2012-13, totaling two goals and three assists.

“As for where Vance fits in our lineup, we’ll have to see how training camp plays out, but I see him giving us some added size and offense up front,” continued Coletta.

Bridgman is the first player with NCAA experience to commit to SFU for the upcoming season, but he joins Jared Eng, Nick Sandor, and Aaron Enns on the Clan roster as players who have played US college hockey.

“I'm not a very flashy player, but I like to be in front of the net and get in the goalie's vision to get to job done. I'm also responsible in the defensive zone and love killing penalties,” he explains. “In my first year at SFU, I'd like to help continue the program's winning tradition. I plan on finding out where I fit in as soon as possible and doing whatever I can to help the team be successful.”

Bridgman joins goaltenders Jordan Liem and Dominic Stadnyk, defensemen Mathew Berry-Lamontagna and Robby Jang, and forwards Adam Callegari, Tyler Basham and Matthew Luongo as eight recruits thus far in what is expected to be a very strong recruiting class for the 2014-15 season for SFU.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Plans to Resurrect TRU Hockey Program for 2014-15 Halted:

Despite best efforts from Trevor Bast, there won't be hockey at Thompson Rivers University this season. That said, the door is definitely open for the program to be relaunched in future seasons.

Bast, whose son Des was announced as the last recruit by the WolfPack back in July, was spearheading the efforts to save the program. 

He sent this email to the team's recruits and returning players earlier this week:

Hello Gentlemen. I have just spoken to the league commissioner and they can no longer wait to release the schedule. I wanted to let all of you know before TRU puts out an official release.

I'm sorry our rescue effort fell short and I appreciate everyone being on board. Don't feel like you didn't make a difference because you did. There was not much of a chance of it coming back next season the way things ended. Now we are having active and continuing conversations with TRU, the BCIHL and sponsors about icing a team next year.

I can't express how much I regret you guys not playing next season. I know what the game and the camaraderie means to you. For those of you aren't going to school because of this I feel even worse.

I will keep people notified of our progress moving forward.
TRU Athletics also posted this update on its website:

Plans to resurrect the hockey program at Thompson Rivers University have been put on hold.

Thompson Rivers University Athletic and Recreation Director Ken Olynyk said that a group which started a campaign to keep the program alive has fallen short. The group, which included a few parents of players and recruits, had communicated with university officials for the past weeks on the issue.

“I am not saying that the hockey program won’t come back in some form in the future,” said Olynyk. “But as it stands right now, any efforts to put a team on the ice for the 2014-15 BC Intercollegiate Hockey League season have ceased.”

The group plans to continue to speak with the Director, Athletics and Recreation as well as university officials over the coming months in an effort to reestablish the hockey program at Thompson Rivers University sometime in the future.

Penticton Vees Add Two-Time RBC Cup Participant Demico Hannoun from Surrey:

The Penticton Vees swung one of the biggest trades of the summer in acquiring 18-year-old forward Demico Hannoun from the Surrey Eagles.

Hannoun, who played for Vernon in 2013-14, was moved by the Vipers to Surrey in June as part of the future considerations from the January trade which saw forward Brett Mulcahy join the Snakes.

The North Delta native is entering his fourth BCHL season and is a veteran of 59 playoff and tournament games. He played ten games over the last two seasons at the RBC Cup, five games at the 2013 Western Canada Cup, and 44 BCHL Fred Page Cup playoff games, posting totals of 15 goals and 26 points. Hannoun won the Fred Page Cup with Surrey in 2013 and was also a member of Canada West's bronze medal winning team last season.

Hannoun, who is a graduate of the BC Major Midget League's Greater Vancouver Canadians, was committed to attend Michigan Tech University this fall, is now slated to head to college in September 2015.

Going to Surrey in exchange for Hannoun are the Canadian Junior Hockey League rights to 19-year-old defenseman Alex Coulombe and future considerations. The BCHL All-Rookie Team member and native of Granby, Quebec, is slated to play for Shawinigan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season. He is formerly a recruit of the University of Vermont.

To Penticton Vees:
F Demico Hannoun (95) To Surrey Eagles:
D Alex Coulombe (95) + Future Considerations

Here's the release from the Vees:

The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club has acquired forward Demico Hannoun (95) from the Surrey Eagles in exchange for the CJHL playing rights of defenseman Alex Coulombe (95) and future considerations the team announced Wednesday.

Vees President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson on the acquisition of Hannoun, “Demico is a player who we are very familiar with, and I look forward to working with him so can he achieve his maximum potential.”

Hannoun, who turns 19 in October, brings a wealth of experience to the Vees as he’s set to embark on his fourth BCHL season. The North Delta, BC, product has played in 182 career regular season and playoff games in the BCHL and has twice played in the RBC Cup for Surrey and Vernon. Last season with the Vipers, Hannoun was nearly a point per-game player, collecting 15 goals and 44 points in 48 regular season games. He added another 12 points in 18 playoff games as the Vipers advanced to the Fred Page Cup Final against Coquitlam. Hannoun also represented Canada on the International stage last season as he was a member of Team Canada West at the 2013 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Nova Scotia. Hannoun is committed to Michigan Tech University.

Hannoun started his BCHL career in Surrey in 2011 and won a Fred Page Cup championship with the Eagles in the spring of 2013 when they edged the Vees in six games in the league final. Hannoun and the Eagles won the inaugural Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup in Nanaimo that year and advanced all the way to the RBC Cup Semi-Final in Summerside, P.E.I.

Coulombe, from Granby, Quebec, played in 54 regular season games with the Vees last season while adding three goals and 19 points to go along with 50 penalty-minutes. Coulombe played in all 11 of the Vees playoffs games, registering one assist.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Victoria Grizzlies Trade Colgate University Recruit Rory McGuire to Kingston:

The Victoria Grizzlies recruited five players from St. Andrew's College last summer, and now only one of them remains with the defending Island Division regular season champions.

19-year-old defenseman Rory McGuire, along with Jake Sterling, Jay Mackie, Adam Moodie, and Jacob Kearley, was brought west by former Victoria Head Coach and GM Bill Bestwick in June of 2013.

On Tuesday, the Grizzlies traded McGuire to the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League for future considerations, which leaves Mackie as the lone player left on Victoria's roster who was brought in 14 months ago from St. Andrew's.

Moodie was recruited but didn't sign with the Grizzlies, and ironically enough, joined Kingston last July. Stirling was released by Victoria in December 2013, and signed with the OJHL's Newmarket Hurricanes. Kearley was traded by the Grizzlies to Cowichan in June of this year.

McGuire, who's from Bracebridge, Ontario, is set to attend Colgate University in September 2015, with an eye on majoring in economics. He's a solid defenseman at both ends of the ice and should be a leader in his last season of junior hockey for the Voyageurs.

To Kingston Voyageurs:
D Rory McGuire (95) To Victoria Grizzlies:
Future Considerations

Monday, August 11, 2014

Vernon Vipers Trade Veteran Defensman Michael Statchuk to Battlefords:

After playing the last two seasons far from home, 20-year-old Michael Statchuk returns to his notive province after the Vernon Vipers traded him Monday to the Battlefords North Stars of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

Statchuk, who put up outstanding offensive numbers in his final season of midget hockey with the Prince Albert Mintos, never became a major point-producer at the junior A level with the Vipers. He was solid in Vernon though, playing in 114 BCHL regular season games and 19 playoff games.

Including returning, recruited, and acquired players, the Vipers were one over the BCHL roster limit of six 1994-born players, which meant changes had to be made. The 20-year-olds remaining on Vernon's roster include goaltender Danny Todosychuk, defenseman Riley Guenther, and forwards Liam Coughlin and TJ Dumonceaux as returnees, recently acquired forward Anthony Latina, and Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League recruit Kyle Tanev.

To Battlefords North Stars:
D Michael Statchuk (94) To Vernon Vipers:
Future Considerations

Trail Smoke Eaters Trade Captain Adam Wheeldon to Camrose:

Trail Smoke Eaters Head Coach and GM Nick Deschenes gave himself some flexibility in terms of 1994-born players on his roster on Monday, as he dealt 20-year-old captain Adam Wheeldon to the Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for future considerations.

Wheeldon is a veteran of 140 BCHL games with the Smokies, the last two with a letter on his jersey, as he was Trail's captain this past season and an assistant captain in 2012-13.

The Nelson product has played the last five seasons in the Kootenays, starting in 2009-10 with the BC Major Midget League Kootenay Ice before embarking on his junior hockey career with the KIJHL's Nelson Leafs in 2010-11.

The speedy winger, who wears his heart on his sleeve as a player, should be a solid addition to the Kodiaks line-up.


To Camrose Kodiaks:
F Adam Wheeldon (94) To Trail Smoke Eaters:
Future Considerations

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Movement Started to Try and Save Thompson Rivers University Hockey:

Just under two weeks ago, it was posted on the Thompson Rivers University Athletics website that the Men's Hockey Team would cease operations for the 2014-15 season.

Here's the release from TRU:

When the curtain goes up on the 2014-15 athletic season at Thompson Rivers University, there will be one less ‘club’ team.

Thompson Rivers University Athletics and Recreation Director Ken Olynyk  has announced that effective immediately, the hockey program is ceasing operations.

“I would like to thank the past and current members of the Hockey Board of Directors for their hard work and tireless effort,” said Olynyk.  “They established this program five years ago for student/athletes who wanted to continue to play competitive hockey while pursuing their education. They made every effort possible to maintain the program to this point, but due to economics and a lack of a sustainable model, we have no choice but to dissolve the program.”

Hockey returned to Thompson Rivers in 2008-09 under the direction of head coach Chris Hans. They finished second in the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League with a record of 16 wins and eight losses.  This past season in the BCIHL, the WolfPack wound up fourth with nine wins and 14 defeats and were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by eventual league champion Selkirk College Saints.  Thompson Rivers have been coached the past three seasons by Don Schulz.

For further information:  Please contact Ken Olynyk   (250) 828-5273 or (250) 320-4263.  kolynyk@tru.ca

The BC Intercollegiate Hockey League also released a statement about TRU's situation:

The British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League regrets to announce that Thompson Rivers University has ceased operations of their school’s Men’s Hockey program effective immediately.

As a result, the BCIHL will operate with five member teams – Eastern Washington University, Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western University and the University of Victoria – for the 2014/15 hockey season.

"We're sorry to lose a valued member that has provided high-quality competition in our league for the past five years," says BCIHL President Kim Verigin. "The timing and circumstances surrounding TRU's decision are unfortunate and disappointing, but it's important at times like these to focus on the many areas where the league has made great strides in the areas of competitive growth and stability."

In recent years, the BCIHL has become a premier option for graduating junior hockey players from leagues like the WHL and BCHL to compete at the post-secondary level in their home province.

As well, BCIHL teams have participated in exhibition play with teams from the NCAA and CIS. Last season, Simon Fraser University hosted NCAA Division I heavyweights North Dakota and Princeton in Burnaby, and this season will join Trinity Western University in travelling to face top-level American college opposition south of the border in October.

"The BCIHL has become and will continue to be a tremendous option for student-athletes who are seeking an elite academic and hockey experience," says Verigin. "We will work to assist TRU's existing players in any way possible in order to support them under these difficult circumstances. We will also embark on an aggressive search to identify potential schools to join our league, but ultimately our membership is very satisfied with the level of play and the overall health of the BCIHL."

TRU joined the BCIHL in 2009 and has been a two-time league finalist (2010, 2011) while participating in the league playoffs in each of their five seasons. They finished fourth during regular season play in 2013/14 with a record of 9-14-0-1 and were eliminated by Selkirk College in the opening round of the 2014 playoffs.

"I would like to thank the past and current members of the Hockey Board of Directors for their hard work and tireless effort," says TRU Director of Athletics Ken Olynyk. "They established this program five years ago for student-athletes who wanted to continue to play competitive hockey while pursuing their education. They made every effort possible to maintain the program to this point, but due to economics and a lack of a sustainable model, we have no choice but to dissolve the program."

The BCIHL will announce details of its schedule for the 2014/15 season in the coming days.

Since then, there is a movement to try and save TRU Men's Hockey, not only for this season, but beyond.

Gregg Drinnan, former Sports Editor of the Kamloops Daily News, posted this on his blog (which is located over there on the left) a week ago:

If Trevor Bast has his way, the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) WolfPack hockey team will live a long and fruitful life.
 
Unfortunately, the school’s athletic director buried the team last week.
 
In eliminating the hockey program, Ken Olynyk, TRU’s athletics and recreation director, said: “ . . . due to economics and a lack of a sustainable model, we have no choice but to dissolve the program.”
 
The hockey program started life in 2008-09. It was a club team that was operated by the Kamloops Collegiate Hockey Society. A source familiar with the situation has told Taking Note that the team was $50,000 in debt.
 
Bast, however, isn’t about to give up.
 
“I am determined to start a movement to revive this team,” Bast, who lives in Victoria, told Taking Note on Sunday night.
 
For the last three seasons, the WolfPack’s head coach was Don Schulz. Last season, the WolfPack went 9-14, finishing fourth in the six-team B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League. TRU then lost out in the first round of the playoffs.
 
Bast’s son, Des, was the last recruit signed by the WolfPack. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound defenceman’s signing was announced via news release on July 17. Bast, 19, split last season between the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks and the junior B Peninsula Panthers of the Vancouver Island Junior league.
 
“It was a bitter disappointment for our entire family when (the program ended), as well as for the other players involved,” Trevor Bast said. “Just to have a chance to play four more years of competitive hockey and for us to cheer him and his team on for four more years is a thrill only a hockey family can relate to. Having that pulled out from under you suddenly leaves a huge void.”
 
Hockey or not, Des still plans on attending TRU, where he will study architectural and engineering technology, a program his father said “is quite unique and not offered in many places.”
 
But when Trevor Bast looked at what happened to the hockey program, he said, “I can't help but think this was a completely avoidable situation.”
 
The way he figures it, $40,000 would have saved the team.
 
“There is too much money in the hockey world for $40,000 to take down a university program -- club, varsity or otherwise,” he said. “The thing that jumps out at me is the hockey team ran on a $100,000 budget. With a full roster at last year’s player fee of $1,500 that covers approx 40 per cent.
 
“That leaves $60,000 for the team, the foundation and the university to make up via grants, sponsorship, fundraising, etc. At the end of the day, the announced shortfall was $40,000 and a plan for sustainability was not in place.
 
“Of those 20 or so players who suddenly lost this team, if eight of them decide to not attend school at all due to this, that is eight too many. That is life- and career-altering.”
 
Bast is determined to find out whether there is money available for a program such as this.
 
“There is a sustainable model out there,” he said. “There is money out there in the form of corporate sponsorship and a huge network of multi-millionaire pros from the B.C. Interior. There are great business minds with a passion for hockey and higher education who could lend expertise to creating a sustainable model. TRU has a business and marketing program that is the envy of other larger institutions.”
 
Starting right now, Bast said, the fight is on try and save the program.
 
“I, like everyone else, have a lot more ideas and questions than answers right now,” he said, “but the solution is out there and it is worth fighting for.
 
“I believe this team will be revived and I will do whatever I can to get behind the cause.”
 
Bast may be reached by email at  trevorbast@gmail.com

Drinnan posted an update on his Taking Note blog this part Thursday:

A move to raise the Kamloops-based Thompson Rivers University (TRU) WolfPack hockey team from the ashes may be gaining steam.
 
The team, which had operated as club team as opposed to a university varsity team, was about $50,000 in debut when TRU athletic director Ken Olynyk pulled the plug last week.
 
On Thursday, a Twitter account belonging to TRU Men’s Ice Hockey sent these three tweets:
 
“Ex players, family, friends and fans, or anyone with good reasoning as to why this program needs to continue are encouraged to contact . . .
. . . TRU head of Sports Finances, Matthew Milovick, via e-mail (mmilovick@tru.ca) and explain how the dissolving of the team has affected . . .
. . . them personally, the players, the university, or the community itself. Thank-you in advance, everyone. Let's see what we can do!”
 
Trevor Bast of Victoria, whose son Des was the last recruit signed by the WolfPack before the end came, followed that up with: “I am happy to start the rally but we need a lot of boots on the ground to see this through. Let’s leave it all out there.”
 
Later, Bast told Taking Note that “there is some social media momentum growing to save the program.”
 
In the early going, Bast said he is trying to get out the message that, yes, the TRU hockey program was of the pay-to-play variety, but that “when you compare it to going to the U.S. and playing NCAA Division III it is still a bargain and the hockey is better.

“TRU has to be up front about the fact players have to pay. I don't believe it puts the program at a disadvantage recruiting-wise. They still can approach a top end junior B player or a depth junior A player and tell them they can play collegiate hockey close to home in front of friends and family in a lot of cases all for $10,000 to $12,000 inclusive of tuition, lodging and hockey.
 
“Compare that to what families are paying to play NCAA Division III and it's a bargain, plus the hockey is better . . . as well, the education is better and more applicable.”
 
That is Bast’s message. Time will tell how it is received.
 
(If you would like to contact Bast, you are able to email him at trevorbast@gmail.com.) 

And now Trevor Bast has penned an open letter to TRU Athletics Director Ken Olynyk, he sent it to me in hopes that I would let you read it and help gain support for the TRU Men's Hockey Team:

Good Morning Ken. I have to say this last week has been very enlightening for me. I've talked to some terrific people, I've discovered I have some gumption that I didn't know I had, but most of all I know there is a passion for hockey at TRU and if it doesn't happen this season it will be back soon. I had a great 90 min conversation with Andre Larouche yesterday and got a complete history lesson on TRU hockey. Talking to Andre confirmed what I already felt, mistakes have been made but hockey can work at TRU and more importantly it belongs at TRU.

From my perspective (and many others but I won't speak for them) many of the final road blocks that stalled the program where just products of a negative culture that swept through the hockey operations and created strained relationships with all of the departments involved. The biggest one I have seen is the contention that TRU Hockey is at a recruiting disadvantage because they have players fees. Of course if that's the attitude one leads with it will absolutely hinder recruiting. I can spin several reasons why TRU is the best place to play hockey in the BCIHL without even breaking a sweat. We could charge $1900 and still sell the program.

-an entire year of education,housing and hockey is a fraction of what families pay to send their son to Division III schools in the US. We have to get that message out there.
-TRU is the most well rounded of all the Schools in the BCIHL. From upgrading, to trades, certificates, diplomas, degrees, post graduate, culinary, science,nursing, arts and on and on. SFU and Uvic can't boast this type of diversity. Selkirk has to recruit half a team each year due to having 1 and 2 year programs.
-Kamloops is a perfect size city and it's location makes it accessible for families to visit and attend games.

I won't go on, I'm sure you get my point. Ken, these are hockey operations issues. These can and will be fixed. This program just needs a few dedicated volunteers at different points of the province shaking hands with players, parents and coaches and selling the TRU story. Not unlike how you recruit for your Varsity sports. One of the big differences is that hockey families are used to spending their money, you just have to build value into it.

The last point I want to touch on is what those 25 or so students mean to the school economically. You and I touched on this and it was you who gave me the economic benefit a single student brings to the community and the school. Multiply that by 25 and I am still perplexed at how this could not be resonating further up the food chain at TRU. This is a team of 25 or so students who, with a few exceptions are now here today gone tomorrow along with their money. I thought this was about money. Obviously it's not all about money.

I know if an olive branch is extended and this season is saved, we have time to recruit a team. The society has not been dissolved and mistakes made will not be repeated.

Ken, hockey is our national sport, BC and Kamloops love the game. It is a sport where underdogs are glorified. Those who persevere are honoured and rewarded. Hockey players and those who love hockey are cut from a different cloth. Character is a pre requisite and those without it are quickly weeded out. Give these kids,families and the society another chance and they will not look back. I imagine what you need is a program that runs itself as much as possible and that hasn't been the case the last couple years.  I believe this can be the case moving forward. Please help us find a way.

Regards,
Trevor Bast