The BCHL lost one of its best coaches on Tuesday with word that Luke Pierce is the new Head Coach of the WHL's Kootenay Ice. Pierce, who signed a three-year contract with the Ice, leaves his hometown of Merritt, where he was GM and Head Coach of the Centennials for the last six seasons. The 31-year-old was hired in the summer of 2009 as an assistant coach for the Cents, but the society that runs the club decided to hands over the reins to Pierce on November 25th of that year after losing 20 of its first 28 games under the guidance of Dylan and Tyler Forsythe. Since then, he's coached Merritt to a 170-129-10-21 record and six straight playoff appearances. He also was named BCHL Interior Conference Coach of the Year in 2012-13.
Where Pierce's resignation leaves Assistant GM and Assistant Coach Joe Martin is anyone's guess. You've got to think that Martin's in the mix to be promoted to GM and Head Coach. I caught up with Pierce on Tuesday afternoon, a few hours after news broke that he was leaving the team he grew up watching, played junior hockey for, and eventually through his direction, returned to respectability.
Penticton announced four recruits for the 2015-16 season on Tuesday. All four are American players and although I've already covered the commitment of 20-year-old defenseman Colton Poolman and 19-year-old forward Dixon Bowen, there are two others I've yet to mention. Among them is forward Easton Brodzinski. The 18-year-old played last season with the Blaine High School men's hockey team, putting up 44 points (25 goals, 19 assists) in 25 games. In a three year career at Blaine, Brodzinski finished with 78 points (47 goals, 31 assists) in 82 games. He's committed to St. Cloud State University for 2016-17.
The other player the Vees received a commitment from is 18-year-old defenseman Seamus Donohue. He's played the last four seasons at St. Thomas Academy in Minnesota, tallying 76 points (nine goals, 67 assists) in 96 games. Donohue has also been a point-per-game player in the playoffs, with 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) in 15 games. He's committed to attend the US Air Force Academy in September 2016.
Forward Jarryd Leung has committed to Wilfrid Laurier University of the CIS for 2015-16. The Victoria, BC native finished the season with Prince George after being acquired from Powell River. In 14 games with the Kings, the 20-year-old notched 10 points (five goals, five assists) and in 30 games with the Spruce Kings, Leung added 29 points (six goals, 23 assists). He's a veteran of 193 career BCHL games and the eighth member of last season's Prince George roster to commit to post-secondary school and college hockey.