It didn't take long for the Merritt Centennials to find a replacement for GM and Head Coach Luke Pierce after he was hired as Head Coach of the WHL's Kootenay Ice on Tuesday. Joe Martin, who was Cents Assistant GM and Assistant Coach, has been promoted to the main job, signing a three year contract through 2017-18. Martin has been with Merritt since May 2011 and spent four seasons beside Pierce on the Cents' bench. Prior to joining the Centennials, he was GM and Head Coach of the Creston Valley Thundercats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Martin got his coaching start behind the bench of the Whitehorse Midget A team in 2003. With his promotion, the Centennials are now looking for fill the role of Assistant Coach.
Penticton President, GM and Head Coach Fred Harbinson has turned down an Assistant Coach position at the University of Wisconsin to stay with the Vees. According to Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal, Harbinson, who played and coached at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, had multiple conversations with Badgers Coach Mike Eaves and received a "very strong" offer. Ultimately though, he told Baggot he decided to stay in Penticton because "it's better for me and my family to stay put." Baggot's article is here.
Rivermen forward Hunter Anderson is off to the University of Alabama-Huntsville this fall. Anderson, who was the first overall pick in the NAHL Entry Draft by the Janesville Jets, came to Langley instead and put up 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 58 games in his first BCHL season. The Savage, MN product added six points (four goals, two assists) in six playoff games for the Rivermen.
Chilliwack forward Jordan Kawaguchi has committed to Providence College for September 2016. The 18-year-old from Abbotsford, BC had 56 points (28 goals, 28 assists) with the Chiefs this past season after putting up 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 49 games as a rookie in 2013-14. Kawaguchi was selected in the fourth round, 80th overall by Spokane in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.
A pair of Seattle Thunderbirds who played briefly in the BCHL are invited to next weekend's NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo. Forwards Ryan Gropp (Penticton, 2012-13) and Mathew Barzal (Coquitlam AP, 2012-13) were each a force in the WHL this season with the T-Birds. Gropp, who's 18, had 58 points (30 goals, 28 assists) in 67 games with Seattle while the 18-year-old Barzal notched 57 points (12 goals, 45 assists) in 44 games. The complete list of players invited to the Combine is available here.
Former goaltender Bruno Campese (Penticton, 1979-81) is back coaching in BC after being announced as the Okanagan Hockey Academy Prep team's new Head Coach. The 51-year-old was Head Coach of the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL from 2008-11 and then General Manager from 2011 until this past season. Campese also coached in the BCHL from 2000-02 with Trail and 2003-07 with Penticton.