Friday, April 29, 2016

'It Was A Great Thing For Vernon'

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

'It was a great thing for Vernon'

by Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star

Apr 29, 2016

It’s a good thing Ivan Armstrong and his friend knew the usher.

The Vernon Civic Arena was packed to its wooden rafters – fire chief Fred Little had fans sitting on the section steps – on a spring Sunday night 60 years ago today – April 29, 1956 – as history was about to be made.

Armstrong, then 13, had ventured in from his home on Guildford Court in Coldstream to watch his hockey heroes, the Vernon Canadians, take on the Chatham Maroons of Ontario in Game 5 of the Allan Cup Canadian Senior hockey championship.

A Vernon victory on this spring Sunday would give the Canadians – or Blues, as the team was nicknamed for its dark blue jerseys with large white numbers on the front and back – the Allan Cup.

By the time Armstrong and his friend arrived for Game 5, the arena was already full. People who didn’t have a seat inside could listen outside on speakers to Don Warner, the voice of the Canadians on Vernon radio station CJIB, broadcast the history-making game.

“I knew the usher, he saw me and my friend and told me to go inside but do so on our hands and knees,” said Armstrong, now 73, retired from the City of Vernon.“He said ‘go in on the aisle’ and we did. We crawled in. We were able to see the winning goal.”

The winning goal came late in the first period off the stick of captain Johnny Harms, a Saskatoon native who scored twice in the opening 20 minutes as the Canadians jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Forward Jack MacDonald, picked up for the 1956 Allan Cup playdowns from league-rival Penticton Vees, and defenceman Willie Schmidt had the other goals for Vernon.

The Maroons chipped away at the lead and cut the Vernon deficit to 4-3 but goalie Hal Gordon, who was marvellous throughout the playoffs, shut the door the rest of the way.

Merv Bidoski – the only Vernon Minor Hockey product on the Blues – scored the Cup-clinching goal, set up by player-coach George Agar and forward Brian Roche – at 17:45 of the third period.

The old scoreboard clock in the northwest corner slowly ticked down the final two minutes.

Vernon 5 Chatham 3. The Canadians had won the Allan Cup in five games.

“It was a great thing for Vernon,” said Bidoski, 82, who came with his family when he was two from Grandview, Man., and worked in the parts department for J.S. Galbraith and Sons, a logging/construction firm.

“The last few minutes were quite hectic,” added Canadians forward Odie Lowe, who turned 88 on April 15, and is one of four surviving members of the Allan Cup squad (Bidoski, forward Walt Trentini and defenceman Tom Stecyk are the others, all four living in Vernon). “Everybody was sweating.”

Senior hockey and the Allan Cup were big in the 1950s.

The Canadians were members of the four-team Okanagan Senior Hockey League, along with the Penticton Vees, Kelowna Packers and Kamloops Elks. It was a league made up of former professional players who still enjoyed playing competitively.

Lowe, for example, had been in the New York Rangers’ farm system with the New York Rovers, members of the Quebec Senior Hockey League (Lowe appeared in four NHL games with the Rangers), before moving home to the Peg, then came to Vernon in 1954 “for a chance to get ahead and play hockey.” Lowe got a job with Cliff Brown’s furniture delivery business before working for the city.

The Vees had won the Allan Cup in 1954, having beaten Lowe’s former team, the Winnipeg Maroons, in the Western Canadian final, then knocked off the Sudbury Wolves in seven games in the Allan Cup final. Penticton, as Allan Cup champions, represented Canada and won the 1955 World hockey championship.

With the Vees concentrating on the worlds, the Canadians won the 1955 Okanagan title and beat the Yorkton Terriers in six games to advance to the Western Canadian championship against Ontario’s Fort William Beavers, who beat the Blues in six games. The Beavers then lost the Allan Cup final in five to the Kitchener-Waterloo Flying Dutchmen.

The following season, Vernon repeated as OSHL champs with a 37-17-2 record, winning the Becker and Willoughby Cups as league and playoff champions. They won the B.C. Savage Cup title, then defeated the Winnipeg Maroons four games to none (with one tie) in the Patton Cup Western Canadian final.

The Chatham Maroons, coached by Murph Chamberlain, were led offensively by the trio of Jim Connelly, Eric Unger and Lloyd Ferguson. Combined, the three forwards had 75 goals in 1955-56. In goal, the Maroons picked up 21-year-old Marv Edwards, who played all 17 Maroons’ Allan Cup playdown games. Edwards went on to NHL fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the Pittsburgh Penguins and California Golden Seals.

A crowd of 4,000 lined the streets of Vernon to welcome the Maroons to town which obviously put the Eastern champs in good spirits. They won the opening game of the Allan Cup 7-1.

“Agar just about s—t,” laughed Lowe. “We regrouped after that first game.”

The Canadians won the next four – 6-2, 7-1, 6-4 and 5-3. Games three and four were played in Kelowna and Kamloops, respectively.

“It was about money,” said Lowe. “The organizers wanted to spread it out so it wasn’t so hard on our public paying the whole shot. There wasn’t that much work around here in ‘56. The players, we were upset that the games were moved from Vernon.”

Team general manager George Castonguay, a real estate agent, and Vernon Mayor Frank (One-Eyed Frank) Becker were among the well wishers in a cramped Canadians dressing room after Game 5, where Harms told reporter Dennis Williams of The Vernon News, “We are proud to be able to do something big for Vernon and for B.C.”

Agar, taking a swig from a bottle of Coke, told Williams: “It was the biggest game of my life, believe me. It was the toughest game and biggest game in 18 years of hockey. The boys were wonderful. Tonight’s game wasn’t easy, but we licked ‘em.”

The Vernon News – which came out on Mondays and Thursdays in 1956 – paid special tribute to the Allan Cup winners with HAIL THE CHAMPIONS! THE CUP COMES HOME as its headline on April 30. The issue featured congratulation ads from such businesses as S.P. Seymour and Son, Fitzmaurice Ltd., Kripps Real Estate, Sigalet Brothers, Coldstream Hotel.

The Vancouver Sun saluted the Canadian champs while legendary Canadian sportswriter Dick Beddoes of Toronto wrote about the Canadians’ win in his column.

An estimated 10,000 fans lined the streets of Vernon for a championship parade for the Canadians, complete with Agar burning his hockey long-johns.

The Canadians had hoped to represent Canada at the 1957 World Hockey Championships in Moscow, but a Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 led to a boycott.

The Blues would reach the Allan Cup final again in 1959, but were swept in four games by Ontario’s Whitby Dunlops.

Chatham won the Allan Cup in 1960, beating the Trail Smoke Eaters in five games (with one tie).

Due to dwindling fan interest and finances, the OSHL ceased operation in 1961.

Design Contract Awarded For New Arena:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Design contract awarded for new arena
                      
by Staff Writer - Vernon Morning Star

posted Apr 28, 2016

The first major step has been taken towards a new ice sheet in Greater Vernon.

MQN Architects of Vernon has been awarded the contract to provide prime consulting services for the design and development management of the second arena at Kal Tire Place.

“As the original designer of Kal Tire Place and the author of the feasibility study, MQN demonstrated a clear understanding of the project and what was required as the deliverables as listed in the request for proposals,” said Doug Ross, the City of Vernon’s director of recreation services.

“MQN also clearly identified the need to design a building that can be built for the fixed budget price of $13 million and emphasized the role of cost control at each step of the design/build process to ensure that the project will stay on budget.”

Four bids for the project were received and evaluated.

As part of the design phase of the project, MQN will consult with the facility’s user groups, stakeholders and members of the public.

Work will begin immediately and will include geotechnical testing, environmental impact study, stakeholder consultation, initial design work and a traffic demand study.

The target for opening of the new arena is the fall of 2018.

Brian Quiring, a Vernon city councillor, is part of the management team of MQN.

“Quiring has removed himself during all council discussions regarding the twinning of the facility in which he could have a conflict or perceived conflict of interest in the project,” states a city release.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Utica Comets Release Ex Viper Forward Marino:


The American Hockey League’s (AHL) Utica Comets have released former Vernon Vipers forward Brandon Marino.

Marino started the season with the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Brampton Beast picked up (13-goals-28-assists-41-points) in 40 games before signing a Professional Tryout Contract (PTO) with the Comets January 12th 2016. In 8 games with the Comets Marino had just one goal.

Marino spent last season with the Austrian Erste Bank Hockey League (AEBHL) SAPA Fehérvár AV19.  SAPA Fehérvár AV19, is a Hungarian ice hockey team. After four years with Bemidji State University Marino spent the next five seasons playing in four different leagues (IHL, CHL, ECHL & AHL) with three different teams (Quad City, Fort Wayne & Norfolk) before playing in Hungary last season.

Marino played just two games with the 2002-2003 Vernon Vipers.

Brandon Marino's Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=39227

This is posted on the Comets website:

Comets Release Marino from PTO

Feb 10, 2016

Utica Comets Director of Hockey Operations Pat Conacher announced today that the club has released forward Brandon Marino from his professional tryout contract (PTO).

Marino, 29, scored once and picked up four penalty minutes in eight games for the Comets. This season he has recorded 34 points (9-25-34) in 34 games for the Brampton Beast of the ECHL this season. Last year, the Riverside, CA native played in 50 games in Austria for the Szekeshfehervar Alba Volan Hockey Club, where he scored 11 goals and added 28 assists. With the Fort Wayne Komets in 2013-14, he paced the league with 58 assists, and won the league scoring title with 88 points (30-58-88). During the 2010-11 season with the Quad City Mallards of the CHL, he scored a league high 41 goals, and 13 power-play goals, en route to league MVP honors.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Vipers Sign Shattuck Centre:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers sign Shattuck centre

Apr 27, 2016

Morning Star Staff

The Vernon Vipers have added a strong two-way forward to their B.C. Hockey League roster.

Niko Karamanis, a 17-year-old centre, has committed to the Vipers for next season.

“He is truly a character kid and exactly the type of player we want to add to our program,” said Viper head coach/GM Mark Ferner, who scouted Karamanis at the recent U.S. Toyota Youth Tier 1 U18 Nationals in San Jose.

“A true 200-foot player that should be able to play in any situation for us and makes everyone around him better. We are very excited to have him as part of our program.”

The product of Courtenay just finished his fifth season at Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota, suiting up for the school’s Midget Prep team.

Karamanis amassed 18 goals and 40 assists in 47 games.

“They were upset by Oakland in the semis; the Oakland goalie beat them,” said Ferner. “I thought they were the best team there.”

The Pittsburgh Penguins Elite recorded a 3-0 win over the Culver Academy Eagles in the tournament final.

Ferner met Karamanis’ parents and was impressed with how the youngster handled himself on and off the ice.

“He comes from a great family. His coach, Tom Ward, says he’s a kid you can put in any situation. He plays the point on the powerplay, he takes key face-offs and he blocks shots.

He’s real intelligent. If you have a line that’s struggling, you stick him on there to get them going. He kind of reminds me of (former Viper star) Kyle Murphy and he may be a better player.”

The Vipers just completed its 2016 spring camp and expect 50 players from the camp to be invited to main camp in August.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Karamanis Commits To Vernon:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vipers Land Shattuck Recruit

April 26, 2016

by Vernon Vipers

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club is pleased to announce the commitment of 17 year old Forward Niko Karamanis for next season. The product of Courtenay BC just finished his 5th season at Shattuck St Mary’s in Minnesota suiting up for the schools Midget Prep Team.  Karamanis tallied 18 goals and 40 assists in 47 games.

Head Coach Mark Ferner is thrilled to have Niko on board.  “He is truly a character kid and exactly the type of player we want to add to our program” A true 200 foot player that should be able to play in any situation for us and makes everyone around him better.  We are very excited to have him as part of our program.”

The Vipers just completed their 2016 Spring Camp and expect 50 players from the camp to be invited to Main Camp in August.

For more information please call the Viper Office at 250-542-6022.

Vipers On The Hunt-Busy Recruiting:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vipers On The Hunt

April 25, 2016

by Vernon Vipers

Vernon Vipers Busy Recruiting

The Vernon Vipers wrapped up their 2016 Spring Camp this past weekend at Kal Tire Place.  Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Marker Ferner called the camp a success and said a few players caught the attention of the recruiting staff. Close to 100 players attended the camp and from as far away as the U.S. East coast. Watch the video below to hear Mark’s thoughts on this years camp and where the Vipers are headed next in their recruiting efforts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzvZpL7VXMo

Monday, April 25, 2016

Former Vernon Laker Ferster-Warriors Win BCHL Championship:

Former Vernon Lakers forward Rylan Ferster & the West Kelowna Warriors captured their first Fred Page Cup-League Title after a 4-2 win over the visiting Chilliwack Chiefs Saturday, taking the series in six games. This is the Warriors first & only Fred Page Cup since the Langley Hornets moved to West Kelowna in 2006. The Warriors will now advance to the Western Canada Cup in Estevan, Sask.

Here are the game highlight's-celebration from Game 6,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVfKLkmdkgI

Ferster is in his fifth season as Warriors Head Coach-GM played one season in Vernon winning a Centennial Cup with the 1989-90 Vernon Lakers.  In 28 games with the Lakers Ferster collected (8-goals-11-assists-19-points).

Rylan Ferster's Player-Coaching Profile:

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=30086

This is posted on Castanet.net

Warriors, BCHL champions

Wayne Moore - Apr 23, 2016

The party will go well into the night in West Kelowna.

After 10 long, sometimes frustrating years, the West Kelowna Warriors can call themselves BC Hockey League champions.

The Warriors won the BCHL title and the Fred Page Cup Saturday with a thrilling 4-2 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs, and a 4-2 series win, before more than 1,500, mostly delirious fans at Royal LePage Place.

The crowd rose in unison, cheering and counting down the final minute. The sound was deafening as the Warriors brought home the championship.

Backup goaltender Keelan Williams, filling in for an injured Matthew Greenfield was brilliant at times, stopping 36 shots in his first start since Feb. 17.

He talked about the pressure of coming into such a pressure situation with a chance to win a league title.

"You are always going to feel pressure in a championship series, but I think the one good thing is I love pressure," said Williams.

"I love having that role where the game is on my shoulders. I don't even know if I could have scripted it any better, where I had to sit out for two months. All I wanted to do was seize the opportunity when I did get it."

He seized it and then some. With the Warriors up 4-2 and the Chiefs putting on pressure after having just scored, Williams made the save of his life and, given the situation, possibly the save of the season.

Williams somehow was able to slide to his left and and get a glove on a one-timer from Chiefs sniper Jordan Kawaguchi, who was alone at the edge of the crease after taking a backdoor, cross-crease pass.

"Honestly, I was just trying to read the play. I got there and I just tried to make the save.

"There's not much more to it. In a series like this and a game like that, you just have to be able to focus on the next shot, and that's what I was trying to do."

He called it the biggest save of his career given the situation.

"I just can't say enough about that young man coming in under those circumstances," said Warriors coach Rylan Ferster.

"I thought he was outstanding, and he gave us a chance to win. That's all you can ask from him. He made that 10-beller for us at the end to basically win the game for us."

The Warriors, who dropped a 5-2 decision in Chilliwack Thursday, came out of the gates flying and set the tone from the outset..

Jake LeBrun threw a crunching check on the fore check seconds into the game to get the crowd into it.

That early pressure helped draw a penalty just 23 seconds in, setting up Garrett Forster's power-play goal two minutes in. Forster deflected home Jake Harrison's shot from the left point for his sixth of the post season.

Chilliwack tied it on a power-play of their own minutes later, but a brilliant stretch pass from Rylan Yaremko onto the stick of a streaking Kyle Marino, helped forge a lead they would never relinquish
.
Marino muscled past a defenceman, and beat Aidan Pelino with a backhand deke for his seventh of the post season.

The goaltenders took over from there, especially Pelino, who stopped three breakaways to keep the Chiefs in the game.

The Warriors finally got some breathing room when Kyler Hope snapped home a power-play goal seven minutes into the third. The goal would prove to be the winner.

Four minutes later, Jonathan Desbiens notched his 15th when he converted a two-man breakaway with Brett Mennear.

The Chiefs pulled Pelino with more than eight minutes left and were rewarded with one goal immediately after but, other than Kawaguchi's chance, were not dangerous the rest of the way.

Before talking about his team, Ferster, as he always does, praised the opposition for a good, hard fought series.

"First and foremost we want to congratulate Chilliwack. They're a very classy group and Jason Tatarnic is a great coach and a very classy guy.

"I want to wish him all the best and wish their graduating players the best."

Ferster said the start was key.

"I thought so. And, getting the traction on our power-play. Even though we gave up that one shortly after, I thought our start was key," said Ferster.

"We talked about that, and playing a 10-minute game, and having a real good start. If you look over these playoffs, I don't think our starts have been unbelievable, and when you don;t have a good start, you;re chasing the game."

It was the Chiefs who were chasing most of the night.

The Warriors got good work out of their special teams as well Saturday, going 2-2 with the man advantage while shutting the Chiefs down for the most part. Chilliwack was 1-4 on the power-play.

Captain Kyle Marino, a physical force most of the series, said being a BCHL champion was a surreal feeling.

"I've never won a thing in my life. This is the first thing," said Marino.

"What a feeling though. A lot of guys have been here a long time, a lot longer than me. This is for them, 100 per cent."

The Warriors will enjoy a day off Sunday before getting back to work, in preparation for the Western Canada Cup in Estevan, Sask.

The week-long, five team tournament, will determine the two Western representatives in the RBC Cup next month in Lloydminster, Sask.

The Western Canada Cup begins next Saturday.

The Warriors will be joined by the host team along with Portage, the Manitoba champions and reigning RBC Cup, Brooks, the Alberta champions and Melfort, winners of the Saskatchewan league.

The Warriors will open against the host team from Estevan next Saturday night.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Third And Final Day From Vipers Spring Camp:

I stopped by Kal Tire Place this morning for the final day of Vipers Spring Camp. I missed the opening game-scrimmage but caught the final two games.

In the second game of the day Team Gold beat Team Blue 7-1. It was 2-0 Team Gold after the 1st period before they opened the flood gates in the 2nd period scoring five goals. Team Gold was the better of the two teams, carried the better of the play. Team Blue with very limited chances had troubles getting pucks to the net, didn't get a lot of quality shots on goal.

Players I thought stood out-played well

Team Gold:

Max Gaudet replaced starting goaltender Ty Taylor in the 2nd period. Gaudet didn't see a lot of rubber but made some quality saves when needed. Played his position, square to the shooters & quick on his feet. Gave up the lone goal of the game.

John Ludvig played a physical-in your face style of the game on the blueline. Played with an edge, was getting under the skin of several players off Team Blue, I thought played well this morning.

Levi Johnson (1 goal) Also was very strong today, played well through out the game-scrimmage. Was one of if not Team Gold's better forward.

Team Blue:

Dorrin Sekikawa-Luding replaced Jordan Naylor after the opening frame and finished the game gave up five goals in the 2nd period but was forced to make several big saves with not a lot of help in front of him. I thought played well yesterday didn't have the defence in front of him today was basically hung out to dry on a lot of shots-goals.

Alex McLeod who played well yesterday, had spurts-shifts again this morning that caught my attention.

In the third and final game of Spring Camp Team Red shutout Team White 6-0. Team Red looked very good most of the game-scrimmage, were by far the better team this morning. This team looked like they have been playing together for a while, making several nice plays-passes, creating-generating a lot of offensive chances showed signs of skill and speed up front with a solid defence. This team can move the puck, had several odd man rushes, were quick to the puck, won most of the races. Team Red was up 3-0 after the 1st before scoring three more in the 2nd period to come away with the win. Team White turned over the puck lots, gave up a lot of odd man rushes, didnt generate or create a lot of offensive opportunities, had troubles passing-making plays. Looked very disorganized.

Players I thought stood out-played well

Team Red:

Trent Thompson worked hard, competed and battled all game. Didn't show a lot of offensive skill but willing to battle and compete.

Brady Maezocco Caught my eye in yesterday's game, stood out again today. By far the best-most talented kid at Camp this weekend. A smooth skater, can handle-move the puck, quick on his feet, soft hands in front and has a quick release-shot. Had several scoring opportunities through out today's scrimmage.

Matthew Facchinelli was another kid that I liked this morning, played well.

Team White:

Geoffrey Drought replaced starting goaltender Joshua Tetlichi after the opening frame and was very good between the pipes. Allowed three goals but made some big saves in the 2nd period.

Alex Koumontzis was by far Team White's best-top player. This team didn't have much for offence, as Koumontzis created-generated a lot of their chances. Has some good size, goes to the net, always skating, making plays. Someone at Camp today told me he is a friend of Vipers forward Odeen Tufto.

Viper Alumni Mick-Bandits Win AJHL Championship:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Logan Mick and the Alberta Junior Hockey Leagues Brooks Bandits won the 2016 Gas Drive Cup-AJHL Championship for a third time in five years after a 4-1 victory over the Spruce Grove Saints Friday. Mick & the Bandits now advance to the 2016 Western Canada Cup in Estevan, Saskatchewan. The Bandits will open their tournament schedule on Sunday, May 1st with a 2:00 PM matchup with the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) champions.

Mick playing in his first season with the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) Brooks Bandits collected (6-goals-11-assists-17-points) in 24 games with the Bandits this season, are in the second round of the AJHL Playoffs with the Canmore Eagles.

Mick started the season with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, never played a single game this season due to injury was traded to Langley on October 6th 2015. Mick was released from the Rivermen after playing in 22 games (2-goals-8-assists-10points) before signing with the Bandits on December 30th 2015.

Mick played two years in Vernon (2012-2014) before being traded to the Merritt Centennials on May 29th 2014 as part of the future considerations from a trade in January. On January 3rd 2014 the Vipers sent defenceman Jason Bird & future considerations (Logan Mick) to Merritt for defenceman Dylan Chanter. In May the United States Hockey League (USHL) expansion Bloomington Thunder selected Mick 400th overall in Round 25 of Phase two of the USHL draft. On June 20th the Merritt Centennials traded Mick to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for Luke Bertolucci & future considerations.

Logan Mick's Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=120792

This is posted on the Bandits website:

Bandits win third AJHL Championship

Posted April 23rd, 2016

SPRUCE GROVE, AB (April 22, 2016) – For the third time in the last five seasons, the Brooks Bandits are Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) champions, after a 4-1 win over the Spruce Grove Saints in Game 5 of the Gas Drive Cup Final on Friday night.

The Bandits scored once in the first and second periods to take a lead they would not relinquish, and after a late charge by the Saints, responded with two empty net goals to seal the final score.

“I thought our players did a really good job throughout the playoffs just staying in the moment,” said Bandits head coach and general manager Ryan Papaioannou. “To go 12-1, and to beat a team like Spruce Grove – we’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for the way they play, and how they’re coached – tonight I thought we played the most complete game we’ve played in the series.”

The game opened with a bevy of golden scoring chances for both teams, including a Scott Ferguson breakaway for the Saints that was steered aside by star Brooks goalie Garret Hughson (Foremost, AB). The first goal came on the first Brooks power play of the game, when Dylan McCrory (Kirkland, PQ) sped in off the rush and split the Saints defence, tucking a forehand shot past Matthew Murray for his team-leading 11th goal of the post-season.

McCrory became just the second Bandit in team history to score 11 AJHL post-season goals, joining Cam Maclise in 2013. After the game, he was also named the recipient of the 2016 AJHL Playoff MVP award.

The Bandits doubled their lead at the 10:34 mark of the second period, when Jared Cockrell (Byfield, MA) feathered a pass from the left boards of the Saints zone to a streaking in Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) in the slot. The rookies quick wrister beat Murray and gave Brooks a 2-0 advantage. It stood up as the championship-winning goal.

The Saints got on the board late in the third when Brandon Biro tipped a point shot at the side of the net to spoil Hughson’s shutout bid with 3:10 left in regulation.

But late pressure by Spruce Grove with an extra attacker wasn’t quite enough, as Landon Welykholowa (Calgary, AB) broke free for a breakaway on the empty net and the insurance goal with 1:13 left. Cockrell added a second empty net goal with 43 seconds left to notch the 4-1 final score.

Hughson stopped 31 of 32 shots in the win, and has set the new AJHL record for lowest goals against average in a post-season at 1.10, breaking the record of 1.23 set by the Camrose Kodiaks in 2006. He had already tied the record for most shutouts in a post-season at 4.

“It feels awesome,” said Bandits captain Derek Lodermeier. “We’ve worked hard all year; it’s been one of our goals at the beginning of the year that we set, and it’s just one step in the big picture here.”

The next step for the Bandits will be the 2016 Western Canada Cup in Estevan, Saskatchewan, where they will take on the champions of the other three western leagues, as well as the host Bruins, with the top two teams advancing to the RBC Cup national championship.

The Bandits will open their tournament schedule on Sunday, May 1st with a 2:00 PM matchup with the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) champions.

The 2015-16 Bandits join the 2011-12 and 2012-13 teams as Brooks squads that have won the AJHL title, with this season’s edition doing it in the fewest post-season games in franchise history, winning with a 12-1 record.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Day 2 From Vipers Spring Camp:

I was unable to attend Spring Camp yesterday because of work but made it down to Kal Tire Place this morning for Day two of Spring Camp. I missed the opening game-scrimmage but caught the next two games. Each game-scrimmage consisted of two thirty minute periods with a full ice clean in between periods. A penalty was an automatic penalty shot.

In the second game-scrimmage this morning Team Gold defeated Team Green 3-2 in a fairly evenly matched game with not a lot of great scoring chances. Both teams showed speed and hustle in a fairly fast paced game. Team Gold jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on goals from Nicholas Leyer & Dawson Frank before Team Green tied the game. Team Gold scored the game winner with one second remaining in the game for the 3-2 victory.

Teams will take a break this afternoon, before games-scrimmages start again at 4pm

Players I thought stood out-played well

Team Gold:

Kelowna Chiefs defenceman Joel Scrimbit played very well on the blueline, was denied on two penalty shots saw a lot of ice, very steady, moves the puck well, good skater, really sees the ice well-reads the play. Likes to get pucks to the net.

Nicholas Leyer (1 goal) Also played very well, had some chances, was involved in the play, went to the net, generated-created opportunities through out the game-scrimmage.

Logan Robinson was another kid on Team Gold that I liked. Good speed, moves the puck well, showed lots of hustle, quick on his feet.

Team Green:

Aiden Rysen I thought played fairly well on the backend, showed some signs of physical play, not the greatest skater but handled his own defensively-on the blueline. Played a fairly rugged game.

Liam Ryan caught my attention this morning, seemed to be involved in the play, quick on his feet.

Josh Maser was another forward who played well for Team Green. Created-generated some chances, was involved in the play.

In the third game this morning saw Team Red defeat Team Blue 4-3 in a game-scrimmage where Team Red carried most of the play, out chancing Team Blue. Team Red couldn't buy a goal in the 1st period couldn't seem to buy-get a bounce or lucky break had several great chances, created some very nice plays but had troubles finding the back of the net. But it was Team Blue that jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st period even though were outplayed. Team Red would finally get on the board after a nice deflection in front off the stick of Coleton Bilodeau before Team Red would snap two quick back to back goals a few minutes later to grab the lead. Team Blue tied the game late with about four minutes remaining before Team Red scored the game winner late to hold onto the 4-3 victory. Team Red was the better of the two teams, carried most of the play, had a ton of great opportunities couldn't buy a goal. Team Red has a fairly big defence, very good with and without the puck. Team Blue didn't generate much for offence, played most of the game-scrimmage in their own end.

Players I thought stood out-played well

Team Red:

Reid Conroy-Duttonplayed the entire game-scrimmage with Team Red only having one goaltender. Conroy-Dutton wasn't tested much but made a few big saves when tested. I thought played well-made the saves when called apon.

Ben Baker Played a strong game on the backend. A good skater, moves the puck well, makes that strong first pass coming out of the zone, sees and reads the ice well. Looked like a veteran defenceman out there this morning. I really liked the looks of this kid.

Coleton Bilodeau (1 goal) Was another kid that stood out, quick on his feet, always on the go, goes to the net, shifty with the puck down low, has some skill with and without the puck.

Brady Maezocco Had a strong game for Team Red, was robbed of a goal in the 1st period after coming in on a two on one attack. A very good skater, has some wheels, created-generated some good opportunities today.

Cameron Welch Also caught my eye today, played hard, battled and competed along the wall and in front of the net, played with a bit of an edge, was banging bodies out there most of the day.

Team Blue:

Dorrin Sekikawa-Luding Was very solid between the pipes today for Team Blue. Kept his team in the game most of the morning, making some big saves. None bigger then robbing Brady Maezocco on a two on one. Played his position well, has a quick glove, making several glove saves.

Alex McLeod Was one of the more offensive minded forwards for Team Blue, generated a few opportunities today.

Grayson McMaster Was another forward who showed signs of skill up front.

Jessie Young Showed a lot of hustle-hard work, was strong on the back check, made a few defensive plays, coming back into his own end to break up a scoring play. This kid never quit, worked hard through out the game-scrimmage.

Here is a look at all six team rosters-lineups:

Team Black:

Austin Roden (G) 1998
Mattia Dal Monte (D) 2000
Wyatt Newpower (D) 1998
Dylan Sedlacek (D) 2000
Tanner Sawka (D) 2000
Emilio Salas (D) 1999
Matthew Monk (D) 1998
Max Wutzke (D) 1999
Nick Unruh (F) 2000
Aidan Buhler (F) 1999
Martin Rudolf (F) 2000
Garin Butler (F) 2000
Liam Evenson (F) 2000
Marco Mazza (F) 1999
Thomas Spink (F) 1999
Cooper Johnson (F) 1998
Brayden Camrud (F) 1998
Jessie Cunningham (F) 1997
McKullen Astill (F) 1998

Team Blue:

Dorrin Sekkikawa-Luding (G) 1999
Jordan Naylor (G) 2000
Lucas Arbour Neagoe (D) 2000
Ty Pickering (D) 1999
Simon Snyman (D) 1999
Jameson Murray (D) 1999
Jayden Jefferson (D) 1998
EJ Shaw (D) 1998
Matteo Pecchia (F) 2000
Brendan Schulte (F) 1998
Jayde Sauder (F) 2000
Flynn Perry (F) 2000
Brandon Costa (F) 2000
Riley Clarke Smoler (F) 1999
Demetri Kambeitz (F) 1998
Alex McLeod (F) 1998
Grayson McMaster (F) 1997
Jessie Young (F) 1999

Team White:

Joshua Tetlichi (G) 1998
Geoffrey Drought (G) 2000
Lucas Gaudet (D) 2000
Jack Judson (D) 2000
Zach Whithead (D) 1999
John Jebamani (D) 1999
Marek Karoch (D) 1999
Charlie Wilkie (D) 1998
Luke Harvie (F) 2000
Jarrett Raymond (F) 2000
Ty Kolle (F) 2000
Nolan Dawson (F) 1999
Jonas Leas (F) 1999
Moritz Miguez (F) 1999
Cameron Obcena (F) 1998
Trevor Sundher (F) 1998
Ryland Chernomaz (F) 1997
Alex Koumontzis (F) 1997
James Farmer (F) 1997

Team Green:

Billy Cawthorn (G) 1998
Adam Marcoux (G) 1998
Connor Smith (D) 1999
Aiden Rysen (D) 2000
Spencer McHardy (D) 2000
Jeremy Masella (D) 1999
Garrett Ewert (D) 1999
Michael LeNoury (D) 1998
Liam Ryan (F) 2000
Ethan Schmunk (F) 2000
Christian Sanda (F) 1998
Austen McKean (F) 1999
Ryan Cooper (F) 1999
Tyler Maser (F) 1999
Josh Maser (F) 1999
Curtis Dubinsky (F) 1998
Samuel Hanson (F) 1997
Chase Stevenson (F) 1999

Team Red:

Ethan Vanderkley (G) 2000
Reid Conroy-Dutton (G) 1998
Wyatt McLeod (D) 2000
Trevor Longo (D) 2000
Quinn Schneidmiller (D) 1999
Owen Williams (D) 2000
Ben Baker (D) 1997
Owen O'Connor (D) 1998
Coleton Bilodeau (F) 2000
Trent Thompson (F) 2000
Palmer Jenkins (F) 2000
Brady Maezocco (F) 1999
Nate Castonguay (F) 1999
Matthew Facchinelli (F) 1999
Aiden Bar-Lev-Wise (F) 1998
Cameron Welch (F) 1998
Tyson Davey (F) 1997
Dawson Chase (F) 2000

Team Gold:

Max Gaudet (G) 1998
Ty Taylor (G) 1999
Ante Mustapic (D) 1999
John Ludvig (D) 2000
Adam Johnson (D) 2000
Jason Shaigec (D) 1999
Jarrod Isley (D) 1998
Joel Scrimbit (D) 1998
Ethan Scardina (F) 2000
Brett Didyk (F) 1999
Hudson Schandor (F) 2000
Nicholas Leyer (F) 2000
Sho Takai (F) 1999
Logan Robinson (F) 1999
Dawson Frank (F) 1999
Brock Sottile (F) 1999
Michael Fidanza (F) 1998
Levi Johnson (F) 1997

Ex Vipers Voltin & Hannoun Commit To Northern Michigan University:

Former Vernon Vipers forwards Demico Hannoun & Luke Voltin  have
committed to Northern Michigan University for the 2016-17 season.

Hannoun played one season in Vernon (2013-14) before being traded to Surrey along with Ben Butcher on June 9th 2014 as the Future Considerations in the Brett Mulcahy trade from January 2014. The Vipers sent forward Chase McMurphy & Future Considerations to Surrey for Brett Mulcahy & Future Considerations on January 6th 2014. Hannoun played two seasons in Surrey before joining the Vipers. Hannoun was part of the future considerations in the Vipers-Eagles trade at the 2012 BCHL trade deadline that saw Vernon send Adam Tambellini & Michael Roberts to Surrey for future considerations wich at the end of that season were named (Mason Blacklock and Demico Hannoun). In 47 games with the Vipers Hannoun collected (15-goals-29-assists-44-points). Surrey traded Hannoun to Penticton on August 13th 2014.

Demico Hannoun's Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?statsleague=WC&player=98683&team=&year=&status=&leagueid=&season

Voltin played one season in Vernon (2014-15) asked for a trade over the summer was traded to Langley on August 27th 2015 for future considerations. In 44 games last year with Vernon Voltin picked up (10-goals-16-assists-26-points). Voltin played in seven games with the Rivermen this season collecting (1-goal-1-assist-2-points) before being traded to Penticton on October 10th 2015.

Luke Voltin's Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=151826

This was posted on Fraser Rodgers Penticton Vees Blog:

Two Veterans Commit to Northern Michigan University

January 28, 2016

by fraser

Recent News, Three V's Blog

The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce forwards Demico Hannoun (95) and Luke Voltin (95) have committed to Northern Michigan University (NMU) for the 2016-17 season.

The two 20-year-olds are the 13th and 14th players on the Vees roster to commit to an NCAA Division l program.

Hannoun, who’s in his fourth season in the BCHL, has 11 goals and 22 points in 29 games this season; he missed 13 games due to injury. Since returning to the line-up, Hannoun has four assists in the last three games. The North Delta, BC, product has had a decorated junior hockey career, winning two BCHL Fred Page Cup championships, two Western Canada Cup championships and has played in three RBC Cup national championships. The veteran forward has amassed 75 goals and 166 points in 219 career games with the Vees, Surrey Eagles and Vernon Vipers. He’s also played in 66 Fred Page Cup playoff games, racking up another 17 goals and 49 points.

Hannoun says it has been a long process but a rewarding one, “First, I want to thank our coaches for the guidance and help I got during this process; it meant a lot. When I was talking to Coach Kyle at North Michigan, I realized it was the right fit for me; I liked everything the school has to offer. I’m excited to get down there next year.”

Voltin came to the Vees via an early season trade with Langley and has five goals and 21 points in 43 games; 19 points in 36 games with the Vees. Voltin, who hails from Blaine, Minnesota, is in his second season in the BCHL and in 87 career games has accumulated 15 goals and 47 points; in nine career playoff games he had seven points. Voltin was a graduate of the US National Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and spent parts of three seasons in the USHL before landing in the BCHL.

Voltin says continuing his hockey career after this season is all he could ask for, “It’s a huge honour to be able to play at the college level, and I’m thrilled to be able to achieve my goal I set out for myself at the beginning of the year.”

Northern Michigan University is located in Marquette, Michigan, and the men’s hockey program plays in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). The Wildcats have made eight trips to the NCAA Tournament, playing in three Frozen Fours and were national champions in 1991. There are seven BCHL alumni on the Wildcat’s roster, including former Vees Zach Urban and John Siemer.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Vernon Vipers 2016 Spring Camp Schedule:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

VERNON VIPERS SPRING CAMP:

April 20, 2016

Spring Camp Schedule

by Vernon vipers

The 2016 Vernon Vipers spring camp opens on Friday, April 22nd at Kal Tire Place. Fans are welcome to attend any of the games listed below.

Friday April 22nd

9:30 Registration @ Kal Tire Place

11:00-1:00pm Black Vs Blue
1:15-3:15pm White Vs Green
3:30- 5:30pm Red Vs Gold

Saturday April 23rd

7:00-9:00am Black Vs White
9:15-11:15pm Green Vs Gold
11:30- 1:30pm Blue Vs Red
4:00-6:00pm Black Vs Gold
6:15-8:15pm Blue Vs White
8:30- 10:30pm Green Vs Red

Sunday April 24th

7:00-9:00am Black Vs Green
9:15- 11:15pm Blue Vs Gold
11:30- 1:30pm White Vs Red

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Former Vernon Viper Scofield Leaves ECHL For Europe:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Tyler Scofield
has left the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Rapid City Rush to return to Europe, for an opportunity to play in Switzerland.

Scofield started the season with the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (EBEL) HC Tiroler Wasserkraft Innsbruck Sharks after signing with the Sharks May 4th 2015. The Sharks are an Austrian professional ice hockey team that currently plays in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga hockey league (EBEL).  In 11 games with the Sharks Scofield collected five assists. Scofield signed with  the Rush January 10th 2016 picked up (2-goals-3-assists-5-points) in six games before leaving the team.

After four seasons at Bemidji State University Scofield has spent the past seven seasons playing in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany & the US playing with eight different teams (HC Plzen, Klagenfurter AC, Graz 99ers, Ontario Reign, Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg, HC Innsbruck & Rapid City Rush) from 2009-2016.

Scofield played parts of two seasons in Vernon (2000-2002) before being traded to Prince George during the 2001-2002 season. The Vipers sent Scofield and Mark Nelson to the Spruce Kings in return for Rod Pelly, Dan Rossi & Josh Ciocco. In 79 games with the Vipers Scofield collected (21-goals-19-assists-40-points).

Tyler Scofield's Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=34054

This is posted on the Rush website:

SCOFIELD RETURNS TO EUROPE

01/25/2016

(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, announced that forward Tyler Scofield has returned to Europe, taking an opportunity to play in Switzerland.

Scofield, a seventh-year pro from Prince George, British Columbia, recorded 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points in 6 games with the Rush.  The 31 year-old played his college hockey at Bemidji State University in the NCAA, and has spent the vast majority of his pro career in Europe, specifically Austria, where he won his lone professional championship in the 2012-13 season with Klagenfurter AC.

Other Rush News:

Join Rush Nation for only $10 per game!  Call the Rush office at 716-7825 for details, and stay informed on all Rush happenings this season through the official Rapid City Rush team website, www.RapidCityRush.com, and the Rapid City Rush mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ex Vernon Viper Povelofskie-Wranglers Win Keystone Cup:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Tyler Povelofskie helped the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) 100 Mile House Wranglers win the Keystone Cup Sunday in Regina after a 3-2 overtime win over the Saskatoon Quakers.
The Wranglers went 4-2 at the Keystone Cup.

Boxscore,


Povelofskie in his first season with the Wranglers come out of retirement to join-sign with the Wranglers in September. In 32 games with the Wranglers Povelofskie picked up (15-goals-16-assists-31-points). Povelofskie played last season with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs before announcing his retirement on June 18th 2015 to pursue a post-secondary opportunity.  In 26 games with the Bulldogs last year Povelofskie picked up (6-goals-9-assists-15-points). 

Povelofskie played one season in Vernon (2013-14) was traded to Alberni Valley on May 22nd 2014.  Povelofskie was the future considerations the Vipers owed the Bulldogs from a previous trade.  On October 1st 2013 the Vipers sent Craig Martin & future considerations (Tyler Povelofskie) to Alberni Valley for Jared Wilson.  In 53 games with the Vipers Povelofskie collected (2-goals-3-assists-5-points).      

Tyler Povelofskie's Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=153007

This was in the Nelson Star Newspaper:

KIJHL: 100 Mile House Wranglers claim Keystone Cup
                 
by Taylor Rocca - Cranbrook Daily Townsman

posted Apr 18, 2016

The 100 Mile House Wranglers are Keystone Cup champions following a 3-2 overtime victory against the Saskatoon Quakers Sunday afternoon in Regina.

On the road to the Keystone Cup, the Wranglers defeated the Kimberley Dynamiters to claim the 2016 KIJHL crown in five games, before winning the B.C. provincial championship and Cyclone Taylor Cup with a 5-4 triumph over the host Victoria Cougars April 10.

Cole Zimmerman, 20, a native of 100 Mile House, scored the overtime-winning goal in Sunday’s
win.

The Wranglers went 3-2 in round-robin play,  defeating the host Extreme Hockey Regina Capitals, North Peace Navigators and Peguis Juniors, while losing to the Thunder Bay Northern Hawks and Quakers.

The Navigators, of the North West Junior Hockey League, used overtime to defeat the Capitals, of the Prairie Junior Hockey League, in the bronze medal game.

This marks the fifth consecutive year the Cyclone Taylor Cup champion has gone on to win the Keystone Cup for western Canadian Junior B supremacy.

British Columbia-based teams have claimed 12 Keystone Cup titles since 1983.

In 2015, the Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League edged the Dynamiters for the provincial title before going on to win the Keystone Cup in Cold Lake, Alta.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Huskies Sign Former Vernon Viper Pimm:

The the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) Kassel Huskies have signed former Vernon Vipers forward Braden Pimm. 

The Huskies are a professional ice hockey team based in Kassel, Hesse, Germany that play in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga Hockey League. In 48 games this season with the Huskies Pimm has (17-goals-35-assists-52-points).

After four years at Northeastern University Pimm signed his first amateur-tryout contract (ATO) with the American Hockey League (AHL) Milwaukee Admirals on March 27th 2014. Pimm was not rewarded with a new contract after going pointless in 9 games with Milwaukee. Last season Pimm attended the Washington Capitals Training camp in July 2014 before signing with the Capitals farm club the AHL Hershey Bears on August 15th 2014. Pimm never played a single game with Hershey before joining-signing with the East Coast Hockey League South Carolina Stingrays in mid October 2014.  After playing In 45 games with South Carolina Pimm would get recalled to the Hershey Bears on February 23rd 2015, was reassigned to the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Evansville IceMen on the same day. In 45 games with the Stingrays Pimm collected (18-goals-17-assists-35-points).  In 7 games with the IceMen Pimm has (2-goals-3-assists-5-points).
  
Pimm played three years in Vernon (2007-2010) In 179 regular season games with the Vipers Pimm collected (64-goals-97-assists-161-points). Pimm scored the game winner at the 2009 Royal Bank Cup as the Vipers won their fifth National Championship shutting out the SJHL Humboldt Broncos 2-0.

Braden Pimm's Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=38012

This is posted on the Eishockey news website:

Former teammate of Mike Collins

Kassel Huskies undertake striker Braden Pimm and hope to re lucky strike

Article by Tuesday, July 7 2015

Now the Kassel Huskies have occupied their first quota spot for the upcoming season.  From ECHL the 25 year old Canadian striker Braden Pimm changes to the Fulda.  This gave the club announced Tuesday.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Milwaukee Admirals Recall Ex Viper Defenceman Noonan From Cincinnati:

The American Hockey League (AHL) Milwaukee Admirals have recalled former Vernon Vipers defenceman Garrett Noonan from the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Cincinnati Cyclones.

Noonan has split this season with the Admirals & Cyclones. In 17 games with Milwaukee Noonan has one assist, in 53 games with Cincinnati Noonan has (8-goals-32-assists-40-points).

Noonan split last season between the East Coast Hockey League & American Hockey League.  Noonan played 40 games with Milwaukee collecting (4-goals-5-assists-9-points) also played 23 games with Cincinnati picking up (1-goal-9-assists-10-points).

After four seasons at Boston University Noonan signed a Entry-Level Deal with the Nashville Predators on April 22nd 2014 also signed an amateur try-out contract (ATO) with the American Hockey League (AHL) Milwaukee Admirals. Noonan was drafted by Nashville in Round 4 #112 overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.  Noonan played one season in Vernon (2009-2010) in 58 regular season games with the Vipers Noonan collected (2-goals-16-assists-18-points).

Garrett Noonan's Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=48219

This is posted on the Admirals website:

Noonan Recalled from Cincinnati

December 2015

Milwaukee, WI--The Milwaukee Admirals announced today that they have recalled defenseman Garrett Noonan from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL.

Noonan has played in five games with the Admirals this season, recording a +2 rating a two penalty minutes. In 20 games with the Cyclones the Boston, MA Native has tallied three goals and nine assists for 12 points and a +6 rating.

Noonan and the Admirals will travel to Rockford tonight to take on the IceHogs. They will return home to the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Monday, December 28th to take on the Chicago Wolves in Amtrak Rivalry Action.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cougars Mutually Part Ways With Ex Vipers Head Coach-GM Holick:

The Western Hockey League (WHL) Prince George Cougars have mutually parted ways with former Vernon Vipers Head Coach Mark Holick.

Holick spent the past three seasons in Prince George, received a two-year extension (July, 16 2014).

Holick was Head Coach-GM of the Vipers for one season (2006-07) before leaving for the WHL Kootenay Ice.  Holick left the Vipers for the Ice a week before the Vipers Training Camp during the 2007-08 season. Holick posted a record of (37 wins-19 losses-1 tie-3 overtime losses) guided the Vipers to the BCHL League finals where Vernon fell in six games to the Nanaimo Clippers. 

Mark Holick's Player-Coaching Profile:

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=2331

This is posted on the Cougars website:

COUGARS AND MARK HOLICK MUTUALLY PART WAYS

Apr 12, 2016

The Prince George Cougars Hockey Club announced today that the team has mutually parted ways with Head Coach Mark Holick.

“The entire Prince George Cougars organization would like to thank Mark and the entire Holick family for their dedication and for contributing to the growth and improvement of our franchise and the development of our players both on the ice and in the community,” said Prince George Cougars General Manager, Todd Harkins.  “The Cougars improved in each of the past three seasons with Mark behind the bench and his contributions will continue to be felt as we pursue a championship.”

In 240 games in Prince George, Mark Holick led the Cougars to an overall record of 101-119-8-12. The search for a new Head Coach begins immediately.

This was in the Prince George Citizen Newspaper:

Cougars 'mutually' part ways with head coach

April 12, 2016

Citizen staff / Prince George Citizen

Mark Holick is no longer head coach of the Prince George Cougars.

Despite the fact Holick had one more year left on his contract, with an option to extend for another, his ties with the Western Hockey League team were severed on Tuesday. Cougars general manager Todd Harkins, and Holick himself, said the decision was a mutual one.

"We did a full evaluation of our organization, from the ownership down," Harkins said. "I personally did our staff and our players and, through that process, (Holick and I) talked about the pros and cons of the season. We agreed and disagreed on some things and at the end of the day Mark and I decided that it was best if we parted ways mutually. He'll pursue hockey away from Prince George and we're going to find the best possible candidate moving forward.

"He said he was going to try to find something in the hockey world," Harkins added. "He's been everywhere from the American Hockey League into the NHL and back to the Western Hockey League so I'm sure he'll land on his feet somewhere and be very successful wherever he goes."

Holick, 47, echoed the words of Harkins regarding the decision.

"Three-and-a-half years here, and I've got no hard feelings," he said. "Greg (Pocock) and the ownership group treated me great, Todd treated me good. Everything was rainbows and lollipops. It was just time.

"When both groups sit down at the end of the year and you go through expectations, this kind of came up and we just agreed to part ways."

Holick said he has "no idea" what's next for him, only that he wants to continue to coach.

"We'll see what the next challenge is," he said. "Love P.G., love living here – my family's here and we've met a lot of great people here. I have a lot of time for the city and the organization and there's no rush to get out, that's for sure."

During his time behind the Cougars' bench, Holick posted an overall record of 101-121-3-17.

Last season, the Cats went 31-36-0-5 and made the playoffs for the first time in four years. But, in a first-round, best-of-seven series, they bowed out to the Victoria Royals in five games.

This season, the Cougars were among the best teams in the WHL before Christmas. As of Dec. 20, they had a 20-10-1-1 record and garnered an honourable mention in the Canadian Hockey League rankings. But, after Christmas, the club fell into a prolonged slump and finished the schedule with a mark of 16-21-2-1 for an overall record of 36-31-3-2. In playoffs, the Cougars weren't able to get back on track and were swept by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round.

Harkins didn't directly link the team's performance in the latter part of the season to the departure of Holick.

"Mark and I and the staff talked about (the team's struggles) from after Christmas on, daily, figuring out how to move this forward and move into the playoffs in the right direction," Harkins said.

"Even after, when we evaluated the pros and cons of the whole season, we discussed that at length – how we can change things, how we can do things differently and what we can do to have success moving forward in the playoffs. Again, through those comments and meetings, that's when Mark and I started talking about different directions for the organization. It's important that everyone knows that this was between me and him, that we decided to part ways.

"I know that Mark is a great man and he cares about those kids (on the team). He did everything he could to let them have success individually and to win hockey games."

Holick – brought on board by former general manager Dallas Thompson when Rick Brodsky was still owner of the Cougars – was hired to replace the fired Dean Clark on Jan. 23, 2013. When a new ownership group assumed control in the spring of 2014, Holick expressed interest in taking on the dual role of head coach and general manager. However, the general manager's job went to Harkins instead.

At that time, Holick was still under contract for two years and the new owners – represented locally by Pocock, the team's governor and president – inked him to an extension that could have taken him through the 2017-18 season.

"We think Mark is our guy and is the right guy," Pocock said at the time. "It made sense for him to relocate his family (from Penticton) and we're showing our support with another two years on top of his contract."

Pocock, who was not made available for comment on Tuesday, also said the team was "transparent with Mark and Todd" throughout the process of finding the new GM. Because of the handling of the situation, Holick was fine with how things turned out.

"I'm excited to get it over with and move forward," he told The Citizen that spring. "Greg was always upfront about (the hiring process) and I feel more secure."

Before he arrived in Prince George, Holick already had excellent hockey credentials. He started out in the B.C. Hockey League as an assistant with the South Surrey Eagles in 1996-97 and, as Eagles head coach in 1997-98, led the team to a Royal Bank Cup national junior A championship. Later in his career, he guided the WHL's Kootenay Ice for three seasons (2007-08 to 2009-10) and posted an overall record of 120-75-0-21. In 2009-10, he was named WHL coach of the year. Holick then moved up to the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch (head coach for one full season and part of another) and, later, did some scouting for the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL.

As for who will be the next coach of the Cougars – the 11th in Prince George history – Harkins said he had already received "a flood" of emails by Tuesday afternoon.

"We're going to search far and wide and we're going to use our contacts in the hockey world to find the best coach possible," he said. "We've got a great group of kids here and we want to make sure that we get the best communicator, best coach – someone who has leadership qualities and is able to be in tune with the junior player of today's age."

Saturday, April 16, 2016

BCHL News & Trades:

I found these press releases off team websites, twitter accounts, blogs or online. All Vipers news-trades are posted on this blog as soon as announced.

BCHL News & Trades:

Poisson & De Jong Commit To Prince George:

The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce the commitment of two players from the Burnaby Winter Club (BWC) Prep U-18 team for the 2016/17 season. 1999 born forwards, Ethan de Jong from North Vancouver and Ben Poisson from Vancouver have both committed to play for the Spruce Kings next year. “It’s definitely exciting that we were able to get commitments from two tremendous young players and what’s equally exciting is that they are both quality people who will fit in well with the culture within our group. Our coaches, Chad and Adam, both did a great job in the recruitment of Ethan and Ben and I know that they look forward to working with both of those young players over the next several seasons” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes. In 39 games with the BWC Prep U-18, de Jong leads the team in assists (33), power play assists (12), and points (53). He is second on the team in goals (20) and power play goals (5). “The Spruce Kings just showed so much interest, and were so enthusiastic about it, so it was a must commit for me ,” said de Jong regarding committing with the Spruce Kings. Last year with the BWC Elite 15, de Jong finished second in team scoring five points behind the leader, but also played in eight fewer games. In eight games as an affiliated player with Prince George this season, he has two assists. “Ethan is a very gifted player who’s hockey IQ is off the charts. Combine that with his skating ability and his competitiveness and you have one heck of a player. Our fans will enjoy watching this young man develop over the next few seasons” said Mike Hawes. Ben Poisson was a late addition this season as an affiliate player for the Spruce Kings, but impressed the coaches right off the bat. “There’s a lot of opportunity. They play guys accordingly to how they’re playing so you have to earn your ice team. For next year I want to bring a physical game with lots of offensive threat, and lots of battle and compete,” said Poisson on what he’s expecting next year. In six games with the club he has yet to score a point, but was one of the team’s most dangerous players this weekend when he joined Prince George for games at home against the Chilliwack Chiefs and Merritt Centennials. In 39 games with the BWC Prep U-18 team this year, Poisson has 26 points in 39 games, and sits second in shots with 135. “Ben is a big strong player who possesses an excellent skill set. His offensive instincts are very good, he skates very well and enjoys using his body to his advantage. He plays a complete game and is the type of player that our coaches will love to have available to them” said Mike Hawes. The two forwards will join BWC teammate Liam Watson-Brawn next season as the blueliner committed to the Spruce Kings earlier this year along with Jesse Pomeroy from the Cariboo Cougars. “I grew up with Liam, and we’re really good friends. For Ethan I’ve been with and against him throughout my entire career so I’m really excited to play with him next year,” said Poisson on playing with his current teammates again next season.

Nelson Commits To Eagles:

The Surrey Eagles are pleased to announce that 1999-born forward Jesse Nelson has committed to the team for the 2016-2017 BCHL season.  The Chilliwack, British Columbia native is currently a member of the Yale Hockey Academy under-18 team, where he has posted 14 goals and 31 points in 30 games. Eagles’ Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Blaine Neufeld is extremely pleased about bringing in a player of Nelson’s caliber, and has had his eye on the young forward for quite some time. DSC_5617“He’s a consistent player. He understands both ends of the rink. He works hard, is a smooth skater, and is strong on the puck.” Weighing in at 6-feet, 170 pounds, he is seen as a skilled two-way player that can play a major part in the makeup of the team in the near future. Neufeld stressed the importance of bringing in players like Nelson, and is excited about how they are building toward next season. “Recruiting players with high potential like Nelson is a main priority for us, and I feel like our recruiting is ahead of most. With the trades that we have made for future considerations, we are in a very good position heading into next season,” explained Neufeld. “We want to make sure our roster is filled with complete players that can play all situations. Bringing in Jesse Nelson reiterates that.” On top of being a two-way type of player, Nelson is also seen as a versatile piece of the puzzle. Although he is a natural centreman, he can play any of the three forward positions. That’s a skill that the Eagles value highly. Continue checking SurreyEagles.ca as the team expects to announce more player commitments for the 2016-2017 season in the near future.

Wilson Commits To Salmon Arm Silverbacks:

Forward Justin Wilson has committed to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Played with the North West Giants this season.

Chiefs Bid For 2018 Royal Bank Cup:

Chilliwack has the team, it has the facilities and it has the hockey fan base. And if all goes according to plan, this city could host the RBC Cup for the first time in 2018. A committee with members from Tourism Chilliwack, the Chilliwack Chiefs hockey team, Chief David Jimmie, Ken Popove, and hoteliers held its first meeting to begin the process of putting a bid together to try to win hosting rights for Canada’s National Junior A Championship. “It’s fun, we’ve got a good group so far,” said Scott Beare, Tourism Chilliwack’s business development co-ordinator—also in charge of sports initiatives. “So we’ve just laid out the groundwork and we’re off to the races.” As far as building a team, that groundwork is almost complete but next the committee is courting an accountant so they can start crunching the numbers. Beare said there are a number of factors that are working in favour of a Chilliwack shot at the Hockey Canada event. First of all, Chilliwack has the BCHL’s blessings, the league having sent an email to Hockey Canada noting the city as the province’s choice for 2018. The Chiefs boast the highest attendance in the BCHL most years, and the team has been stronger than ever in the past two seasons. Then there’s the location, great both for practical and aesthetic reasons. But there’s also Beare’s vision itself. The newcomer from Calgary has made it his mission to get Chilliwack out there on Canada’s sports map as a destination. Tourism Chilliwack has secured the city as host to the Swiss women’s hockey team this March for their training camp in preparation for the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship to be held in Kamloops. And he’ll attend the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) conference next month to rub elbows with sports leaders. None of this can hurt Chilliwack’s chances to bring the RBC Cup and all the players, families, fans and scouts it will attract from around Canada to the city. The benefits would be promotional as well as economic. “Chilliwack is going to be on the sportscasters’ lips for a week,” Beare said. “And I know when the national media comes here they’re going to love the city.” The host organizing committee is due to meet again Feb. 18, and the bid submission deadline is March 18. This year the RBC Cup will be hosted by the Lloydminster Bobcats of Lloydminster, Alta. followed by a 2017 appearance in Cobourg, Ont. by the Cougars.

Kamloops Blazers Recall Kehler From Centennials:

The Kamloops Blazers have recalled goaltender Cole Kehler from the Merritt Centennials of the BCHL (Jr. A). The 18-year-old Kehler appeared in 43 games with the Centennials this season, posting an 18-24-0 record. His BCHL season concluded this past weekend as the Centennials missed the postseason by one point. Kehler has played in 32 games with the Blazers between 2013-15, going 4-18-2-0. The Altona, MB native also appeared in three preseason games with the Blazers in September. He is expected to begin practicing with the team as of March 1st. With the move, the Blazers roster is now at 24 players including three goaltenders, seven defensemen and 14 forwards.

Rhyu Commits To Trail Smoke Eaters:

The Trail Smoke Eaters are proud to announce the signing of 1999 born forward Henry Rhyu for the upcoming 2016/2017 season! The 5’11” 195 pound left handed two way forward from Vancouver, BC suited up for the Yale Hockey Academy U-18 prep team this season, registering 24 pts in 34 games. Henry also suited up in 2 games for the Smoke Eaters this year and impressed the coaching staff with his play, maturity and enthusiasm for the game. Henry Had this to say about becoming a Smokie: “I am excited about playing for the Smoke Eaters next season.  It is truly an honour to play ‘Junior A Hockey’ for a team with such a rich history and a great fan base.  I got an opportunity to play a couple games for Trail this year and I fell in love with the city, the coaching staff, and the passionate fans.  I would like to thank everyone who helped me accomplish this amazing feat.” The Smoke Eaters welcome Henry and his family to our organization.

Lamb To Step Down As CJHL President & Chairman:

The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) announced Tuesday that Kirk Lamb will be stepping down as the organization’s president and chairman.   Lamb, a lawyer and a former junior, college and professional hockey player, has been at the head of the CJHL since 2010, overseeing all elements of the organization.   Prior to his time with the CJHL, Lamb served in various executive positions with the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) since 2002.  He is an alumnus of the CJHL (AJHL) and he also played in the CHL (WHL), NCAA Division I (ECAC) and ECHL, and is a graduate of Princeton University. “I certainly have mixed emotions in making this difficult decision as it marks an end to a part of my life that has been both personally and professionally very rewarding.  However, after 14 years in Junior A hockey, now is the right time for me to explore new opportunities to contribute and be involved in this great game,” said Lamb. “I want to thank the 10 member leagues, the CJHL Board of Directors, and CJHL staff Rick Morocco and Charla Flett for their continued support over the past number of years. I have been very fortunate to have met so many extraordinary people over 14 years and I am proud to count many of them as friends. Finally, I want to thank my family for their commitment and understanding throughout this entire journey.” “While Kirk’s resignation caught us all by surprise he will continue to work with the CJHL Board in order to ensure that there is a smooth transition towards new leadership," said BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale.  "We were very fortunate to have Kirk’s foresight and guidance over the last 14 years. He will be very hard to replace, however, his friendship will last a lifetime.  We wish Kirk and his family all the best moving forward.” Lamb and his wife Kara have three daughters, Lucy, Maggie and Molly, and live in Calgary, Alberta. The CJHL Board of Directors and Lamb will work closely together over the coming months to establish a process and timeline for the transition to new leadership. 

Martan Commits To Warriors:

Hockey runs through the veins of SAC’s Mitch Martan. He comes by it honestly. His grandfather, John, a retired professional hockey player, is his inspiration and taught him everything he knows about the game. With an already exciting weekend ahead of him as the Saints host the 33rd Annual MacPherson Hockey Tournament, Mitch has more to celebrate – his commitment to Boston College. Starting in fall 2017, the grade 12 varsity forward will join the NCAA Division 1 team as a student athlete studying business and economics. Next year, Mitch plans to play junior A hockey for the West Kelowna Warriors and hopes to take a few transferable courses through the University of British Columbia. “I was thrilled and very humbled,” Mitch said of receiving the news. “It took a few hours to sink in.” “Mitch has been an outstanding contributor to our program,” said Varsity Hockey Head Coach David Manning. “He works hard, has scored some timely goals and epitomizes what we believe in as a hockey program.” Mitch first picked up a hockey stick when he was two years old and has dreamed of playing professional hockey since the age of four. “Boston College has generally done well with under-sized players like myself,” Mitch explained as one of the reasons he was attracted to Boston College. “They have a renowned hockey program that is highly ranked in the U.S., with amazing coaching staff…[and] an academic program that is second-to-none,” Mitch stated as his other reasons. Johnny Gaudreau, an alumni of Boston College is Mitch’s role model. “He is a very dynamic and skilled forward and reminds me that small guys can play in the NHL,” he says of the Calgary Flames player. Boston College has transitioned other exceptional players to the NHL, most recently Nathan Gerbe of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Gionta brothers to the Devil’s and the Sabres. “Boston College is one of College Hockey’s elite programs,” explained Coach Manning. “To have one of our seniors headed to such a successful and prestigious team is very exciting for us.”

Prince George Coliseum Re-Named Rolling Mix Concrete Arena:

The City of Prince George and the Spruce Kings have signed a five-year agreement to name the Prince George Coliseum after Rolling Mix Concrete, a long-time local company. The agreement will result in the Coliseum being re-named the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena. As per the agreement, Rolling Mix will annually provide $25,000 – $30,000 to the Spruce Kings and the City: $15,000 – $20,000 worth of concrete to support the construction of the Spruce Kings Lottery House and $10,000. “This arrangement supports a well-established, successful, and community-owned sports team while providing funds that can be allocated to the continuing maintenance of the Coliseum, which was built in the mid-1950s,” says City Manager Kathleen Soltis. “Rolling Mix Concrete is excited to embark on this new journey with our community partners: the City of Prince George and the Spruce Kings,” says John Paolucci, Rolling Mix Concrete’s President and CEO. “Rolling Mix Concrete takes great pride in helping the community and organizations that support us.” “Rolling Mix has been locally owned and operated for more than 50 years and they have been a long-time supporter of junior hockey in our community,” says Spruce Kings President Tom Bohmer, a former Spruce Kings player himself. “The Spruce Kings organization is more than 40 years old and we feel that there are three critical ingredients that explain our success to date: terrific and loyal fans, entertaining hockey, and creative partnerships like this one that we have with a local business as well as with the City.” The agreement is effective immediately and will be presented to Council on Monday, February 1, for information. The Spruce Kings are planning events in February to mark the new arena name and celebrate the relationship with Rolling Mix and the City.

Latta Commits To Salmon Arm:

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks are proud to announce Josh Latta of the North West Giants has committed to the team for next season. Latta is 2nd in scoring in MML. In 26 games Latta has 12 goals 35 assists 47 points.

Flanagan Commits To Rivermen:

The Langley Rivermen are pleased to announce defenseman McKay Flanagan (1997 born) has committed to the team for the 2016-17 season. The 18-year-old from Ridgefield, CT is in his first season with The Gunnery Prep (Washington, Connecticut) in the USHS, and in 26 games, has recorded 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points. “I am extremely excited to commit to the Rivermen. The BCHL is one of the best junior leagues in the world and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I look forward to moving out to British Columbia and experience everything Langley has to offer,” said Flanagan. Flanagan was a very highly sought after prospect and decided on the Rivermen after meeting with Rivermen Head Coach and General Manager Bobby Henderson. “I was most impressed with Coach Henderson’s excitement for not only the Rivermen organization, but also the city of Langley and how great it is to play there. He made me feel like I would fit right in with the program and community and also be a vital member of the team who can contribute right away,” continued Flanagan. Henderson was very impressed when taking in Flanagan’s games and feels his style of play will make him a great fit on the blueline. “McKay skates well for a big guy and plays with an edge to his game. He makes a good first pass out of his own end, which will help us get up ice quicker. We believe he is going to turn out to a nice defenseman for us next year,” said Henderson. Flanagan stands at 6’0″, 209 pounds and describes himself as a blue liner who likes to keep the game simple. “I am a puck moving defenseman who is reliable defensively. I can also jump up in the play and create offense with my skill set. I feel like I have a heavy shot and like to use my size out there as much as I can and be a physical presence,” Flanagan finished.