Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vipers Welcome Prairie Netminder Prospect To Den:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers welcome Prairie netminder prospect to den

Published: May 31, 2009 6:00 AM

The Vernon Vipers appear to have the makings of yet another top goaltending tandem.
The Vipers have signed 17-year-old netminder Blake Voth for the upcoming B.C. Hockey League season.
Voth (5-foot-10, 165 pounds) played last season with the Tisdale Trojans of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. Vipers’ head scout Larry Black, along with the coaching staff, have watched the Herbert, Sask. (near Swift Current) product over the last two seasons and feel that he has the tools to become a top goalie in the BCHL.
“Mark (Vipers’ head coach Ferner) watched him play once and they were outshot something like 48-12, and it was still a 2-1 game,” said Vipers’ assistant coach Jason Williamson. “He’s a big-game goalie.”
In 25 regular-season games, Voth posted 13-11-1 with a 2.57 goals-against average and 91.18 save percentage.
The Trojans were heavily outshot in five playoff games, and Voth registered a 1.34 GAA and a remarkable 95.48 save percentage, giving his team a chance against the eventual national champion Notre Dame Hounds.
“We had a pretty young team, so I had a lot of work just trying to keep our team in it and giving them a chance to win,” said Voth, who is graduating in Tisdale and helping out in a heavy-duty mechanics shop to help pay his way.
With all-star net detective Andrew Hammond graduating, North Vancouver’s Graeme Gordon, who went 14-4 with a 2.40 GAA with the Snakes, looks primed to assume the starter position.
“Graeme is going to be our starting guy, but we want (Blake) to push him and earn his minutes, and hopefully it’ll be a good tandem like we had last year,” said Williamson.
With veteran defencemen Cameron Brodie, Mike Leidl, Cody Ikkala, and possibly Royal Bank Cup MVP Kyle Bigos, graduating, the Vipers have work to do to shore up a blueline that was tops in the BCHL with a 2.40 goals-against average.
“Hopefully we can instill the same work ethic so he’s facing maybe 25 shots instead of what he has been facing,” said Williamson.
Voth visited Vernon during the BCHL Fred Page Cup final against the Powell River Kings, and he liked what he saw of the team.
“The fans were next to none, the rink is fabulous and it’s just a good community,” said Voth, who likes to play the puck.
“I just have to be there in any way the team needs me and help out in any way I can.”

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vipers Alumni Update With Nyjer Morgan:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman, Nyjer Morgan is in his 3rd season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Morgan played one season in Vernon back in 1996-97. In 44 games this year the Pirates are 21-27 In 44 games this season Morgan has 178 AB with 27 runs batted in and a batting average of .281

Nyjer Morgan's Bio,

Here are some video highlights of Morgan,

Friday, May 29, 2009

Former Viper Trainer Auerbach Joins Hockey Canada Under 18 Team:

This is posted on Hammers Alberni Valley Bulldogs Blog & on Country 107.1 web site.

Trainer Matt Auerbach of the Chilliwack Bruins named camp athletic therapist for upcoming Hockey Canada Under 18 training camp in Calgary.

Matt joined the Bruins for their inaugural season after a three year stint as the Athletic Trainer for the BCHL's Alberni Valley Bulldogs, & was also with the BCHL's Vernon Vipers back in the mid 90's Matt is going into his fourth season with the Chilliwack Bruins.

Vipers Secure Goaltending Situation:

The Vipers & Graeme Gordon have solved the question to who will be Gordons backup this coming hockey season, the answer.... 17 yr old Blake Voth. When I was in Victoria for the RBC I heard rumors about Blake and that he had already committed to play in Vernon next season. The few people I did talk too had nothing but good reports from this young kid. With Gordon between the pipes as the teams #1 starting goaltender, you can bet that Voth will see limited action but will gain a ton of experience from watching and practising with Gordon. This will be the youngest backup the Vipers have had in several years, as in most recent history the hockey team has gone no younger then a 18 yr old between the pipes for the backup role. Id like to welcome Blake to Vernon and am looking forward to watching this young kid play.

Voth Commits To Vipers:

This is on the Vipers web site:

Vipers secure puck stopper!
by viper staff Added 2009-05-29 May 28, 2009

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club is pleased to announce that 17 year old goaltender; Blake Voth has committed to come to Vernon. Blake Voth played last season for the Tisdale Trojans of the SMAAAHL (Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League). Head Scout Larry Black, along with the Vipers coaching staff, have watched Blake very closely over the last two seasons and feel that he can be an impact goalie in the BCHL.

Last season Blake played in 25 regular season games with a record of 13-11-1. His stats were quite impressive with a GAA of 2.57 and a save percentage of 91.18. The thing that is most impressive about Voth is that when the games get bigger, his numbers get even better. In the playoffs, Blake played in 5 games where he registered a GAA of 1.34 and a save percentage of 95.48.

Voth gave his team a chance against the eventual National Champion Notre Dame Hounds. He was very good in the playoff series even though his team was often outshot by a 3 to 1 margin in the series.

Blake Voth will pair up with returnee Graeme Gordon to make a great goaltending tandem. The Vernon Vipers would like to welcome Blake to the organization.

Check out Blake's pro file,

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Best Of Luck Trent!

Id like to take the time to thank Trent Dorais for all his hard work and patience while playing hockey for his hometown Vipers. Here's a young man who worked very hard over the last two seasons to try and crack the Vipers roster. I will admit Trent was the hardest working kid at the Vipers training camp this past season, Dorais worked his butt off and looked very impressive all camp. Trent's skating and overall speed improved, he showed he wasnt afraid to drop the mits, playing with an edge. I was hoping this young man would get a chance this season to play on a regular shift, but for the second straight season, Dorais saw limited icetime and then was back in the stands. With a very well rounded hockey club, the Vipers lineup didnt give much room for a spot for Trent to get a chance to play. Trent was sent down to the Sicamous Eagles in January, wich was the best move for him. Getting lots of icetime, putting up some decent numbers. With a possible 16 returning players coming back to the Vipers for next year, once again it will be very tough for Trent to crack the Vernon lineup. Dorais will become a fan favorite very shortly. I had the chance at meeting and talking to Trent down in Victoria at the RBC. A very nice young man who took the time to chat with many Vipers fans. Id like to wish you nothing but the best in Port Alberni, as us Viper fans are going to miss you! Best of luck!

Best Of Luck Micker!

Before I forget, Id personally like to take the time to wish Troy Mick & his family all the best of luck with his new job with the Revelstoke Grizzlies. I knew Troy would be back involved with hockey somehow, the Micker did so much for Vernon and the Vipers organization over the years. Viper fans have to give full credit to Troy Mick for bringing in Vipers head coach and gm Mark Ferner. It was Ferner who worked with Troy in Kamloops. Troy has the connections to bring in some good players who will help the Grizzlies this coming season. I wish you nothing but the best and great success in Revelstoke. I will be checking in on the Grizzlies web site to see how you guys are doing this yr, & for sure will have to make a trip to Armstrong to see how your team looks. Thanks for checking out my blog. Best of luck Micker!

Alberni Valley Bulldogs Signs Dorais:

This is posted on

Alberni Valley Bulldogs Sign Forward Trent Dorais

By admin - Posted on May 28th, 2009

Alberni Valley Bulldogs GM/Head Coach Nolan Graham announces the signing of (91) Forward Trent Dorais.

Dorais, a native of Vernon BC, split time in 2008 – 2009 between the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL and the Sicamous Eagles of the KIJHL. Dorais began last season with the Vipers playing in 29 games scoring 3G – 5A – 8PTS – 28PIM, before joining the Sicamous Eagles in January. Dorais helped lead the Eagles to the KIJHL conference finals putting up 7G – 18A – 25PTS – 133PIM in 41 games (regular season and playoffs).

While with the Eagles, Dorais dressed an additional 10 games with the Vipers during the final months of the BCHL regular season. Dorais rejoined the Vipers during the playoffs and was able to experience the road to the Royal Bank Cup.

GM/Head Coach Nolan Graham comments “Trent is a fearless competitor. He has a good stick and is tough to knock off the puck. Trent is willing to go to dirty areas to score.” Graham adds “Trent is a character player that understands what it takes to achieve success; I am excited that Trent will be wearing Bulldog colors next season.”

Here is Trent Dorais's pro file & stats,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Grizzlies Name Mick New GM/Head Coach:

This is on the Grizzlies web site:

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2009

Revelstoke Grizzlies Announce New GM/Head Coach

The Revelstoke Grizzlies are proud to announce that Troy Mick is the new General Manager/Head Coach of the Revelstoke Grizzlies Junior Hockey Club. Troy played in the WHL with the Portland Winter Hawks from 1985 to 1989 and with the Regina Pats from 1989 to 1990 amassing 466 points in 267 games. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in round 7, 130th overall, in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft and signed a 4 year contract. From 1990 to 1993 he played in the ECHL before knee surgeries forced him into early retirement.

Troy came back home to Vernon and became the assistant coach of the Vernon Vipers in 1993 and helped lead the team to a Royal Bank Cup Championship (3rd) in 1996. In 1997 he became the Head Coach and General Manager of the Vipers and led the team to another Royal Bank Cup Championship (4th) in 1999. He was also instrumental in securing over 40 player scholarships during his tenure with the Vipers. Troy left the Vipers at the end of the 2000 season to become Assistant Coach with the WHL Portland Winter Hawks. In 2001 he became the Head Coach and Assistant GM with the WHL Tri City Americans and moved on to become the Head Coach of the WHL Kamloops Blazers for the 2002 - 2003 season.

He then returned to the Vernon Vipers again as General Manager for the 2005 - 2006 and the 2006 - 2007 seasons and helped the team reach the league finals again. Over the course of his Jr A days he has been involved with sending over 100 players on to NCAA or CIAU scholarships. The search is on for the best possible talent to represent the Revelstoke Grizzlies Hockey Club.

Revelstoke Grizzlies Announce New Local Ownership Group:

This is on the Grizzlies web site:

For Immediate Release: May 7, 2009

Revelstoke Grizzlies Announce New Local Ownership Group

The Revelstoke Grizzlies Hockey Club today is proud to announce a new Local Ownership Group. The team has been purchased by Lewis Hendrickson, Joe/Andrew Kozek, Troy Mick and Michael Roberts.

We are very excited to be a part of Junior hockey in Revelstoke. The KIJHL is a first class league with the number one priority being development of its players. This community has supported this team for a number of years and we are looking forward to continuing its successes on and off the ice.

Here is a brief bio on the new owners:

Lewis Hendrickson: Lewis is a local businessman and supporter of Revelstoke Minor Hockey. Lewis played hockey for many years in Revelstoke and is proud to give back to the community. Lewis's son's Kent and Cody have played Hockey with Revelstoke Minor Hockey .

Joe/Andrew Kozek: Joe is also a long time businessman in Revelstoke and a supporter of Revelstoke Minor Hockey. Joe played Hockey in Revelstoke for many years. Andrew Kozek is a recent graduate of the University Of North Dakota and was a Revelstoke Minor Hockey Product. Joe and Andrew are proud to give back to the Revelstoke Community.

Troy Mick: Troy has been a Hockey Executive for the past 19 years. Troy has coached in the BCHL and the Western Hockey League. Troy has won 2 National Junior A Championships with the Vernon Vipers. He also has coached the Portland Winterhawks, Tri City Americans and the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL.

Michael Roberts: Mike is a long time supporter of minor hockey in this province at different capacities. He is a passionate guy about the game and has donated many hours to it. He is looking forward to working with the community as he will be the Business Manager for the Grizzlies.

Cody Ikkala – A Zest For Life (and food)

This is on the Vipers web site:

Cody Ikkala – a zest for life (and food)

by viper staff Added 2009-05-27

Everyone is worried that Cody Ikkala will waste away when he goes to boot camp in July. The undisputed king of the buffet table, Cody can ingest prodigious amounts of food.

The enthusiastic native of Colorado who now calls Philadelphia home has accepted a scholarship to the West Point Military Academy where he will play hockey for the Army Black Knights. Prior to his freshman year, he will report for basic training on July 1. Rumours about skimpy food portions at boot camp lead to concerns that the rigours of army life and Cody’s high-gear metabolism might make him a very, very hungry soldier.

Cody’s hunger for success as a hockey player brought him to Vernon from the Marquette Rangers of the North American Hockey League in the fall of 2007. A severe high ankle sprain and a bout of mononucleosis restricted him to just 38 games that season, but he turned heads with his physical play. At 6’1’’ and 205 pounds, Cody has issued some thumping body checks. (See the above photo of Cody’s hit on Summerside’s Nathan Desroches.)

A stay-at-home defenceman, Cody stayed healthy this year, partly as a result of working extra hard during the summer of 2008. He missed just two regular season games and played in every post-season contest. The season-long pairing of Cody and rookie Adam Thompson produced a very effective partnership. Cody focused more on the physical play while Adam moved the puck and took a lot more shots. However, as the season wore on, Cody became more and more proficient in getting his point shots on net, through traffic. His nifty move at the blue line and shot on net led to the Mike Collins goal that tied the contest against Victoria in a key match up in the RBC round robin. Brother Cole completed the Viper comeback with an overtime goal.

The role of hard-nosed defender is exactly what the Army coaching staff is looking for in Cody, in order to replace a bruising Black Night defender who graduates from West Point this year. That role suits Cody just fine: “basically my job is to help keep the puck out of the net and throw a few guys around, and not get too fancy with the puck. I just try to keep it simple.”

Cody will attend West Point for four years and then fulfill his five-year military commitment. He doesn’t yet know what direction his military career will take, but he has a hankering to fly helicopters. He’s not worried about being sent overseas: “it’s an honour to serve your country. I’ll just do it the Ikky Way – keep it simple.”

In Vernon, he has been anything but warlike, as he has been very active in the community, reading at schools, helping at charity functions, and many other public events. His favourite volunteer activity has been helping foreign students at Okanagan College understand and adjust to local cultural activities and customs. The Viper coaching staff recognized these contributions with the Community Service Award at the team’s awards banquet at the end of February.

Cody Ikkala sums up his two years in Vernon as “the best place I’ve ever played hockey. The fans support the team so well; it’s a beautiful area to live in; the rink’s great; the organization’s great. That’s why I wanted Cole to come here. Plus, it’s been an excellent experience playing at this level with my brother.”

“Two years have gone really fast, and now it’s time to move on, I guess,” he says. Although always positive and optimistic, Cody is a little concerned about getting enough to eat in the army: “With my high metabolism, I could eat 24 hours a day. I’m a little worried that I might pass out in a ditch. I’m sure that they have no idea about how much I need to eat!” So, Viper fans, be prepared to send care packages to Cody Ikkala.

NOTE: watch for a 7-part series called "Departing Heroes", which started last week on the Vipers website. The series will profile graduating players Chris Crowell, Cody Ikkala, Cam Brodie, Mike Leidl, Ryan Santana, and Andrew Hammond. James Kerr, who will play and study ay Princeton University next year, will also be profiled.

Short Leads Tiger Attack:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Short leads Tiger attack

Published: May 26, 2009

Two weeks after boosting the Vernon Vipers to a national junior A hockey title, Robbie Short helped the Vernon Re/Max Tigers stop the host Rutland Raiders 9-7 in Thompson/Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League action Saturday night.
“It was nice to have Robbie Short back,” said Tigers’ co-coach Rich Zecchel. “He scored twice and played a good two-way game.”
Short, the Tigers’ captain, missed Vernon’s first four league games.
Import Jordan Jarvis, of Saskatchewan, scored on his first shot with the Tigers, and then accepted a challenge to fight a Raider in the second period.
The Tigers took a few early double minor penalties for crosschecking from behind, and went down 5-2 before tying the score in the second period while even strength.
Goalie Josh Phillips took a shot to the head in warm-up, and after appearing shaky early in the first, settled down and was solid for Vernon (4-0-1).
The Tigers will entertain the Kamloops Rattlers in a first-place showdown Saturday (7:30) at Wesbild Centre. The Rattlers (4-2-1) grounded the Kelowna Warriors 10-5 and stoned the Armstrong Shamrocks 15-2 in weekend games.

Bayda & Canes Season Comes To An End:

After two show-stopping Game 7 wins on the road against division champions, former Vernon Viper Ryan Bayda and the Carolina Hurricanes went quietly into the night in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Canes, seeking their third trip to the Stanley Cup finals since 2002, were swept by the defending conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins, falling 4-1 Tuesday night in a season-ending contest.

Carolina was outscored 20-9 in the series and led for just 21 of 240 minutes, losing six of its last seven postseason games after starting 7-4 against New Jersey and Boston.

The Canes trailed 3-1 for the second straight home game heading into the third period. But Carolina couldn’t convert on yet another power play opportunity early in the final period as the Pens clamped down on defense and eventually scored their third empty-net goal of the series, outscoring the Canes 10-3 at the RBC Center after splitting the four-game regular-season series.

The Canes jumped out to an early lead for the second straight home game as Staal snapped his scoring slump with a wraparound goal 1:36 in, but following a familiar pattern Carolina ended the opening 20 minutes down 2-1.

And once again the Canes allowed a late goal, this one coming on a flutter shot from Maxime Talbot in the slot that deflected off a Carolina defenseman and eluded the glove of Ward with 1:29 left in the period.

“The puck hit his skate and I lost sight of it for a split second and it was a bad break, a fluke goal,” Ward said.

“We tried to stay positive (after the goal) but it’s tough when a bounce goes like that,” added Chad LaRose.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vipers Complete Deadline Deal With Express?

It looks as if the Vernon Vipers have completed the big deadline deal with the Merritt Centennials & Burnaby Express wich took place back on January 7th 2009. Here's a look back at one if not the biggest trade just days before the BCHL Trade Deadline.

07-Jan-09The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club transfer the playing rights of John Digness (89)(D) and future considerations to the Burnaby Express Hockey Club in exchange for the playing rights of Cameron Brodie (88)(D).

07-Jan-09The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club acquire the playing rights of Mike Leidl (D)(88) from the Burnaby Express Hockey Club in exchange for future considerations.

07-Jan-09The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club transfer the playing rights of Steve Tresierra (90)(D) to the Merritt Centennials Hockey Club in exchange for future considerations.

Check out the Burnaby Express blog for an interview with Coach Dave Mclellan, Mclellan talks about how the future considerations from last seasons trades are coming together, and his recruting efforts for the upcoming season.

Mclellan talks about the Vernon-Burnaby trade that happened days before the BCHL Trade Deadline. Mclellan mentions that the Express have aquired veteran BCHL goaltender, Harrison May from the Merritt Centennials, via the Vernon Vipers. Mclellan dosnt mention any other players involved in the deal. This means it looks as if Harrison May is the only player going the other way. Until listed on the BCHL transactions page, this is how the deal looks,

The Vernon Vipers trade Steve Tresierra to the Merritt Centennials for Harrison May, Vernon then trades May & John Digness to the Burnaby Express for Cameron Brodie & Mike Leidl.

In the end this deal worked out and helped the Vernon Vipers capture their 5th National Championship. The Vipers who lost Tresierra & Digness gained two solid veteran d-men in Brodie & Leidl who made a huge improvement on the blueline. This trade made an impact to the Vipers defence and overall team wich got bigger, stronger, added that veteran leadership and physical presence to the backend wich helped them to the RBC Cup. Now that the season is over it looks as if May will be the only player going the other way, wich really means the Vipers didnt have to give up or lose any players-future prospects on their current roster. Now Mark Ferner and Jason Williamson can build next years team around the core group of veteran players that will be returning from this years Championship team.

The Centennials can now build their backend in and around Steve Tresierra who will be a great leader on and off the ice. Tresierra will add that veteran experience to the Cents blueline. John Digness now in his 2nd season in the BCHL and first full season in Burnaby will carry on what he brought to the Express last season. Digness is great on specialty teams, a hard working kid who is aggresive on the forecheck and can pot the odd goal or two when needed. In Vernon Digness didnt get the chance at playing on the top two lines but may get that chance with the Express. Harrison May will add that veteran presence between the pipes. May who started the season this year with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs was traded to the Merritt Centennials and became an Interior Division All-Star having to stand on his head many nights. Overall I think all three teams won in this deal.

Vipers Grad Genoway Earns ESPN Mag Academic Honour:

Vipers grad Genoway earns ESPN Mag academic honour

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 - Submitted by UND Athletics

University of North Dakota defenseman Chay Genoway has been named to the 2009 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VII University Division men’s at-large team by a vote of the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Genoway is a management major with a 3.64 cumulative grade point average. Earlier this spring, he was selected to his second straight All-WCHA Academic team and was named a WCHA Scholar Athlete for the second year in a row.

A native of Morden, Manitoba, Genoway was named 2008-09 WCHA Defensive Player of the Year after recording a career-high 32 points and tying for the team lead with a career-high 29 assists. He was also named to the All-WCHA first team and was named a second team All-American by the American Hockey Coaches Association. Genoway was also an All-College Hockey News second team selection for the second straight season.

Genoway will enter his senior season in 2009-10 as the leading scorer among active WCHA defensemen. In 123 career games, Genoway has 16 goals and 64 assists for 80 points, leaving him 20 points away from becoming only the ninth defenseman in Sioux history to reach the 100-point plateau. His six career game-winning goals are two shy of the UND school record for a defenseman. UND went 24-15-4 last season won the MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular season champions with a 17-7-4 league record.

The Sioux advanced to their seventh straight NCAA postseason tournament, the 24th tournament appearance in school history. Genoway now advances to the national ballot for ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America voting.

Vipers Blow Out Sale:

This is on the Vipers web site:

The Vernon Vipers have cleaned out the Viper's Den Souvenir Booth and have a rack full of items left that they are blowing out! All hats are $5, t-shirts are $10, and youth jerseys are $20. The Vipers also have a select number of game worn jerseys up for grabs. The Vipers Office and Den will be open Tuesday and Thursdays from 9am-4pm, for more information please call the Vipers Office at 250-542-6022.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spitfires Win MasterCard Memorial Cup:

Windsor Spitfires Win MasterCard Memorial Cup

Sunday-May 24, 2009

Rimouski, QC – The Windsor Spitfires were crowned national champions after a 4-1 win over the Kelowna Rockets in the 91st edition of the MasterCard Memorial Cup final Sunday afternoon.
The Spitfires win their franchise's first MasterCard Memorial Cup and become the first team in MasterCard Memorial Cup history to win the title after starting the tournament 0-2, and the first team to win both the tie-breaker game and the Championship Final. The win came in front of a crowd of 4,811 who heavily favoured the Spitfires club throughout the game.
The Spitfires were flying right off the opening faceoff and scored three goals on the first three shots of the game past Rockets’ goaltender Mark Guggenberger in the first period.
Adam Henrique scored his fourth goal of the tournament to open the scoring from the high slot at 3:22 off a pretty feed from Greg Nemisz, who stripped the puck off Mikael Backlund to keep the play alive in the Rockets’ zone. The Spitfires continued to pressure with Dale Mitchell scoring his fifth goal of the tournament at 4:58 when he finished a strong rush up the wing and fought off a check to roof a shot glove side for the eventual game-winner. Defenceman Rob Kwiet scored on the power play at 7:11 with a shot from the point that beat Guggenberger who was then replaced by Adam Brown.
The Rockets came hard out the gates in the second period scoring eight seconds into the frame when tournament top-scorer Jamie Benn grabbed the puck off the centre ice draw and carried it hard to the net. He backhanded a low shot producing a big rebound that went right to Captain Colin Long who buried it to put the Rockets on the scoreboard. The Spitfires got their final goal at 12:46 when Mark Cundari extended his reach to keep the puck in at the line and passed it over to Ryan Ellis who blasted a slap shot top corner to bring the score to a 4-1 final.
Andrew Engelage made 21 saves in goal for the Spitfires earning his fourth straight victory. The Rockets’ Adam Brown made 24 saves in relief.
Taylor Hall was named the games first star with an assist while Cundari was named second star with two assists. Henrique, who was named the game’s third star, led the Spitfires in tournament scoring with nine points.
Former Vernon Viper, Kyle St.Denis was a -1 with 3 shots in todays final.
Check out the game summary for stats on todays Final,

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Grossman Gets What He Deserves:

Storm forward, Elias Grossman fully gets what he deserves. Thanks to Hockey Alberta for sending the message, that players wont get away with antics like this. I was at Game 2 of the Doyle Cup and was truly disscusted in what I saw late in the game. Grossman levelled Bryce Kakoske deep in the Grande Prairie zone with a huge elbow to the head. The Vipers come flying in, as both teams started pushing and shoving as tempers once again started to flare up. Cole Ikkala was hit across the face-side of the head with a blatent slash by Josh Juell, and then Kevin Kraus was speared and slashed as the Storm were gooning it up. The officials were having all kinds of troubles trying to contain Grossman who went nuts, pushing and shoving the linesmen, at one point Grossman had the linesmen by the neck wrestling with him as he was trying to excorted off the ice. As Grossman and the linesmen were by the far end gates, Grossman spit in the face of the official after man handling him. You have to wonder if former Vipers head coach and gm, Mike Vandekamp should have been fined or suspended? In a 6-2 blowout, Vandy sends out a player like Grossman for what reasons? To send a message for Game 3, thats not the message you want to send. In all my years of watching Junior Hockey I have never witnessed something like this before & hope something like this dosnt happen again.

Grossman Gets Major Penalty:

This is on the Grande Priaire web site:

Grossman Gets Major Penalty:
Hockey Alberta has handed down a suspension that will prevent former Storm forward Elias Grossmann from playing in a sanctioned hockey league in Canada or the United States until December 1, 2010.

Grossman made national sports headlines in April for his interaction with linesman Brandon Liefke during Game 2 of the Doyle Cup against the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers.

Late in the game Grossmann became involved with Vipers forward Bryce Kakoske along the boards following a faceoff. Grossman jostled with Liefke and was accused of spitting in the linesman’s face in the ensuing scrum before being led off the ice.

“In his case he had two congruent infractions in the same incident that carried two different suspensions,” said Brad Robbins, senior manager with Hockey Alberta. “We had the match penalty on the official plus the spitting. That carries two specific suspensions to it.”

Grossmann apologized to the officials immediately after the game and said he didn’t intentionally spit at the linesman, but rather was trying to spit his mouthguard out so he could speak to the linesman.

While the Storm Hockey Club accepts the fact there should be some repercussion for Grossmann’s physical handling of the linesman they question why one of the Vipers players Grossmann had become involved in was allowed to chase him around the ice and continue to taunt him without being restrained or warned to back off.

“Elias was physical with the linesman and that’s something players should never do and Elias has to pay for that,” said Storm business manager Don Moon. “But a lot of what happened could have been avoided had the Vipers player not been allowed to continue to taunt Elias.”

Grossmann said he never intentionally spit at the linesman.

“Anyone who knows Elias would know he wouldn’t do that, but I guess they didn’t believe him when he spoke to them at his hearing. Elias told the team he didn’t intentionally spit at Liefke and we believe him.”

Grossmann is in Australia and intends on playing hockey there this season. His plans to move to Australia were set before the Vernon incident.

Here is the video wich was posted on youtube,

Friday, May 22, 2009

Former Viper Bayda Fined For Match Penalty:

Hurricanes' Bayda fined for match penalty

Friday, 05.22.2009 Conference Finals: Pittsburgh vs. Carolina

By Dan Rosen - Staff Writer


Carolina Hurricanes forward Ryan Bayda has been fined $2,500 by the National Hockey League as a result of the match penalty he was assessed at 18:41 of the third period Thursday night.According to Rule 21.2 in the NHL Rulebook, any player who receives a match penalty "shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the Commissioner has ruled on the issue." After a review by NHL Senior Executive Vice President, Hockey Operations Colin Campbell the League chose to fine Bayda the maximum amount and not suspend him.Bayda was assessed the match penalty under Rule 60.4 after exchanging high sticks with Penguins defenseman Kris Letang behind Pittsburgh's net toward the end of Pittsburgh's 7-4 win. The incident led to two fights and Letang also received a game misconduct.Bayda was not available to the media following Thursday night's game, but Letang said Friday after the Penguins optional practice that Bayda got him right in the mouth."There was a little frustration, but it was not a hard one," Letang said, adding that he was just trying to defend himself and didn't "want to throw any punch or get injured in those types of things at the end of the game."Letang, who fought Tim Gleason after the incident while Miroslav Satan and Patrick Eaves exchanged blows, didn't seem to care if Bayda was going to be suspended or not."I'm not the guy who gives the suspension," he said. "There are people hired for that and they have to make the decision."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vipers Land Another Sniper:

Just over a week after winning the Royal Bank Cup, the Vernon Vipers sound like they are reloading for another run at next years RBC Cup with two commitments within the last few days. On Tuesday the team announced they have commitment from 18 year old forward, Drew George & today announced 17 year year old forward, and rookie of the year, Dylan Walchuk has commited for next season. The Vipers get two young goal scorers wich will add more of an offensive attack to the team, somthing they lacked in this year. Walchuk sounds like he is for real and can do alot of damage putting up 65 pts last season with the Nelson Leafs. Unlike like last summer where the Vipers were pretty hush hush with any news or info regarding the team, have already announced two major signings for next season, and were just over a week into the off season. The Vipers web site said on Tuesday that they will be announcing more commitments for next season, within the next few weeks. I think its a good idea to keep the fans updated and informed on whats going on with the team during the summer months. Both players sound great! Im already looking forward to next season. Welcome to Vernon Drew & Dylan!

Walchuk Commits To Vernon:

This is on the Vipers web site:

Vipers add rookie of the year!
by viper staff Added 2009-05-21 May 21, 2009

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club is pleased to announce that 17 year old forward Dylan Walchuk, from McBride B.C., has committed to play for the Vipers this upcoming season. Walchuk spent last season playing for the Nelson Leafs of the KIJHL.

Walchuk comes to the Vipers organization after a very successful 2008-2009 season. During the regular season, he scored 29 goals and 36 assists for 65 points in 49 games played. For his efforts he was awarded KIJHL Rookie of the Year. He was also a very clutch performer in the playoffs in which he helped lead his team to a KIJHL championship. Dylan led the KIJHL playoffs in scoring; he scored 10 goals and 16 assists for 26 points.

Dylan is a strong two way center who works hard each and every time he is on the ice. He has drawn the attention of many NCAA scouts throughout the season and will be a huge part of the Vipers team next season.

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club would like to welcome Dylan to their team. Any questions please contact the Vernon Vipers office at 250 542 6022.

Holick Named Assistant Coach For Canada's National Men's Summer U-18

This is on the Kootenay Ice web site:

Holick named Assistant Coach for Canada's National Men's Summer U-18

Wed May 20th, 2009

CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced on Wednesday that Dave Lowry will be head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Team for the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka in August 2009. Canada enters the tournament as defending champion, with this year’s event being held in Czech Republic and Slovakia from August 11-15.

Dave Lowry will be making his international coaching debut this summer, after leading the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen to a 59-9-3-1 regular-season record and a spot in the WHL final. The native of Sudbury, Ont. has just completed his fourth season with Calgary, first as the team’s head coach. Lowry, 44, played over 1,000 games in the NHL with five franchises, serving as the Calgary Flames’ captain from 2000 to 2002.

Assistant coaches Chris DePiero (head coach and general manager of OHL’s Oshawa Generals) and Mark Holick (head coach of WHL’s Kootenay Ice) round out the coaching staff of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team.

DePiero has just completed his first season as head coach and general manager with Oshawa after serving as head coach for the St. Michael’s Buzzers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League for seven years, winning two league championships and twice being named the league’s coach of the year.

Holick has been the head coach in Kootenay for two seasons after successful head coaching stints with the British Columbia Hockey League’s Vernon Vipers in 2006-07 and with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Spruce Grove Saints from 2003-06. The native of Penticton, B.C. led Team Pacific to a silver medal at the 2004 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Hockey Canada also announced that former NHLer Ron Tugnutt will be joining the under-18 coaching staff as a goaltending consultant. A veteran of over 500 NHL games, Tugnutt served in this capacity with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2009 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.“The under-18 program is an integral part of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence,” said Brad Pascall, Hockey Canada’s senior director of national men’s teams. “We are extremely excited with the quality of coaches that we have named today for our summer under-18 program. Led by head coach Dave Lowry, we know that this year’s under-18 team will be well prepared and that our coaches will play important roles in developing Canada’s top young players.”

Hockey Canada will announce plans for the National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team selection camp at a later date.

Prospect To Bypass Pats:

Here's a good article on Viper newcomer, Drew George who recently just commited to playing for the Vernon Vipers next season.

This was in the Regina Post Newspaper:

Prospect to bypass Pats

By Greg Harder, Leader-Post
April 27, 2009

REGINA -- Drew George believes in happy endings.The Regina native helped author one Sunday when the Notre Dame Hounds captured the Telus Cup with a 4-0 win over the Calgary Buffaloes in Selkirk, Man. George had two goals and an assist in the game, his final outing at the midget AAA level."Finished it in style," offered the 17-year-old forward. "It's unbelievable. It hasn't really sunk in yet that we're the top team in the nation but it feels great. It's what we worked for all year."I don't think you could draw up a story any better."Now it's time to turn the page.George's WHL rights are held by the Regina Pats, who added him to their protected list last year after a strong performance as a walk-on in training camp. The Pats would like to add him to their lineup next season, but George is pursuing another route. He plans to join the BCHL's Vernon Vipers in hopes of playing his way into an NCAA scholarship — and hopefully a pro contract down the road.George said he chose the NCAA option so he would have "an education to come back on." He's apparently sold on heading south in spite of the fact that WHL teams offer a year of free education at a Canadian post-secondary institution for every season of service."(If you get an education) you have a life after hockey if things don't work out well," he said. "I had considered (joining the Pats) early on, being at home, close to the family and having everyone being able to watch. But me and my parents sat down and thought the college route was the best route for us. For sure it was tempting (to stay here). It crossed my mind quite a bit. I guess it's not completely out of the question but the way I'm leaning I think I'll be heading the college route."George clearly gave himself some options by putting up big numbers in Notre Dame this season, finishing tied for second in the league with 78 points, including 27 goals, in 43 games. He added five goals and five assists in eight playoff games, then was named the MVP of the Telus Cup prairie regional qualifying tournament after potting four goals and three helpers in four games. He added another three goals and 10 points in seven games at the national championship."I think I played pretty well all season," said George. "I had a couple slumps here and there but I think it helped me (spending one more year in midget), just proving that I can be a points guy and get the job done."In the end, George's success benefited the team — and vice versa."We started off the season really well," he added. "There was always that special feeling within the team that this could be the group of guys that could take it all the way. It's just an amazing feeling. I can't believe it's happening right now."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vipers Trade?

If you remember back on January 7th 2009 the Vernon Vipers, Merritt Centennials & Burnaby Express made the biggest moves just days before the BCHL's trade deadline. Here's a look back at the three trades,

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club transfer the playing rights of John Digness (89)(D) and future considerations to the Burnaby Express Hockey Club in exchange for the playing rights of Cameron Brodie (88)(D).

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club acquire the playing rights of Mike Leidl (D)(88) from the Burnaby Express Hockey Club in exchange for future considerations.

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club transfer the playing rights of Steve Tresierra (90)(D) to the Merritt Centennials Hockey Club in exchange for future considerations.

In the end it looks as if the Vipers now owe the Burnaby Express future considerations for both Mike Leidl & Cameron Brodie. The Merritt Centennials now owe the Vipers future considerations for Steve Tresierra. Brian Wiebe has posted on his Merritt Centennials Blog what future considerations may be going the other way. Brian posted,

The futures that the Cents gave up at the deadline (to Vernon for D Steve Tresierra) are still to be determined, but rumblings are that somehow those will see G Harrison May dealt to Burnaby, but there has been no confirmation from any of the teams on that.

If this is true, this would put the final three way trade as this,

The Vernon Vipers trade Steve Tresierra to the Merritt Centennials for Harrison May, Vernon then ends up trading May to the Burnaby Express for Mike Leidl & Cameron Brodie. The question is, is Harrison May all the Vipers will have to give up for both Brodie & Leidl? Or will there be more players or cash involved in this deal? You have to wonder if some of the Vipers so called future prospects will be on the move to the Coast. Young kids such as d-man, Steven Weinstein, d-man, Nick Amies, forwards, Kory Roy or Trent Dorias. With trades already starting across the league, Im sure it wont be long before we hear the final players involved in this trade.

Chris Crowell – A True Leader:

Chris Crowell – a true leader by don klepp Added 2009-05-20

When Chris Crowell was ejected in the first period of the May 10 RBC championship game, he took it like a man and showed the kind of leader he is. This wasn’t just any game; it was the final game of his junior hockey career and his biggest game to date. But he didn’t go to the dressing room to vent his anger or lament his fate. Standing at the exit gate, he stayed in uniform for the whole game.

After the ejection (for checking from behind), Chris was interviewed by Dan Marshall on KISS FM’s live radio broadcast. When asked about the penalty and about the impact that his absence would have on the Vipers’ chances, he replied “the team will be fine. It’s not about just one guy. They’ll step up. We have at least three or four guys who can play with Pimmer and Mike. Our coaches know what to do.”

In the intermission, Assistant Coach Jason Williamson said that the players would play even harder, to win the game for their captain. And they did, even though Humboldt came on strong in the second period.

The Vernon Vipers’ work ethic in that championship game mirrored Chris Crowell’s approach to athletic competition. Incoming players like Cole Ikkala say that they have learned a lot from their captain: “He’s a good example of what it takes to be successful. His work ethic is unbelievable; you should see him in the gym. He doesn’t let the rest of us slack off, either. Also, Chris and the other vets made the transition easy for us newcomers, showing us the ropes and helping us understand how to conduct ourselves, on and off the ice.”

In addition to leading on the ice, Chris is a vocal leader. For example, at a team meal at the RBC Cup when the coaches were away scouting a team, Chris stood up and reminded his team mates to “get your rest today; keep your focus; remember what we came here for!”

Chris eased into his leadership role with the Vipers. When he joined the team as a big, raw kid in the 2005-2006 season, his main job was to create havoc. He amassed 145 penalty minutes that year and 205 minutes the following year. After he became captain, the sin bin minutes tailed off. In 2007-2008 (134 minutes) and this season (112 minutes), he was counted on to provide more offence while exercising more self-discipline. This season was his most productive with 12 goals and 31 assists in the regular season and another 8 goals and 9 assists in 25 post-season contests. He also tied Connor Jones with 2 short handed goals in the regular season.

The Viper team and its fans appreciate what Chris Crowell has done for the Vipers and for the community – he has participated in many community events and charity fundraisers. He doesn’t dwell on his contributions, however. He’s grateful for what he’s received: “I’ve learned so much and I’ve met so many great people that I’ll stay in contact with for a long time.”

His competitive fire and physical presence will be hard to replace as he moves on to the University of Alaska. His game will translate well to the college hockey and he’ll do well academically; this winter he earned an “A” in each of the university transfer courses he studied at Okanagan College. Typically, he challenged himself with three tough classes – English, philosophy, and economics.

Chris is currently leaning toward earning a business degree. Here’s a wild but conceivable prediction: one day Chris Crowell will return to the British Columbia Hockey League as the owner of a BCHL franchise, and that franchise will be very successful.

This article is the first in a six-part series about the Vipers’ graduating 20-year olds. Next week’s story will feature Cody Ikkala.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Memorial Cup: Windsor 2 Kelowna 1

Spitfires Spit On Rockets In Game 3

May 19, 2009 - WHL

The Windsor Spitfires edged the Kelowna Rockets 2-1 in round robin action on Tuesday night at the 2009 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament in Rimouski, QC.

The victory sees the Spitfires finish their round robin schedule with a 1-2 record, keeping their Memorial Cup Championship hopes alive.

The Rockets, meanwhile, wrap up their round robin schedule with a 2-1 record, and have already booked their place in the Championship game next Sunday after posting wins over the host Rimouski Oceanic and the QMJHL Champion Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Defenseman Ryan Ellis broke a 1-1 tie 4:13 into the third period to lift the OHL Champion Spitfires to the win. Taylor Hall notched a goal and an assist for the Spitfires, who outshot the WHL Champion Rockets 34-17 in the contest.

Kyle St. Denis – with the game’s first goal – tallied the lone marker for the Rockets, who were held scoreless on four power play chances but killed off five of six Windsor power plays, including a lengthy 5-on-3 in the third period.

Spitfires’ netminder Andrew Engelage made 16 saves to preserve the critical victory. Mark Guggenberger made 32 saves in a strong performance in the loss for the Rockets.

Having won their final round robin contest, the Spitfires will now await the loser of Wednesday night’s round robin finale between Rimouski and Drummondville in a tiebreaker on Thursday. Both the Oceanic and the Voltigeurs are 1-1 through two round robin games. The winner will move on to Friday’s semi-final and meet the winner of the tiebreaker.

The WHL has won the last two Memorial Cups. The Spokane Chiefs won the 2008 Memorial Cup in Kitchener, ON, while the Vancouver Giants won the 2007 Memorial Cup in Vancouver, B.C., as the host team.

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Kyle St. Denis scored his first goal of the Memorial Cup, wich was the lone Kelowna goal this afternoon.

Click here for todays game summary,

Vipers Land Sniper:

By the sounds of things, it looks as if the Vipers may have landed a goal scorer in Drew George for next season. George a highly touted recruit will add some secondary scoring to a Vernon lineup wich didnt have much of an offensive attack, compared to some of the other high scoring teams. The Vipers with just one player (Connor Jones 60 pts) in the top 40 in scoring during the regular season, depended on all four lines to contribute in the scoring department, rather then one or two lines, like other BCHL teams. George scored 27 goals & 46 assists for 73 points in just 43 games last season. It will be interesting with a possible 16 returning players coming back for next season, and more recruits being named over the next few weeks what the Vipers roster will look like for the start of next year.

It looks as if some Regina Hockey fans are pretty upset over all of this, read more on the WHL Fans Message Board,

George Commits To Vernon:

This is on the Vipers web site:

Vipers recruit national champion! by viper staff Added 2009-05-19 May 19, 2009

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club is pleased to announce that 18 year old forward Drew George, from Regina, has committed to play in Vernon. Drew spent last season playing for the Notre Hounds AAA Midget hockey team. George helped lead his team to a national title as they were able to capture the Telus Cup in Winnipeg last month. Drew scored 2 goals and 1 assist in the championship final.

Drew was a highly sought after recruit. He received loads of interest, not only from many BCHL teams but WHL teams as well. Last season, Drew was second in the SMAAAHL (Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League) in scoring. He compiled 27 goals 46 assists for 73 points in 43 games played.

Drew is very excited to become a Viper and continue to build on the tradition in Vernon. He hopes to land a NCAA scholarship and bring another National Championship back to the city or Vernon.

The Vernon Vipers will be announcing more recruits over the next few weeks. Any questions please contact the Vipers office at 250 542 6022.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Memorial Cup: Kelowna 6 Drummondville 4

Rockets Advance To Memorial Cup Final

Photo courtesy of Aaron Bell-CHL

May 18, 2009 - WHL

The Kelowna Rockets booked their spot in the 2009 MasterCard Memorial Cup Championship game thanks to a 6-4 victory over the Drummondville Voltigeurs in tournament round robin action on Monday in Rimouski, QC.

Jamie Benn enjoyed an outstanding game, scoring four goals and adding an assist for a five-point outing as the Rockets improved their record to 2-0 at the tournament.

The victory ensures the Rockets first place in the round robin portion of the tournament, meaning they get the automatic berth in the Championship game next Sunday.

Cody Almond scored twice while Colin Long and Tyson Barrie each chipped in three assists for the Rockets, who rallied from one-goal deficits three times during the contest.

Yannick Riendeau also put on a terrific performance for the QMJHL Champion Voltigeurs, notching a goal and adding three assists for a four-point effort. Marc-Olivier Vachon – with two goals – and Marc-Antoine Desnoyer also scored for Drummondville.

The loss drops the Voltigeurs to 1-1 in round robin play.

Rockets’ goaltender Mark Guggenberger made 18 saves to earn his second Memorial Cup win. Marco Cousineau made 17 stops in a losing cause for the Voltigeurs.

The Rockets wrap up their round robin portion of the tournament taking on the Windsor Spitfires on Tuesday, April 19th. The OHL Champion Spitfires are 0-2 in round robin play, having lost to both Drummondville and the host Rimouski Oceanic.

The WHL has won the last two Memorial Cups. The Spokane Chiefs won the 2008 Memorial Cup in Kitchener, ON, while the Vancouver Giants won the 2007 Memorial Cup in Vancouver, B.C., as the host team.

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Kyle St. Denis has yet to record a point in the Memorial Cup. I will be following Kyle St. Denis & the Kelowna Rockets on their run to the Memorial Cup.

Click here for todays game summary,

Click here for thoughts on the Rockets win,

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Vipers Parade & RBC Cup:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

By Kevin Mitchell
Sunday May 17th 2009

Can’t say I was impressed with that so-called celebration for the Vipers on Wednesday.
After riding downtown on a flatbed truck, the national junior A champion team gathered on the floor at Wesbild Centre for two hours.
The lights were dark, there was no upbeat music, no speeches, nothing except the Royal Bank Cup, Doyle Cup and Fred Page Cup trophies sitting on a table.
For refreshments, there were two cases of pop. My kids checked out the table only to find empties. For food, there was a few plates of veggies and dip.
The Vipers, classy as ever, joined the few fans who did show up, in conversation and photographs. The time of the celebration was 4-6 p.m., which meant most of the city was either working or taking kids to soccer or dance practice.
The team certainly deserved better. Good thing most of them will be back when the RBC banner is unveiled in early September. Maybe then, fans will get a chance to raise the roof with some pomp and ceremony.
The Vipers were solid ambassadors for this city during the RBC in Victoria. Len Barrie, the owner of the Bear Mountain Resort and Arena, as well as the Tampa Bay Lightning, praised the Vipers for their on- and off-ice behaviour.
The Summerside Western Capitals of P.E.I. reportedly treated the RBC like a kegger.
Hockey Canada officials sent the Caps home early after they were kicked out of the Westin Bear Mountain Victoria Golf Resort and Spa for various alleged incidents.
“At this stage we are waiting for an official report from Hockey Canada,” Hockey P.E.I. executive director Rob Newson told the Journal Pioneer.
“We can confirm that on Thursday (May 7) we were informed – because of conduct off the ice and, at this time, we can’t comment on the specifics based on the fact that we don’t have that final report yet – that the team was advised that they were not welcome at the resort/hotel for the remainder of the weekend.
“They were not invited back to the banquet (Saturday) and Hockey Canada made arrangements to send them home three days early.”
Capitals GM Gabe Keough acknowledged there was a television damaged.
“Other than that, there’s been no reports of any damage,” Keough told the Journal Pioneer. “What has been reported to us is that it’s a minority of the players and not all players are in question here."
Summerside was reportedly bidding to host the 2011 RBC tournament.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Vipers Post Great Numbers:

This is on the Vipers web site:

Vipers post great numbers! by don klepp Added 2009-05-16

Statistics can sometimes be deceiving, but the Vernon Vipers' post-season numbers accurately reflect the 08/09 team's achievements.

Perhaps the most important number is 11; the team won its last 11 post-season games in a row, including the 2-0 triumph over Humboldt in the RBC championship game. Overall, the Vipers won 22 of 27 post-season matches, while losing 2 in regulation and 3 in overtime. That record translates into a winning percentage that's nearly 10 percent better than their regular season record, and there were no playoff games against the weak sisters of the league!

Among those 22 wins, Andrew Hammond posted 5 shutouts to match his regular season total. He also allowed just a single goal in another 8 games, enroute to a goals against average of 1.59 and an equally gaudy 94.05 save percentage. Thus, he further justified his selection as the BCHL's regular season top goaltender when his GAA was 2.30 and his save percentage was a strong 91.22.

The Vipers' defence-first philosophy did not prevent them from scoring goals, 96 of them in 27 games, while surrendering just 44. In only 3 post-season games did they allow more than 3 goals (4 in a 4-1 loss to Powell River; 4 in their 5-4 overtime win versus Victoria; and 5 in mean-nothing 8-5 win over Kingston).

Occasionally this year, Viper fans complained about the team's power play, but Viper special teams sizzled in the playoffs. At the RBC Cup, for example, they potted 12 power play goals and 2 short-handed, while allowing just 3 when a man short. In the games that mattered the very most, 6 of the 8 Viper goals in the semi-final and final RBC matches were scored with the man advantage.

The Vipers were also dangerous while killing penalties. In the post-season, they notched 6 shorties. Remarkably, thanks mainly to Connor Jones, they scored a short handed goal in the first period of 4 straight games, which went a long way toward maintaining that unbeaten streak at the end of the year.

Overall, in the 87 games of the 2008-09 season, the Vipers' power play operated at a 20.81% clip while the penalty kill had an efficiency of 85.04%. In the 27 post-season games, the numbers were even better: a 23.27% PP and a 86.89% PK. With those numbers, the Vancouver Canucks might have done better than their abbreviated playoff run!

By the way, the Vipers' 6-0 record at this year's Jr. "A" national championship tournament was not the first time a team has gone undefeated. The feat has been achieved 6 times previously, by Orillia in 1985, Kelowna in 1993, Olds in 1994, South Surrey in 1998, Camrose in 2001, and Halifax in 2002. But nobody can match Vernon's 5 national titles!

I'll leave you with a couple more stats that reflect just how good the 2008-2009 Vernon Vipers have been. When this team took a lead into the third period this year, they won 50 times, tied 1 game, and lost once in overtime. In the post season, the Vipers won all 18 games that they led after 2 periods of play.

NOTE: watch for a 7-part series called "Departing Heroes", which will start next week on this website. The series will profile graduating players Chris Crowell, Cody Ikkala, Cam Brodie, Mike Leidl, Ryan Santana, and Andrew Hammond. James Kerr, who will play and study ay Princeton University next year, will also be profiled.

NHL Partners With Hockey Canada, CJHL For Development Programs:

This is on

NHL partners with Hockey Canada, CJHL for development programs

Monday, 05.11.2009

TORONTO -- The National Hockey League today announced, a ground-breaking agreement with Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League that will see the NHL work with the CJHL's ten member league and 143 teams. The NHL will partner with Hockey Canada and the CJHL to continue to grow the Junior A game across the country through its trademark events -- the World Junior A Challenge, CJHL Prospects Game and National Junior A Championship -- as well as investing in the development of players, coaches and officials involved with Junior A hockey across the country. In addition, the agreement will further a partnership with NHL Central Scouting, allowing scouts to get up-close-and-personal looks at the top Junior A talent in Canada while continuing to assist with player identification and development. "The CJHL plays an important role in developing players and providing national platforms to showcase their great on-ice product," said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. "We look forward to working with the CJHL to enhance their championship and prospect tournaments." "The Junior A game across Canada continues to grow, and this is a terrific next step for Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League to take," said Scott Smith, chief operating officer of Hockey Canada. "Through this partnership with the NHL, we expect the CJHL and its cornerstone events to continue to develop and evolve." "For the National Hockey League to see the value in an agreement is recognition of the part that Junior A hockey plays across the country," said Paul Lake, chairman of the CJHL. "We could not be more excited by what this partnership means to our game and our events."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Memorial Cup: Kelowna 4 Rimouski 1

Game Details

May 15, 2009 Kelowna @ Rimouski

Rockets 4, Oceanic 1

Just What The Doctor Ordered

A wonderful start for the WHL Champion Kelowna Rockets at the 2009 Mastercard Memorial Cup. The big guns were firing, the defense stood tall and Guggs shut the door. The rule of thumb in hockey, is if you don't score on a 5 on 3, you shouldn't win the game, so what does it mean when you don't score off two 5 on 3's? The Rimouski Oceanic found out on Friday night. In front of a very loud and passionate home crowd the Oceanic were completely shut down by the Rockets defensive core, despite some LOW glass. The Rockets offense got goals from Tyler Myeres, Jamie Benn, Ian Duval and Lucas Bloodoff to begin their quest for the Memorial Cup title. Game two of tournament for the Rockets goes Monday night (4:00 pm PST) against the QMJHL Champion Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Kyle St. Denis didnt record a point tonight but did manage to get two shots on goal. I will be following St. Denis and the Rockets on their Memorial Cup Run as the Rockets are going for their 2nd Memorial Cup Championship.

Click here for todays game summary,

Click here for highlights between the Rockets & Oceanic,

2009 Royal Bank Cup Final Highlights:

Here are some highlights from the 2009 Royal Bank Cup Final as the Vernon Vipers defeated the Humboldt Broncos winning their record 5th National Championship.

Vernon-Kingston RBC Cup Highlights:

Here are some video highlights from the Vipers-Voyageurs round robin game at the Royal Bank Cup on Thursday May 7th 2009

Hockey Fever:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Hockey fever

By Roger Knox

Published: May 14, 2009

It’s official: the Okanagan is Canada’s hotbed of junior hockey, what with the Vernon Vipers winning a record fifth Canadian Junior Royal Bank Cup championship, and the Kelowna Rockets winning the Western Hockey League title.
The Snakes’ 2-0 victory over the defending champion Humboldt Broncos Sunday in Victoria meant the Vipers finished their season with 11 straight playoff wins, and were easily the class of the five-team field.
It’s also the second time the Vipers won a Royal Bank Cup final by a 2-0 margin, the first coming in 1996 in Melfort, Sask. when Beau Riedel and the Vipers blanked the host Mustangs.
Vernon teams (including the Lakers) are 5-2, as far as championships won, in their seven national tournament appearances.
Congratulations to owner Duncan Wray on his third title, coaches Mark Ferner and Jason Williamson, the team staff and, of course, the players, for a great season.
Now, may I make a suggestion?
The last time it was my turn to write the At Random column, I wrote about how several championship banners were missing from the rafters of the Wesbild Centre, ie, the Vernon Canadians’ 1956 Allan Cup win, and the Vernon Essos’ 1970 and ‘72 championships.
The column generated a lot of response, with many hockey fans agreeing that those teams should be recognized. One local merchant offered to pick up the tab for the banners, and I can pass along his name if asked.
So, to the Vipers’ marketing staff, and/or Greater Vernon Services, I propose opening night in September to be Banner Night, where the Vipers raise their 2009 Royal Bank Cup banner (and league champion and Doyle Cup champion banners, too) to the roof, along with banners recognizing the Canadians and Essos.
And, while I’m at it, with James Kerr not returning, I’ll again make the push that it would be the perfect time for the Vipers to retire the late Wayne Dye’s No. 8.
Dye is the all-time leading scorer in Vernon junior hockey history, and his record 325 career points will likely stand forever.
l In case you haven’t noticed, I’m big on hockey traditions (although I didn’t grow a playoff beard during the Vipers’ run), so it was nice to hear that a hastily-arranged parade was organized for the champs on Wednesday.

Bayda & The Canes Advance To Conference Finals:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Ryan Bayda & the Carolina Hurricanes knocked off the #1 Boston Bruins in Game 7 last night with a big 3-2 Overtime victory. Scott Walker scored the ot winner as Carolina advances to the Eastern Conference finals vs Pittsburgh. In 11 playoff games Bayda has 1 goal with 2 assists for 3 points.

Ryan Bayda's profile,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Connor Jones On Winning The RBC Cup:

Trail Smoke Eaters Broadcaster Shawn Mullin talks with Viper forward Connor Jones on the BCHL Playoffs and RBC Cup. Check out Shawns interview with Connor on his Smoke Eaters Blog,

Vipers Parade Through Downtown Vernon:

Here's a picture of the Royal Bank Cup Champion Vernon Vipers who ended their very successful year with a parade through Vernon, thanks to the City of Vernon for putting everything together, and a fun wrap-up party at the arena yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Memorial Cup Preview:

Memorial Cup Preview

May 13, 2009 - Ryan Watters

Former Vernon Viper forward Kyle St. Denis & The Kelowna Rockets are playing in their fourth Mastercard Memorial Cup in seven years. The Rockets appeared in three straight Cups from 2003-2005, winning the Championship in 2004 as the host city.

The Rockets will look to continue the winning streak of Western Hockey League teams, as the Spokane Chiefs and Vancouver Giants have won the last two Memorial Cups.

Below is the schedule for the 2009 Mastercard Memorial Cup:

All game can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet

Round Robin

Game 1 - Kelowna vs. Rimouski, Friday May 15 4:00 pm PST
Game 2 - Drummoundville vs. Windsor, Saturday May 16 1:30 pm PST
Game 3 - Rimouski vs. Windsor, Sunday May 17 1:30 pm PST
Game 4 - Drummoundville vs. Kelowna, Monday May 18 4:00 pm PST
Game 5 - Windsor vs. Kelowna, Tuesday May 19 4:00 pm PST
Game 6 - Rimouski vs. Drummondville, Wednesday May 20 4:00 pm PST

Tie Breaker, Thursday May 21, 4:00 pm PST - If Necessary

Semi Final - Friday May 22, 4:00 pm PST

Championship - Sunday May 24, 1:30 pm PST

Watch the games on Rogers Sportsnet, or listen to the Rockets games on AM 1150.

Chicago Steel Draft Gill In USHL Draft:

This is on the Chicago Steel web site:

In the 5th round of the USHL Draft, with the 56th pick, The Chicago Steel drafted Sahir Gill of the Vernon Vipers. Gill, a 5'10, 180 lb. left shot forward has the ability to be a game breaker and will be a threat every time he is on the ice. Sahir, a 92 birthyear, is rated as a highly skilled forward who is extremely quick. In 54 regular season games with the Vipers, Gill collected 18 goals, 21 assists for 39 points in his rookie season with Vernon. In 17 playoff games Gill collected 8 goals, 9 assists for 17 points.

Here's a list of the USHL Draft,

Fans Celebrate Big Win:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Fans celebrate big win

By Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star

Published: May 12, 2009

So how big a fan of the Vernon Vipers is Brian DeBoice?
After being at Bear Mountain Arena in Victoria Sunday to watch the Vipers win their record fifth national Junior A Royal Bank Cup hockey championship, DeBoice caught a 9 p.m. ferry back to the mainland and drove through the night in order to be on hand for the Vipers’ homecoming Monday morning.
“We had a little rest but drove straight through and were in bed by 4:30,” smiled DeBoice, who managed to catch a few hours of shuteye before greeting the Vipers at city hall shortly after 11 a.m. DeBoice has been to four of the five national championship homecomings, missing only the 1991 party.
About 30 people were on hand at city hall, some waving their playoff towels, to watch captain Chris Crowell carry the Royal Bank Cup off the bus. Crowell and his teammates then gathered in front of city hall, where they were greeted and congratulated by Mayor Wayne Lippert and city council.
“You guys were such perfect gentlemen, sportsmen and great athletes,” said Lippert, who presented Crowell with a hastily-designed City of Vernon certificate, congratulating the Vipers’ franchise on the record fifth Canadian title.
The stop at city hall was arranged at the last minute, as the local radio stations were reporting the Vipers would be arriving at the Wesbild Centre around 11.
Vipers head coach and general manager Mark Ferner was amazed people got down to city hall to welcome the champions home.
“It just shows you how passionate these fans are, and the city is, about their hockey team and we’re pretty excited to be part of that, for sure,” said Ferner, before getting back on the bus to head over to the Wesbild Centre, where the homecoming resumed.
About 200 fans had gathered at the Vipers’ home rink to greet their heroes, including Jim and Sue Nightingale, one of the first couples to arrive at the arena.
Jim had the opportunity to talk to the Vipers on their bus when they arrived home from Grande Prairie, after winning the Doyle Cup, and there was no way he and Sue were going to miss greeting the national champions.
“They are absolutely a great bunch of young men,” said Jim.
Decked out in matching Vipers’ uniforms, Ann and Jim McGorman waited patiently for the team to arrive at Wesbild.
“We’re very proud of them, they represented us very well,” said Jim who, along with his wife, have been attending Vernon Vipers games since 1997.
“They were really dominant, winning their last 11 playoff games.”
Longtime Vernon junior hockey fan Colleen McMechan – she has been attending games since the team was known as the Esso in the 1960s and 70s – was finally able to attend a homecoming party.
“I’d been working shift work during the other four championships and couldn’t make it out, I always wanted to come to one,” she said.
Six-year seasons ticket holder Shirley Kachuk watched the final on TV Sunday and, like almost everybody in the crowd, was amazed at the Cup-clinching powerplay goal late in the third period by defenceman Kyle Bigos.
“I love that guy,” said Kachuk, who thought the Vipers ‘weren’t their usual selves’ through the first two periods of Sunday’s final.
“He looked like Bobby Orr. I’d hate to see him go, and it’s going to be sad that this team won’t be back together next year. It won’t be the same next year.”
Bigos said the national championship made an already closer-than-this team even tighter.
“It’s been surreal, everyone has been just so happy, so excited, on the trip home there’s been a lot of goofing around, lot of hanging out,” said Bigos, named the RBC Cup’s most valuable player and top defenceman. “We’re all going to savour this for the next couple of days.”
Fans will have one more chance to congratulate the 2009 RBC Cup champions.
There’s a party today, open to the public, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Wesbild Centre.

Bigos Banks Tournament MVP:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Bigos banks tournament MVP

By Kevin Mitchell - Vernon Morning Star

Published: May 12, 2009

Most Valuable Player. Top Defenceman. Assistant captain of the Royal Bank Cup champion Vernon Vipers.
Geez, Kyle Bigos. Has Jessica Simpson dialed your cell yet?
“She’s not returning my calls,” smiled Bigos, as he was greeted by fans outside the Viper bus at Wesbild Centre Monday morning.
The B.C. Hockey League champions were the class of the five-team national junior A tournament in Victoria, and Bigos led the ultra-talented group with some all-planet play.
“It (Roland Mercier MVP award) came way out of left field,” said Bigos, who was expecting teammate Mike Collins (tourney top scorer with 10 points) to collect the hardware at Saturday night’s banquet. “Any of our guys could have won that MVP. I was actually looking at Collins when they went to make the announcement.”
Sunday’s victory capped a fantasy-type week for the friendly California giant, whose year will get even sweeter when he is chosen in the NHL entry draft next month in Montreal.
His folks, Walt and Bev, surprised their son by showing up in Victoria at the start of the tournament. He delivered a clutch goal to mark Mother’s Day, and the end of the tourney.
“I was walking downtown with Pimmer (Braden Pimm) and his parents, and we bumped into them,” said Bigos. “I couldn’t believe it. I told my mom on Mother’s Day, ‘Thank you so much.’ She said, ‘You’re so welcome, you’ve turned out to be such a good hockey player and a good person.’ She’s my momma bear and I’m her little cub.”
Bigos, who will enjoy the Canadian title glory for a while before deciding on his future, said the Vipers never lost focus of their quest for the RBC.
“We set a goal at the beginning of the year: RBC, RBC, and we started to believe early. With every win and every series, we got a little stronger.”
Asked if he’s ready to replace graduating Chris Crowell as captain, Bigos, who may wait a year before joining the NCAA Merrimack Warriors, replied: “He’s the best captain I’ve ever seen. It would be big shoes to fill. I would be calling him every night for advice.”
Crowell believes Bigos is a worthy candidate to wear the ultimate letter for Vernon next season.
“He was unreal,” said Crowell. “Good players find a way to elevate their game when they need to and he was able to do that. Leaders like Biggie stepped it up (when Crowell was ejected for a check from behind in the first period). That’s what’s so special about this team. We have so many guys who could have been captains.”
Added head coach/GM Mark Ferner, on Bigos: “He was the best player there. He just kept getting better and better.”
Bigos recorded four goals and seven assists in six RBC games. His Bobby Orr-like move from the left point and juke-and-jive drive to net for Vernon’s second goal in the championship game, even surprised Bigos.
“I don’t think I’ll ever score a better goal than that,” he said Monday.
The Vipers’ Connor Jones collected the Top Forward award for his 5-3-8 performance over five games.
Snakes’ smooth-skating forward Ryan Santana pocketed the Tubby Smaltz Trophy as the Most Sportsmanlike Player. Santana, who ironically was tossed for a checking–from-behind penalty Sunday, fired 1-3-4 in six RBC games.
The Top Goaltender award went to Victoria Grizzlies’ Anthony Grieco.
Vipers’ no-nonsense defenceman Mike Leidl received a $500 RBC Cup Legacy Scholarship.
Ferner said the Vipers, who are already receiving calls from players looking for a place to play next season, will wait a few weeks before announcing the names of some major recruits.

Bigos & Kane Land On NHL Central Scouting Prospects List:

Six BCHL Players have landed on the NHL central scouting prospects list for the NHL Draft. Vipers d-man Kyle Bigos (169) & forward Cory Kane (117) are two of them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thank You Vipers!

Id like to take this time to thank and congradulate the 2009 Vernon Vipers hockey club and their fans on winning their 5th National Championship. Vernon is very proud of you. Mark Ferner & Jason Williamson did a fantastic job with this years Vipers team. Troy Mick deserves alot of credit, as it was the Micker who helped bring in Mark Ferner to replace him, as the two worked together in Kamloops. From day 1 of the season Ferner & Williamson said they wanted to build a team that could win a 7 game playoff series, well they didnt have to play in a game 7 this year but had the team that could make a long playoff run, and in the end win the RBC Cup. Congrats!

Last year Ferner in his first season in Vernon struggled in the first half of the year, as the season went on, the Vipers improved. After sweeping the Trail Smoke Eaters in three games the Vipers faced off against the #1 Penticton Vees, after looking like the Vipers were no match for the Vees, Vernon battled back from 3-1 forcing a game 7. A tough loss in the end Ferner knew what kind of players it would take to go through the playoffs. With Ferners roster basically picked before he got to town, this year Mark would get a chance at picking his own team. Ferner brought in some key players, doing a great job at recruiting and then making a few key trades through out the year to finish off the pieces to the puzzle.

The regular season would begin as the Vipers were picked as favorites. Early on the cridicts may have been second guessing themselfs, as Vernon got off to a bit of a slow start. The Vipers would struggle on home ice in the month of September, wich some fans were already calling for Ferners head. With Salmon Arm taking a comfortable lead in the Interior Division, it didnt look like the Vipers would have a shot at first place. After some big trades and much improvement the team would win 9 straight in late November and then another 7 straight in mid January wich would have the Vipers pass the Silverbacks for top spot and never look back as the Vipers would win the Interior Division. I think it may have taken the guys a bit of time to buy into Ferners system. Putting Sahir Gill up front with the Jones Twins was a great move, it took the team sometime to find the right mix, but in the end Gill was the one. This line is very hard to stop and very exciting to watch.

I really liked Ferners trades this season, adding the final peices to finish off the puzzle. Lets take a look at some of the key trades Mark pulled off.

Aquiring veteran forward and local kid Bryce Kakoske from the Surrey Eagles. Kakoske added that grit and hard work wich the Vipers needed.

Aquiring backup goaltender Graeme Gordon from the Merritt Centennials. Gordon was rock solid as the teams backup giving the Vipers that confidence between the pipes when Hammond needed a night off.

Trading Ryan DePape to Alberni Valley for James Kerr. Kerr added that energy and solid play on the penalty kill, made Vernons specialty teams very lethal.

Trading veteran Steve Tresseira & John Digness for veteran 20 yr old d-men Mike Leidl & Cameron Brodie. These trades put Vernon over the top giving them the veteran experience on the backend to give the Vipers that extra push for a long playoff run and 6-0 record at the RBC.

This years version of the Vernon Vipers was made for a long playoff haul, wich we all seen. After getting a first round bye the Penticton Vees would be no match for the Vipers taking the series in five games. In the end a much younger and less experienced Vees team couldnt matchup against a strong veteran experienced Vipers team.

The Vipers toughest and hardest playoff series was in the Interior Conference Finals vs Salmon Arm. This matchup was a war in one of if not the most physical series. The Silverbacks did everything and anything to try and knock off the Vipers but in the end strong goaltending and solid defence would give the Vipers the Interior Conference Championship.

Vernon would win its 10th league title after shutting down the Powell River Kings scoring machine. The Kings had two of the best scoring lines during the regular season, but were shutdown by the strong defensive play from the Vipers. Powell River who lead the league in scoring couldnt find it come playoff time going out in six games.

The Vipers would meet former Head Coach & GM Mike Vandekamp and the Grande Priaire Storm in the Doyle Cup, with the ILA Loggers Convention the Vipers were forced to play in the acent Civic Arena, with a great playoff atmosphere the Vipers would head to Alberta up 2-0. Vernon would sweep the series 4-0. Once again the strong play from Andrew Hammond and the Vipers defence shutdown the Grande Priaire Storm.

The Vipers would advance to their 7th Centennial Cup-Royal Bank Cup apperance going 5-0 during the round robin breaking the Camrose Kodiaks record for most wins in the round robin with 23 wins. Once again solid goaltending from Andrew Hammond and the Vipers solid defensive play gave them their 5th National title defeating Humboldt 2-0.

Overall this is one if not the best defensive Vipers team I think I have ever seen. Give the Vipers a lead in the 3rd and its basically game over. The Vipers have been knowen for their defence and strong goaltending, Vernon has shutdown many teams in the final period sitting on a one goal lead. The Vipers won 50 games, tied one, and lost one in overtime when they’ve led going into the third period this season & playoffs. The Vipers lost just 5 games all playoffs before going 6-0 at the RBC.

This is a very special group of young men wich is almost identical to the 1999 RBC Cup winning team. Both teams were very tight and close together, on and off the ice. A very classy group of young men who played with heart and desire, played for one another and stood up for one another. The Vipers may have not had the offensive punch up front, but could roll any four lines at any give chance and give the visitors a run for their money. Vernon had a very well rounded team with very few weaknesses. With a possible 16 players returning for next year the Vipers have a great chance at defending their National Championship.

To all the graduating players who wont be back next season, I wish you all the best in your future or hockey careers. Thank you for some very special memories that I will never forget. Making the trip to Victoria for the Royal Bank Cup was well worth it and very memorable! Something I will never forget. To the players returning next season, Im looking very forward and excited at having the chance at defending our title. Many Thanks!