Monday, December 31, 2012

Jr Bruins Sign Former Vipers Goaltender Young:

Former Vernon Vipers goaltender Joe Young has signed with the EJHL Boston Junior Bruins.  No official press release was found but Young is listed on the Bruins roster-website.  Young was recruited by the Vipers this past off season starting this season as the Vipers backup goaltender to Austin Smith.  After playing in just two games going 0-1 with a 4.35 GAA Young was put on the trade block while the Vipers brought back last years backup goaltender Danny Todosychuk who was cut from the Vipers training camp and playing in the KIJHL.  No official word on if Young was traded or released by Vernon.  In five games with the Bruins Young is 4-1 with one shutout and a 2.07 GAA

Joe Young's Player Profile:

This was posted on Brian Wiebe's BCHL Blog:

Former Vernon Vipers G Joe Young (94) joins EJHL's Boston Junior Bruins

With a scholarship to Union College for 2014-15 in his back pocket already, he's now playing close to home (Hanson, Massachusetts is just 29 km southeast of Boston) for the remainder of the 2012-13 season.

Young has a 4-1 record with a 2.07 GAA, .922 SV% and one shutout since signing with the Junior Bruins.

Former Vipers Bishop & Marino In ECHL Top Twenty Scoring:

Former Vernon Viper forwards Brandon Marino & Hunter Bishop are both in the ECHL's top twenty in scoring.  Marino is 4th in league scoring while Bishop is ranked 20th. 

Brandon Marino is in his first season in the ECHL after signing with the Fort Wayne Komets on July, 17th 2012.  In 31 games this season with the Komets Marino has (10-28-38).  Marino was invited to the AHL Norfolk Admirals training camp on September, 26th 2012 but was released on October, 4th 2012.  Marino spent the last three seasons with the CHL Quad City Mallards before signing with the Komets.  Marino was named the 2011-12 Central Hockey League Most Valuable Player, as well as took home MVP at last year's CHL all-star game. Marino had a breakout season during which he led the league with 41 goals and finished second with 90 points. The 5’ 9”, 185-pound Riverside, California native also led the league in power play goals (13), ranked fourth in assists (49) and finished tied for fourth in shorthanded goals (3) and game winning goals (7) while also posting a plus/minus rating of +9.  Marino played just two games with the 2002-2003 Vernon Vipers.

Brandon Marino's Player Profile:
Hunter Bishop is in his first season in the ECHL after signing with the South Carolina Stingrays on October, 1st 2012.  In 32 games this season Bishop has collected (15-16-31).  Bishop played parts of the last three years with the ECHL Wheeling Nailers & the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs, missing the entire 2011-12 season with an undisclosed injury. Bishop played parts of three seasons in Vernon (2005-2008). Bishop left Vernon after two seasons and played in just four games at the University of North Dakota during the 2006-07 season before returning to Vernon during the Christmas break playing the remainder of the 2006-07 season and playing his final season with the Vipers (2007-2008) before playing the next two years at Ohio State University. In 140 regular season games with the Vipers Bishop collected (93-84-177). On March. 18th 2010 the Montreal Canadiens signed Bishop as a free agent to a two year contract. Bishop attended the Habs training camp the last three seasons.

Hunter Bishop's Player Profile:
Here is a list of the top twenty ECHL scoring leaders wich is posted on the ECHL website:

1.  Chad Costello  Colorado Eagles  (14-35-49)
2.  Jack Combs  Colorado Eagles  (19-23-42)
3.  Justin Dowling  Idaho Steelheads  (11-31-42)
4.  Brandon Marino  Fort Wayne Komets  (10-28-38)
5.  Brandon Wong  Greenville Road Warriors  (15-22-37)
6.  Casey Pierro-Zabotel  Gwinnett Gladiators  (9-28-37)
7.  Dan DaSilva  Ontario Reign  (13-23-36)
8.  Toni Rajala  Stockton Thunder  (17-18-35)
9.  Michael Forney  Colorado Eagles  (17-18-35)
10.  Marc-Olivier Vallerand  Greenville Road Warriors  (12-23-35)
11.  Colton Yellow Horn  Ontario Reign  (19-15-34)
12.  Nick Mazzolini  Alaska Aces  (19-15-34)
13.  C.J. Stretch  Ontario Reign  (18-16-34)
14.  Joey Crabb  Alaska Aces  (14-20-34)
15.  Mitch Wahl  Utah Grizzlies  (7-27-34)
16.  Mathieu Roy  Florida Everblades  (12-21-33)
17.  Tyler McNeely  South Carolina Stingrays  (9-24-33)
18.  Yannick Riendeau  Stockton Thunder  (8-25-33)
19.  Brad Mills  Utah Grizzlies  (15-16-31)
20.  Hunter Bishop  South Carolina Stingrays  (15-16-31)

Former Vernon Viper Brownlee Will Open The Western Canada Cup:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman Chad Brownlee will open the 2013 Western Canada Cup by taking the stage at the Beban Social Center Friday, April 26 following the WCC Opening Ceremonies.  Brownlee a 2011 CCMA Rising Star award winner played two years in Vernon (2001-2003). In 113 regular season games with the Vipers, Brownlee collected (14-28-42). Brownlee was drafted in 2003 in the 6th round, by the NHL Vancouver Canucks but retired from hockey after a short stint in the ECHL with the Idaho Steelheads before becoming a Country music star.

Chad Brownlee's Player Profile:

For more on Chad Brownlee visit his website,

This was posted on the Nanaimo Clippers website:

Chad Brownlee to Open WCC
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

BCHL Alumni Chad Brownlee to Open Western Canada Cup

The Nanaimo Clippers are pleased to announce that Chad Brownlee will open the 2013 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup.

Brownlee, a former Vernon Viper, Vancouver Canucks draft pick and 2011 Canadian Country Music Awards Rising Star winner, will take the stage at the Beban Social Center Friday, April 26 following the WCC Opening Ceremonies.

Clippers head coach Mike Vandekamp was behind the Vernon Vipers bench during Brownlee's BCHL playing days and has kept in touch over the years.  "I had the opportunity to call Chad and speak with him about attending our event," said Vandekamp. "He is looking forward to coming back to his hockey roots as a musician. He recognized right away the magnitude of this inaugural event and is very excited to be part of it."

Brownlee will be joined by local band Braeden Marshal, Father and Sons Rock Trio.

Pre-Sale Tickets for WCC Full Tournament Pass holders are ONLY $30 plus tax and will be on sale beginning Thursday, December 6 at 11a.m.   Public Sale tickets will be released Tuesday, December 11 and will be $40 plus tax available online

ALL TICKETS available by phone (250-751-0593) or at the Nanaimo Clippers Office at Beban House (2290 Bowen Road).

Notes on Chad Brownlee

-Vernon Vipers defenceman 2001-2003

-2002: (lost in BCHL Final to Chilliwack)

-2003: (Won BCHL, lost in Doyle to Camrose)

-Career 113 GP-14G-28A-125PIMS

-Drafted by Vancouver Canucks 6th round, 109th overall

-NCAA Minnesota State - Mankato 2003-2007

-Idaho Steelheads, ECHL 2007-2008

-NCAA Hockey Humanitarian award for his song 'The Hero I See.' The song, written -in memory of a boy who lost his battle with leukemia, raised thousands of dollars for the Anthony Ford Foundation which helps underprivileged kids play hockey

-2011 CCMA Horizon Award Winner

-2012 CCMA Male Artist of the Year Nominee

-Just completed the SOLD OUT Boys of Fall Tour with Dallas Smith.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cutthroats Return Former Viper Dean Strong To AHL:

The CHL Denver Cutthroats have returned former Vernon Vipers forward Dean Strong back to the AHL Lake Erie Monsters.  Strong was assigned to the Cutthroats on December 6th playing in Three games picking up one goal.  Strong played last season with the ECHL Kalamazoo Wings, AHL Chicago Wolves and the AHL Lake Erie Monsters. In twelve games with Lake Erie this season Strong has (1-5-6). 

Dean Strong started the 2011-12 season with the ECHL Kalamazoo Wings. In November 2011 Strong was loaned to the AHL Chicago Wolves. In five games with the Wolves Strong collected (0-3-3) before returning to Kalamazoo. On December 15th 2011 Strong was loaned to the AHL Lake Erie Monsters where he would finish the season. In 49 games with the Monsters Strong collected (4-10-14). Strong returned to Kalamazoo after the Monsters missed the playoffs where he finished the remainder of the season. In 21 games with the Wings Strong collected (11-12-23). Strong played one year in Vernon (2004-05) collecting (35-56-91) with the Vipers.

Dean Strong's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Cutthroats website:

Fish Lose Two Players to AHL Via Call-Ups

December 13th 2012

MacQueen, Strong Called Up to AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters.

Forwards are the Second and Third Call-Ups for the Fish this Season

DENVER, Colo. – The Denver Cutthroats announced today forwards Jamie MacQueen and Dean Strong have been called up to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters.

MacQueen and Strong mark the second and third call-ups this season for the Cutthroats to the AHL.

The 24-year-old MacQueen has appeared in 23 games this season for the Cutthroats registering six goals and 11 points overall.  Three of his six goals on the season are game-winners, tying him for fourth in the Central Hockey League.  The London, Ontario native is also 3-for-4 in shootout attempts this season for the Fish.

Strong was assigned to the Cutthroats on December 6th and appeared in three games for the team, all wins.  The Mississauga, Ontario product scored the game-tying goal with 1:34 left in regulation in the Cutthroats 4-3, shootout win over the Fort Worth Brahmas last Saturday.

MacQueen was assigned to the Cutthroats at the beginning of the season after spending training camp with Lake Erie.

The Cutthroats host the Allen Americans on Friday at 7:05 PM MST at the Denver Coliseum.

Former Vernon Viper Beech Leaves HC Pardubice:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Kristopher Beech is leaving the HC Pardubice hockey team.  HC Pardubice is a professional hockey team in Czech Extraliga.  Beech was in his first season with HC Pardubice.  In 21 games Beech recorded (2-6-8).  Beech played last season in Finland with Lukko Rauma.  In 59 games Beech collected (15-20-35).  Beech played parts of the 1996-1997 season with the Vernon Vipers before leaving the team during the season for the WHL Calgary Hitmen.  Beech was drafted by the Washington Capitals In Round 1 #7 overall at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.

Kristopher Beech's Player Profile:

This is posted on the HC Pardubice website:

kristopher Beech leaving the Pardubice

16.11.2012 | Jan Hrabal

Pardubice - ice-hockey attacker kristopher Beech more with the team today to match the Litvínov and is not player club HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice.  "The assailant kristopherem at we agreed on the engagement," said sports manager HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice Petr hemský.

"kristopher beech is thus no longer player Pardubice, contract termination shall be confirmed in Monday, the Pardubice ends. If I have the proper information, he travels to Sweden with a friend," said Petr hemský with it, that kristopher Beech's high-quality player, which engagement in Pardubice the sports and didn't work out.   "Another club can significantly help and we wish him luck."

The Pardubice ice hockey club today they had left two players. Defender Jan Kolář transferred to donbassu Praha, kristopher Beech ended its involvement in the east Bohemia. "The troops comparing our players.  Lukáš cast plays in Třebíč, Marek Drtina in Jihlava, we decided to download the guest of the following clubs," he said sports manager HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice.

The calculated with that, that the crew shall be accompanied by new faces. "We're counting with the arrival players, but I'm sure it's not right now. We're looking for appropriate hockey players, today I'm sure no one's coming," said Petr hemský.

kristopher Beech took place in the Pardubice in this season 21 game, in which shot two Gate, and in the other five what. The assessment of the participation on the ice has six negative points, on their account has received 16 penalty minutes.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Admirals Sign Former Viper Pelley To Professional Tryout Contract:

The AHL Norfolk Admirals have signed former Vernon Vipers forward Rod Pelley to a Professional Tryout Contract.  Pelley spent last season with the NHL New Jersey Devils & Anaheim Ducks.  Pelley played four and a half years with the Devils before being traded to Anaheim during last season.  In 7 games with the Devils Pelley went pointless & in 45 games with the Ducks Pelley collected (2-1-3).  Pelley played just part of one season in Vernon (2001-2002) was traded to the Vipers during the 2001-2002 season from the Prince George Spruce Kings.  Pelley played in just 19 regular season games with the Vipers collecting (10-8-18). 

Rod Pelley's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Admirals website:

Admirals Sign Rod Pelley to PTO; Assign Gabe Guentzel to ECHL Fort Wayne

November 23, 2012

NORFOLK – The Norfolk Admirals have signed forward Rod Pelley to a Professional Tryout Contract and have loaned defenseman Gabe Guentzel to the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets, Admirals Assistant General Manager Bob Ferguson announced today.

Pelley, 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, is a veteran of 407 career professional games. In 256 career NHL games between the Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils, Pelley has scored nine goals and 29 points with 102 penalty minutes. Last season, Pelley was acquired by Anaheim along with Mark Fraser and a seventh-round draft pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft from New Jersey in exchange for Kurtis Foster and Timo Pielmeier. In 52 games between the Ducks and Devils in 2011-12, he posted two goals and three points with 16 penalty minutes.

A 28-year-old native of Kitimat, British Columbia, Pelley established a career high by appearing in 74 games in 2010-11 with New Jersey, including his 200th career NHL contest on Mar. 30, 2011 vs. the New York Islanders. He scored three goals and 10 points in 2010-11, matching a career high in points and establishing a season best in goals.

Pelley last played in the American Hockey League in 2008-09 with the Lowell Devils. In 151 career AHL games over three seasons with Lowell, Pelley accumulated 34 goals and 70 points with 131 penalty minutes.

New Jersey signed Pelley as a free agent on July 17, 2006. He played collegiate hockey at Ohio State University from 2002-06, posting 47 goals and 88 points with 160 penalty minutes in 165 career games.

Guentzel, 6-foot-0, 185-pounds, has appeared in six games with the Admirals this season, recording one assist and six penalty minutes. Norfolk signed Guentzel to an AHL Standard Player’s Contract on September 21, 2012. Last season, Guentzel appeared in 12 regular season games with the Syracuse Crunch before recording an assist in four Calder Cup Playoff games with Syracuse. He joined the Crunch after completing his collegiate career at Colorado College, where he scored 16 goals and 94 points in 156 career games. Guentzel made his ECHL debut last night with the Komets, posting one goal and one assist in a 4-3 win over the Kalamazoo Wings.

Next up for Norfolk is a road contest tonight at 7:00 p.m. against the Adirondack Phantoms. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. to 102.1-FM, 1490-AM, or

The Admirals return to Scope next Wednesday in the first meeting of the season with the Hershey Bears. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. in the second Admirals Value Night of the season, with Family Fun Packs and Student Rush Night tickets available.

Vipers Player Profile Video With #3 Brett Corkey: will be presenting player profiles from the 2012-12 Vernon Vipers. This week we chat with Vipers 3rd year defenceman and captain Brett Corkey. Corkey talks about wearing the ‘C’, missing last year’s playoffs as well as committing to Colgate University for next season.

Tambellini Has Gone On A Scoring Rampage Against BCHL Goalies:

This was in the Vancouver Province Newspaper:

BCHL: Tournament squad snub sparked Tambellini

Vernon Vipers’ forward has gone on a scoring rampage against BCHL goalies

By Steve Ewen, The Province

November 26, 2012

Adam Tambellini swears that he’s over being left out of the World Junior A Challenge. Opposing B.C. Hockey League goalies he’s ventilating these days might suggest otherwise.

Since being cut by Canada West and forced to admire the six-team showcase tournament in Yarmouth, N.S., from afar earlier this month, the Vernon Vipers’ rangy sophomore forward has put up eight goals and seven assists in a mere nine BCHL games.

He’s sixth in league scoring currently, with 31 points, including 16 goals, in 25 games. He already had a scholarship with the ballyhooed North Dakota Fighting Sioux nailed down, and last week NHL Central Scouting tagged him as a potential second-round pick for the 2013 entry draft, the highest mark in his circuit.

Some lesser resumes made it to Yarmouth. Still, he maintains he’s at peace with it.

“I thought I played well enough at the camp,” said the 6-foot-4, 177-pound Tambellini, 18. “I wasn’t the one picking the team.

“I can use it as an advantage, a little motivation. In the end, though, I’m not going to dwell on it.”

On the flip side, it’s difficult to quarrel too much about the selections of Canada West bench boss Dean Brockman, who’s the skipper of the Saskatchewan league’s Humboldt Broncos in his real-life job. He did pick 15 BCHLers on his 22-man roster, including nine forwards, and the squad did make the tournament finale, losing 6-3 to the Americans on Remembrance Day.

And, the fact is, Tambellini has had more difficult times in hockey. There are certain expectations being the son of Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini and brother of one-time Vancouver Canucks forward Jeff Tambellini.

It feels as he’s managed to navigate the majority of them adeptly. When he opted to play in the BCHL, there had to be a pull to join the Chilliwack Chiefs, since Jeff starred there from 2000-02 before playing his NCAA hockey with the Michigan Wolverines.

Adam admits Chilliwack was an option, but says that he felt Vernon was a better fit. His cousin, Aaron Hadley, 19, is one of the Vipers’ star forwards, and that played a role in his decisions.

“It’s always there,” he says of that tie to his father’s and brother’s past. “There are things like not going to Chilliwack or not going to Michigan. It’s always going to be there. I still think I’m going to become my own player.”

The brothers, in particular, have unique skill sets on the ice, and that should help reduce the comparisons, admits the younger Tambellini. His offensive game is predicated on his size and reach, while Jeff, who is five inches shorter and 10 years older,has always been about his speed.

“He can skate like the wind and he made the NHL, so he’s obviously doing something right,” laughed Adam.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Former Vernon Laker Metropolit Living Good Life In Switzerland:

Here is an article I found in the October edition of the Ottawa Citizen newspaper on former Vernon Lakers forward Glen Metropolit.  Known as "Metro" is in his first season in Switzerland.  In 33 games this season with Lugano of the Swiss-A league Metropolit has collected (12-31-43).  Metropolit played the last two seasons in the Swiss-A league with Zug before signing with Lugano.  Metropolit played one season in Vernon (1994-95) with the Vernon Lakers.  In 60 regular season games with the Lakers Metropolit collected (43-74-117).

Glen Metropolit's Player Profile:

This is in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper:

Metropolit living good life in Switzerland

By Dave Stubbs, The Gazette

October 10, 2012

MONTREAL — There’s probably only one part of Glen Metropolit’s culinary life in Switzerland that’s less than five-star right now.

“I’ve been cooking for myself over here and that kinda stinks,” the gap-toothed, forever-grinning Metro joked from Lugano, where he’s enjoying a fine season in the Swiss A League.

“But my wife knows a lot about nutrition and she tells me what I can and can’t eat. That’s what gotten me to this stage, so I can compete on this big ice.”

It’s inconceivable that anyone in hockey, on either side of the Atlantic, is unhappy for Metro, whose 110 regular-season and playoff games with the Canadiens from 2008-10 brought down the curtain on his 437-game NHL career.

The 38-year-old hockey nomad is tied for second in Swiss league scoring with a goal and 11 assists in 11 games, Lugano tied for second in the league.

Playing arguably the best hockey of his career, Metro seems to have discovered the fountain of youth in Switzerland. And if it’s in a solid-bar form, in the magnificent tablets of Swiss chocolate he says are a guilty pleasure, he’s not admitting it.

“Everything in moderation, right?!” he said, laughing again.

Metropolit had a wonderful night Tuesday in HC Lugano’s 7-3 home-ice win over SCL Tigers, his four assists giving him the only four-point pro-career game he could recollect.

One linemate, the freshly arrived, quasi-jet-lagged Boston Bruins winger Patrice Bergeron, had two goals and two assists; on the other wing, Swiss native Sebastien Reuille had a pair of helpers.

“Compliments to Berg for coming in to help me out,” Metro said. “Our league’s gotten a lot better the last couple of weeks.”

Indeed, the NHL lockout has sent 18 players from North American teams to the elite Swiss circuit, with more surely to come. Among them are Canadiens defencemen Raphael Diaz, with EV Zug, and Yannick Weber, with Geneva-Servette; and forward Max Pacioretty, with Ambrì Piotta.

For the well-travelled Metropolit, playing on his 16th professional team, this is a reunion of sorts with Bergeron. It was the horrific concussion suffered by the Bruins forward five years ago this month that rekindled Metro’s NHL career, having begun in 1999 with the Washington Capitals.

“I was with Berg when he got hurt and that kind of gave me my shot,” Metro said. “When he suffered his concussion, I sort of got his minutes, so that jump-started my second NHL career.”

The Toronto-native centreman had bounced from Washington to Tampa and back to the Capitals from 1999-2003.

But it was two productive seasons in Finland, with Jokerit Helsinki, that put Metro on the road to better NHL work. He won a Finnish league championship and MVP crown, his second year there coinciding with the NHL’s most recent lockout.

On to Switzerland’s Lugano he went in 2005-06 for his first tour of duty with that club, scoring 24 goals and assisting on 39 in 44 games, before suiting up for Canada at the world championship.

And then Metro made his way back across the pond, for four years playing for Atlanta, St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia and finally the Canadiens.

An unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2010, Switzerland’s EV Zug offered him a season plus an option with plenty of perks for himself, his wife, Michlyn, and their three young children.

The Metropolits jumped for the worldly experience, Michlyn at the time estimating she had moved a growing family more than 60 times during her husband’s career.

Then came the two-year offer this season from Lugano, which Metro says is referred to by the athletes as “Players’ Paradise.”

“I’ve been blessed,” he said of the city, which sits not far from the Italian border. “It’s a great situation, a beautiful city right on the water with great restaurants. The Italian people are so outgoing.

“There’s a real soccer mentality. These people are so fanatical and passionate about their sports. You come to a game here and they’re throwing smoke-bombs on the ice,” Metro said, laughing again. “It’s pretty wild. They have the finger gestures going, waving their hands. I thought I’d seen it all in my hockey days, but it’s pretty cool.”

The family decided not to uproot to Switzerland this season, having spent the past two years there, so Michlyn is home in Florida with children aged 10, 8 and 6, settling them into school. There are frequent visits both ways, and rest assured this is a clan that can circumnavigate the globe with less effort than we need to get around town.

Where Metropolit was a healthy scratch a few times with Zug because of import quotas, it’s unlikely he’ll find himself in the press box this season. Metro is centring Lugano’s first line, playing 18 to 20 minutes per night and getting first-wave power-play and penalty-kill duty.

He said that Bergeron arrived feeling “a little bad” about the roster-bumping the Bruin might create, but most everyone — bumper and bumpee alike — agrees that hockey is a free-market, supply-and-demand business, and that Europeans heading to the NHL have for years seized jobs in North America.

The lockout, Metro said, is a puzzling thing as viewed from Switzerland.

“These guys can’t just sit in a room with water and bread, and knock it out?” he wondered about the owners and players. “They can’t sacrifice another season, can they? I feel sorry for those around the game whose livelihoods are hurt by hockey not being played.”

Metro still cherishes his final NHL run in Montreal, especially the three-round playoffs of 2010.

“I still think about those days and keep reminiscing,” he said. “The guys here probably get tired of me talking about it, but I tell them: ‘Until you’ve lived it, you wouldn’t believe it.’ ”

Metro pauses as his car darts into a Swiss tunnel, his cell crackling as he does, and he’s speaking brightly as it emerges at the other end.

“I wish all the best for the (Canadiens) guys,” he said. “But where I am now? This is a good place to be.”

Vipers Owner Backs Head Coach:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers' owner backs head coach

Published: December 27, 2012

Kevin Mitchell

Sports Editor

A grocery list of serious injuries to clutch players cost the Vernon Vipers a playoff berth a year ago.

This year, a water-pistol offence has the Vipers last in the B.C. Hockey League Interior Conference.

And while fans wonder out loud why head coach/GM Jason Williamson is still around, Viper owner Duncan Wray is standing firmly behind his former captain.

“I have full confidence in Willy,” said Wray, who bought the team from Mel Lis 21 years ago. “I know that’s usually the kiss of death, but he gets my vote. He has one year left on his contract and I expect him and I to honour that.”

The Vipers and Salmon Arm SilverBacks have managed just 82 goals, one less than the Cowichan Valley Capitals, who are the league’s lowest-scoring team.

“I’m disappointed, but I’m not disappointed in Willy,” added Wray. “I see the work he puts in. He does a great job managing the team, even better than Troy Mick did. He’s fiscally responsible and a very smart man. What people don’t realize is that the product on the ice isn’t the only thing he has to look after.

“I’m confident we can turn things around. I don’t blame Willy for where we sit. Some of the players we brought in have underachieved and we’re not scoring enough goals. As good as (Mark) Ferner was, he never scored any goals for us. We’ve lost seven games in overtime so if we win a few of those, we’re right in the middle.”

Williamson, who played on a scholarship with the Niagara University Purple Eagles in New York, hears the whispers around town.

“You’d have to be living under a rock not to hear what people are saying, but Duncan’s giving me confidence and he’s the man who has the final say. He sees how much I work. We’re not out of this (playoff race).”

Williamson is seeking an experienced defenceman since the Snakes are down to six.

“I’m trying to get a 19-year-old experienced guy,” he said. “I’d like a guy who’s hard to play against, so a shutdown guy who can make a good first pass. We’ll see what’s out there (before the Jan. 10 carding deadline). I’m open to change. We could make some big changes. I’m hoping to make this hockey team better.”

Third-year veteran Colton Sparrow figures Williamson will make some serious roster moves.

“Like Willy said, the break is well needed,” said Sparrow, a Vernon minor hockey product. “We have to go home, rest and then regroup. There has to be, and I think there will be, changes made before the deadline. I don’t know if Willy has plans to make some, but we’ve made enough small changes, we need to make some big changes.”

The Vipers are 11-16-0-7 and just four points back of the Trail Smoke Eaters and West Kelowna Warriors. They are five points back of the third-place Salmon Arm SilverBacks.

The top-four teams make the playoffs and Vernon has 22 games left after the break, starting with a road game, Friday, Jan. 4, at Salmon Arm.

Vernon returns to regular practices Jan. 2 and 3 with a morning skate before their game at the Shaw Centre.

The Vipers host the Warriors Saturday, Jan. 5 and the Smokies on Wednesday, Jan. 9 and the Powell River Kings on Friday, Jan. 11 before starting a three-game road trek Jan. 18 in Nanaimo versus the Clippers.

Meanwhile, Vernon’s Tyler Steel recorded 29 saves for first star as the Merritt Centennials iced the Vipers 5-0 Saturday night before 650 fans at the Nicola Valley Arena.

Dane Birks scored with 27 seconds left in the first period and the Cents then exploded for three third-period snipes in 1:36 before Jeff Wight completed the offence with 64 seconds remaining.

Regan Soquila, Brent Fletcher and Silvan Harper had the other goals as the Cents improved to 19-11-1-1, good for second place in the Interior Division.

Danny Todosychuk made 39 saves for the Vipers.

“The first two periods, I thought went pretty well,” said Sparrow. “We were short on the back end and we missed Corks (captain Brett Corkey), but the ice wasn’t titled at all. We had our chances and so did they. We had some costly turnovers and breakdowns in the third and they scored four quick ones.”

Said Williamson: “The effort was way better than the Friday night game. We had some unfortunate circumstances playing with four dee and my affiliates injured.”

BCHL Player of the Week was Soquila, who collected six points to lead all pointgetters while helping the Cents to four of a possible six points. The Maple Ridge native scored a hat trick, including the winner, and two helpers, in a 6-1 road win over Vernon. He followed with another tally the next night at home.

Vernon’s Alex Gillies got his 12th goal of the season as the host SilverBacks iced the Warriors 4-2 Saturday night.

West Kelowna and Penticton are the only Interior teams seeing action before 2013. They begin a home and home series tonight at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hetnik Decommits From Boston University-Commits To University Of Massachusetts:

Vernon Vipers defenceman Marc Hetnik has decommited from Boston University and now committed to the University of Massachusetts for the 2013-14 season.

Marc Hetnik's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Boston Hockey Blog:

Marc Hetnik Jr. decommits from BU, to attend UMass starting Fall 2013

Friday, December 21, 2012

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

Marc Hetnik Jr., the son of former Terrier Marc Hetnik, committed this week to the University of Massachusetts for the fall of 2013, news that came as a surprise to some because Hetnik Jr. had committed to Boston University in April 2011.

According to Bill Hanson, Hetnik Jr.’s former coach at Catholic Memorial School, the change was the result of BU’s lack of an available scholarship.

The elder Hetnik worked at BU at the time of his son’s commitment, meaning the family would have paid just 10 percent of BU’s tuition rate thanks to the school’s tuition remission benefits.

However, Hetnik lost his job at BU in May, according to Hanson. BU head coach Jack Parker and associate head coach Mike Bavis were “straightforward in that they didn’t have a scholarship for [Hetnik Jr.],” Hanson said.

UMass, which Hanson said has scouted Hetnik Jr. heavily during his time with the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League, offered him a full scholarship.

“I think it’ll be a really good fit for him,” said Hanson, who was also Hetnik Jr.’s high school guidance counselor.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound defenseman has collected five points (one goal, four assists) in 29 games for Vernon this season. He put up a line of 3-14-17 during the 2011-12 season.

Hetnik Jr.'s father played at BU under Parker for four seasons between 1975 and 1979, and played in all but one game during the Terriers' 1977-78 national championship season.

One On One With Former Vernon Vipers Forward Todd Skirving:

Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce sits down one on one with former Vernon Vipers forward Todd Skirving.  This interview is from back In June but I thought Viper fans would be interested in reading it anyways.  Skirving is in his second season with the USHL Sioux Falls Stampede has committed to Rochester Institute Of Technology (RIT) for the 2013-14 season. In 21 games this season with the Stampede Skirving has (13-8-21).  Skirving who was recruited by the Vipers played just half a season in Vernon (2010-11) before being traded at the BCHL trade deadline, Skirving along with future considerations were traded to Prince George for Ryan Renz. In 34 regular season games with the Vipers Skirving collected (4-5-9). 

Todd Skirving's Player Profile:

This is from Jeff Copetas Blog:

Player Interview: Todd Skirving (USHL)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

By Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce

During the offseason, we here at Pure Hockey are still uber-focused on hockey equipment. The season truly never ends for us. While less hockey is certainly being played during the summer months, we are focused entirely on getting ready for the next season; what will we buy? what is the demand for? what changes do we make to the stores or the websites? how will we advertise? We ask oursleves these and a truckload of other questions. But the offseason also allows us to go out and talk to players who are too busy during the season to do so.

Our interview today is with Todd Skirving. He's not an NHL player or a professional hockey player. Yet. Todd is a 20-year old kid who plays for Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL, one of the elite breeding grounds for the NHL and for NCAA Division 1 schools. How impactful has the USHL been, you ask? Well, a total of 28 USHL players were selected in last year’s 2011 NHL Entry Draft and more than 165 of the USHL's alumni are currently under NHL contract.

 One of our goals with this blog is not only to review hockey product for you, but for you to also gain an understanding of the sacrifice, culture, hard work and yes, fun, that goes into being a hockey player. This is the first of a series of interviews that we'll have with Todd as we follow up through the offseason and through the course of a USHL hockey season. Todd, in turn, is well spoken, educated and clearly is a person who knows what we wants. We sincerely hope you enjoy the's part one:

1.  As a 20 year old playing in the USHL, hockey is obviously one of the main priorities in your life and takes up a great deal of time. Now that it's the offseason, what are some of your hobbies and what do you generally do?

For sure hockey is definitely one of my top priorities all year 'round.  It’s not just a way of living, it's also like a job.  You have to put continuous time and work into bettering yourself not only as a player, but also a person. I find that the way you carry yourself off the ice leads into how you perform on the ice, whether it is your determination towards general tasks or your tenacity towards wanting it more than the guy beside you.  Now that it’s the offseason, it gives me the chance to improve my skills and strengths and better myself in different assets of my game.  The offseason is also a chance to relax and reflect on the past season.  I encourage all players to get away from the rink and the gym once the season is at an end.  It’s healthy to give the body a rest and let it rejuvenate after a full, gritty season of hockey.  It will only benefit you when you get back after it in the weight room and out on the ice.  Personally, now that we’re midway through summer, I like to get a well-balanced healthy breakfast in me and also a lunch before I head to the gym.  I train in the early afternoon with a few of our local pro and college guys.  It’s nice to train with guys above my level as it pushes me to be the best I can be and also gives me footsteps I can follow.  They’re already at a level where my standards and goals are set for.  I do, however, like to hang with the guys, catch a local baseball game or head out to the lake to do some fishing.  I take the chance to visit with friends and family and let the body and mind recuperate.

2.  What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on the ice?

I don’t have too many embarrassing moments, but during my senior year of high school when I was playing for the Thunder Bay Kings (AAA), I broke my stick on a play.  I went to the bench and received a stick from another player, only to find out that it was right handed and not left!  I picked the puck up from the half wall and only then did I realize it. Once I got closer to the net, I just shot a backhander, thinking it would be my best opportunity to make something out of nothing.  As embarrassing as it was, it ended up going in!  Not so much embarrassing I guess, but definitely a funny highlight in my career that I look back on.

3.  A lot of hockey players can be wild and adventurous… Is there anything wild and crazy that you have always wanted to do at least once in your lifetime?

Yeah there are a few things I have wanted to do.  I’m not the biggest fan of heights, so you won’t catch me riding around the roller coaster at any Six Flags Parks, but I would however, love to take another ride up Toronto’s CN Tower.  They have recently added the CN Tower Edge walk where you walk around the top brim of the structure while being strapped in by a few belts.  It’s about 356m/ 1,168ft above the ground and about a 30 min walk around, so I’m sure that would be quite the experience and a view from up above!  It would be a huge adrenaline rush for me from doing something like that.  I’m also a big animal fan -  I would like the chance to be around a tiger, which is my favourite animal.  Just to be around one for a bit would be a cool opportunity.  Something else I would like to experience outside of hockey would be to swim with the dolphins.  I have had many friends that have experienced such a thrill, but it’s something I’d love to do and I think it would be a fun getaway and surreal experience.

4.  What is one thing that people would never guess about you, just from going and watching you play hockey?

There are a few things I could touch on here, but I would have to say my game day routines - or the fact that I am very superstitious.  It’s not even just on game day, but also in the days leading up to a game.  The way I prepare myself is different obviously from what others do, but in my case or even last year the guys saw it as quite superstitious.  It’s less superstition and more of just a routine for me now.  I used to call them superstitions, but I have carried almost all of them with me for the past several years now that it really is becoming a routine and just an everyday thing for me.  I really do have some crazy and funny superstitions.  However, on days where I might forget something, it won’t get to a point where it affects my one ice play.   It is almost like another way to push my game to another level because I feel I have to prove the “superstition” wrong.  So I would have to say I’m a pretty superstitious guy if one didn't know me.  My team and fans as well could probably agree that it’s almost like another side of me when it comes to something like this!

5.  Being a gear store, we are well aware that all athletes are different with how they choose their gear… Which piece of equipment are you the pickiest about when playing and why?

Growing up over the years it sure has changed in what equipment I am pickiest about.  Starting out, when it didn’t even matter what you wore, to now having sponsors for equipment and having it profiled to meet my (and other athlete's) needs. I can’t pick just one here so I’d have to go with skates and shoulder pads.  With today’s technology in building skates, players can get their full output and power within their stride.  I like my skates to have a solid and comfortable fit.  I have wide feet, so I go with a wider boot.  I get my blades profiled at an 11’ radius and ¾ skate sharpening, which allows me to stay on top of the ice more and not dig into the ice, thus keeping my stride quick and powerful.  I recently got a pair of the new TotalOne NXG skates.  I went up from the previous TotalOne’s as it is a skate that I can literally put on and go.  I do, however, also get my skates molded so it gives me that nice tight and comfortable fit on my feet.  Another piece of equipment I’m picky about is my shoulder pads.  I like the smaller, tighter fit when it comes to shoulder pads.  I don’t like them bulky and that’s why I wore the Bauer Vapor XXXX shoulder pads this past year.  I have looked into new pads for the upcoming season and I like the new Bauer Nexus shoulder pad model that Bauer is bringing along.  It’s a nice, snug fit that isn’t too bulky at all.  It’s like a blast from the past, too, with the colours and the way it’s designed.  It looks like the new equipment is bringing back styles that were in the older days of hockey and it’s really starting to grow on young athletes and even the pros.

6.  We assume you live with a host family during the season – what is it like adjusting to that type of situation?

Yes, I live with a housing family back in Sioux Falls.  Usually for the first day and night it’s a little different from what you have back home.  You get the tour of the house, the rundown of the rules and you usually meet your roommate and siblings for the season.  I can say from experience it has been fantastic.  Other players should be so lucky to get billet parents like mine.  You have to go into it with an open mind and be open and accepting towards the family as they are of you.  They’re doing what they’re doing because they love to take players in and they do a great job at it.  I was fortunate to live with a housing family this past year who always went above and beyond.  They were always there for my roommate and I, cooking us 3 meals a day and much more.  When they had to work overtime or when they wouldn’t be home for dinner, they would have something cooking up for us in the oven when we got home from hockey and workouts.  I think it’s great for hockey players that get a chance to live with a housing family.  I think it gives us the opportunity to learn different values and life lessons that build and shape who we are as people.  It’s a great learning curve for young athletes - they want you to succeed just as much as your real parents do.  They’re only going to assist you along into your journey and future endeavours!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Former Vipers Defenceman Morgan Elects Free Agency:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman Nyjer Morgan has recently elected free agency, a day after the Milwaukee Brewers  hastened his departure by outrighting him from the 40-man roster.  Morgan played as an "AP" as a 16 year old with the Vipers during the (1996-1997) season.  Morgan was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 33rd round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft.  On September 1, 2007, Morgan made his major league debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Milwaukee Brewers as a late-season call-up. Morgan finished his second season with the Brewers is with his third major league team (Pittsburgh, Washington & Milwaukee).

Nyjer Morgan's Player Profile:'S'§ionType=career&statType=1&season=2012

This is posted on the Brewers website:

Morgan, a Brewers star in '11, elects free agency

Loe declines Triple-A assignment; Crew outrights Ishikawa

By Adam McCalvy / | 11/02/12

MILWAUKEE -- Nyjer Morgan has a new alter ego: Tony For Hire.

Morgan, aka Tony Plush and a handful of other characters, ended a brief-but-colorful Brewers tenure on Friday by electing free agency, a day after the team hastened his departure by outrighting him from the 40-man roster. Morgan, who starred for the Brewers in 2011 before slipping to the bench in '12, would have been arbitration-eligible, and the team has a cheaper option for that role in 26-year-old Logan Schafer.

"It is a place that I'll cherish the rest of my life," Morgan told via text message. "Fans, families that embraced the Plush movement in 'the Mill' are the greatest. I thank them and the Brewer organization for giving me a great opportunity."

The Brewers also cut ties Friday with reliever Kameron Loe and first baseman Travis Ishikawa.

While not at all unexpected, it was Morgan's departure which stood out.
"I know he's going to hook on with somebody," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "He's still a very good ballplayer and he has the ability to help a team. It's time to give Logan an opportunity, time to take a look at [fellow prospect] Caleb Gindl. We let some young pitchers have that chance [in 2012].

"I'll always look back at what Nyjer gave us [in 2011]. A good person, good competitor. He handled this year great. He's a real pro. Sometimes there might be the perception that he's maybe too 'active,' or whatever you want to say, but he's a guy who comes game-ready every time."

Morgan batted .239 in 2012 while falling behind Carlos Gomez on the Brewers' depth chart in center field, but will be remembered for a sensational 2011 in which he batted .304, collected one of the biggest hits in the Brewers' 44-year history and became a beloved character in Milwaukee for the same traits that made him so reviled over the years in places like Miami and St. Louis.

Morgan chalked up his more "active" moments to enthusiasm for a game he embraced late. Hockey was his first love, a rare choice for a kid growing up in San Jose, Calif., who would travel all the way to Canada to pursue the sport. But eventually, baseball called, and after being a 33rd-round Draft pick by the Pirates in 2002, Morgan made it to the Majors for brief stints in '07 and '08 before sticking in '09.

The Pirates traded Morgan to the Nationals that June, and the Nats traded Morgan to the Brewers in 2011 for midlevel outfield prospect Cutter Dykstra two days before Milwaukee broke Spring Training camp.

It did not take long for Morgan to endear himself. He batted .455 in April and kept hitting after an injury in May -- the result of a collision at home plate -- sidelined him. Morgan became a cult hit for his performances on the field and off, especially his postgame television appearances in which Morgan introduced Milwaukee to Tony Plush, the supremely confident, self-described entertainer whom Morgan had invented with some friends years earlier.

How could they not be endeared to this guy? In June, Morgan delivered what he thought was a go-ahead eighth-inning single against the Mets. It was only when he saw teammate streaming onto the field that he discovered it was the ninth inning, and Morgan had just won the game.

A few weeks later, he asked his Twitter followers for suggestions about how to spend an off-day. When someone snarked that he should go fly a kite, Morgan did just that and posted photos of his afternoon along Milwaukee's lakefront.

His signature television sign-off -- "AHHHH! Gotta go!" -- was printed on T-shirts that became hot sellers at Miller Park, and more alter egos followed. There was Tony Tombstone, when the Brewers dressed in Western garb for a flight in Houston. Tony Hush, when Morgan clammed up after run-ins with the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols in August and September. And Tony Clutch, after Morgan's walk-off hit in Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the D-backs.

Morgan "tickled" -- his word -- a single up the middle in the bottom of the 10th inning of the win-or-go-home game in the NLDS, scoring Gomez and sending the Brewers to their first League Championship Series since 1982. It ranks right up there among the biggest hits in Brewers history, alongside Cecil Cooper's go-ahead single in the decisive Game 5 of the '82 American League Championship Series and Ryan Braun's NL Wild Card-clinching homer in the '08 regular-season finale.

"When I'm done as a GM, that will go down as one of the most exciting years I had, and I told Nyjer at the end of the season that he bears a large responsibility for taking that team and me as a GM as far as I've gone in the postseason," Melvin said. "That Game 5 is one of the most memorable games, most nerve-wracking games, that I've ever been involved with, and I think you'll always remember that.

"I'll always remember the energy level he brought to that club, too. It was one of the most exciting years they've had here in a long time."

The 2012 season featured fewer highlights. Morgan batted .182 in April and did not drive in a run until he homered off Pittsburgh's Kevin Correia on June 1. Morgan's drought of 138 plate appearances to start a season without an RBI was a Major League record.

On several occasions, Melvin was close to trading Morgan to a contender, but those deals fell through.

Considering his salary ($2.35 million) is unlikely to fall in arbitration, Morgan's departure has been expected for months. Barring offseason moves, the Brewers will likely platoon the right-handed-hitting Gomez and left-handed-hitting Schafer, both outstanding defensive players.

Morgan, meanwhile, will seek the next stop on the Tony Plush tour.

Three Former Vipers Playing In Great Northwest Showcase:

Former Vernon Vipers goaltender Graeme Gordon & defencemen Tyler Mah & Bruin McDonald will be representing Simon Fraser University at this years inaugural Great Northwest Showcase this weekend in Burnaby.

Graeme Gordon is in his second year at Simon Fraser University.  Gordon played parts of two seasons in Vernon (2008-2010) The Vipers traded Matt Cumming & future considerations on October, 8th 2008 to the Merritt Centennials for Gordon.  In 60 regular season games with the Vipers Gordon collected (44 wins, 13 losses & 3 shutouts.

Graeme Gordon's Player Profile:

Bruin McDonald is in his first year at Simon Fraser University.  In 10 games McDonald has (2-9-11).  McDonald never played a single game with the Vipers.  The Vipers aquired McDonald from the Victoria Grizzlies on the December, 1st 2010 BCHL card deadline for future considerations. McDonald didnt report to Vernon before signing and playing with the QMJHL Gatineau Olympiques.

Bruin McDonald's Player Profile:

Tyler Mah is in his second year at Simon Fraser University.  In 6 games this season Mah has picked up (2-0-2).  Mah played as an “AP” with the Vipers for two seasons (2006-08) before signing with the Nanaimo Clippers in 2008. 

Tyler Mah's Player Profile:

This is posted on Brian Wiebe's BCHL Blog:

28 BCHL Alumni to Take Part in Inaugural Great Northwest Showcase:

I'm looking incredibly forward to providing all of the play-by-play for the inaugural Great Northwest Showcase coming up this Friday and Saturday (December 28th and 29th) at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre in Burnaby.

The four team Showcase features three different levels of hockey: the host SFU Clan of the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League, the UBC Thunderbirds of the CIS, and the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Arizona State Sun Devils of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

All the details on the Showcase are available here:

There are a ton of familiar names taking part as 28 players who have skated at least one game in the BCHL are sprinkled on each team's roster. SFU leads the way with 12 BCHL alumni on its' roster, while UBC is next with 11, followed by UO with three and ASU with two.

I'll post more about the Showcase after Christmas, but here's a breakdown of players with BCHL experience taking part.

Simon Fraser University (12)

G Graeme Gordon (Salmon Arm/Merritt/Vernon)
G Andrew Parent (Salmon Arm)
D David Dotan (Burnaby)
D Tyler Mah (Vernon/Nanaimo)
D Bruin McDonald (Victoria/Vernon/Coquitlam)
D Taylor Swaffield (Trail)
F Kody Dhaliwal (Langley/Salmon Arm/Chilliwack)
F Chris Hoe (Salmon Arm)
F Trevor Milner (Burnaby)
F Trent Murdoch (Powell River/Williams Lake/Alberni Valley/Prince George)
F Joey Pavone (Surrey)
F Nick Sandor (Alberni Valley/Trail)

University of British Columbia (11)

G Jordan White (Prince George/Penticton)
D Ilan Cumberbirch (Langley/Westside/Burnaby/Surrey)
D Linden Saip (Surrey)
D Kevin Smith (Victoria)
D Jason Yee (Victoria/Powell River)
F Max Grassi (Coquitlam/Burnaby/Nanaimo/Surrey/Penticton)
F Scott MacDonald (Salmon Arm/Westside)
F Cole Pruden (Powell River)
F Ben Schmidt (Powell River)
F Cole Wilson (Westside)
F Matt Wray (Powell River/Salmon Arm)

University of Oklahoma (3)

G Colin Fernandes (Cowichan Valley/Victoria)
F Jeff Coates (Westside)
F Stan Smrke (Langley)

Arizona State University (2)

D Kyle Hughes (Burnaby)
F Faiz Khan (Salmon Arm/Prince George)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Vernon Vipers 2012 Christmas Special Video: caught up with the 2012-13 Vernon Vipers to talk about their favourite Christmas memories, the best gifts they’ve received and their Christmas wishes for their teammates.

Monday, December 24, 2012

BCHL Team Reports:

This is in the BC Hockey Now Newspaper:

BCHL Team Reports

December 06, 2012

Posted in BC Edition, Junior A

By / Brent Mutis

Almost all teams are past the 28-game midway point of the schedule now and pretty much everyone still has a shot at the postseason. Surrey has quietly made a move up the Mainland standings though they still trail Chilliwack, who are on top of the league. Penticton has opened up a healthy lead in the Interior while things remain close atop the Island group.


Alberni Valley Bulldogs – Wins in three straight and seven of nine have the ‘Dogs nipping at the heels of the Victoria Grizzlies. Captain Ryan Lough’s nine points in six games have him into the Top 10 in BCHL scoring and he’s a big reason why the AVB are the highest-scoring team in the league.

Cowichan Valley Capitals – The departure of Ryan Hanes to the WHL’s Prince George Cougars has meant a by-committee approach to the offensive side. Mikael Jung and Keyler Bruce have upped their numbers of late and hopefully the change of scenery for Jesse Neher, acquired from Nanaimo, will give him a boost.

Nanaimo Clippers –Kyle Kramer is red-hot with 12 points in six games yet the Clips find themselves on a three-game skid. Nanaimo allowed five or more goals in four straight games until a 4-3 loss to Powell River Dec. 1. The goals allowed will have to tighten up if they hope to get back into home-ice playoff spot.

Powell River Kings – Recent NCAA Div. I scholarships for defencemen Luke Ripley (Notre Dame) and Noah Henry (Union College) are nice gems for the Kings’ crown. Wins in five of six leapfrogged them ahead of Nanaimo into third. J.P. Villeneuve has eight points in his last five games.

Victoria Grizzlies – Ryan O’Byrne’s departure from behind the bench to play in the ECHL leaves a bit of a void but veteran coach Bill Bestwick will manage just fine. The powerplay has been productive, including a 4-for-6 night Nov. 30 in a win over Nanaimo, and is up to second best in the BCHL.


Chilliwack Chiefs – With the league’s top scorer in Luke Esposito, who just committed to Harvard, and Cornell-bound goalie Mitch Gillam posting consecutive road shutouts in Prince George, it’s no surprise the Chiefs are tops in the league. Gillam now leads the BCHL in goals-against average and save percentage while Austin Plevy and Josh Hansen are among the league’s top scorers.

Coquitlam Express – Back-to-back wins over West Kelowna brought the Express out of a five-game funk but they still find themselves clinging to the final Mainland playoff spot. The once-vaunted penalty killing has taken a bit of a dent lately but John Siemer’s nine points in five games has made up for an absent Alex Kerfoot (injury).

Langley Rivermen – A five-game losing streak has the Rivermen looking up at the rest of the division but they are by no means out of the race. Mario Puskarich continues to score but Langley needs Evan Campbell, Evan Anderson and Austin Azurdia to get going. Another deal with Alberni Valley brings forward Nathan Craft into the fold.

Prince George Spruce Kings – One of three BCHL teams currently on a five-game losing streak, the Spruce Kings have had a brutal time trying to score goals lately with just three in a recent four-game homestand. Recent acquisitions Kevin Guiltinan, Jace Hennig and Mark Begert are talented but haven’t been point producers in the BCHL.

Surrey Eagles – Balanced scoring plus lights-out work in net from Michael Santaguida equals a four-game win streak for the Eagles. Brett Mulcahy was recently given the ‘C’ after the team had been captain-less since trading Brandon Morley. Young defenceman Jordan Klimek has four points in his last four games.


Merritt Centennials – November was a bit of a tough month as the Cents went 4-5 but they’ve perhaps conserved some energy for the second-half of the season because they’ve only gone to OT twice. Goaltending remains a strength and Derek Huisman has seven points in his last five.

Penticton Vees – Wade Murphy had his season-long point streak snapped but remains a nightly threat. Brad McClure has been hot with points in eight of the last nine. The powerplay, which was a major strength last season, has just been mediocre yet this team has a nine-point edge on Merritt for first.

Salmon Arm SilverBacks – Evan Anderson has really blossomed given increased ice time since coming over from Penticton and he has 12 points in 10 games with the ’Backs. That and the addition of Steven Iacobellis has this team, which couldn’t buy a goal early in the season, with five wins in their last seven and just four points out of second place.

Trail Smoke Eaters –Injuries have ravaged the Smokies lineup and they dressed four affiliate players in a recent loss to Coquitlam. On top of that, the flu hit the team on their coastal road trip. Coach Bill Birks remains confident in his group as their still within reach of a playoff spot but they’ll need to shore up the goals against.

Vernon Vipers – November was a .500 month for the Snakes, same as October. Penalty killing has been woeful as they’ve allowed goals on almost 25 per cent of chances against. A deal sending defensive defenceman Kevin Guiltinan to Prince George for forward Liam Board should help. If Aaron Hadley can regain form, it will be a big boost.

West Kelowna Warriors – Marcus Basar and Seb Lloyd form one of the most dangerous duos in the league but captain Max French remains out of the lineup with injury. They have a top goaltender in Tyler Briggs and have one of the best goal differentials in the BCHL but it’s been win one, lose one lately for the Tribe.

Centennials Slam Vipers At Wesbild:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Centennials slam Vipers at Wesbild

Published: December 24, 2012

There wasn’t all that much holiday cheer going on in the Vernon Vipers’ dressing room Friday night at Wesbild Centre.

Head coach Jason Williamson may have even added a couple names to his naughty list following the Snakes’ 6-1 pummeling at the hands of the Merritt Centennials in the first leg of a fight-filled B.C. Hockey League home-and-home set.

Vernon, occupants of the Interior cellar at 11-15-0-7, visited the second-place Cents (18-11-1-1) Saturday night at Nicola Valley Arena.

“We’ve just got to be more urgent and more desperate. They just came in and out-willed us,” said Williamson.

“I warned them all week long that was going to be the case and we had a bunch of passengers tonight.”

First star Regan Soquila and second star Derek Huisman combined for nine points for Merritt, helping their team skate to a 2-0 lead after one period.

Huisman skated the puck in from the blueline and spotted Soquila back door for the first snipe in the fourth minute.

Soquila redirected defenceman Charlie Donlin’s point shot for the second tally.

“I had my back to the play, but our d-man took a shot, it took a couple bounces and landed on my stick,” said Soquila, a Maple Ridge product. He leads the Cents with 12-23-35 in 31 games.

As a third-year player, Soquila has been through the rebuilding process in Merritt and is happy with the direction the team is headed under head coach Luke Pierce.

“It’s rewarding when you put in all that work and finally see your team at the top,” he said. “We like to be prided on our hard work and dedication.”

Jeff Wight, with is fifth of the season, followed by back-to-back goals by Huisman (12th and 13th), had the Centennials well on their way to victory early in the third period.

Dexter Dancs (4th) broke netminder Tyler Steel’s shutout during a 5-on-3 advantage with five minutes to play.

Dancs has five points (two goals, three assists) in six games since joining Vernon from the Penticton Vees.

Steel, a Vernon native, finished with 26 saves. Austin Smith had 23 saves in the loss.

Said Pierce: “Tyler gave us the saves when we needed them, but we also did a good job of eliminating any second opportunities.

“Our top guys were ready to go. I had challenged them a little bit after a disappointing outing in Trail (4-2 loss to the Smoke Eaters Tuesday night) and I thought they responded very well.”

Pierce added that just because Vernon is struggling, teams are not going to go easy on them.

“Every team comes in here with a hunger to beat them because of their tradition and history so that’s a big thing. They’re seeing a team’s best every night.”

Frustrated by a lack of production, the Vipers came unglued in the third period, taking several undisciplined penalties.

Colton Sparrow challenged speedy Brendan Lamont to a scrap after Lamont railroaded Mitch McAllister at centre ice.

Aaron Hadley, Vernon’s hardest working player on the night, boiled over and took his aggression out on Silvan Harper in a one-sided tussle in front of the Vernon bench.

Pearce Eviston started the fisticuffs late in the first period when he retaliated against Cents’ d-man Dylan Chanter for checking Brendan Persley hard in the back.

Chanter, an Armstrong native, earned an early shower for the hit. Persley needed help to the bench, but returned to action.

Persley said the Vipers need to take the next week to regroup and come back with a better mind set if they’re going to have a chance at making the playoffs.

“Everyone’s going to go home for Christmas and hopefully come back with a clear head and forget what happened in the past and build from there,” said the hard-nosed Kelowna product.

“As a team, we can do that and I’m sure we’ll be making a push for it. You see spurts of it on some nights and other nights it’s the whole opposite direction.”

Soquila completed the hat trick with one second remaining in regulation, jamming a puck past Smith on a late man advantage.

The Cents finished the night 2-for-6 on the powerplay, while Vernon converted on one of five attempts.

The Vipers return to BCHL action in the New Year when they visit the Salmon Arm SilverBacks, Friday, Jan. 4, at the Shaw Centre.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Chay Genoway Christmas Video:

Enjoy this special Christmas memory video from former Vernon Vipers defenceman Chay Genoway.

Genoway is in his second season with the AHL Houston Aeros.   In 26 games this season Genoway has (3-7-10) last year in 72 regular season games Genoway collected (7-29-36).  The Minnesota Wild signed Genoway to an entry-level contract back on April, 12th 2011.  Genoway made his NHL debut last season with the Minnesota Wild on April, 7th 2012 collecting 1 assist and being named 2nd star vs the Pheonix Coyotes. Genoway played one season in Vernon (2005-2006). In 56 regular season games with the Vipers Genoway collected (17-32-49).

Chay Genoway's Player Profile:

Chay Genoway Christmas Video:

Vipers Cannot Penetrate Steel Curtain:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vipers Cannot Penetrate Steel Curtain
Sunday, December 23, 2012 - Submitted by Don Klepp

The Vipers played hard and created chances in Merritt on Saturday, but could not get the puck past Tyler Steel in a 5-0 loss.

Steel was particularly strong in the second and third periods when the Vipers mounted a serious challenge during four power plays. Using the "Castlegar Crush" alignment that placed Ryan Renz and Aaron Hadley in front of Steel, the Vipers got shots on net and created several opportunities in and around the crease. However, the big goalie was able to scramble, flop, and swim to keep the puck out.

Steel got lucky on the one puck that cleanly beat him. Adam Tambellini's bullet slap shot from the point came off Steel's right goal post and lodged under the back of his right skate and pad.

At that time the score was 1-0 for Merritt, compliments of a Dane Birks goal very late  in the first period.

Out shot 13-5 in the first period, the Vipers had Danny Todosychuk to thank for keeping the game scoreless until a bad giveaway at the Viper line led to the Centennials flooding the zone. Todosychuk stopped the first attempt, but the puck went back to the blue line where Birks's floater found its way through traffic.

Todosychuk continued his stellar play for the next 30 minutes, especially during a pair of 5-on-3 Merritt power plays in the second period.

Playing with just four defencemen, the Vipers got into real trouble when their two vets, Ryan Renz and Marc Hetnik, were in the penalty box for a full two minutes. However, rookie D-men Bryce Eviston and Michael Statchuk were up to the task, abetted by Brendan Persley and Colton Sparrow on the back end.

The Centennial forecheck finally wore down the Viper D-corps in the third period. After Todosychuk had robbed Derek Huisman to keep the score 1-0, the Cents broke through with three goals in a minute and a half, starting at 10:12.

Todosychuk had little or no chance on one-timers by Regan Soquila, Brent Fletcher, and Silvan Harper, all resulting from a relentless fore check and the Vipers' fatigue on the back end. Jeff Wight added another late in the game as the Cents continued to storm the Viper goal.

Alex Gran, the Midget Rocket AP who had played the previous night in Vernon,  was not available to play defence  due to an injury sustained in that game. Other defencemen on the Viper reserve roster were also injured.

Geoff Crisfield vows that he will return to action when the Vipers next play on January 4 in Salmon Arm. Brett Corkey also hopes to have recovered from his injury after the Christmas break.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merritt 5 Vernon 0



Merritt Centennials at 19:33 - Dane Birks from Scott Patterson and Silvan Harper 


No Scoring 


Merritt Centennials at 10:12 - Regan Soquila from Derek Huisman and Sebastien Pare 
Merritt Centennials at 10:58 - Brent Fletcher from Sean Maktaak and Jeff Wight 
Merritt Centennials at 11:44 - Silvan Harper from Sebastien Pare and Diego Cuglietta 
Merritt Centennials at 18:56 - Jeff Wight from Scott Patterson

Merritt outshot Vernon 44-29  Tyler Steel made 29 saves for the shutout-win while Danny Todosychuk made 39 saves in the loss.

For more on tonight's game visit the boxscore,

(Game Preview) Vernon @ Merritt:

 Vernon (11-15-0-7) @ Merritt (18-11-1-1) 7:30pm start

Tonight is the third of seven regular season meetings between the Vipers & Centennials & the second game of a home and home series between these two teams. Merritt leads the season series 2-0.  You can listen to tonight's game starting with the pre-game at 7:15pm with Todd Miller live on 107.5 Kiss FM

Last Game:

Friday, December 21st Merritt defeated Vernon 6-1

Next Game:

Friday, January 4th Penticton @ Merritt
Friday, January 4th Vernon @ Salmon Arm

Since the 2002-03 season Vernon is 49-12-1-6 vs. Merritt

Since the 2002-03 season Vernon has outscored Merritt 284-165

Since the 2003-04 season Vernon is 22-5-1-3 at home vs. Merritt

Since the 2003-04 season Vernon is 21-4-0-4 in Merritt

The Vipers are 4-3-1-2 in their last ten games at home vs. the Centennials

The Vipers are 6-3-0-1 in their last ten games on the road vs. the Centennials

The Vipers are 3-6-1-0 in their last ten games vs. Merritt

The Vipers last win at home vs Merritt was a 4-1 victory back on Friday, February 10th 2012

The Centennials last win in Vernon was a 6-1 victory back on Friday, December 21st 2012

The Vipers last win in Merritt was a 3-2 overtime win back on Saturday, October 8th 2011

The Centennials last win at home over Vernon was a 7-1 win back on Tuesday, February 14th 2012

The Vipers went 3-4-1-0 last season vs the Merritt Centennials

The Vernon Lakers changed their name to the Vernon Vipers to start the 1995-96 season. Here’s a look at the Vipers all-time regular season record

Games Played: 1037
Wins: 653
Losses: 279
Ties: 16
Overtime Losses: 93

For more stats & former Vernon Junior Hockey Team rosters & lineups please visit Paul’s Vernon Junior Hockey History website,

Lets take a look at the Vernon Vipers:

The Vipers make their first visit of the season to the Nicola Valley Arena begin a mini two game road trip.  The Vipers come into the second game of the home and home series with just one win in their last six and two wins in their last nine games.  The Vipers sit in 5th place in the Interior Division are 3-6-0-1 in their last ten games. 

Adam Tambellini (21-17-38) leads the Vipers in goals with twenty one & in points with thirty eight

Games Played: 33
Wins: 11
Losses: 15
Ties: 0
Overtime Losses: 7
Home Record: 6-7-0-4
Road Record: 5-8-0-3
Goals For: 82
Goals Against: 100
Streak: One game losing streak
Standings: 5th Place

Vernon Vipers Returning Players:

Brett Corkey (92)
Marc Hetnik (92)
Geoff Crisfield (93)
Aaron Hadley (93)
Danny Todosychuk (94)
Colton Sparrow (93)
Ryan Renz (93)
Adam Tambellini (94)

Vernon Vipers Departing & traded players from last years team:

Michael Zalewski (92)
Brendan Persley (93)
Darren Nowick (91)
Riley Hunt (95)
John Knisley (92)
Jedd Soleway (94)
Colton Cyr (91)
Patrick McGillis (91)
Sean Robertson (91)
Ben Gamache (91)
Max Mowat (93)
Turner Lawson (94)
Kirby Halcrow (91)

Vernon’s Home record vs. Merritt this season:


Vernon’s Road record vs. Merritt this season:


Vernon’s Powerplay vs. Merritt this season:


Vernon’s scoring leaders vs. Merritt this season:

Craig Martin (2-0-2)
Brett Corkey (0-1-1)
Aaron Hadley (0-1-1)
Ryan Renz (0-1-1)
Dexter Dancs (1-0-1)
Andrew Tegeler (0-1-1)

Austin Smith (0-2 Record)

Key’s and Notes to tonight’s game:

-Vernon has the leagues 15th best powerplay

-The Vipers have the BCHL's 15th best penalty kill

Lets take a look at the Merritt Centennials:

The Cents return home after a 1-1 road trip to face the Vipers for the second straight night.  Tonight is the first of a three game home stand for the Centennials.  Merritt has won four of their last five and five of their last seven games.  The Centennials are 6-4-0-0 in their last ten games sit in 2nd place in the Interior Division.  Merritt has won four of their last five home games and only lost five games on home ice all season.

Derek Huisman (13-15-28) leads the Cents in goals with thirteen, while Regan Soquila (12-23-35) leads the Centennials in points with thirty five

Games Played: 31
Wins: 18
Losses: 11
Ties: 1
Overtime Losses: 1
Home Record: 10-4-0-1
Road Record:  8-7-1-0
Goals For: 99
Goals Against: 84
Streak: One game winning streak
Standings: 2nd Place

Merritt Centennials Returning Players:

Regan Soquila (93)
Sean Maktaak (92)
Silvan Harper (92)
Brandon Bruce (93)
Brendan Lamont (94)
Dylan Chanter (95)
Payton Schaefer (93)
Brent Fletcher (92)
Tyler Martin (93)
Richard Sabourin (92)
Tyler Steel (93)

Merritt Centennials Departing & traded players from last years team:

Evan Stack (91)
Chad Brears (91)
Brandon Pfeil (92)
Billy Marshall (91)
Jakob Reichert (93)
Reece Wilcox (94)
Carter Shinkaruk (91)
Braydon Low (94)
Lino Chimienti (91)

Merritt's Home record vs. Vernon this season:


Merritt's Road record vs. Vernon this season:


Merritt's Powerplay vs. Vernon this season:


Merritt's scoring leaders vs. Vernon this season:

Regan Soquila (3-5-8)
Derek Huisman (2-3-5)
Brendan Lamont (0-3-3)
Sebasttien Pare (1-2-3)
Dylan Chanter (1-1-2)
Richard Sabourin (1-1-2)
Tyler Martin (1-0-1)
Sean Maktaak (0-1-1)
Payton Schaefer (0-1-1)
Charlie Donlin (0-1-1)
Diego Cuglietta (0-1-1)
Jeff Wight (1-0-1)

Tyler Steel (2-0 Record)

Key’s and Notes to tonight’s game:

-Merritt has the BCHL's best powerplay

-The Centennials have the league's 6th best penalty kill

Here's a look at both teams rosters:

Vernon Vipers:

Merritt Centennials:

Defensive Miscues Cost Vipers:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Defensive Miscues Cost Vipers
Friday, December 21, 2012 - Submitted by Don Klepp

Despite a valiant effort by rugged D-man Ryan Renz, the Vipers succumbed to the Merritt Centennials 6-1 on Friday.  The opportunistic Cents were led by Regan Soquila`s five points.

Soquila potted the first two Merritt goals in the first period. The first came at 4:08 - Derek Huisman was allowed to roam unmolested along the left boards and he fed Soquila for an uncontested shot from 10 feet.

At 10:42 Soquila was left alone in front of Austin Smith and when Huisman's weak shot bounced off a Viper and into the crease, Soquila had an easy tap-in.

Shots and scoring chances were even in the first period, but the Cents came away with a 2-0 lead, and that's essentially how the game went.  Although the Vipers matched the Cents in creating chances while playing hard in the offensive zone, their defensive zone coverage and intensity lacked consistency. The second period provided a case in point. They created six scoring chances but were unable to beat Tyler Steel while the Cents capitalized on two of their chances, mainly because they were quicker to the puck than Viper defenders.

Ryan Renz, on the other hand, played his heart out, challenging Merritt forwards at every turn and dishing out hellacious hits. He was credited with 10 of the Vipers' 32 hits in the game. He also got involved in several rushes and played a part in the Vipers' lone goal, although he wasn't credited with an assist on a Dexter Dancs power play marker during a scramble in the third period.

Renz and Aaron Hadley were part of the "Castlegar Crush," a new Viper power play formation that had the two Castlegar products create havoc in front of Tyler Steel while Adam Tambellini took shots from the point.

Huisman and Soquila notched power play markers in the third period, Soquila's hat trick goal coming at 19:59 as the Viper defenders were thinking about getting to their dressing room.

The game included two fights in the third period as the Vipers' frustrations boiled over. Colton Sparrow tangled with Brendan Lamont while Aaron Hadley danced with Silvan Harper.

In the first period, Pearce Eviston drew a fighting major and instigator penalty for going after Dylan Chanter, who had rammed Brendan Persley into the boards from behind. 

The Vipers held the Centennials without a scoring chance during the ensuing five-minute power play and generally played well on the penalty kill. However, a lack of focus gave the Centennials two easy power play markers late in the game.

For the second straight game, AP Alex Gran played well on defence for the Vipers in a limited role. Brett Corkey and Geoff Crisfield remain out of the Viper lineup with injuries suffered last Friday versus Penticton. They will miss tomorrow's 7:30 re-match in Merritt.