Thursday, May 31, 2012

With The Addition Of Robinson Vipers Have Two Former Captains Behind The Bench:

Last week the Vernon Vipers announced the hiring of former Vipers captain David Robinson and former Vipers scout Jason Read as the teams two new Assistant Coaches.  After Chris Shaw was released by the Vipers it was a waiting game to see who Jason Williamson would bring in-hire as his new Assistant Coach. 

You gotta like former Vernon Vipers captain David Robinson as one choice for behind the bench.  Sure Robinson dosnt have any coaching experience but his knowlege of the game as a former Viper and his class that he showed on and off the ice with the Vipers in the past will be good for the young kids coming to play in Vernon.  Robinson who is a Vernon product, knew what it was to be a Viper, wore his heart on his sleeve and is a true leader on and off the ice.  He wanted nothing more then to bring Vernon another RBC Cup back in 2010 and now hopefully will have a shot as an Assistant Coach.  Robinson a heart and soul player played with alot of heart & emotion giving it his all every shift, Im sure he will now bring that behind the bench this coming season.  Robinson being younger was very well liked by everyone, will be able to approach the younger kids almost like a team mate, he will be able to relate to them on and off the ice.  I like the idea of having a third set of eyes behind the bench.  Robinson and Head Coach-GM Jason Williamson are now two former Viper captains that hopefully can turn around this Vipers team around after missing the BCHL playoffs for the first time in ten years.

As for Jason Read I dont really know much about him other then what was said in the media.  I think getting a guy that has 18 years of coaching experience and someone who strickly works with the defence is someone who the Vipers need and were lacking this past season.  The Vipers defence wasnt that good this past season and never improved much through out the season.  Sure a few kids improved very late in the season but defence was an area that the Vipers needed some work.  I think with Jason Williamson in just his second season as a head coach and GM and now David Robinson as the teams new rookie Assistant Coach, Read is the more veteran guy behind the bench that maybe both Robinson and Williamson and learn from and all three can add a little bit of their own hockey experiences to this years coming Vipers team.  Im excited to see both Robinson and Read behind the bench with Williamson.

Best of luck to the Vipers new coaching staff this coming season!

Here is a look back at some previous former Vernon Laker-Viper players that also got behind the bench in past years with the Lakers & Vipers (If Im missing any please let me know)

Jason Williamson

(Player) Vernon Vipers 2000-2002 (Assistant Coach) Vernon Vipers 2008-2011 (Head Coach-GM) Vernon Vipers 2011-

David Robinson

(Player) Vernon Vipers 2009-2011) (Assistant Coach) Vernon Vipers 2012-

Troy Mick

(Player) Vernon Lakers 1984-1986 (Assistant Coach) Vernon Lakers-Vipers 1993-1996 (Head Coach-GM) Vernon Vipers 1997-2000 & 2005-06

Spencer Ward

(Player) Vernon Lakers 1992-1995 (Assistant Coach) Vernon Vipers 2000-2001

Bob Dever

(Player) Vernon Lakers 1986-87 (Assistant Coach) Vernon Vipers 2001-2004

Shawn Bourgeois

(Player) Vernon Lakers 1991-1993 (Assistant Coach) Vernon Vipers 2001-2004

Keith Chase

(Player) Vernon Lakers 1982-1988 (Assistant Coach) Vernon Lakers 1988-1991

Kori Davison

(Player) Vernon Vipers 1996-2000 (Assistant Coach) Vernon Vipers 2005-06

Ed Johnstone

(Player) Vernon Essos 1970-71 (Assistant Coach) Vernon Lakers 1987-88 (Head Coach-GM) Vernon Lakers 1988-1992

Ernie Gare

(Player) Vernon Essos 1970-1972 (Head Coach) Vernon Lakers 1986-1988

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vernon Lands RBC Cup:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vernon lands RBC Cup

By Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star

Published: May 30, 2012 

Up early on a Saturday with his young kids, Mike Lane was only too happy to answer the phone at 7:30 a.m.

It was Hockey Canada calling to tell Lane, the co-chair of the Vernon organizing committee, that the city has been successful in securing the 2014 Royal Bank Cup Canadian Junior A Hockey Championship tournament.

“I was so excited that I wanted to run up and down the street shouting that we won the bid, but we needed to keep it under our hats until Hockey Canada included the announcement in its AGM Notes on Sunday,” said Lane, whose group has been working on the bid for the past year.

“It’s been a long year, and it’s going to be another long two years, but we’re very excited. We’ve been using the catch phrase ‘The Excitement Returns,’ and now it seems so fitting.”

Vernon first hosted the national championship tournament in 1990, at the Civic Arena, when the team was known as the Lakers, and the trophy was the Centennial Cup.The 1990 tournament – won by the host Lakers in overtime over their provincial and league rivals, the New Westminster Royals – was the first to feature five teams, and was the first to have the final televised nationally on TSN.

The 2014 Royal Bank Cup tournament, which will bring together two teams from Western Canada, one from Central Canada and one from Eastern Canada, along with the host Vernon Vipers, is tentatively slated for May 10-18, 2014, at the Wesbild Centre.

Vernon’s 2014 bid was a unanimous choice at Hockey Canada’s annual general meeting in Halifax, beating out a bid from Terrebonne, Quebec.

A 2014 RBC Cup kickoff rally will be held on Saturday, June 16, during the annual Downtown Vernon Association’s Sunshine Festival.

“At the rally, fans will learn details about ticket sales, volunteer opportunities, and sponsorship opportunities,” said Lane.

It’s anticipated that a representative from Hockey Canada will be in attendance for the rally, along with former members of the Vipers and Lakers.

Vernon teams have won six national Junior A hockey titles, the most by any organization in Canada, and have competed in nine Canadian championship tournaments.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mike Lane & Jason Williamson Interview On Vernon Getting The 2014 RBC Cup: caught up with 2014 RBC Bid Committe Co-chairperson Mike Lane and Vernon Vipers GM & Head coach Jason Williamson when they visited 107.5 KISS FM to announce they have secured the 2014 RBC Junior A National Championship.

Monday, May 28, 2012

2014 RBC Bid "BCHL Update"

This is posted on the website:

RBC Bid 2014

BCHL Update

Don Klepp

May 24 2012

In his 9 years at the helm of the British Columbia Hockey League, John Grisdale has presided over a number of significant changes. While at the RBC Cup in Humboldt, he graciously took time to answer my questions about the league’s direction and challenges. Here is the bulk of that conversation.

Q What are the main challenges that currently face the BCHL?

Mr. Grisdale. We’re always in the process of identifying and assessing current and future markets and
the league demographic. You have to stay ahead of the game, so to speak. We’re trying to determine the
look of the league in 3 to 5 years from now. Of course, alignment continues to be an issue.

Q Speaking of alignment, is the league in the process of deciding next year’s divisions?

Mr. Grisdale. We’ve decided that issue. There will be two sets of five – Powell River and the four Island teams will form the Island Division and Prince George will join the four teams in the Mainland Division. Then the Interior Division will have the four Okanagan teams plus Merritt and Trail. The 56-game schedule will include the two games played at the season opening tournament.

Q Is it fair to say that the mountains and the ocean waters present a special challenge?
Mr. Grisdale. Absolutely. Ferries and long bus rides make it difficult for players and for team finances. If the Georgia Strait were paved, that would help our alignment challenges, but that’s just a fact of our geography and we have to find creative solutions.

Q Some people have said that the North American talent pool for Junior-age hockey players has become stretched because there are so many Major Junior and Junior “A” teams. Do you agree?

Mr. Grisdale. There are lots of good players and the teams in our league do a good job of identifying those players and bringing them into our program. Players want to come to the BCHL and our teams find them.

Q Have there been complaints from other leagues about the number of players from their province who end up in the BCHL?

Mr. Grisdale. We’ve heard a bit of that, but I just say that if you build a good program the kids will come. There’s nothing wrong with that. Good players want to play at the highest level possible and a lot of the players choose the BCHL because of our track record of helping young men earn college scholarships.

Q What about the competition between the WHL and the BCHL for players?

Mr. Grisdale. I suppose the fact is that both leagues want the best players they can get, but honestly those kinds of decisions are family driven. Families need to explore both options and I believe in a longterm plan for every player. The reality is that every player’s career comes to an end sooner or later, and sooner for the overwhelming majority of players. So, getting a degree or some other form of education or training is essential, 100 percent necessary.

Q Lately, the BCHL has seen a lot of players who come for one year and then go to college. Is the league becoming a hockey finishing school?

Mr. Grisdale. Our goal is to develop players. If that happens in one year and then the player goes on to the WHL or university, we’ve done our job. If we can get the player for more than one year, that’s a bonus. Most of those decisions are out of our control. Yes, some kids go to college too soon but that’s up to the college and the kid and his family. I’d take a one-year player in a minute if I knew he would help my program, contribute to the community, and be a good model citizen.

Q So personal development of the player is a major goal of the league?

Mr. Grisdale. Yes! I think it needs to be reiterated that Canadian Jr. “A” hockey is a great training ground for life in a lot of ways, especially for those players who experience the rigours of long playoff runs. Character gets developed and deepened.

Q Let’s shift gears and talk about the Western Canada Cup. What do you like about this concept?

Mr. Grisdale. To start with, this event has been two years in the making. We wanted a mini-RBC Cup that showcases each Western league on a four-year rotating basis. The double knockout format is exciting and will, I think, identify the two best teams from the Western half of the country.

Q Moving on to the RBC Cup, why does the league support Vernon’s bid?

Mr. Grisdale. That’s an excellent franchise and hockey town for one thing. I think they’ll do a great job of hosting. Also, we support strong bids from our towns because we want to showcase our communities and our league. We’ve shown that we can host such events and that we can win them. So, I say to our member teams, if you want to be the best, keep putting your hand up and we’ll support you!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Vernon Gets 2014 RBC Cup National Championship:

This is posted on

Vernon Gets 2014 RBC National Championship

By the Vernon 2014 RBC Bid Committee

Date: May 28, 2012

For Immediate Release

Hockey Canada has awarded the 2014 RBC Cup to Vernon. Dean McIntosh, Hockey Canada’s Director of Marketing Services and Special Events, chaired the selection committee that settled on Vernon as the host for the May 2014 tournament. He called Vernon Bid Committee Chair Mike Lane early Saturday morning from Hockey Canada’s Annual General Meeting in Halifax.

Lane says, “I was so excited that I wanted to run up and down the street shouting that we won the bid, but we needed to keep it under our hats until Hockey Canada included the announcement in its AGM Notes on Sunday.” Lane advises that the bid is contingent upon signing a contract with Hockey Canada. He adds, “As soon as possible, we also plan to sign agreements with the Wesbild Centre and other local participants.”

A June 16 Kickoff Rally will feature a Hockey Canada representative, appearances by former Vernon Vipers and Vernon Lakers, and short speeches by Mayor Sawatzky and RDNO Chair Patrick Nicol. At the Rally, fans will learn details about ticket sales, volunteer opportunities, and sponsorship opportunities.  Further details about that Rally will be provided by May 30.

Vernon last hosted a National Junior A championship back in 1990 at the Vernon Civic Arena. That was an amazing year when the Vernon Lakes shocked the New Westminster Royals 6-5 in overtime to win the Centennial Cup. will have a video interview tomorrow!

Former Viper Robak Commits To Trojans:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman Darrin Robak committed to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Trojans for the 2012-13 season.   Robak & the Caps went out in the in the opening round of the BCHL playoffs in seven games to the Surrey Eagles. Robak in his second season with the Capitals played one season in Vernon (2009-2010) played in 17 regular season games with the Vipers collecting (2-5-7) before being traded to Cowichan Valley after the 2009-2010 season. Robak was the future considerations in the Vernon-Cowichan Valley trade that saw forward, Drew George & defenceman, Nick Amies go to the Capitals for defenceman, Curtis Gedig and future considerations.

Darrin Robak's Player Profile:

This is in the Cowichan Valley Citizen Newspaper:

Caps D-man Robak commits

Kevin Rothbauer, Citizen

Published: Friday, May 18, 2012

Defenceman Darrin Robak has become the second player to commit to a post-secondary team from this past year's Cowichan Valley Capitals.

Just a week after captain Devin Gannon announced that he would be playing hockey and studying at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Robak accepted an offer in the same city to play with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Trojans. SAIT competes in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, where they captured the silver medal in 2011/12.

A native of Red Deer, Alberta, Robak spent two seasons with the Caps after joining the team in a 2010 offseason trade. He played 98 regular-season games, compiling 40 points on 14 goals and 26 assists. In seven playoff games, he chipped in with one goal and three helpers.

"Darrin had a great time here with the team and it was fun watching him develop into the player he is now," said Capitals head coach and general manager Jim Ingram.

Other players from the 2011/12 Capitals who committed to colleges - Brett Knowles (Minnesota State-Mankato), Brayden Sherbinin (Quinnipiac) and Steven Iacobellis (Nebraska-Omaha) - earned their deals before joining the Caps.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

2014 RBC Cup Bid "The Suspense Builds"

This is posted on the website:

The Suspense Builds

RBC Bid 2014

By VernonCentral staff

May 24 2012

This year’s RBC Cup concluded a week ago and now the attention shifts to next year’s tournament that will be held in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. In the meantime, we wait to hear who will host in 2014. “We may hear Hockey Canada’s decision at the conclusion of its AGM next weekend,” says Vernon Committee Co-chair Mike Lane. “However, if we get the nod we’ll all have to wait another week or more for the official announcement because certain agreements have to be finalized first.”
He adds, “People have been asking us about the outcome of our bid. We’re all dying to know the outcome, but we’ll have to be patient a while longer.”
While waiting, the bid committee has not been idle. Tentative plans have been made for a mid-June kickoff rally at Vernon City Hall if the bid proves successful.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Martin Commits To Vipers:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Martin Commits to Vipers
Friday, May 25, 2012 - Submitted by Vipers Staff

The Vernon Vipers hockey club is pleased to announce that Craig Martin has committed to play for us in the upcoming 2012-2013 hockey season. Martin, a 95 born forward, played last season for the Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the KIJHL.

Craig put up some tremendous numbers playing for the KIJHL Champion Nitehawks.  In 50 regular season games he scored 48 goals and 48 assists for a total of 96 points. He also scored 17 goals and 15 assists in 21 playoff games.

Vipers Head Coach/GM Jason Williamson is very excited to add Craig to next year’s roster. “Craig was a highly sought after player by virtually every team in our league and had options in the WHL. He is a very gifted offensive player and will be looked upon the add scoring to our line-up. I am excited about the opportunity to work with Craig in the future.”

The Vernon Vipers would like to welcome Craig to the organization. For further information please contact the Vipers office at 250 542 6022.

Robinson Returns To Viper Den:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Robinson returns to Viper den

Barely a year removed from his playing days with the Vernon Vipers, Dave Robinson is rejoining his hometown B.C. Hockey League club.

Only this time it will be as an assistant coach.

Robinson, who captained the Snakes to the gold-medal game of the 2011 RBC Cup national Junior A championships in Camrose (they fell to the Pembroke Lumber Kings), will join Calgary’s Jason Read as an associate under head coach/GM Jason Williamson.

Robinson, a 22-year-old forward, had just wrapped up his freshman year with the University of Calgary Dinos when he learned about the coaching opportunity.

“I’ve been going back and forth about it,” said Robinson, of his decision to quit playing. “Throughout my whole career I’ve battled concussions and I just lost a little bit of the passion to play. I was ready to give up the game and when I saw this opportunity come up, it made that choice a bit easier.

“It’s never easy quitting hockey when you’ve been playing it for 15 years. It was a tough decision on me, but I’m excited to start a new chapter.”

Williamson says he and Robinson played a similar hard-nosed style, and believes he is a natural fit for Vernon.

“Dave’s just a heart-and-soul kid. Everyone in this town knows him and he’s a guy we can always lean on, just from his experience playing here and knowing what it takes to be a Viper.

“He’s obviously played a lot of hockey and he’s not that far removed from the game, which can be invaluable.”

Read’s 18 years of coaching experience, primarily on the defensive side, will be a welcome addition to the Viper bench. He will guide the blueline in Vernon as well.

The 41-year-old formerly scouted southern Alberta for the Vipers, while working with the Calgary Royals Midget AAA program.

“He’s watched a lot of hockey for us, and he’s got some good insight in the Alberta area,” said Williamson, adding Read coached Viper d-man Geoff Crisfield when he was with the Royals.

“He’s going to work closely with the dee. He’s got some knowledge and he’s been around the game a long time. He’s going to develop our defence and make them harder to play against.”

Read’s Junior experience includes a stint with the BCHL Victoria Salsa as an assistant under Campbell Blair (former Vernon Laker d-man, now coaching the NCAA Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves) for three years, and one as head coach. He coached against Williamson in his playing days with the Vipers.

“The players have to understand they’re playing defence,” said Read, of his strategy for the blueline. “That’s the position they picked and that’s the priority they must achieve. Looking after their own zone is No. 1, and if you’re able to offensively commit and jump into the rush after that, that’s great.

“People just need to know what their jobs are and we need to support them in any way they need to be helped.”

With Brett Corkey, Marc Hetnik, Crisfield and Ryan Renz all returning, Read will have plenty of talent to work with.

“It’s definitely one of our strengths,” said Williamson. “Veteran experience is invaluable at this level.”

After missing the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade, the Vipers will lean on that veteran presence to help groom a talented crop of rookies as they attempt to rebound.

“We definitely weren’t happy with last year,” said Williamson. “We’ve worked hard this summer to put the pieces back together and we’re going to be right in the mix for fighting for a BCHL championship.”

n A week after announcing a pair of Saskatchewan recruits – d-man Michael Statchuk and centre Landon Robin – the Vipers committed to Kootenay forward Craig Martin Thursday.

After finishing third in the KIJHL scoring race with 48 goals for 96 points in 50 games as a 16-year-old, Martin led all postseason scorers with 17-15-32 in 21 games, helping the Beaver Valley Nitehawks to a league title.

He posted seven points in nine games as a call-up with his hometown Trail Smoke Eaters.

“Craig was a highly sought after player by virtually every team in our league and had options in the WHL,” said Williamson. “He is a very gifted offensive player and will be looked upon to add scoring to our line-up.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Martin Commits To Vipers:

Brian Wiebe!/Brian_Wiebe has tweeted that the Vernon Vipers have signed 17 year old forward Craig Martin who had 96 pts (48-48-96) in 50 games with the KIJHL Beaver Valley Nitehawks this past season.  Martin is listed at 5'11 & 165 lbs.  Martin also collected 7 pts (5-2-7) in nine BCHL games as an "AP" with the Trail Smoke Eaters this past season. 

Craig Martin's Player Profile:

Cottonmouths Add Former Viper Beller To Teams Protected List:

The SPHL released the names of the players who rights were proteced by each team for the upcoming 2012-13 season.  The Columbus Cottonmouths are one of nine teams that have added and protected 13 players from their roster, including former Vernon Vipers forward Greg Beller.  In 33 regular season games with Columbus Beller collected (16-20-36) while putting up (5-5-10) in six playoff games this season. Beller played one season in Vernon (2007-08) playing in 23 regular season games collecting (10-10-20). Beller left Yale University during the 2007-08 season joining the Vernon Vipers midway through the regular season. 

Beller finished his first season with Columbus but also played with three different teams this season (Idaho, Augusta and Columbus) Beller signed with the Columbus Cottonmouths back on November, 12th 2011. Beller was named to this years SPHL All-Rookie team as well as setting a new SPHL postseason record with a +12 rating, eclipsing the mark of +9 held by Chris Greene (Mississippi, 2010) and Ryan Aikia (Columbus, 2005).  Beller also scored the game winner as the SPHL Columbus Cottonmouths defeated the Pensacola Ice Flyers 3-1 sweeping the best of three championship series 2-0 to win the SPHL Championship this season and their second Championship since 2005.  Beller & the Cottonmouths finished the season on a nine-game win streak, winning their final three regular season games and going a perfect 6-0 in the playoffs. Its the team's third franchise championship and second as members of the SPHL.  Beller was selected by New York Rangers in round 6 #178 overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Greg Beller's Player Profile:

This is posted on the SPHL website:

SPHL Announces Protected Lists

Date: May 16, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC – The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) today released the names of the players whose rights were protected for the 2012-2013 season:

Columbus:  Derek Pallardy, John Sullivan, James Durham, Sam Bowles, Greg Beller, Jordan Braid, Levi Lind, Daniel Amesbury, Bret Tyler, Andrew Krelove, Tom Maldonado, Kevin Kessler, Andrew Loewen

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vipers Name Robinson & Read New Assistant Coaches:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vipers Announce Assistant Coaches

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - Submitted by Vipers Staff

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club is pleased to announce the signing of two assistant coaches for the upcoming season. The Vipers have signed Jason Read and David Robinson.

Jason Read who currently resides in Calgary Alberta has an extensive coaching background. He has been coaching for 18 years and primarily works with the defense. Read has most recently been working with the Calgary Royals Midget AAA program. Before that he worked in the BCHL with Victoria and has also worked with the midget AAA program in Kelowna.

David Robinson is well known to Vernon residents. He is a local product and has captained the Vipers to their most recent RBC appearance. Dave is looking to start a new chapter in his life and is very excited to be a part of his hometown team.

Coach Williamson says “The addition of both Jason and Dave solidifies the coaching staff for the future. Both guys will greatly help our organization grow and be integral parts of our success going forward. I am very excited to be able to work with these two class guys in the future.”

For further information please contact the Vipers office at 250-542-6022.

How Do The Vipers Land Robin & Statchuk When Both Players Rights Are Owned By A SJHL Team?

Back on May, 10th 2012 the Vipers announced they have two commitments for this coming season.  (17 year old defenceman Michael Statchuk and 17 year old forward Landon Robin)  But after doing some digging I come across the Kindersley Klippers blog that posted back in June of 2011 the Klippers aquired the rights to Landon Robin from Notre Dame.  I continued to search for more into on this trade and come across the Klippers website wich posted the Klippers then traded Landon's rights to the SJHL Nipawin Hawks on this years SJHL trade deadline.  The Klippers also aquired Michael Statchuk from Weyburn in another trade back in late November.  My question is, how did Robin & Statchuk commit to the Vipers if both players rights are owned by two teams from the SJHL?  Wouldnt the Vipers have to trade for these two kids?  Was there a trade that happened?  I checked out the Hawks & Klippers website and no news or info on any kind of trade. 

Here is the write-up from the Kindersley Klippers blog:

Rockie Zinger On Bringing In Landon Robin

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Here is an interview with Rockie Zinger and the press release from the Klippers. This is also not the big news I had eluded to in my previous post. Rockie Zinger had mentioned their is still some big news on the way in the near future.

Posted by Brenden Ullrich

The Kindersley Klippers organization announced today that they acquired the rights to Landon Robin from Notre Dame in exchange for the rights to Dillon Schwartzenberger. Robin is a 1994 born forward who’s played the last two seasons’ with the Beardy’s Blackhawks in the SMAAAHL.

In two years with the Blackhawks, Robin managed to score a total of 43 regular season points in 78 games and added 5 more points in 9 playoff contests. Even more impressive was that the 5’11’ forward managed to score at just barely under a point a game clip as a second year midget in the always-impressive AAA Midget loop.

“We feel as an organization that after watching Landon at the Mac’s Tourney and throughout the winter that there is no doubt in our minds that he is ready to take the next step in his development as a player and really challenge himself to become an even better player and that’s why he’s been on our radar for sometime now as a player that we’d like to acquire.” Comments Klippers Coach Rockie Zinger.

Schwartzenberger who is a 1993 born forward, is also no slouch when it comes to hockey as he finished third in scoring on his AAA Midget team, the Saskatoon Blazers, in scoring this season with 27 points in 33 games.

The Kindersley Klippers would like to wish Dillon the best of luck in his future endeavors while at the same time extend a warm welcome to Landon and his entire family to the Klippers organization.

This is posted on the Kindersley Klippers website:

Hoffman to Weyburn, Duzan to Humboldt

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Kindersley Klippers have fully commited to the rebuild having traded veteran forwards Jordon Hoffman and Taylor Duzan in a matter of days.

On December 1st Kindersley officially shipped 1991 F Taylor Duzan (Saskatoon, SK) to the Humboldt Broncos for 1995 F Matt McLeod and future considerations.

Just a few days prior to that the Klippers traded 1991 F Jordon Hoffman (Major, SK) to the Weyburn Red Wings for 1993 F Trent Hermary (Sylvan Lake, AB), 1994 D Michael Statchuk and 1994 D Kody Thue.
Here is another write-up from the Kindersley Klippers website:

Busy Trade Deadline Day For Kindersley

Thursday, January 12, 2012

By Brenden Ullrich

The Kindersley Klippers had already committed to a rebuild prior to the December 1st roster cut down deadline shipping out 20 year old forwards Jordon Hoffman, Jesse Mysiorek and Taylor Duzan.

They continued that rebuild getting even younger on the January 10th trade deadline as the Klippers were the leagues biggest sellers.

Kindersley got the ball rolling in terms of trades around the league Tuesday afternoon shipping out 19 year old forward Wheaton King to the Nipawin Hawks. The trade seen King along with list forward Landon Robin to Nipawin. In exchange Kindersley received 1993 born center Alex Laird, 1994 born list forward Colton Schick and 1995 born list defenseman Branden Scheidl.

The move may have come as a surprise to some with Wheaton King still having a year left of junior A eligibility next season. Rockie Zinger says their wasn't a need to trade King but that Nipawin had been after the forward for some time now.

" I don't really think their ever is a need to deal a player unless it's disciplinary and that certainly wasn't the case with Wheaton. Nipawin had been after his services for sometime now and we felt we had to improve our list moving forward. We have a good group of 1993 defenseman, some good 1994 defenseman, but we felt the one area we needed to improve on was our 1995 defenseman and Scheidl is a pretty skilled puck moving dman. It also became apparent to us that Landon Robing was likely to venture over to B.C next season. Rather than losing someone for nothing, we included him to gain Colton Schick. That's not to forget that Alex Laird was a highly recruited Midget AAA player last year with the Swift Current Legionnaires. Both Laird and Schick had been center pieces at the deadline last year for the Hawks. We strengthened our club for the long run and we feel that Laird will be able to step in and provide offense that we are missing with Wheaton moving out. "

Unlike the King trade, a player that many expected to be moved on deadline day was Taylor Wasden. Wasden, the only 1991 born player left on the Klippers roster was traded to the Melville Millionaires for future considerations.

Wasden suited up in 90 games with the Kindersley Klippers over the past 2 and a half seasons scoring 6 goals and adding 11 assists. He also accumulated 217 penalty minutes. Wasden says it's been a difficult last couple of days knowing he was likely to be dealt, but hes excited about the opportunity ahead.

" Yea you know, I had two and a half awesome years in Kindersley that I wont forget. I come though to Melville with a good chance of going on a deep playoff run and you know that's what its all about is continuing to play hockey. It's a new town, a new rink and I am looking forward to a fresh start. I do though want to thank alot of people, my billets Garth and Gail MacDonald, everyone involved with the Klippers organization, the boys on the team and everyone in the community that supported us. Thanks alot and we will see you all on the 25th. "

The Kindersley Klippers will move forward with their young squad with the hopes of catching the Notre Dame Hounds for the final Sherwood playoff spot. Kindersley currently is 10 points back of the Hounds with 16 games remaining on the campaign.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Former Viper Justin Bourne Experience With The Choice Between Major Junior & College Hockey:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Justin Bourne writes about what a young player goes through as he chooses between the college route and the CHL.  Bourne who played two years in Vernon (2001-2003) collected (58-73-131) in 120 regular season games with the Vipers.  Bourne went on to play four years at the University of Anchorage Alaska as well as attended the New York Islanders training camp in 2007 before a serious jaw injury in semi-pro forced Bourne to retire.  Bourne is now is a hockey writter for USA Today, the Hockey News as well as having-writing his own blog,

Justin Bourne's Player Profile:

This was posted on Justin's blog:

My experience with the choice between major junior and college hockey

Posted by Justin Bourne under Insight, Personal on May 11, 2012

After reading about Seth Jones choosing major junior over NCAA hockey – a fine choice for the talented young buck – I felt the need to weigh in with my thoughts on The Choice, and share the path I took to come to a decision. Hope you enjoy, or at the very least, learn something about the process you didn’t know before.

I tried out for the Kelowna Rockets, one of the premier programs in the Western Hockey League, in the fall of 2000. I was 17 years old, although in the junior hockey world I was considered an 18 year old because I was born in 1982. I was coming off of a successful year of Midget AA, having been captain of a team that won the BC provincial championship. But being that I was that old and undrafted, I was a definite longshot and I knew it.

The thing is, I had a really good camp, and sometimes you catch people off guard. I scored twice in a heavily attended low-scoring intra-squad game in Kelowna’s Prospera Place, and was invited to travel with the team to Kamloops to play the Blazers in the first of a number of exhibition games. They had already made a great many cuts by this point.

As a young player, you deal with a range of ideas and emotions: I’m from Kelowna, so if I could walk onto the hometown Kelowna Rockets and make it…I have to do that, right? (By the way, the Rockets won the Memorial Cup in the next year or two. Dammit.) But, I was also a gangly kid who got cut to house hockey his first year of Bantam, got better (read: bigger) in a hurry, and had figured out that you can get your entire undergrad education paid for if you play junior A puck. I also knew that if I played one game – even an exhibition game – at the major junior level, I was ineligible for at least a year of that NCAA hockey (plus a game for every CHL (major junior) game played, I believe), making that dream scholarship less likely.

My parents and I sat in the room and listened to The Most Important People in the Rockets Organization at the time and tried to gauge how likely it was that I would make the team while trying to make the decision to go for it or not. Essentially, it was down to myself and large, fellow right-winger Randall Gelech (a player far better than I, who would’ve likely played in the NHL for years by now had he not been drafted/buried in the Red Wings organization when they were on top of the world for years). We told them our concerns about NCAA eligibility. And they told us “how this works”: just play/tryout, and we’ll rip up the rosters after the game. If you make it – and you have a good chance – cool. If you don’t, you’ll be fine. I’m not sure if it still does, but it seems this is a thing that occasionally happened at the time.

My parents didn’t want me to play. Between all of us, a college scholarship was the goal. If I got an education paid for then the investment in gear, practices, and time would have amounted to something. Yes, you can get Canadian college hockey paid for after playing major junior, but it’s suuuuper rare to advance, hockey-wise, beyond that. You’re basically saying it’s NHL or done-by-20. NCAA puck gives late bloomers (like myself) years to develop against incredible talents to see what you can become.

At 15 or 16 or 17, a young hockey player has to a make a decision that will forever change his career and his life: take your shot at Major Junior or commit to the college path.

I played Junior B hockey that winter, led my conference in points (beating Chuck Kobasew’s team record), and finished second overall in the league to Andrew Ebbett. That summer, I signed a card with the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL, trained my butt off, and committed to earning that scholarship.

I scored 131 points over my 120 game Junior A career, and we won a BCHL title. After fly-down visits to three different NCAA schools, I accepted a full Div. 1 scholarship (to the University of Alaska Anchorage) just like my family had hoped – just like I had hoped.

So here I sit, with a primary education in hockey, but a different title on my business card, and I couldn’t be happier. I got an education (an education your love of hockey forces you to get, if you want to play), found my best friends and really, myself. College was an experience I can’t explain, an experience I’d never give back. I was fortunate to have the opportunity. (I was more fortunate that I lived with guys capable of installing a keg-orator line from the garage to the kitchen sink, giving us water taps labelled hot, cold and beer.)

When most players have to make the decision between major junior and college, they take what they can get. Most don’t reject one for the other; their talents, age and size direct them one way or the other. Only a lucky few get to choose.

Either one works. There is a hockey cliche that “If you’re good enough, they’ll find you”. And it’s true. They’ll find you in Timbukfuckingtu if you’re NHL calibre. It’s insane. Few are overlooked.

As someone quickly approaching their 30th birthday thinking about what I’d do if I were a young player now deciding between the two, I can’t help but think: I’d have to be awfully damn good to choose major junior hockey over college. It’s not taking anything away from those who choose to go the CHL route, it’s just that one way seems a little more all-or-nothing than the other. Both seem like flying down the highway on a motorcycle, but one affords you a helmet.

As a further college hockey pump-up: going that route isn’t exactly a hockey dead end. During my years in the WCHA I faced some great players – Zach Parise, Tomas Vanek, TJ Oshie, David Backes, Matt Niskanen, Alex Goligoski, Kyle Okposo, Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler, Andreas Nodl, Jonathan Toews, Chris Conner, Matt Greene, Keith Ballard, Matt Carle, Paul Stastny, Joey Crabb, Ryan Potulny, Ryan Stoa, Brandon Bochensky, Brian Lee, Matt Smaby, Drew Stafford, Rene Bourque, Adam Burish, Brian Elliot, Tom Gilbert, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Suter, Travis Zajac, Ryan Carter, Jason Garrison, and the toughest to play of all of them all at the time, 5’7″ Hobey Baker-winner Ryan Duncan (AHL). I was also teammates with Curtis Glencross, Jay Beagle and Nathan Lawson. You can develop at that level, and you can still make it big.

For the big guns, major junior is great too: it’s more pro-style puck, it’s great exposure, and it’s comparable to the NHL schedule.

Nobody can say for certain what’s the best route – each player has a different set of developmental needs, and each league fulfills those differently.

But for those who could use a little more time to develop and miiiigghht just want to hedge their bets on the future with an education, college hockey is the way to go.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Thoughts:

With most BCHL teams already announcing several new recruits-commitments the Vernon Vipers have been pretty quiet over the off season until just recently announcing the signings of 17 year old forward Landon Robin and 17 year old defenceman Michael Statchuk.

Statchuk A fifth-round draft pick of the WHL Saskatoon Blades, is listed at 5'11 190 lbs was named Top Defenceman at the Macs Midget AAA Tournament. Statchuk collected (13-26-29) in 44 games this past season. A former captain has some size and is highly touted by several scouts. With the addition of Statchuk the Vipers now have seven defenceman heading into training camp this coming August.

Brett Corkey "92"
Ryan Renz "93"
Michael Statchuk "94"
Marc Hetnik "92"
Geoff Crisfield "93"
Max Mowat "93"
Turner Lawson "94"

Robin who also has some size is listed at 6' 185 lbs collected (27-23-50) in just 33 games this past season. Also a former captain was highly touted by several scouts. With the addition of Robin the Vipers now have seven forwards heading into camp this coming summer.

Both players sound very skilled, have some good size and I like that both are former captains, wich will add some leadership. My biggest question is are these two players the real deal? Viper fans over the years have heard or read alot of so called new recruits coming to Vernon that were highly touted but before the season was a month or two old those so called top end players were being shipped out of town. Over the years Viper fans have seen several so called top recruits come into camp but were being released or traded early into the start of the new season. The Vipers have been badly out recruited over the last several years and it has shown. Teams like Penticton, Salmon Arm and Westside always seem to scout-recruit high end top prospects wich are among some of the best players in the BCHL. You sure havnt seen many players from Vernon in the leagues top scoring over the last four or five years.

My second concern is the Vipers have 13 players returning from last years team. Out of those 13 players the Vipers have just two twenty year olds (Brett Corkey & Marc Hetnik) wich mean they can still add four twenty year olds to their roster. Will the Vipers be looking at making some trades over the summer to try and aquire some veteran twenty year olds?   The other question is the Vipers dont have alot of outstanding returning players that they could use as trade bait?  A top end player that another team would be looking for.  Sure you have Brett Corkey, Adam Tambellini and maybe Aaron Hadley but you need and want those kids to be apart of your team.  Out of the 13 returning players there isnt alot of scoring-offence up front. Most of Vernon's returning players are hard working players, grinders that play physical, work hard but dont put up alot of big numbers.  Other then Adam Tambellini and maybe Aaron Hadley who else can the Vipers count on for atleast 20-25 goals this season?  I sure hope the Vipers coaching staff and scouts have done their homework and will add some veteran players, as well as offensive-skilled forwards who can put the puck in the net. Last season the Vipers had just one line that did the majority of the teams scoring as the Vipers the last two seasons lacked a pure goal scorer. I also think the Vipers or just about any junior team starting a new season needs that veteran goaltender between the pipes if they want to make any kind of run in the playoffs. With twenty year old goaltender Kirby Halcrow finishing his junior hockey career the Vipers are now left with 17 year old backup Danny Todosychuk. You have to wonder if Jason Williamson is working the phones over the off season looking at aquiring a veteran 19 or 20 yr old goaltender? My biggest question last season was the Vipers knew Halcrow wouldnt be returning, why didnt they bring in a older backup who could return this season as the teams #1?

Alot of questions heading into a new season. Will the Vipers announce anymore new recruits-commitments? Will we see any trades over the summer?

Here is a look at the Vipers returning players and committed players for this coming season.


Brett Corkey "92"
Ryan Renz "93"
Michael Statchuk "94"
Marc Hetnik "92"
Geoff Crisfield "93"
Max Mowat "93"
Turner Lawson "94"


Landon Robin "94"
Adam Tambellini "94"
Aaron Hadley "93"
Colton Sparrow "93"
Jedd Soleway "94"
Brendan Persley "93"
Riley Hunt "95"


Danny Todosychuk "94"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

IceGators Add Former Viper Rob Short To Teams Protected List:

The SPHL released the names of the players who rights were proteced by each team for the upcoming 2012-13 season.  The Louisiana IceGators have added and protected 13 players from their roster, including former Vernon Vipers forward Rob Short.  Short finished his second season with the IceGators and third season playing in the SPHL. Short was called up to the CHL Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees for a short stint during the regular season, but sent back down to Louisiana. Short played five season's in Vernon (2006-2010) and is the only player in franchise history to have his number retired. In 229 regular season games with the Vipers Short collected (61-76-137).

Rob Short's Player Profile:

This is posted on the SPHL website:

SPHL Announces Protected Lists

Date: May 16, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC – The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) today released the names of the players whose rights were protected for the 2012-2013 season:

Louisiana: Greg Brown, Jason Hill, Brayden Metz, Robbie Short, Josh Boyd, August Aiken, Tyler Lyon, Sean Murray, Clark Byczynski, Josh Duplantis, Eric Tallent, Ryan Pearson, B.J. O’Brien

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Former Vernon Lakers Defenceman Purinton Leaves Capitals:

Former Vernon Lakers defenceman Dale Purinton wont be back with the BCHL Cowichan Valley Capitals next season.  Purinton who played one season in Vernon (1993-1994) collected (1-6-7) in 42 regular season games with the Lakers also racked up 193 penalty minutes.  In mid October of 2009 Purinton was named Head Coach of the BCHL Cowichan Valley Capitals before Purinton and Jim Ingram were named Associate Coaches in late March of 2011.  Purinton was drafted by the New York Rangers in Round 5 117th overall in the 1995 NHL entry draft.

Dale Purinton's Player Profile:

This is posted in the Cowichan Valley Citizen newspaper:

Caps bid Purinton farewell

Coach heads out after nearly three seasons

Kevin Rothbauer, Citizen

Published: Wednesday, May 09, 2012

After a successful season sharing the Cowichan Valley Capitals bench with Jim Ingram, Dale Purinton is moving on.

Purinton was named head coach of the team in October 2009 and held that job until the 2011 offseason when he was paired with Ingram, both men holding the title of associate coach. May 14 will be his last day with the Caps as Ingram takes the reins solo.

There are no regrets as he steps away from junior A hockey to focus on his family, Purinton said.

"The thing in hockey is there is always change," he said. "It's about how you approach it, and for me, it's all positive."

Purinton has good relationships with Ingram and assistant coach Aaron Plumb, and with the ownership group, and that won't change, he said. He will continue to live with his wife and kids in Cowichan Bay, and will still contribute to the Caps when he has a chance.

"I want to help them out and stay in the community," he said.

With a resume that includes nearly 200 National Hockey League games, part of a long professional career, and plenty of contacts in the sport, Purinton won't have trouble finding another hockey job if he wants it. But he's not anxious to start anywhere else soon.

"I'm not thinking too much about it," he said. "There's always stuff you can do if you want it."

The Caps are sorry to see Purinton go. "He'll be dearly missed," said Gordon, the Caps' majority owner. "He's good with the kids, but it was time to move on."

Gordon said he would have liked to go on with the pairing of Purinton and Ingram, who shepherded the Caps to the third-best regular season record in the British Columbia Hockey League's Coastal Conference, one point out of second place, before a seventh-game overtime playoff loss.

"They worked so well together," said Gordon.

Purinton was a feared enforcer in the NHL, collecting 578 penalty minutes in 181 games, but he didn't have the same attitude as a coach.

"He had his issues on the ice, but that's not him as a person," said Gordon.
As a coach, Purinton's main concern was the players, and working with them is what he will remember best about his tenure with the Caps.

"All the kids I got to work with and who were part of the team, I'm super happy I got to do it."

Purinton expressed his gratitude to the Caps' owners, directors, fans, and "everyone who made it a special time here," as well.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Former Viper Dorais Commits To Okanagan College:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Trent Dorais who recently committed to Southern Alberta Institute of Technology back in mid January has committed to the Okanagan College Coyotes for the 2012-13 season.  The former Alberni Valley Bulldogs captain (2009-2012) also played two seasons in Vernon where he started his junior career with the Vipers (2007-2009).

Trent Dorais's Player Profile:

Dorais commits closer to home with Okanagan College
Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - Submitted by BCHL Media/Okanagan College

The Okanagan College Coyotes are pleased to announce the commitment of Alberni Valley Bulldogs captain Trent Dorais for the comming season. Dorais will attend Okanagan College next season while studying in the electrical apprentice program.

Dorais wore the “C” for the Bulldogs where he spent his past three seasons. The Vernon native compiled impressive numbers over five seasons in the BCHL including 205 total games played. He started his junior career at home in Vernon where he played for two seasons before the transition to Alberni Valley. Dorais collected 34 goals and 49 assists for 83 total points over his junior career.

After originally committing to play for the SAIT Trojans of the ACAC next season, Dorais decided that playing close to home and attending OC was the best option for him personally.

“We are very pleased that Trent has decided to stay in the Okanagan and play for the Coyotes next season,” said Coyotes GM Kolby Barnstable. “Adding a player of Trent’s character and skill is huge for our program. Trent is the type of player you build your roster around, we couldn’t be happier with this addition.”

“Okanagan College is a great fit for me and I am very excited to stay close to home and play with the Coyotes," said Dorais. "I had a great junior hockey experience but feel I am ready to make the transition into College.”

Dorais will be counted on to fill a big role for the Coyotes next season as they look to build on a 16 win campaign. Dorais is the second captain that the OC has committed for next season, joining Beaver Valley Nighthawk Chris Derochie as Okanagan’s first two commitments for the 2012-13 season.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Corkey Great Choice For Captain:

I just wanted to congratulate Vernon Vipers defenceman Brett Corkey on being named the clubs 16th captain in Vipers history.  Corkey one of still five Vipers returning for a third season was Assiatant Captain last year will bring that leadership and experience to the Vipers on and off the ice.

Corkey who played most of the second half of last season injured hopefully will be 100% healthy heading into training camp.  It goes to show you how much Brett wants to lead and guide this team into a playoff contender and turn around this Vipers hockey team that missed the BCHL playoffs for the first time in ten years returns for a third season.  Corkey who could have easily left for Colgate University wanted to stay and play his final year of junior hockey in Vernon. 

Brett will be looked apon to lead by example on and off the ice, lead in the dressing room and teach the young rookies coming in what it takes to be a Vernon Viper.  Corkey is one of six defenceman returning to the Vipers this coming season (Ryan Renz, Marc Hetnik, Geoff Crisfield, Max Mowat and Turner Lawson) this meaning there is only room for newcomer Michael Statchuk (committed for this season).

All the best to Brett Corkey & the Vipers this coming season!! 

Here is a look at the returning players from last years team

Brett Corkey "92"
Adam Tambellini "94"
Aaron Hadley "93"
Colton Sparrow "93"
Jedd Soleway "94"
Ryan Renz "93"
Marc Hetnik "92"
Brendan Persley "93"
Geoff Crisfield "93"
Max Mowat "93"
Riley Hunt "95"
Turner Lawson "94"
Danny Todosychuk "94"

Here is a look at all previous Viper captains from over the years

Vernon Vipers Previous Captains:

2012-13 Brett Corkey
2011-12 Patrick McGillis
2010-11 David Robinson
2009-10 Kevin Kraus
2008-09 Chris Crowell
2007-08 Chris Crowell
2006-07 Mike Ullrich
2005-06 Andy Zulyniak
2004-05 Mark Nelson
2003-04 Jake Wilkens
2002-03 Chad Murray
2001-02 Jason Williamson
2000-01 Jason Williamson
1999-00 Kori Davison
1998-99 Lennie Rampone
1997-98 Adam Stewart
1996-97 Vic Sharma
1995-96 Jeff Cheeseman

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Capitals Aquire Former Vernon Viper Goaltender Matt Zaba:

The UPC Vienna Capitals have aquired former Vernon Vipers goaltender, Matt Zaba. Zaba played the last two seasons in Italy with Bolzano HC.  Zaba played one season with the Vipers after coming over in a trade with the Penticton Panthers just days before the start of the regular season (2002-03).  Zaba went 34-9 during the regular season picking up two shutouts and a 2.21 GAA before playing four years at Colorado College.   Zaba was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings In round 8, 231 overall at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.  Zaba made his NHL debut on January 23, 2010 with the New York Rangers in a game vs the Montreal Canadiens.

Matt Zaba's Player Profile:
This is posted on the Capitals website:

Matt Zaba new Goalie for the Capitals

May, 8th 2012

UPC Vienna Capitals have completed their Goalie-tandem for the upcoming season by acquiring the services of 28 years old netminder Matt Zaba (CAN), who will compete for the starting spot with Fabian Weinhandl.

Matt Zaba, an eighth round selection for the Los Angeles Kings, born in Yorkton, SK, Canada, is the new co-number one for the UPC Vienna Capitals. Zaba arrives from Italian Serie A with a championship medal which he acquired in his second season with HC Bolzano. His 95.4 save percentage in the play-offs and a GAA of 1.31 were instrumental for the Foxes title successful challenge. Zaba had played in the NCAA with Colorado College before going through the ranks of the lower leagues in North America. ECHL with Charlotte Checkers and Idaho Steelheads, AHL with the Hartford Wolf Pack and one game with the NHLs’ New York Rangers followed before decided it was time to see the world and went on to play with Serie As’ Bolzano.
Here, he was spotted by Bernd Freimueller, who heavily advised Headcoach Thommy Samuelsson about the 6’1” goaltender: “We will see 70 to 80 games next season and need two great goalies. We have those now. Matt is just like Fabian, he wants to go far, and has a great character, too. That was very important for me. You don’t need to know more about Zabas‘ abilities then the figures. 200 goals in 100 games, that’s an average we’d welcome a lot.

Confirmed players for UPC Vienna Capitals für 2012/13

Goal: Matt Zaba, Fabian Weinhandl
Defence: Andre Lakos, Philippe Lakos, Peter Schweda, Sven Klimbacher, Dan Bjornlie, Jamie Fraser, Adrian Veideman
Forwards: Benoit Gratton, Francois Fortier, Rafael Rotter, Philipp Pinter, Zdenek Blatny, Jonathan Ferland, Daniel Woger, Mario Seidl, Mario Fischer, Markus Schlacher, Michael Schiechl

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Scouting This Years RBC Cup:

Earlier this BCHL season when the City of Vernon & the Vipers announced they would be making a bid for the 2014 Royal Bank Cup Viper fans were asked to support the RBC Cup bid, most fans signed up to receive a RBC Cup newsletter. I received my second newsletter-email Thursday and wanted to share a few articles that were posted inside the RBC Cup newsletter. Here is one of them,

Thursday, May 10th 2012

Scouting This Years RBC Cup:

Three members of the Vernon RBC Cup bid committee 3-4
have been in Humboldt this week.

Betty and Don Klepp were there for the opening
ceremonies and the tournament’s opening games.

On his way home from business meetings in Eastern
Canada, Chris Collard spent Wednesday and Thursday
in Humboldt.

“It was like a homecoming for us,” says Betty. We lived
in Saskatoon most of our lives and Don used to scout
the Saskatchewan league in rinks such as Humboldt.”

Both of them were very pleased with their reception.
“When we told them why we were there,” says Betty,
they went out of their way to answer our questions and
share their tips for running a successful tournament.”

“In fact,” adds Don, when the word spread that we were
there, members of their leadership group looked for us
so they could welcome the Vernon representatives and
tell us what they’ve learned.”

Monday, May 14, 2012

Former Viper Strachan & The Rampage Fall Short In AHL Semifinals:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman Tyson Strachan & the AHL San Antonio Rampage season came to an end Friday night after a 4-3 loss to the Oklahoma City Barons.  The Barons took the series (Western Conference Semifinals) in five games.  The Barons will now advance to the Western Conference Finals vs the Toronto Marlies.  Former Vernon Vipers forward Andrew Lord is in his second season with the Barons hasnt played all year is still suffering from concussion like symptons. In 34 regular season games with Oklahoma City last season Lord collected (1-6-7). Lord played two years in Vernon (2002-2004) In 116 regular season games with the Vipers Lord collected (22-50-78).

Strachan played one season in Vernon (2002-03) collecting (6-22-28) in 56 regular season games with the Vipers, before playing four years at Ohio State University. Strachan was drafted by Carolina in the fifth round (137th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Strachan signed as a free agent with the Florida Panthers back in July after playing the last four seasons with the AHL Peoria Rivermen & the NHL St. Louis Blues.  Strachan split this year with the NHL Florida Panthers and the AHL San Antonio Rampage.

Tyson Strachan's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Rampage website:

Friday, May 11th 2012

Rampage's season ends in 4-3 Game 5 loss to Barons

Box Score

The San Antonio Rampage’s season came to a close on Friday as they fell to the Oklahoma City Barons 4-3 at the AT&T Center. San Antonio was defeated in five games, 4-1, by the Barons in their Western Conference Semifinal series.

Mark Arcobello gave Oklahoma City a 1-0 lead with a power-play tally 19:56 into the opening period. He found the rebound of a Ryan Keller shot and deposited the puck behind Rampage backstop Jacob Markstrom for his fourth goal of the playoffs.

The Barons went up 2-0 when Bryan Rodney potted a power-play goal at the 9:26 mark of the second period. He picked up his first postseason marker on a point shot that eluded a screened Markstrom.

San Antonio cut their deficit to 2-1 with a power-play goal from Michal Repik at the 18:06 mark of the second. He took a cross-ice feed from Bracken Kearns and beat Barons goaltender Yann Danis to the goaltender’s right to post his first goal of the playoffs.

Keller pushed the Oklahoma City lead back to two goals, at 3-1, 2:12 into the third period. He tapped home the rebound of a Hunter Tremblay shot for his third goal of the postseason.

The Rampage made the count 3-2 in favor of the Barons with a Scott Timmins wrist shot from the left circle that eluded Danis’ blocker. Timmins’ first goal of the playoffs came at the 4:55 mark of the third.

Mark Cullen scored just 22 seconds following Timmins’ goal to knot the game at 3-3. Kearns found Cullen with a pass at the left circle and Cullen wristed a shot into the left side of the net for the goal. The marker was his fourth of the playoffs.

Oklahoma City posted the series-clinching goal with just over two minutes remaining. While on the power play, Keller swatted a puck out of mid-air past Markstrom to hand the Barons a 4-3 lead with his second marker of the contest and fourth of the postseason.

Danis made 22 saves on 25 Rampage shots while Markstrom turned aside 27 of 31 Barons attempts.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Vipers Ink Prairie Duo:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers ink Prairie duo

After a disappointing B.C. Hockey League season, the Vernon Vipers have harvested a pair of Prairie products in their quest to rebuild and rebound.

Head coach Jason Williamson announced Thursday the commitments of two Saskatchewan Midget AAA League talents – defenceman Michael Statchuk of the Prince Albert Mintos, and centre Landon Robin of Beardy’s Blackhawks.

Statchuk, who was named Top Defenceman at the Macs Midget AAA Tournament in Calgary, is the younger brother of former Salmon Arm SilverBack forward Travis Statchuk, now with the NCAA Division 1 Ohio State Buckeyes.

“Heavily recruited kid who’s just a good all-around defenceman,” said Williamson. “Captain of his team with good leadership qualities. He’s a kid who should be able to step right in and log minutes on the back end and be an impact player.”

A fifth-round draft pick of the WHL Saskatoon Blades, Statchuk was the Mintos’ top scoring d-man, posting 13-26-29 in 44 games. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Wadena, Sask. product is equally sound academically, graduating high school half a year ahead of schedule.

Having followed his big brother’s progress with the SilverBacks and onto college, Statchuk says it was an easy decision to play in B.C.

“Just the family knowing it’s a very good league with a lot of scholarships...that’s definitely something I’m aiming towards,” he said. “It’s probably one of the best in Canada for Junior A, if not the best.”

After a mediocre start to the Midget season, the Mintos finished on a roll, eventually bowing to the Saskatoon Contacts in the championship final.

“Our second half as a team was incredible,” said Statchuk. “We only lost the one game in regulation after Christmas. We ended up being tied for first place.”

Robin is regarded as one of the best two-way forwards in the Saskatchewan league last season, and like Statchuk, was team captain.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder recorded 27 goals and 23 assists in 33 games for the Hawks, who are based out of the Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation in Duck Lake.

“We expect him to come in and be an impact player as well,” said Williamson, of the 18-year-old Saskatoon product. “Give him time to get his feet wet but we expect him to put up some numbers.”

Robin got a taste of what the BCHL is all about when he took in the game between the host Humboldt Broncos and B.C. champion Penticton Vees at the RBC Cup last Sunday. Even though Penticton lost 3-2 in overtime, he said: “They have so many good fast.

“They (Humboldt) played Penticton right though. They’re not as skilled but they went out and wore them down, and their goalie played pretty good too.”

However, it was the Vipers’ three consecutive trips to the RBC final that got his attention initially.

“Watching them on TV the last couple years in the RBC Cup final, it was something I just wanted to be a part of,” said Robin, who visited Vernon in February.

– In other recruiting news, Williamson has begun the process of finding a replacement for assistant coach Chris Shaw, who parted ways with the organization last week.

Williamson, who enters his second season as head coach this fall, has already whittled down the field of candidates and expects to have a decision within the next few weeks.

“I just decided we should go separate ways as we had a difference of opinion,” said Williamson. “We worked out fine and the season went OK, but the organization needs to go in a different direction.”

Williamson, who enters his second season as head coach this fall, has already whittled down the field of candidates and expects to have a decision within the next few weeks.

Corkey Named New Viper Captain:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Corkey named new Viper captain

Brett Corkey has a little unfinished business in the B.C. Hockey League.

The Vernon Vipers’ defenceman probably could have made the leap to the college game, but won’t be joining the NCAA Division 1 Colgate Warriors in Hamilton, N.Y. until after his 20-year-old season with the Snakes.

“Vernon’s a hard spot to leave,” smiled the easy-going Calgary product. “I could definitely benefit from another year.”

As Vernon’s newly named captain, he will be counted on heavily, both for his leadership and his ability to log major error-free minutes, to help his team regroup after it missed the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.

“We had high expectations going into last year, and we didn’t meet those by any means,” said Corkey, who turned 20 in April. “We have a long ways to go, but we still have the same goal when we made it to that last game (RBC Cup final in 2011).

“I’ve got big shoes to fill and I’ve gotta up my game another level from what it was last year.”

Before any thought of a cup quest can happen, Corkey must first rehabilitate from offseason surgery. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound defender played pretty much half a season with a broken bone in his hand and still managed to record a pair of goals and 34 points in 55 games.

Head coach/GM Jason Williamson says it is Corkey’s dedication that made him the easy choice to succeed graduating captain Patrick McGillis.

“Kind of a natural fit,” said Williamson. “He wore a letter last year and he’s been through a lot with us. He’s won a (BCHL) championship, won a World Junior A Challenge (last November in Langley). He’s going to come back and command respect for what he’s been through.

“He’s done what’s asked of him, he’s played through injuries and he’s going to turn this ship around for us.”

Corkey had just underwent his procedure when the Vipers held their spring camp, but he put his amateur scouting skills to the work in helping assess the talent level.

“I saw a couple really good players there so I’m excited about the season with the players we’re bringing in and the guys we’ve got coming back,” he said.

Corkey will have the support of four other third-year players for the coming season – Aaron Hadley, Colton Sparrow, Ryan Renz and Max Mowat.

The Viper blueline received another boost this week when Marc Hetnik said he will return for a second season with the Snakes.

Originally thought to be leaving to join the NCAA Boston University Terriers, Hetnik felt another year of seasoning in the BCHL would be better for his development.

“I decided it was in my best interest to come back,” said Hetnik “I felt like I never got the full experience, not making the playoffs.

“We’re going to have a good group of guys coming back. It’s something exciting to look forward to.”

Hetnik struggled to make an impact in the first half of his rookie season, but seemed to come into his own after the Christmas break, finishing with three goals for 17 points. He admitted living 3,000 miles away from home was a big adjustment.

“It was a different scene, really, and once I made friendships with everybody, I started to play to my ability. Once I felt that comfort level, things started to go my way.”

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Vipers Hetnik Named Tournament Best D-Man At New Englands Pro-Am Hockey Pre-Draft Showcase:

Vernon Vipers defenceman Marc Hetnik was named all tournament best defenceman at last weekends New England Pro-Am Hockey annual Pre-draft showcase.  Hetnik and East Coast Militia fell 3-2 in the Pre-draft showcase final (last Sunday) as Hockey Essentials would take home the championship. Hetnik finished with a goal and three assists in six games at the showcase.  Hetnik and East Coast Militia went 5-0 before losing in the Championship game Sunday.

The Vipers announced Thursday that Hetnik will be returning to Vernon for a second season with the Vipers.  Hetnik was scheduled to head to Boston University this coming season and join former Vipers, Ryan Santana, Sahir Gill & Garrett Noonan.  In his rookie season with the Vipers Hetnik collected (3-14-17) in 60 regular season games.

Marc Hetnik's Player Profile:
The New England Pro-Am started it's first Pre-Draft Showcase back in 1989, a chance for players that are annually eligible for the NHL Entry Draft. It is now a highly successful annual event held in Boston each May. 

For more on New England's Pro-Am Hockey League visit the league website,

For more on New England's Pro-Am Hockey annual Pre-draft showcase visit the league website,

Friday, May 11, 2012

Vipers Name Corkey Captain & Announce Two New Commitments:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

News and Notes
Thursday, May 10, 2012 - Submitted by Staff

May 10th, 2012

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club has several announcements they would like to release. Among them are the announcement of a captain for the 2012-2013 season, the return of a player, two commitments and some news regarding an assistant coach.

The Vipers are extremely pleased to announce that Brett Corkey will serve as captain for the upcoming season. This will be Brett’s third year in Vernon. Brett has been to the RBC and also wore a letter on last year’s WJAC Gold Medal winning team. Coach Jason Williamson says “Brett is a first class kid who will make a great captain. He is a natural leader who leaves everything on the ice. I feel Brett is a premier player in this league and will be a huge part of our success this season.”

Marc Hetnik will be returning to Vernon for another season before heading off to the NCAA. Marc will be looked upon to be a key piece of the D core for next season.

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club is pleased to announce two commitments for next season. Michael Statchuk of the Prince Albert Mintos and Landon Robin of the Beardy’s Blackhawks have both committed to the club for the 2012-2013 season. Statchuk is an all around defenseman who captained the Mintos last season. He will be looked upon to be an immediate impact player. Michael was heavily recruited and a highly sought after player. “Mike is a very mature player who has tremendous hockey career ahead of him. We are extremely excited to be able to add a player of his potential to our team” says Head Coach/GM Jason Williamson.  Landon Robin was also a captain of his team in the SMAAAHL last season. Landon was recruited early by the Vipers. He was described as the best two-way forward in the Saskatchewan Midget hockey league last season. The Saskatoon native will also be looked upon to be an impact player in his first season with Vernon. Coach Williamson says “Landon has great ability and composure beyond his years. He is a very smart player who competes hard and is great at both ends of the ice.”

The Vernon Vipers have narrowed their search for a new assistant coach and will be making an announcement in the next week or two in regards to this. The Vipers would like to thank Chris Shaw for his time with the club and wish him luck in his future endeavour.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Family Affair:

Earlier this BCHL season when the City of Vernon & the Vipers announced they would be making a bid for the 2014 Royal Bank Cup Viper fans were asked to support the RBC Cup bid, most fans signed up to receive a RBC Cup newsletter. I received my newsletter last week and wanted to share a few articles that were posted inside the RBC Cup newsletter. Here is final one of three that I have now posted,

April, 27th 2012

A Family Affair

By Don Klepp

When Brett Corkey joined the Vipers in the fall of 2010, no one in his family could have predicted the extent to which his family would become part of the ongoing life of the Viper organization.

“I came to play hockey, period,” says Brett. “I didn’t expect that Vernon would become a second home.  And that first season was kind of magical, the way we made the run in the playoffs especially.”

He laughs about his mother Sue’s involvement. “It seemed that every time I looked up in the stands, there she’d be. She almost spent more time here than at home in Calgary.” In fact, Sue Corkey made it to about 65 Viper regular season and playoff games in the 2010-11season. And she has made some very good friends in Vernon. “It’s a welcoming place; we feel very much at home here, and I love the way Brett has become a part of this community.”

Brett’s father Ray says that the sense of family “started early with [head scout] Larry Black’s interest in Brett. Larry faithfully called once a week to keep in touch. Then the coaches were very up front, very honest and respectful. The Vipers make only promises that they can keep; they don’t promise you the world just to get you here. Players have to earn their way onto the team. I respect that.”

Ray had expected that Brett would play closer to home: “He could have played in Camrose or another AJHL city when he was 17. It would have made our travel a lot easier,” he admits with a wry smile. “But Brett did his research. He chose to wait a year so that he could play for the Vipers. He made a fine decision, I must say. He learned a lot last year and progressed as a player.”

The extent of that progress became evident when Brett was one of the top defencemen at the 2011 RBC Cup in Camrose. He led all players in the round robin portion of the tournament with a goal and six assists and played solid defence.

He and his parents were back in Vernon this April 20-22, for the Vipers’ spring prospect camp. Unable to play because he had wrist surgery on April 19, Brett was a bench coach for several of the games. He and his dad were asked to comment on how players performed during the camp, further proof of how the Corkeys have been welcomed into the Viper family.

Ray refers to himself as a “bird watcher.” In a sense, he’s a Viper recruiter: “When parents of good players whom we know in Calgary ask about Vernon, I tell them that there’s no better place to play. A bonus is that the BCHL generates a lot more scholarships than other leagues, partly because here the emphasis seems to be on fast, skilled hockey.”

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Former Viper McDonald Commits To Simon Fraser University:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman Bruin McDonald has committed to play the 2012-13 season at Simon Fraser University.  McDonald who started the 2010-11 season with the WHL Spokane Chiefs was released before joining the Victoria Grizzlies. The Vipers then aquired McDonald from the Grizzlies on the December, 1st 2010 BCHL card deadline for future considerations. McDonald didnt report to Vernon but ended up signing and playing with the QMJHL Gatineau Olympiques before the team released the d-man after playing in just five regular season games.  McDonald then signed with the Coquitlam Express where he would finish the 2011-12 season.  McDonald will join former Vernon Vipers defenceman Tyler Mah (2006-2008) & former Vipers goaltender Graeme Gordon (2008-2010).  Mah & Gordon both finished their first year at Simon Fraser University.   

Bruin McDonald's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Simon Fraser University website:

WHL Grad Bruin McDonald Commits to SFU for 2012/13 Season
Sunday, April 29, 2012 - Submitted by SFU Hockey

APRIL 29, 2012 -- Burnaby, B.C. -- The Simon Fraser University Men’s Ice Hockey program is pleased to announce a commitment from defenceman Bruin McDonald (Coquitlam, B.C.) to attend SFU and join the team for the 2012/13 British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League season.

McDonald played four seasons in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars and Spokane Chiefs. The blueliner notched 10 points and 33 penalty minutes in 53 games in his final full season with Prince George before moving to Spokane and eventually on to the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques. With a strong career in major-junior hockey, McDonald will bolster the defense core for SFU as they pursue their fourth BCIHL title.

“Bruin’s experience and skill set will be a huge asset to our blueline,” says SFU head coach Mark Coletta. “I’m excited to see him raise the level of intensity on the ice and I think he will contribute to the success of our program in a big way.”

“Coming to SFU gives me a chance to join an up and coming program at a very high academic school where I can continue both my hockey career and studies at a high level,” says McDonald.

He describes himself as “smooth skating, and good puck moving defenceman” and aims to establish himself as a top-4 defenceman while maintaining a strong GPA.
McDonald is SFU’s second commitment for the 2012/13 season. Additional player announcements will be made in the coming weeks.