Wednesday, July 29, 2015
BCHL News & Trades:
I found these press releases off team websites, other hockey blogs or online.
BCHL News & Trades:
Grizzlies Announce 14 Player Commitments:
The Victoria Grizzlies announced an astounding 14 player commitments. Joining Victoria are forwards Corey Iapalucci, Tyler Preziuso, Keyvan Mokhtari, Tyler Welsh and defenseman Drayson Pears. Iapalucci is a 19-year-old from Kirkland, PQ. He spent last season with the Ogden Mustangs of the Western States (Tier III Junior A) Hockey League. Iapalucci finished second in scoring on the Mustangs with 53 points (18 goals, 35 assists) in 41 games. He hasn't played junior A hockey in Canada before, but was taken in the second round, 21st overall by the Hawkesbury Hawks in the 2014 Central Canada Hockey League Draft. Preziuso, from Burnaby, BC, played for the BC Major Midget League South Island Royals last season. He tied for third in team scoring with 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists) in 40 games. The 16-year-old was selected in the third round, 61st overall by Medicine Hat in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. Mokhtari also hails from Burnaby. The 17-year-old spent 2014-15 with the Burnaby Winter Club Prep team of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League and posted 36 points (19 goals, 17 assists) in 22 games. He also got into three BCHL games with Trail as an AP and had one assist. Mokhtari was chosen by Everett in the seventh round, 136th overall in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. Welsh, an 18-year-old from Whistler, BC played last season with the Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, where he had 75 points (17 goals, 58 assists) in 48 games. He played one game as an AP for the Grizzlies and scored a goal. Pears is a hometown Victoria player for the Grizzlies. He skated with the VIJHL's Westshore Wolves in 2014-15, tallying 24 points (six goals, 18 assists) in 47 games. The 17-year-old played the previous season for the BCMML South Island Royals, where he had six points (two goals, four assists) in 40 games. It is interesting to note that in their media release, the Grizzlies announced that forward Kale Kane had committed to the team, but Chilliwack already announced his commitment to the Chiefs earlier this month. Word is that the 18-year-old University of Vermont recruit originally committed to Victoria, but changed his mind and decided to go to Chilliwack instead.
Alberni Valley-Mississauga Trade:
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have acquired veteran defenseman Tyler Cooper from the Mississauga Chargers of the OJHL for future considerations. The 6’5”, 215lbs defenseman already brings three years of Junior A experience with him to the Bulldogs. The Oshawa Generals originally drafted Cooper in the 8th round in the 2012 OHL draft. In 150 careers Junior A regular season games split between the Elliot Lake Bobcats of the NOJHL and the Mississauga Chargers, Cooper has contributed 36 points and 276 penalty minutes. Alberni Valley fans can expect Cooper to be a big, physical, stay-at-home defenseman who will block shots and finish his checks. He’s not afraid to drop the gloves to fire up the team or get the crowd involved. “I’ve heard great things about Alberni Valley. From what everyone says it’s a great place to develop and the home of the best fans in the BCHL,” said Cooper. “I’m very excited to move out west, get involved in the community and bring a BCHL championship to Alberni Valley. I’m very grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to making the most of it,” added Cooper. Prior to the start of his Junior A career, Cooper played in the Telus Cup with the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves and also in the OHL Cup high performance program. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs would like to welcome Tyler to the family and look forward to welcoming him in August when the players report for main camp, which officially opens on Monday, August 24, 2015.
Venter Commits To Surrey:
The Surrey Eagles are proud to announce the commitment of defenseman Jon Venter for the 2015-16 BCHL season. Venter, 19, joins the Eagles from Canterbury Prep School in Connecticut. Venter hails from Guilford, CT and was a large piece of the program at Canterbury. “I got a lot of ice, sometimes probably too much ice, but I am grateful for the amount of opportunity I got at Canterbury,” said Venter over the phone. Canterbury holds a rich tradition and the Eagles are no stranger to it. Last year, the Eagles recruited starting goalie Christian Short from Canterbury Prep. Short had a tremendous year with the Eagles, eventually earning a scholarship to R.I.T University for the 2015/16 season. “Christian had great things to say about Surrey and it was one of my top destinations in the BCHL,” added the new Eagles recruit. “We saw Jon play out East in one of our earlier recruiting trips. He stood out to us right away. We feel that he is going to be a key asset to the championship calibre team we have been putting together, “ explained Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, Blaine Neufeld. “We’ve seen a lot of video on him from his past season. We did our homework on him. As a ’96 born player (19 years old) I would expect him to come into camp and show maturity and leadership even though he will be a rookie in our league.” Head Scout Brad Tobin has seen a lot of Venter’s games as well and gave his insight on the newest Eagles recruit. “Jon is a very smooth skating defenseman who can make an excellent first pass. He will use the first exhibition games as a chance to find the speed of the BCHL but we’d imagine he can be a dynamic player very early in the season.” Venter will be joining his Eagles teammates as they open Main Camp August 24th. “I cannot wait to play in such an elite league and focus my time and attention on excelling into an elite player.” The NHL player that Jon compares to, in terms of style and presence, is Erik Karlsson. When Jon isn’t playing hockey he will be hiking and fishing, which are “must do’s” here in beautiful British Columbia. Welcome, Jon, to the Eagles family! The Eagles continue their tradition as they open their 25th exhibition season against the Chilliwack Chiefs at the Nest, South Surrey Arena, on Friday, August 28th at 7pm.
Leipsic Commits To Powell River Kings:
The Kings have added one more piece to their offensive puzzle for 2015/2016, signing 97-born forward Jeremy Leipsic. The 5’8, 155lb forward is from Winnipeg, where he played for the Midget AAA Wild last season putting up 20 goals and 64 assists in 44 games. “We had a really strong season but unfortunately fell short in the playoffs” says Leipsic. “It was a really successful year regardless, I had great team mates that helped me put points on the board.” That’s the primary focus for Leipsic, offensive production. “I play a fast style of game, offensive. I’ve been really working on my defensive game a lot, but I’m an offensive player and help the team as much as I can on the scoreboard.” “Jeremy’s numbers speak for themselves. He’s offensively gifted, he’s quick, he’s gritty and he’s going to be big for our hockey club” says Kings Head Coach and General Manager Kent Lewis. “We’ve been talking with Jeremy for a number of weeks now and we’re confident he’s going to make the jump to Junior hockey successfully and contribute right away for the Kings.” Leipsic will make the trek from Manitoba to Powell River ahead of camp in August, and it’s that road which was paved by a now-former King which helped Leipsic land in Powell River. “The BCHL is probably the top league in Canada and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Powell River, the people and the community” says Leipsic. “Kurt Keats is also a friend of mine and he just raved about the town, so being able to talk to a guy who played there helped my decision (to come).” In addition to offensive talents in his own right as Jeremy, 18, comes from a hockey family. His older brother Brendan, 21, played over 250 games in the Western Hockey League, finishing better than a point per game, before moving onto a continuing pro career. “He’s a huge influence, I’ve been looking up to him since I’ve been playing hockey” adds Leipsic. “I focus on my own career, but he’s a great help in the summer when we train and skate together so he’s someone I definitely look up to.” With a commitment to the BCHL and Powell River secured, Leipsic will turn his attention to making a difficult jump from Midget hockey to Junior. “College hockey, Division 1, is the main goal especially with me coming out west, knowing how much the BCHL and Powell River is scouted. I want to continue working on my defensive game, and just get bigger, stronger, faster off the ice and that’ll be a big part for me to play better on the ice. My expectations right now are to come in and have a good training camp, then look ahead to the season after that." Camp begins in late August at the Hap Parker Arena in Powell River, with exhibitions and the regular season getting underway in September.
Gough Leaves Warriors:
The West Kelowna Warriors would like to congratulate Associate Head Coach/Assistant General Manager Brent Gough on accepting a position in Arizona with the Arizona Bobcats AAA program. Gough, who has spent 5 seasons behind the bench for the Warriors, has taken the position to help align him with his career goals of coaching in NCAA Hockey. “Brent is one of the hardest working guys in the BCHL,” said Head Coach/GM Rylan Ferster, “I’ve always maintained that he could be a great head coach in this league, and I know he will do great things in Arizona.” Gough will remain a member of the Warriors organization as the Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel. The Warriors would also like to announce that Shae Naka will be taking over Brent’s role behind the bench. Naka, a former assistant coach with the Warriors 2 seasons ago, spent last year at Pursuit of Excellence, while filling in numerous times with West Kelowna on the bench and in the press box doing video analysis. “Shae is so good when it comes to video,” said Ferster, “we have done a lot of video analysis work with our players in the past, and that will continue to be a strong component of what we do. He is also an excellent teacher of the game, and I look forward to working with him again.” The Warriors would like to welcome Shae back to the organization in a full-time role, and thank Brent Gough for his contributions over the past 5 seasons, wishing him luck in all of his future endeavors.
Smoke Eaters Sign Livingstone & Korizis:
The Trail Smoke Eaters Hockey Club would like to announce the signing of two players. Colby Livingstone (96) and Evan Korizis (96). The Smoke Eaters will welcome back Colby Livingstone who was an AP with the Smokies 2 years ago. After spending last season with the Amherst Ramblers in the MHL, Livingstone wanted to come back to the BCHL. Livingstone had 10 goals and 21 assists in 48 games for the Ramblers last season. “Colby will bring a solid all around game to Trail and will be looked to help fill some of the offensive void left by our graduating top forwards”, commented Smoke Eaters Head Coach and GM Nick Deschenes. The Smoke Eaters also would like to welcome defenceman Evan Korizis (96) from Quebec to the organization. Korizis is a 6’3”, 230lb defenceman who played last season for the Hotchkiss Prep School, and was a Top 20 scoring defenceman in the New England Prep School League. “I am extremely excited to come play for the Trail Smoke Eaters in the BCHL this season, and am looking forward to being involved with the organization and I can’t wait to get started!” expressed Korizis. “We are excited to add a player such as Evan to our group. Evan is a big strong defenceman that moves well and played a ton of minutes for Hotchkiss Prep School. We are confident Evan is ready to step in and be a steady presence on our back end.” commented Nick Deschenes.
Trail-Prince George Trade:
Defenseman Stephen Penner is heading home after being traded by Trail to Prince George for future considerations. The 19-year-old spent half of the 2014-15 season with the Spruce Kings before being traded to the Smoke Eaters in December along with Cooper Leitch for Viktor Dombrovskiy. In 106 career BCHL games with the Spruce Kings and Trail, the Prince George product has 18 points (four goals, 14 assists).
Nyland Returns To Eagles Bench:
What's old is new again for the Surrey Eagles after they named former NHLer Gary Nylund an Assistant Coach to Blaine Neufeld. Nylund was previously an Assistant Coach with the Eagles from 2010-12 and also a former co-owner of the team. He has been a member of the Delta Fire Department for the past 22 years and is currently a Captain in the Department. Nylund, who was drafted in the first round, 3rd overall in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, is a veteran of 608 NHL games with Toronto, Chicago, and the New York Islanders. He also played one season in the BCHL with the Delta Suns, amassing 35 points (six goals, 29 assists) in 57 games in 1978-79.
Vees Name Jost Captain:
The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce forward Tyson Jost (98) has been named the team’s Captain and defenseman Dante Fabbro (98) has been named an Assistant Captain for the 2015-16 season. President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson says it was an easy decision picking the leadership group, “As we evaluated our past season it became very evident who would lead our team for 2015-16. Tyson and Dante both have the attributes and demeanor that we require out of our Captains. Their consistent work ethic, desire to learn and overall professional approach both on and off the ice is what has created a respect from their teammates, which will make Tyson the natural choice to wear the "C" and Dante one of our "A." “As a coach it has been said that the most critical minutes in your work week is the few moments after you address your team and leave the room; it is at this point where you need your captains to reinforce that message, I believe Tyson has the strength and vision to lead our group." Despite is age, Jost has shown that he can be a leader and the 17-year-old did just that last season. Jost had a terrific season up front for the Vees finishing fourth in team scoring in the regular season, as he averaged nearly a point per-game as a 16-year-old, with 23 goals and 45 points in 46 games; his 23 goals were tied for the team lead. Jost says he was able to learn a lot from last year’s Captains, “Being a part of the leadership team next year is a huge honour. It comes with a lot of responsibility, but it's a role I'm definitely looking forward to. Last year, I had the opportunity of being led by two of the most humble, hardworking captains and I learned a lot from their leadership style. This year I will do my best to lead in the same way as those two. By always giving 110 percent in everything I do, leading by example, and placing team success in front of individual success.” Jost didn’t shy away from the spotlight in the playoffs, scoring a team-best 10 goals in 21 BCHL playoff games, en route to the Vees Fred Page Cup Championship win over Nanaimo. He turned heads at the Western Canada Cup (WCC), compiling five goals and six points as the Vees won their first ever WCC Championship in franchise history. Jost was also named the tournament’s Top Forward and Top Scorer. He shined on the national stage as well, picking up three goals and four points at the 2015 RBC Cup in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Fabbro, like Jost, relished playing in a key role for the Vees despite being their youngest defenseman on the blue-line. The 16-year-old was the third-highest scoring defensemen on the Vees roster this year, compiling 33 points in just 44 games; international duty had him miss 12 games. Fabbro on wearing an ‘A,’ “It really means a lot to me. I learned so much from the group of guys last year in how they handled every situation that came toward them. I like to think that I can lead by example and show how dedicated I am to the team and team success.” Despite his young age, Fabbro excelled in the BCHL post-season, as he was the highest-scoring Vees defenseman, notching four goals and 15 points in 21 playoff games. The bigger the stage, the better Fabbro played, as the blue-liner had a pair of goals and three points in five games at the WCC, and another three assists in five more games at the RBC Cup. Fabbro played a key role on the Vees blue-line in the post-season and his performance at the RBC Cup led to him being named the tournament’s Top Defenseman. The Vees will name another Assistant Captain after the team’s Main Camp in Penticton in late August, and will look to their 20-year-olds as part of their overall leadership group.
Alberni Valley-Calgary Trade:
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs announce two trades involving 20-year-old players for the 2015/16 season. With teams in the BCHL allowed only six, 20-year-old players, these moves were necessary to create room for the coming season. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have traded Everett Putz to the Calgary Mustangs for future considerations. Putz spent one season with the Bulldogs and always gave a complete effort. This trade sees him play out his final year of junior hockey at home in Calgary, AB, where he will sure to be a fan favorite. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have also sent 1995-born defenseman Drew Weich to the Drayton Valley Thunder in the AJHL to complete the future considerations component of the Eric Therrien acquisition from Drayton Valley back in December 2014. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs would like to thank both Drew and Everett for their contributions to the team and our community and wish them the very best with their new teams.
City Of Nanaimo Looking At New Arena-Western Hockey League:
An ambitious vision for a downtown Nanaimo sports and entertainment complex - as well as new residences, a hotel and options for tourism development - has been proposed for the site now occupied by the Howard Johnson Hotel at Terminal Avenue and Comox Avenue. City support, but not capital funding, is being sought for the project. It is spearheaded by Brian Martin, who owns the hotel and the roughly eight-acre property it sits on. Dan Brady, manager of Martin's Howard Johnson Harbourside hotels in Nanaimo and Victoria, said on Friday afternoon that he and other representatives for the project met with Mayor Bill McKay and other senior city officials earlier in the day to discuss the project. "To do a megaproject like this, you have to have the support of city hall," Brady said. He estimates the project's total cost at $80 million. Brady also said he is seeking comments from the public on the proposal, and said people can call him at 250-753-2241. The Western Hockey League has also been informed and is "excited about the project," said Brady, also president of the Nanaimo Hospitality Association and the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation's representative on the Nanaimo Tourism Leadership Committee. A request for comment to the WHL was not returned by press time, although the league has in the past stated it views Nanaimo as a potential franchise expansion, subject to a new arena. Concept drawings for the development show a 5,000-seat arena and a 160-to 170-room hotel on the site, plus a five-storey mixed residential and commercial building. "It's in its infancy right now, we're still putting it together," Brady said. A development permit application has not been filed yet and Friday's meeting is the first effort to gauge support for the project, he said. While the city is not being asked to invest directly in the proposal, Brady said the municipality is being asked to consider working with the proponent to relocate sewer, water and utility lines beneath what is now the parking lot of the Howard Johnson. Brady said the aim is also to have the city support the facility by running some of its recreational programming through the arena. "We would like the city to have it as part of their inventory for ice time, or floor time," Brady said. A private-sector partner may also be sought for the arena portion of the project. Mayor Bill McKay said he wants to learn more about the project, but wants specific details on what sort of commitments - financial and otherwise - that the city may be asked to make to the project. He said residents of the city will also have questions. "We've got to have the answers to those questions," he said. "It's an intriguing project." Projects like these often spur growth in downtown areas, said the mayor. "It's a great starting point, no ifs or buts about it," McKay added. "I don't think there's anyone on council who wouldn't want to see redevelopment on that site."