Here's a look around the league on what some of the other teams have been up to this off season regarding trades, player announcements and other team news.
I found these press releases off team websites, other hockey blogs or online.
BCHL News & Trades:
Wild Name Meissner New Play By Play Guy:
The Wenatchee Wild has hired James Meissner to be the play-by-play voice for the franchise's first season in the BCHL. During his 35-year broadcasting career, Meissner has called hockey for the Billings Bulls (AWHL/NAHL), Alabama Slammers (WHA2), Kootenay Colts and Spokane Flyers (NPHL), Tampa Bay Juniors (USPHL) and Tri-City Storm (USHL). All Wild games in 2015-16 will be carried on KPQ 560 AM in Wenatchee.
James Meissner's Wild Blog:
Vees Land Former NCAA All-Star Conway:
The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club is excited to announce the signing of highly sought after forward Scott Conway (95) for the 2015-16 BCHL season. Conway, 20, brings plenty of high-end skill and valuable experience to Penticton after playing NCAA Division I college hockey last season at Penn State University. As a freshman, Conway tallied 10 goals and 26 points in 34 games with the Nittany Lions and was fifth in team scoring. That campaign didn’t go unnoticed as he was named to the Big Ten All-Rookie team; second-highest scoring freshman in the Big Ten. Prior to playing college hockey, Conway played one season of junior hockey in the North American Hockey League (NAHL), and one season in the United States Hockey League (USHL). Conway won a USHL championship with graduated forward Patrick Newell in 2014. The two helped guide the Indiana Ice to their first ever Clark Cup title two seasons ago. Conway led the Ice in scoring that year with 33 goals and 68 points in 57 regular season games; those 33 goals were the second most in the USHL that season. He also led Indiana in playoff scoring with 11 points in 12 games en route to the championship. The crafty forward also had one of the best plus-minuses in the USHL that year, finishing tied for a league-best plus 40 rating in the regular season. He was named to the USHL First All-Star team and played in the 2013-14 USHL All-Star game. Before Indiana, Conway started his junior hockey career in the NAHL with the Texas Tornado and had 18 goals and 54 points in 57 games. Conway lives just outside of Orlando, Florida, in the off-season but is a dual British-Canadian Citizen through his father Kevin. Kevin had a very success junior career in the Ontario Hockey League before he crossed the Atlantic for the British Hockey League, which is now known as the ELITE Ice Hockey League. Kevin had decorated career in Great Britain and was inducted into the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005. Scott will be looked upon to be a key contributor upfront and the Vees are very excited to welcome him to the organization, Penticton and the South Okanagan.
West Kelowna-Victoria Trade:
The West Kelowna Warriors have acquired F Garrett Forster (95) and Future Considerations from the Victoria Grizzlies in exchange for F Brayden Gelsinger (95). Forster, from Delta, BC, is a 4-year BCHL veteran with 195 games played for 4 different teams. Last season with Victoria, Forster recorded 17 goals and 28 assists for 45 points in 45 games. He was also a point/game player as an 18 year old. "We are very excited to be adding a player with this experience level and offensive ability," stated Head Coach and GM Rylan Ferster. Gelsinger was acquired by the Warriors on November 3rd 2014 from Cowichan Valley. He would put up 37 points in 39 games for West Kelowna, including 12 goals. The Warriors would like to thank Brayden for his time with the hockey club and wish him the best of luck in Victoria.
Salmon Arm-Buffalo Trade:
Silverbacks General Manager Troy Mick today has announced the acquition for 20 year old Aidan Salerno from the Buffalo Jr Sabres of the OJHL. The 6'3 218 lb right shot D-Man from Long Beach, NY will bring his physical play to the BCHL for the upcoming 2015-2016 season. "Aidan is a big body that will add alot of size to our back end' says the GM. He brings an element that we wanted to address this off-season and he can also produce offensivley. He was an asst captain last year and we are looking forward to his leadership in our room this season. 2014-15 Buffalo Jr. Sabres OJHL 51 1 1314101 | Playoffs 7 2 1326 2014-15 Buffalo Jr. Sabres OJHL 51 1 1314101 | Playoffs 7 2 1326 This past season in 51 games played he had 1 goal 13 asst and 101 Penalty minutes. In the play-offs he had 7 games played with 2 goals and 1 asst along with 27 PIMS. Welcome to the Backs Aidan.
Alberni Valley Acquires Donnelly From OHL:
For the second time in as many weeks, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs have acquired an impact player from a Mississauga-area junior team. This time around, the Bulldogs have negotiated the release of Adam Donnelly from the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL. Donnelly, who played for Lake Forest Academy in the Midwest Prep Hockey League, originally committed to the Bulldogs for the 2014/15 season but decided to play closer to home for family reasons. Donnelly, a 6’2, 200lbs, big and physical power-forward, will be a great addition for the Bulldogs with his strong work ethic, character, and leadership. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are very excited to welcome Adam, again, to the Bulldogs family and look forward to a big season this year.
Penticton Vees Net Offensive Weapon In Conway:
The Penticton Vees have netted the top scorer they were after. Scott Conway comes to the BCHL team after having spent last season with Penn State University Nittany Lions. Conway was dismissed from the program in early May as Penn State announced he violated team rules and didn’t provide further comment on the incident. "Yeah, that’s a personal thing," said Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson, adding that it would be kept between Conway and the Vees. "Our program speaks for itself. We really don’t have issues, off-ice issues or bad kids in our program very often. I’ve done my due diligence and believe that Scott is a great player. I also think he is a good person. I think he is going to fit in real well with us here. He had a chance to meet some of our guys. They thought the same. Today (Tuesday) he started the Anaheim Ducks camp. "These are kids. Sometimes things happen," continued Harbinson. "It’s water under the bridge and we move on." Conway, 20, brings plenty of high-end skill and valuable experience. As a freshman, the Basingstoke, England product tallied 10 goals and 26 points in 34 games with the Nittany Lions and was fifth in team scoring. He was named to the Big Ten All-Rookie team; second-highest scoring freshman in the Big Ten. Harbinson likes that Conway has won a championship, which he earned with former Vee Patrick Newell while playing for the Indiana Ice in the United States Hockey League (USHL) two years ago. He led the Ice in playoff scoring with 11 points in 12 games. "He was obviously an intrical part of that team," said Harbinson. Conway led the Ice in scoring with 33 goals and 68 points in 57 regular season games; those 33 goals were the second most in the USHL, a league that is not considered high scoring. The crafty forward also had one of the best plus-minuses in the USHL that year, finishing tied for a league-best plus 40 rating. He was named to the USHL First All-Star team and played in the 2013-14 USHL All-Star game. Before Indiana, Conway started his junior hockey career in the NAHL with the Texas Tornado and had 18 goals and 54 points in 57 games. Harbinson added that with Conway having played college hockey last year, he knows what it takes to get there. That is something he can pass on to his news Vees teammates seeking a scholarship. Conway is looking for a new start as he pursues a scholarship to another university program. To do that he has to go back to junior hockey. "Fortunate for us, he has decided this is where he is going to be," said Harbinson. "He’s a player that can play both the wing and centre. He’s a dynamic player. He can do a bit of everything. He just adds another veteran guy to our lineup." Conway lives just outside of Orlando, Fla, in the off-season but is a dual British-Canadian citizen through his father Kevin. Kevin had a very success junior career in the Ontario Hockey League before he crossed the Atlantic for the British Hockey League, which is now known as the ELITE Ice Hockey League. Kevin had a decorated career in Great Britain and was inducted into the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.
McAvoy Commits To Eagles:
The Surrey Eagles are excited to announce the commitment to Power Forward Paul McAvoy for the 2015-16 BCHL season. McAvoy, 19, joins the Eagles from Connecticut Oilers of the EHL, Eastern Hockey League. The Eagles are excited to capture the winning experience that McAvoy brings to the team. The Connecticut Oilers were successful in winning the 2015 EHL Championship, defeating the Northern Cyclones in the Championship Series four games to one, two going to overtime. The Oilers also finished first in the Central Division regular season, 3rd overall in the EHL Standings. "Coming from the EHL, I feel I can bring a winning attitude and a work ethic willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. Winning the EHL Championship last year really helped my character and leadership as a player. I feel I can use this character and work ethic to help achieve success for Surrey as a team, as well as individual goals for everyone else on the team," mentioned the new Eagles recruit. The EHL has produced many great hockey players including NHL stars John Carlson, Chris Kreider, Jarred Tindori and Stanley Cup Champion Rob Scuderi. Head Coach Blaine Neufeld was enthusiastic in describing how McAvoy can influence the Eagles, "Paul was a winner last year and we want him to bring that attitude and work ethic to our culture. He is a big Power Forward that can play the middle and left side effectively for all 200 feet. We think it will have an immediate impact for our group." McAvoy looks up to NHL superstar Rick Nash as a player that he models himself after and that was confirmed at a prospect tournament that Head Scout and Assistant Coach Brad Tobin attended. "We watched him on three different occasions that weekend and I don’t think I saw him lose a faceoff. He brings a big presence on the ice and we saw right away he can be reliable in our own end, so we know we can put that responsibility on him here in Surrey." Paul is confident he can bring what the coaches see in him every game and is excited about the opportunity, "I am most excited about the opportunity to further develop as a player, and to have the chance to play in a league heavily scouted by NCAA coaches. I am looking forward to playing for such an accomplished program in Surrey, as well as the chance to move onto an NCAA program following my Junior hockey years." The Kentucky native has a long trip ahead of him before the season, but isn’t intimidated at all. "Living far away from home is something that I am familiar with. Being from Kentucky, I've had to move away from home since I was 13 to play at a higher level. I've lived in Alabama, Dallas, Cleveland, and Connecticut over the years. I am very excited to continue playing hockey in Canada, one place I haven't moved to yet." The Eagles will continue their tradition as they open their exhibition season for their 25th Season against the Chilliwack Chiefs at the Nest, South Surrey Arena, Friday, August 28th at 8pm.
Salmon Arm-Alberni Valley Trade:
Silverbacks General Manager Troy Mick announced today that they have made a trade with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs for 96 D-Man Brett Stewart for future considerations. Brett is a big 6'1 195 lbs offensive blueliner who just completed his 2nd full year in the BCHL and had career numbers this past season. In 57 games played last year as a 18 yr old he had 12 goals 25 assists for a total of 37 points. Brett will be a big part of our D core this coming season stated GM Troy MIck. He is a very good all round player who plays the game the right way. A tough 2 way physical D-Man with offensive skills are not easily to come by anymore and we are thrilled that he is now a Silverback. Welcome to Salmon Arm Brett. Silverbacks Main Camp starts Aug 23 with off ice fitness testing followed by on ice sessions Aug 24 at the Shaw Centre.
Harbinson Named Guest Coach At Maple Leafs Development Camp:
Penticton Vees President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson is in the "Big Smoke" this week, as a guest coach at the Toronto Maple Leafs Development Camp. The camp runs July 7th-12th in Toronto and Collingwood, Ontario and includes 57 players including the Leafs entire 2015 draft class. Leafs Director of Player Development, Scott Pellerin, will oversee the camp. Harbinson will be on the ice over the six-day camp, helping instruct and coach some of the Leafs’ top prospects. The Vees’ Head Coach just completed his eighth season behind the bench in Penticton and helped guide the Vees to a Fred Page Cup championship, a Western Canada Cup championship and a Semi-Final berth at the RBC Cup. The Vees have won three BCHL championships, an RBC Cup, Doyle Cup and Western Canada Cup in those eight seasons.
Smith Returns To Powell River Kings:
During the season, Smith earned a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell where he went 3-3-0 (1 shutout) with a 3.02GAA and .885 sv% percentage as a freshman. "It was a good experience, the coaches gave me an opportunity but I just don’t think it was the right fit" says Smith of the collegiate experience. "I’m excited to come back to Powell River, play out my eligibility at the Junior level for the Kings and work my way back to the NCAA." "Jeff covers the net very well. He’s a big goaltender who is capable of stealing games, which is what he did a couple of seasons ago" says Kings Head Coach and GM Kent Lewis. "He knows what he’s coming into, he knows the team, he knows the league, he’s going to give us a chance to win every night and win right away." Smith will work with Kings goaltending coach Jeff Battah during the off-season and get ready for a 2nd and final year of Junior hockey. "I want to drop 5-10 pounds, get quicker, lighter" says Smith. "I’m excited for the chance to play. I’ve been keeping tabs on the team through guys like Keats and Luko and it’s going to be great to come back to Powell River, the town, the billets, everything." Smith will return to Powell River in August, ahead of main camp at the Hap Parker Arena towards the end of the month.
Silverbacks Name Christensen New Assistant Coach:
Silverbacks General Manager Troy Mick announced today that they have added Brooks Christensen of Salmon Arm to their coaching staff for the 2015-2016 season. Brooks is no stranger to Jr hockey as he was a prolific goal scorer in the KIJHL. In 189 game split between Princeton & Revelstoke he amassed 62 goals 110 assists for a total of 172 points to go along with 274 PIMS. Our coaching staff is looking forward to working with Brooks. He is very passionate about our team and community and he will oversee our team’s video and analytics as well as helping out with skill development. I'm very excited to be joining the Silverbacks and working with Brandon and Misko. I had the opportunity to help them at spring camp and really enjoyed working with them. Looking forward to helping my hometown team win a championship! Brooks is a local minor hockey grad and is excited to give back to the game. Welcome to the Silverbacks family Brooks.
The Surrey Eagles are thrilled to announce the acquisition of one of the best Canadian Goalies available in Junior A. Justin Laforest was acquired today from the reigning RBC Cup Champions, Portage Terriers of the MJHL. Eagles Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, Blaine Neufeld completed the transaction earlier today and knows it is a big piece in creating a championship team. "We have been in pursuit of a high caliber goaltender ever since we were successful in promoting our last year’s starter, Christian Short, onto R.I.T. University. We wanted to make sure we got the right guy and we feel we did in this transaction." The official transaction, approved by the league earlier today, was the Eagles moving CJHL playing rights for Quinn Lenihan and Jordan Wiest along with future considerations for Justin Laforest’s CJHL playing rights. Justin Laforest, 20, is a native of Almonte, Ontario, and is entering his fourth year of Junior Hockey. He has found great success all four years and hopes to continue this trend. He has been to the National Finals, the RBC Cup, the past two seasons. In 2013/14 he was with Carelton Place Canadians where they won the League Championship and Regional Championship then made it all the way to the National Final before losing to the Yorkton Terriers. In 2014/15 Justin held the lowest goals against in the MJHL, while taking the Portage Terriers to a MJHL title. They went through the Playoffs 12-0. Laforest has created quite the track record over the past three years with potentially the best winning percentage of any goalie in the CJHL and looks to continue his success here in Surrey. "Going to two consecutive RBC's has been an amazing experience and given me some of my fondest hockey memories to date. It showed me what it takes to be a part of one of the top teams in the nation and has given me experiences I will never forget," explained the newly acquired starting goaltender, Laforest. As a past goaltender, coach Neufeld knows about the position all too well and knows it will be a corner stone in their success in their 25th year. "You look at all the Championship teams at any level and it is their goaltending and d-side of the puck that wins them that Championship. We have 98-born Davidson coming back as our backup and are thrilled about his progression, but adding a goalie who has the experience of reaching the top at our level, the National Finals. Laforest is excited about having a Bench Boss who knows his side of the mask. "Having someone behind the bench who understands and can relate to the ups and downs of the goalie position will be highly beneficial to me. Having a coach who has been between the pipes at a high level will be a bonus to my development and confidence in net." The Eagles have been very successful in the past at promoting goalies to the next level. Mike Santaguida (currently playing with University of Vermont) brought the Eagles to a League Championship in 2013 and Christian Short, moving on to R.I.T. University for the coming season. "With Justin’s success in the past, his potential and his attitude I see him being our next goalie whom we develop into being a Division 1 goalie. I’ve talked to many coaches already about him and there is great interest around him. It will be our job to help him reach his potential," added Neufeld. Laforest will arrive in Surrey near the end of August. He is expecting to bring success to Surrey for their 25th Season. Main Camp will open August 24th and will be open to the public for the fans first chance to view one of the nation’s top goaltending prospects.
Centennials Name Samson New Assistant Coach:
Merritt Centennials Board of Directors along with Head Coach Joe Martin, are very pleased to announce that the new Assistant Coach of the BCHL Merritt Centennials is Matt Samson of North Vancouver B.C., former Head Coach and General Manager of the PJHL North Vancouver Wolf Pack. Joe Martin, Head Coach of the Merritt Centennials released this statement earlier today; "I’m happy to announce that we have hired Matt Samson as our new Assistant Coach. Over the last few years I’ve worked with Matt on up-and-coming players for our team and our tryout camps. Matt has always worked well with us, and we look forward to bringing him here and getting started on this upcoming season". Newly appointed Assistant Coach Matt Samson had this statement this morning: ""I am excited to being joining the Centennials organization and get an opportunity to coach in the BCHL. Over the past few years in North Vancouver, I had a great relationship with Luke and Joe and I was fortunate to get to know both of them. This gave me a strong interest in keeping track of the team and its progress under their guidance. After having a couple of really good conversations with Joe and travelling up to Merritt, I knew this was an organization I wanted to be a part of, and it was the right move to make at this time. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity, and look forward to getting started and continuing with the success the Cents have had". Matt Samson has spent the past 4 years as Head Coach and General Manager with North Vancouver Wolf Pack hockey team. He successfully improved both the record and playoff performance every season, and last year came out as the top team in the regular season and led the team to win the playoffs in the Pacific Junior Hockey League. Matt brings to Merritt with him his wife Erin, and 1 year old daughter Sydney. The Centennials organization would like to extend a warm welcome to them.