Smoke Eaters Fire Deschenes:
Nick Deschenes, has been relieved of his duties as GM/Head Coach of the Trail Smoke Eaters effective immediately. President, Tom Gawryletz, stated, “The team has been outscored by a margin of 22-3 in the last three games but more importantly, it is obvious that the players are not responding to him.” Deschenes has coached the team for three seasons. In 169 games the team had 49 wins, 106 losses, 12 O/T losses and 2 ties. The team finished in last place in the2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons and currently sit in last place, one point behind the Merritt Centennials who have two games in hand. The Smoke Eater Organization thanks Nick for his contribution to the team and wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors. Taking over the reins of the team for the remaining five games of the season will be Assistant Coaches, Curtis Toneff, Barry Zanier and Craig Clare. The same three coaches will be running the spring camp on April 1, 2 and 3 at the Cominco Arena.
Littler Joins 700 Club:
Wenatchee Wild Head Coach Bliss Littler has broken down the door on the 700 win club only to find no other junior coaches in the room. Littler’s career as a head coach spans 23 years and five stops in the American Frontier Hockey League, American West Hockey League, United States Hockey League, North American Hockey League and now the British Columbia Hockey League. Scotty Bowman, Joel Quenneville, Al Arbour, and Ken Hitchcock have eclipsed the mark in the National Hockey League. Jerry York, Ron Mason, Jack Parker, Red Berenson, Rick Comley, and Bob Peters have done it at the college level. Norwich University’s Mike McShane is getting close. Littler contributes his success to the team owners and staff’s he been able to assemble. “I’ve been lucky to work for some of junior hockey’s best owners ever,” Littler said on Sunday. “I really appreciate owners Robin and Eric Bonanno and Butch Johnson, Ted Baer from teams past and now Lisa and David White with Wenatchee. They allowed me to hire great people as assistant coaches, trainers and equipment managers.” Littler’s reached the coaching milestone when his Wenatchee Wild defeated the Langley Rivermen 4-3 in double OT on Friday night. Already USA Hockey’s winningest coach before his Wild joined the BCHL this season, Littler’s hard work simply continues to pay off. “It takes a complete team. From the owner down to the volunteers,” Littler continued. “We have had tremendous housing families. All of these help create a culture that players can thrive in.” Littler also acknowledged the effort of the players. “The most important thing has always been the players,” Littler concluded. “We have had the privilege to bring in outstanding young men that have learned early on that it’s the players that wins games, not coaches.” Littler has also been involved in USA Hockey National Teams. Most recently he served as an assistant on the 2011 and 2008 U.S. Junior Select Teams that competed at the World Junior A Challenge. The 2011 team won the bronze medal while the 2008 squad captured the gold medal. Littler was also an assistant coach on the 2000 and 1997 USA 19 and under teams that won gold medals. In 2002, he served as head coach of the USA 19 and under team. It is my opinion that USA Hockey needs to seriously consider Littler for a permanent assignment with the national junior program. The National Junior Team Head Coach should also serve as the Head Coach of the National Team Development Program. That’s a position he has proved himself to be worthy for. There are few others that can match Littler’s work effort and passion for the game. Nobody has matched his win total.
Silverbacks mourn passing of former player Blaine Jarvis
It is with heavy hearts, that we announce that Blaine Jarvis passed away on January 26, 2016 in Pocatello, Idaho. Blaine was killed late Tuesday night in a snowmobile accident. Blaine got separated from the group with which he was riding and struck a tree. Blaine played 2 seasons with the Backs in 2002-2003 & 2003-2004 and helped them to a Interior Conference Title in 03-04 before losing in the league final and had 2 20-goal seasons while with the Silverbacks. "I had the pleasure of coaching Blaine for two years. He was a first class young man and incredible teammate. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him" Stated Rylan Ferster who was the Head Coach for the Silverbacks in 2003-2004 and the current GM/Head Coach for the West Kelowna Warriors. “Blaine was a 2 way player who played a consistent game night after night. He was a big piece for 2 very strong Silverbacks teams. Stated Garry Davidson who was the Owner, GM & Head Coach for many years in Salmon Arm. Garry is now the General Manager of the Everett Silvertips WHL. The Silverbacks send their deepest condolences to the Jarvis family and our prayers and thoughts from Salmon Arm are with you.
American Joins Grizzlies Ownership Group:
Mark Stevens is like a modern-day Victor Kiam — the man who said he liked Remington razors so much he bought the company. Stevens’ story is slightly similar in that the Florida resident has purchased 15 per cent of the B.C. Hockey League’s Victoria Grizzlies and is also lending the now eight-person ownership group some capital to help run out the year. With four of the previous 10 owners looking to opt out and with interest in purchasing the team coming from a group in Campbell River, Grizzlies’ governor Lance Black approached Stevens, whose son Jake Stevens is a rookie defenceman with the BCHL club. Mark Stevens decided, like Kiam — a former owner of the New England Patriots, who passed away in 2001 — to get involved. Stevens, a 56-year-old independent adviser, buys out Pete Zubersky, Sonya Saujani and Bob McKenzie, who all had five per cent ownership. Jim Swanson, a managing partner with the Victoria HarbourCats, who has helped run the Grizzlies for the last five months, has also purchased Reza Binab’s five per cent. Ron Walchuk maintains 24 per cent of the club, while president and alternate governor John Wilson and team vice-president of hockey operations Donnie Robinson have 20 per cent each. “We’re excited about what’s happening here. We’re here in Victoria as long as fans are here to support us,” said Wilson, confirming the business transactions that will be made official next month. “We had some owners who wanted out. They came in to help fix it, stabilize it. We think we have that now. “They needed to move on from their situation with the club. Some had other jobs to go to and other commitments they needed to put the money toward and we were looking for someone to come in and help us.” In stepped Stevens, who says he and his wife Kristen had fallen in love with the city of Victoria and the Grizzlies’ community, having visited a handful of times to watch the team play. The Chicago native, who graduated from DePaul University in 1982 with a bachelor of arts/accounting degree, said he was a little hesitant at first, but only because of his son’s situation on the team. “It may be easier to first say why I wouldn’t want to come on board,” he said. “With my son on the team and likely planning to spend another season in junior hockey trying to earn a Division I [college] opportunity, one of the last things I’d want to do is meddle with his efforts. We’re proud that he’s a young man that wants to earn everything he gets in life and doesn’t want any help from his parents to be the reason he succeeds, and I wouldn’t want him to be any other way.” “Having said that, when we were approached with the possibility of changes, we gave deep thought to whether we might be able to do anything to help keep the team where it is. Selfishly, for our son and for all the other boys like him that could return next season, we feel they have a great situation in Victoria, which we’d like to see continue. “We’ve often said that they won the junior hockey lottery by getting a chance to play junior A hockey in a city like Victoria and if there was anything we could do to help keep it here for them, we’d like to try.” Expressing a deep appreciation for what a great city and community Victoria is, Stevens stated: “In our very limited experience, BCHL hockey belongs in Victoria and if we could have some impact on keeping it here, it would be an honour.” He also expressed his thanks for how the organization continues to try and make a proper go of it. “We’re just trying to make it work,” added Wilson, who wanted the Campbell River rumours quashed. “The hockey climate has changed in Victoria and across the country in the last five years and you can’t run the hockey business the same way you did five years ago. “We’ve had to make the changes, make cuts where needed. We have a great coaching group and volunteer group and we’re very excited about the future. “Honestly, this is the best Junior A facility in the country,” Wilson said of The Q Centre. “It’s a great barn and if we can make it work, we will. Wins are starting to come and so are the fans. “We are very close. It’s like night and day,” he said of changes made to the organization since the new ownership group took control two years ago. “We just need bums in the seats and this team will be successful here in Victoria. “Campbell River — I’m sure they were just kicking the tires. But we believe [the team] can work in Victoria and we’re working hard to make it work.” Stevens helps them do that. “Certainly while my son is on the roster, I will not want to have anything whatsoever to do with the hockey [operations] part of the team,” said Stevens, who has assigned any proxy voting rights to Black. “This was a very important point to both Jake and I in agreeing to move ahead with this. After my son moves on, I’d say that my role is yet to be determined,” said Stevens, who worked for Transilwrap Company, a plastic film manufacturer and distributor based in Chicago, with 500-plus employees and facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada, for 29 years. He purchased the business in 2004 with his management team. He sold the business to a private equity investor in 2007 and remained as CEO until 2012. Stevens currently serves on two advisory boards and works part-time as COO/adviser for a former customer of his in Connecticut — a catalog/Internet marketing company selling laminating, printing, binding equipment and related supplies.
Spruce Kings Sign Hyun Lee:
Prince George Spruce Kings assistant coach Adam Maglio knew there was something special about Chong Hyun Lee when he saw him skate last summer at a skill development camp in Vancouver.At that time, Lee was a relative unknown, a 19-year-old forward from South Korea with an itching desire to play hockey in Canada. Already living in Vancouver with his mother and brother, the Spruce Kings were unable to sign Lee because he was still in the process of getting his release from Korea to finalize his carding transfer to Hockey Canada.Lee's agent knew Frank Iantorno, general manager of the Port Moody Panthers, which led to Lee signing with the Pacific Junior (B) Hockey League team in December and he made an immediate impact. After just 19 games, he leads the Panthers in scoring with 14 goals and 24 points. On Tuesday, the Spruce Kings made it official they've signed Lee to play for the team next season and they've called him up for his second stint as an affiliated player. He's expected to be in the lineup tonight at the Coliseum where the Kings play the Mainland-Division-leading Chilliwack Chiefs.Lee will remain in Prince George for the Kings' game Saturday at home against the Merritt Centennials and for their Wednesday date at the Coliseum against the Vernon Vipers.Lee is still working on his English fluency, but as he demonstrated to the Coliseum faithful a couple weeks ago, he's well-versed in hockey. In four games with the Kings he has a goal and two assists. He scored a power-play goal in the Kings' 4-2 loss to Victoria Jan. 15. The six-foot-one, 198-pound right winger skates well, has a good shot, is hard on the puck on the forecheck and is responsible defensively.Admiral Vladivostok of the Kontinental Hockey League obviously liked Lee enough to select him in the second round of the 2013 draft, 64th overall, and he eventually made his way to the North American Hockey League, playing for two junior teams last season in La Crosse, Wisc. He also scored two goals and eight points in five games for South Korea at the Division 2A world junior championship."After his games with us, he obviously can play in this league and be a very effective player, so we decided we'd like to commit to him and (Lee and his agent) decided they'd like to commit to Prince George next year," said Maglio. "He adds what we want, some size, skating ability and some finish around the net. We'll only have him for one year, but his ambition is to try to get a (college) scholarship. "It's a good fit for him and I know the Korean Hockey Federation is happy with him playing in this league. He's part of the senior national team now and their goal is to get him ready for the 2018 Olympics."Affiliated players are allowed to play a maximum of 10 BCHL games, provided the team which holds that player's rights is still playing games. But in Lee's case with the Panthers out of the playoff hunt and their season ending Feb. 13, he could be available to play more than 10. The Kings' last four regular season games against Langley, Alberni Valley and Surrey (twice), are all after the Panthers' season ends.Kings head coach Chad van Diemen had Lee playing on a line with Kyle Johnson and Tanner Campbell, but with Campbell still out with an ankle injury suffered a week ago against Langley, one of the team's other left wingers will draw top-line duty. Lee's 16-year-old brother Chong Min, is in his second season playing major midget hockey as a forward with the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs. He has 10 goals and 28 points in 26 games.Defenceman Colton Sandberg, acquired along with future considerations in a deadline deal which sent defenceman Adam Brubacher to Powell River, is still out with a shoulder injury. Sandberg is skating with the team in practice but is not taking any contact. The Kings have also called up RW Ben Poisson from the Burnaby Winter Club academy under-18 team. Poisson, a 16-year-old from Vancouver, has played four games for the Spruce Kings as an affiliate.
BCHL New Rules-Regulations:
The BCHL’s 2016 semiannual governors meeting was held last week in Richmond, B.C. and resulted in several rules and governance changes for the league moving forward.
A pair of changes take effect immediately:
•Any play resulting in contact with a goaltender may be submitted to the BCHL office for video review. Injury is not required for a review to be requested.
•With respect to tie-breaker criteria in the standings, the following tie-breaker has been added as the third way to determine the top team: “Team having the most WINS IN GAMES AGAINST EACH OTHER”.
The following changes will take effect starting in the 2016-17 season:
•There will be no automatic penalty shot awarded for a penalty in 3-on-3 double overtime. Instead, if a team is penalized in double overtime, a 4-on-3 power play will result. If a team is penalized at any point in overtime such that a two-man advantage is called for, a 5-on-3 power play will result. Play will revert to 4-on-4, or 3-on-3, at the first stoppage after the power play ends.
•Goaltenders will be required to change ends prior to the start of the first overtime and will remain at that end for the second overtime.
•Teams will not be permitted to start main training camp prior to August 22, 2016. There will be no team activities of any kind permitted on August 20 or 21, 2016.
•The start date for the coming season will be Friday, September 9, 2016. The season end date will be Sunday, February 26, 2017. Round 1 of the playoffs will start on Friday, March 3, 2017.
•The fifth Bauer BCHL Showcase will be held September 22 to 25, 2016 at Prospera Centre in Chilliwack.
Murphy Commits To Smoke Eaters:
The Smoke Eaters are pleased to announce the signing of 97 born forward Ryan Murphy. The 5’11” 180 pound right winger who hails from Orono, Minnesota is a highly skilled forward that loves to make plays and score goals. Ryan spent two years with Okanagan Hockey Academy, registering 39 goals and 86 points in 2014-2015 before splitting this season between the Aberdeen Wings and Minnesota Magicians of the NAHL. He came highly regarded by his former coach at OHA, Robert Dirk.. Ryan had this to say about coming to Trail. My goal has always been to play in the BCHL and last year I grew as a player and a person playing in the NAHL and now I am ready to make the next step with Trail. Trail has a strong history in developing players and I’m looking forward to being a part of that tradition. Smokies welcome Ryan and his family to the town of Trail!
Budy Commits To Rivermen For Next Season:
The Langley Rivermen are pleased to announce forward Brendan Budy (2000 born) has committed to the Rivermen for the 2016-17 season. The 5 foot 9, 160 pound 15-year-old, is a Langley, BC native and is in his second season with Delta Hockey Academy Prep (CSSHL). In 21 games this year, Budy has recorded 17 goals and 19 assists for 36 points. “It is hard to put into words how excited I am to play in the BCHL next year with my hometown team. Every conversation I have had with Mr. Henderson has been great, and I feel that It is going to be a great opportunity for me,” said Budy. Budy remembers when the Rivermen broke into the BCHL five seasons ago, and has always fantasized about playing for the franchise. “Growing up, I have been to a lot of Rivermen games at the Langley Events Centre and have always wanted to be one of those players on the ice. I have put in a lot of hard work these past few years to get to this point, and I can’t wait for next season already,” Budy continued Rivermen Head Coach and General Manager Bobby Henderson has kept a close eye on Budy over the last few seasons, and is a big fan of the way he plays the game. “Brendan is an incredibly dynamic forward. He has a nice blend of skill and grit out on the ice and has a great release. He competes every time he takes a shift, and we expect him to come in and develop into a top tier producer,” said Henderson. “I feel like I can be both a goal scorer and playmaker. My goals and assists are pretty even, and being a complete player is something I take a lot of pride in. Rivermen fans can expect a guy that will do anything it takes in order for the team to win,” finished Budy. Budy makes Langley Rivermen history, as he is the first new millennium born player to commit to the franchise. Welcome aboard Brendan!