BCHL News & Trades:
Poisson & De Jong Commit To Prince George:
The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce the commitment of two players from the Burnaby Winter Club (BWC) Prep U-18 team for the 2016/17 season. 1999 born forwards, Ethan de Jong from North Vancouver and Ben Poisson from Vancouver have both committed to play for the Spruce Kings next year. “It’s definitely exciting that we were able to get commitments from two tremendous young players and what’s equally exciting is that they are both quality people who will fit in well with the culture within our group. Our coaches, Chad and Adam, both did a great job in the recruitment of Ethan and Ben and I know that they look forward to working with both of those young players over the next several seasons” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes. In 39 games with the BWC Prep U-18, de Jong leads the team in assists (33), power play assists (12), and points (53). He is second on the team in goals (20) and power play goals (5). “The Spruce Kings just showed so much interest, and were so enthusiastic about it, so it was a must commit for me ,” said de Jong regarding committing with the Spruce Kings. Last year with the BWC Elite 15, de Jong finished second in team scoring five points behind the leader, but also played in eight fewer games. In eight games as an affiliated player with Prince George this season, he has two assists. “Ethan is a very gifted player who’s hockey IQ is off the charts. Combine that with his skating ability and his competitiveness and you have one heck of a player. Our fans will enjoy watching this young man develop over the next few seasons” said Mike Hawes. Ben Poisson was a late addition this season as an affiliate player for the Spruce Kings, but impressed the coaches right off the bat. “There’s a lot of opportunity. They play guys accordingly to how they’re playing so you have to earn your ice team. For next year I want to bring a physical game with lots of offensive threat, and lots of battle and compete,” said Poisson on what he’s expecting next year. In six games with the club he has yet to score a point, but was one of the team’s most dangerous players this weekend when he joined Prince George for games at home against the Chilliwack Chiefs and Merritt Centennials. In 39 games with the BWC Prep U-18 team this year, Poisson has 26 points in 39 games, and sits second in shots with 135. “Ben is a big strong player who possesses an excellent skill set. His offensive instincts are very good, he skates very well and enjoys using his body to his advantage. He plays a complete game and is the type of player that our coaches will love to have available to them” said Mike Hawes. The two forwards will join BWC teammate Liam Watson-Brawn next season as the blueliner committed to the Spruce Kings earlier this year along with Jesse Pomeroy from the Cariboo Cougars. “I grew up with Liam, and we’re really good friends. For Ethan I’ve been with and against him throughout my entire career so I’m really excited to play with him next year,” said Poisson on playing with his current teammates again next season.
Nelson Commits To Eagles:
The Surrey Eagles are pleased to announce that 1999-born forward Jesse Nelson has committed to the team for the 2016-2017 BCHL season. The Chilliwack, British Columbia native is currently a member of the Yale Hockey Academy under-18 team, where he has posted 14 goals and 31 points in 30 games. Eagles’ Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Blaine Neufeld is extremely pleased about bringing in a player of Nelson’s caliber, and has had his eye on the young forward for quite some time. DSC_5617“He’s a consistent player. He understands both ends of the rink. He works hard, is a smooth skater, and is strong on the puck.” Weighing in at 6-feet, 170 pounds, he is seen as a skilled two-way player that can play a major part in the makeup of the team in the near future. Neufeld stressed the importance of bringing in players like Nelson, and is excited about how they are building toward next season. “Recruiting players with high potential like Nelson is a main priority for us, and I feel like our recruiting is ahead of most. With the trades that we have made for future considerations, we are in a very good position heading into next season,” explained Neufeld. “We want to make sure our roster is filled with complete players that can play all situations. Bringing in Jesse Nelson reiterates that.” On top of being a two-way type of player, Nelson is also seen as a versatile piece of the puzzle. Although he is a natural centreman, he can play any of the three forward positions. That’s a skill that the Eagles value highly. Continue checking SurreyEagles.ca as the team expects to announce more player commitments for the 2016-2017 season in the near future.
Wilson Commits To Salmon Arm Silverbacks:
Forward Justin Wilson has committed to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Played with the North West Giants this season.
Chiefs Bid For 2018 Royal Bank Cup:
Chilliwack has the team, it has the facilities and it has the hockey fan base. And if all goes according to plan, this city could host the RBC Cup for the first time in 2018. A committee with members from Tourism Chilliwack, the Chilliwack Chiefs hockey team, Chief David Jimmie, Ken Popove, and hoteliers held its first meeting to begin the process of putting a bid together to try to win hosting rights for Canada’s National Junior A Championship. “It’s fun, we’ve got a good group so far,” said Scott Beare, Tourism Chilliwack’s business development co-ordinator—also in charge of sports initiatives. “So we’ve just laid out the groundwork and we’re off to the races.” As far as building a team, that groundwork is almost complete but next the committee is courting an accountant so they can start crunching the numbers. Beare said there are a number of factors that are working in favour of a Chilliwack shot at the Hockey Canada event. First of all, Chilliwack has the BCHL’s blessings, the league having sent an email to Hockey Canada noting the city as the province’s choice for 2018. The Chiefs boast the highest attendance in the BCHL most years, and the team has been stronger than ever in the past two seasons. Then there’s the location, great both for practical and aesthetic reasons. But there’s also Beare’s vision itself. The newcomer from Calgary has made it his mission to get Chilliwack out there on Canada’s sports map as a destination. Tourism Chilliwack has secured the city as host to the Swiss women’s hockey team this March for their training camp in preparation for the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship to be held in Kamloops. And he’ll attend the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) conference next month to rub elbows with sports leaders. None of this can hurt Chilliwack’s chances to bring the RBC Cup and all the players, families, fans and scouts it will attract from around Canada to the city. The benefits would be promotional as well as economic. “Chilliwack is going to be on the sportscasters’ lips for a week,” Beare said. “And I know when the national media comes here they’re going to love the city.” The host organizing committee is due to meet again Feb. 18, and the bid submission deadline is March 18. This year the RBC Cup will be hosted by the Lloydminster Bobcats of Lloydminster, Alta. followed by a 2017 appearance in Cobourg, Ont. by the Cougars.
Kamloops Blazers Recall Kehler From Centennials:
The Kamloops Blazers have recalled goaltender Cole Kehler from the Merritt Centennials of the BCHL (Jr. A). The 18-year-old Kehler appeared in 43 games with the Centennials this season, posting an 18-24-0 record. His BCHL season concluded this past weekend as the Centennials missed the postseason by one point. Kehler has played in 32 games with the Blazers between 2013-15, going 4-18-2-0. The Altona, MB native also appeared in three preseason games with the Blazers in September. He is expected to begin practicing with the team as of March 1st. With the move, the Blazers roster is now at 24 players including three goaltenders, seven defensemen and 14 forwards.
Rhyu Commits To Trail Smoke Eaters:
The Trail Smoke Eaters are proud to announce the signing of 1999 born forward Henry Rhyu for the upcoming 2016/2017 season! The 5’11” 195 pound left handed two way forward from Vancouver, BC suited up for the Yale Hockey Academy U-18 prep team this season, registering 24 pts in 34 games. Henry also suited up in 2 games for the Smoke Eaters this year and impressed the coaching staff with his play, maturity and enthusiasm for the game. Henry Had this to say about becoming a Smokie: “I am excited about playing for the Smoke Eaters next season. It is truly an honour to play ‘Junior A Hockey’ for a team with such a rich history and a great fan base. I got an opportunity to play a couple games for Trail this year and I fell in love with the city, the coaching staff, and the passionate fans. I would like to thank everyone who helped me accomplish this amazing feat.” The Smoke Eaters welcome Henry and his family to our organization.
Lamb To Step Down As CJHL President & Chairman:
The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) announced Tuesday that Kirk Lamb will be stepping down as the organization’s president and chairman. Lamb, a lawyer and a former junior, college and professional hockey player, has been at the head of the CJHL since 2010, overseeing all elements of the organization. Prior to his time with the CJHL, Lamb served in various executive positions with the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) since 2002. He is an alumnus of the CJHL (AJHL) and he also played in the CHL (WHL), NCAA Division I (ECAC) and ECHL, and is a graduate of Princeton University. “I certainly have mixed emotions in making this difficult decision as it marks an end to a part of my life that has been both personally and professionally very rewarding. However, after 14 years in Junior A hockey, now is the right time for me to explore new opportunities to contribute and be involved in this great game,” said Lamb. “I want to thank the 10 member leagues, the CJHL Board of Directors, and CJHL staff Rick Morocco and Charla Flett for their continued support over the past number of years. I have been very fortunate to have met so many extraordinary people over 14 years and I am proud to count many of them as friends. Finally, I want to thank my family for their commitment and understanding throughout this entire journey.” “While Kirk’s resignation caught us all by surprise he will continue to work with the CJHL Board in order to ensure that there is a smooth transition towards new leadership," said BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale. "We were very fortunate to have Kirk’s foresight and guidance over the last 14 years. He will be very hard to replace, however, his friendship will last a lifetime. We wish Kirk and his family all the best moving forward.” Lamb and his wife Kara have three daughters, Lucy, Maggie and Molly, and live in Calgary, Alberta. The CJHL Board of Directors and Lamb will work closely together over the coming months to establish a process and timeline for the transition to new leadership.
Martan Commits To Warriors:
Hockey runs through the veins of SAC’s Mitch Martan. He comes by it honestly. His grandfather, John, a retired professional hockey player, is his inspiration and taught him everything he knows about the game. With an already exciting weekend ahead of him as the Saints host the 33rd Annual MacPherson Hockey Tournament, Mitch has more to celebrate – his commitment to Boston College. Starting in fall 2017, the grade 12 varsity forward will join the NCAA Division 1 team as a student athlete studying business and economics. Next year, Mitch plans to play junior A hockey for the West Kelowna Warriors and hopes to take a few transferable courses through the University of British Columbia. “I was thrilled and very humbled,” Mitch said of receiving the news. “It took a few hours to sink in.” “Mitch has been an outstanding contributor to our program,” said Varsity Hockey Head Coach David Manning. “He works hard, has scored some timely goals and epitomizes what we believe in as a hockey program.” Mitch first picked up a hockey stick when he was two years old and has dreamed of playing professional hockey since the age of four. “Boston College has generally done well with under-sized players like myself,” Mitch explained as one of the reasons he was attracted to Boston College. “They have a renowned hockey program that is highly ranked in the U.S., with amazing coaching staff…[and] an academic program that is second-to-none,” Mitch stated as his other reasons. Johnny Gaudreau, an alumni of Boston College is Mitch’s role model. “He is a very dynamic and skilled forward and reminds me that small guys can play in the NHL,” he says of the Calgary Flames player. Boston College has transitioned other exceptional players to the NHL, most recently Nathan Gerbe of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Gionta brothers to the Devil’s and the Sabres. “Boston College is one of College Hockey’s elite programs,” explained Coach Manning. “To have one of our seniors headed to such a successful and prestigious team is very exciting for us.”
Prince George Coliseum Re-Named Rolling Mix Concrete Arena:
The City of Prince George and the Spruce Kings have signed a five-year agreement to name the Prince George Coliseum after Rolling Mix Concrete, a long-time local company. The agreement will result in the Coliseum being re-named the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena. As per the agreement, Rolling Mix will annually provide $25,000 – $30,000 to the Spruce Kings and the City: $15,000 – $20,000 worth of concrete to support the construction of the Spruce Kings Lottery House and $10,000. “This arrangement supports a well-established, successful, and community-owned sports team while providing funds that can be allocated to the continuing maintenance of the Coliseum, which was built in the mid-1950s,” says City Manager Kathleen Soltis. “Rolling Mix Concrete is excited to embark on this new journey with our community partners: the City of Prince George and the Spruce Kings,” says John Paolucci, Rolling Mix Concrete’s President and CEO. “Rolling Mix Concrete takes great pride in helping the community and organizations that support us.” “Rolling Mix has been locally owned and operated for more than 50 years and they have been a long-time supporter of junior hockey in our community,” says Spruce Kings President Tom Bohmer, a former Spruce Kings player himself. “The Spruce Kings organization is more than 40 years old and we feel that there are three critical ingredients that explain our success to date: terrific and loyal fans, entertaining hockey, and creative partnerships like this one that we have with a local business as well as with the City.” The agreement is effective immediately and will be presented to Council on Monday, February 1, for information. The Spruce Kings are planning events in February to mark the new arena name and celebrate the relationship with Rolling Mix and the City.
Latta Commits To Salmon Arm:
The Salmon Arm Silverbacks are proud to announce Josh Latta of the North West Giants has committed to the team for next season. Latta is 2nd in scoring in MML. In 26 games Latta has 12 goals 35 assists 47 points.
Flanagan Commits To Rivermen:
The Langley Rivermen are pleased to announce defenseman McKay Flanagan (1997 born) has committed to the team for the 2016-17 season. The 18-year-old from Ridgefield, CT is in his first season with The Gunnery Prep (Washington, Connecticut) in the USHS, and in 26 games, has recorded 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points. “I am extremely excited to commit to the Rivermen. The BCHL is one of the best junior leagues in the world and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I look forward to moving out to British Columbia and experience everything Langley has to offer,” said Flanagan. Flanagan was a very highly sought after prospect and decided on the Rivermen after meeting with Rivermen Head Coach and General Manager Bobby Henderson. “I was most impressed with Coach Henderson’s excitement for not only the Rivermen organization, but also the city of Langley and how great it is to play there. He made me feel like I would fit right in with the program and community and also be a vital member of the team who can contribute right away,” continued Flanagan. Henderson was very impressed when taking in Flanagan’s games and feels his style of play will make him a great fit on the blueline. “McKay skates well for a big guy and plays with an edge to his game. He makes a good first pass out of his own end, which will help us get up ice quicker. We believe he is going to turn out to a nice defenseman for us next year,” said Henderson. Flanagan stands at 6’0″, 209 pounds and describes himself as a blue liner who likes to keep the game simple. “I am a puck moving defenseman who is reliable defensively. I can also jump up in the play and create offense with my skill set. I feel like I have a heavy shot and like to use my size out there as much as I can and be a physical presence,” Flanagan finished.