Monday, June 20, 2016

BCHL News & Trades:

I found these press releases off team websites, twitter accounts, blogs or online. All Vipers news-trades are posted on this blog as soon as released-announced.

BCHL News & Trades:

Eagles Name Hemingway New Assistant Coach:

The Surrey Eagles have made a key addition to their coaching staff for the upcoming season. Colin Hemingway, a forward for the team in the late 90s, has returned to the organization. He will join Blaine Neufeld and Brad Tobin behind the bench as an assistant coach. Hemingway played 117 games for the then-named South Surrey Eagles from 1997 to 1999, recording 132 points. He scored 40 goals in his final season with the team, before accepting an NCAA division I scholarship to attend the University of New Hampshire. That same year, he was selected in the 8th round, 221st overall by the St. Louis Blues in the NHL draft. After four successful years of NCAA hockey with the UNH Wildcats, Hemingway would embark on a nine-year professional career. He spent two years in the minor leagues before playing three games for the St. Louis Blues during the 2005-2006 NHL season. His career would then take him through Germany, Scotland, and Ireland, before finishing with the Wichita Thunder of the Central Hockey League in 2012. In total, Hemingway boasts the experience of 412 professional games played. “I’m really excited,” Hemingway said in an interview with “I’ve always wanted to give back to hockey. I think my resume in pro hockey – 9 years, being drafted, going to university – shows that I have a lot to give to the players, this team, and this community. I know what it takes to get to the next level, both on the ice and off the ice. Hopefully I can relay some of my experiences to the players, and help them any way I can.” Hemingway, now 35 years old, has resided in White Rock since his playing career ended four years ago. As a proud member of the community, the urge to get back into the game and return to his former junior team was too hard to resist. “I want to get this program back to where it needs to be, where it should be. We need to get into a position where we’re winning hockey games, and are competitive on the ice every night. We have a great head coach in Blaine [Neufeld], it’s a great community, and it’s an unbelievable rink. It’s a good fit for me.” For Neufeld, who also acts as the team’s general manager, he sees it as a unique opportunity to bring a former member of the team back into the fold. “It’s a unique situation. Colin still lives in the community where he played junior hockey, and he has the desire to give back. He has so much to offer the kids in our program with his experience.” “We’ve been working hard all summer to recruit high-end players, and now to be able to add somebody like Colin to our staff, it shows the positive progression that we’re making.” As Neufeld noted, Hemingway’s experience makes him a valuable resource for the Eagles’ players. His knowledge of the NCAA route, and path to the NHL with the Blues should be an immense help for players that are looking to follow in his footsteps. “When you play all over the world like I did, you definitely pick up a few things,” Hemingway recalled. “I had several different coaches, and many of them left lasting impressions. I want to be a coach that leaves a lasting impression.”

Penticton Vees Run For Title Starts Now:

The RBC Cup championship that saw division rival West Kelowna Warriors claim the national title only ended on Sunday, but the Penticton Vees have already begun the process of next season’s run for the title. From May 26 to 29, the Vees will be holding their annual spring camp. Consisting mostly of scrimmages, the camp will have six full teams alternating on the ice all day from about 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m..  Vees coach and general manager Fred Harbinson said this is a very important part of the process of building the team, and he explained what he’s looking for from players. “Whenever we build our teams, you’re looking for all kinds of different players,” Harbinson said. “You don’t want all the same type of player. We always tell the kids there’s a reason they’ve been invited, so we ask them just to play their game.” Harbinson is expecting to have six to nine returning players on the Vees this coming season. Although those players haven’t definitively committed yet, that would be an increase over the four players that returned last year. Spring camp is an opportunity for players to make an impression. “There are opportunities to get an invite to our main camp in August,” Harbinson said. “But we’re really looking to build our affiliate list for next year. Over the past few years, probably 85 per cent of the players who have played for the Vees attended our spring camp. “This is all part of the process, the end game is to find 22 players that are on the roster, and 19 players on the affiliate list. We’ll get there with some combination of ‘x’ players from spring camp, free agency and main camp. There’s no set goal.” Having all of the players together for spring camp is not only critical for the players chances to make the team this year or in the future, but also for the coaches evaluation process. “You watch players spread out from different leagues and teams, now you get them under your roof and get to meet them and see them face to face,” Harbinson said. “It’s important to see how guys perform in that pressure situation. There are guys you’re excited about and then they get to camp and don’t do as much, and there are guys who are the opposite, they come out of nowhere.” The spring camp will begin on Thursday with fitness testing, before wrapping up the scrimmages Sunday around 1 p.m.

Trail-Langley Trade:

The Trail Smoke Eaters have announced a trade with the Langley Rivermen.  Cooper Leitch of the Smokies has been dealt to Langley for defenceman Troy Ring.  Troy heralds from North Vancouver and is 19 years old.  He is 6′ 1″ and weighs 188 pounds.  Troy played in the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) for the North Van Wolf Pack.  In two and a half seasons with the Wolf Pack he played in 94 games and had 14 goals and 27 assists for 41 points.  Half way through the 2015/16 season he was signed by the Rivermen and in 23 games had 4 goals and 4 assists for 8 points. Assistant Coach, of the Smokies, Curtis Toneff, stated, “Troy will be relied upon to play in all situations and will be an asset to our Power Play.  We have heard nothing but good things about Troy as a player and person.  We’d like to welcome Troy to the Smoke Eater Family.” “We would like to thank Cooper for his tireless effort on and off the ice and wish him the best in Langley.”

Anderson Leaves Warriors:

Vernon’s Kyle Anderson has left the West Kelowna Warriors during their RBC Cup run. The Warriors play by play guy is now in the process of moving to Chilliwack for a new job. Word was let loose on twitter after the Warriors clinched the Western Canada Cup. No official word on what job Anderson will be taking, but the Warriors will be looking for a new broadcaster for next season.

Hill Joins Wild Front Office:

The Wenatchee Wild, proud member of the BCHL, are pleased to announce the latest addition to the front office, Tim Hill. He joins the Wild family to run day to day business operations. Hill’s playing days included a year of major junior hockey with the Peterborough Petes (OHL), followed by four years at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree. He followed up his collegiate career by playing minor pro hockey for four years. Off the ice, he gravitated to the front office, serving as Director of Sales & Marketing for the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs for 5 seasons in the WPHL & CHL. He also spent five seasons as the GM of the Rapid City Rush (CHL). Wild Head Coach / GM Bliss Littler is confident Hill is the right man for the job. “I look forward to working with Tim”, Littler remarked. “He has had tremendous success at the minor pro level, and I’m excited to see how he puts his mark on the Wild.” He notes, “This is an exciting time for the Wenatchee Wild.” Wild owner David White echoes the sentiment. “I am very excited to have Tim joining our team”, White stated. “As our organization continues to grow and develop elite players, his addition was a natural evolution for us. His leadership capabilities and extensive experience will certainly help take us to the next level.” Hill has seen what the Wenatchee Wild have accomplished from afar, and is more than ready to bring his experience to help the franchise continue to strengthen and grow. “I am very excited to join the Wild family, and appreciate the opportunity that the White family has given me”, he said, adding, “I’m looking forward to working with Coach Littler, and the rest of the Wild staff. I have heard nothing but great things about the city, the Town Toyota Center, and the incredible Wild fans. I can’t wait to get going!” Hill is expected to arrive in Wenatchee at the end of May.

Casey Commits To Nanaimo:

The Nanaimo Clippers are very pleased to announce that Aidan Casey has committed to play for the Team for the 2016-2017 season.  The 1998 born forward joins the Clippers after playing last season for the North York Rangers Midget AAA in the Greater Toronto Hockey League.  During the 2015-2016 season the 5’9” 165lb Toronto Ontario native tallied 17 goals and 21 assists for 38 points in 30 games played.  Aidan also added 12 goals and 10 assists in 13 playoff games helping the Rangers win the Telus Cup Midget AAA Canadian Championships.

Silverbacks Name Skapski Captain For Next Season:

Salmon Arm Silverbacks today announced the team has appointed 20 year old Abbotsford, BC native Mitch Skapski as the team captain for the 2016-2017 season. “Mitch made an immediate impact on our group last season after he was acquired from the Chilliwack Chiefs at the trade deadline”, Stated Head Coach Brandon West. He is a leader on and off the ice and there is no doubt he will lead by example. Mitch is a mature young man and comes from a great family, we know he is as excited as we are about him leading our team this season. The Silverbacks are currently conducting there USA Spring Camps in Denver, CO & Simi Valley, CA and will be attending the BCHL AGM June 2nd thru the 4th in Richmond, BC.

West Kelowna-Prince George Trade:

The West Kelowna Warriors and Prince George Spruce Kings have finalized their January 7th trade, as forward Brett Mennear (96) will head north to join the Spruce Kings for the 2016/2017 season. The 5’9” 185 pound Mennear is from West Kelowna, B.C. and will join former Warrior Tanner Campbell with Prince George. West Kelowna acquired Bryan Basilico and Jake LeBrun in the deal. Brett Mennear was a big part of the West Kelowna Warriors team that just finished their run as the Fred Page Cup, Western Canada Cup, and Royal Bank Cup NATIONAL Champions. In 2015/2016, Mennear was an assistant captain and had 18 goals and 24 assists for 42 points in 52 regular season games. He added 7 goals and 14 assists for 21 points in 35 playoff games. “Brett was a vital part of our program the last three years and a big part of our RBC team,” Head Coach and General Manager Rylan Ferster said Friday, “to get something you have to give up something and that’s the reality of our business. We would like to thank Brett for his contributions to the program and wish him continued success with the Spruce Kings.” Mennear is committed to play NCAA Division 1 hockey at Bentley University starting in the 2017-2018 season.

Hildebrand, Leahy & Nash Commit To Penticton Vees:

The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce a trio of recruits for the upcoming 2016-17 season. Goaltender Nolan Hildebrand (98), defenceman Joe Leahy (97) and forward Jared Nash (98) will suit up for the Vees in the fall. “We look to recruit not only great players but great people and all three are very well-rounded young men, who not only excel on the ice but away from the rink as well. These three fit the Penticton Vees mould and we’re excited to add them to our program,” stated President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson. Hildebrand, 18, spent the past two seasons next door at the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA). This past year 6’2 goaltender fashioned together a 16-6-1 record in 24 games with OHA Prep White in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL). Hildebrand was second in the CSSHL Prep Division in wins (16) and save percentage (.939) and fourth in goals-against average (2.04); he also had three shutouts. In all competitions last year, the Summerland, BC, product sported a 22-9-4 record in 37 games and owned a .940 save percentage. Fans may be familiar with the athletic goaltender, as he was an Affiliate Player this past season with the Vees. Joe Leahy and Jared Nash both played for the Stratford Cullitons in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) last season. The Vees have strong ties to the program, as Mitch Brooks and former Captain Brad McClure both came to Penticton from Stratford. Leahy, 19, had an excellent season on the blue-line for the Cullitons, as he was named the Midwest Conference Defenceman of the Year and First Team All-Star, after racking up 19 goals and 48 points in 44 regular season games. The Waterloo, Ontario, native was fifth in team scoring and fourth among defencemen in the GOJHL. The 6’4, 204 pound rear-guard averaged a point per-game in the playoffs, scoring six goals and 21 points, helping lead the Cullitons to a Cherry Cup title as Midwest Conference champions. In 82 career regular season games in the GOJHL, Leahy amassed 28 goals and 70 points and another 25 points in 36 career playoff games. Nash, 18, finished second in team scoring with 19 goals and 62 points in 45 regular season games, and played in the GOJHL Top Prospects Game and served as an Assistant Captain this past season.  His production didn’t fall off in the post-season, as the hometown kid put up six goals and 26 points in 21 playoff games; he had 10 points in five games during the Cherry Cup Final. Nash won a trio of team awards this past season, including the best plus/minus award, the top Stratford Minor Hockey graduate award and the fan’s choice as player of the Year. In 90 career regular season games, the Stratford, Ontario, product amassed 28 goals and 58 assists for 86 points. In 38 career playoff games, Nash had another 10 goals and 35 points. The Vees organization is excited to welcome Nolan, Joe and Jared into the fold and the three will arrive in the South Okanagan in August, for the team’s Main Camp.

Solin Commits To Nanaimo:

The Nanaimo Clippers are very pleased to announce that Ben Solin has committed to play for the Team for the 2016-2017 season.  The 1997 born forward joins the Clippers after playing the past two seasons at the Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire.  During the 2015-2016 season the 5’10”, 175 lb Madison Connecticut native tallied 21 goals and 28 assists for 49 points in 29 games played.  Ben is also committed to the NCAA Division 1 Harvard Crimson in the ECAC league.

Lennon Commits To Spruce Kings:

The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce the commitment of 18 year old defenseman Drew Lennon. The 6’2” 180 pound Lennon from Bloomington, Illinois played last season for the Connecticut Oilers of the Eastern Hockey League. With the Oilers, Lennon scored three goals and had 14 assists for 17 points to go along with 31 penalty minutes in 39 games. In six playoff contests he had one assist. Prior to suiting up with the Oilers, Lennon was a member of the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders 16U AAA team where he picked up eight goals and 18 assists en route to making the East Coast Elite League (ECEL) 2014-15 U16 All-Star Team. While playing in Texas with the U14 Ice Jets Academy, Lennon won the national AA title. “Drew has good size, skates very well and has great vision on the ice.  He works hard on and off the ice towards improving his overall play.  He is the type of player that we are looking for to be a Spruce King. We are excited that he has chosen to join our organization and we look forward to working with him upon his arrival in August.” said Spruce Kings Head Coach Chad van Diemen. Lennon added, “I met coach Chad out in Boston and he explained what they were trying to do there [Prince George] with the culture change. That really caught my attention and is something I want to be a part of. I think I bring some strong defensive play, the ability to get the puck up to the forwards with a good first pass, and get into the rush with my skating. ” said newly acquired Spruce Kings defenseman Drew Lennon. Drew Lennon will join the rest of his Spruce Kings team mates just prior to the start of the team’s main training camp on August 25th.

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