Monday, August 8, 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:

Vees Name Becker New Assistant Coach:

The Penticton Vees Jr A Hockey Club is pleased to announce the hiring of Jason Becker as the club’s new assistant coach for the 2016-2017 season. The hiring of Becker was necessitated by the unexpected resignation of Nick Fuher early last week. After 2 season’s with the club, Fuher has joined an academy in Winnipeg. Becker joins the Vees from the Okanagan Hockey Academy, where he spent the past two seasons. Prior to that, Becker was an assistant coach for the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars. After a five year Western Hockey League career as a defenceman, Becker would join the University of Saskatchewan Huskies for 5 seasons, before embarking on a 9 year professional career that would see him suit up in nearly 450 games, mostly over sea’s. “When Nick decided to leave the club, we immediately focused on Jason.” said Vees President, General Manager & Head Coach Fred Harbinson. “Ownership afford me the opportunity to hire an experienced coach, and we didn’t feel the need to search elsewhere, or publicly state we were looking for someone, I felt right from the get go that Jason would be a tremendous fit for us.” Becker, who calls Penticton home with his wife, and two children couldn’t be more excited to join Harbinson and the Vees staff. “I’m very honoured and excited to be joining the Vees organization. It’s a team filled with a rich history, and this is a very important season as we host the Western Canada Cup, I can’t wait to get started and meet the players.” said Becker. Harbinson, Becker, and the rest of the Vees staff will welcome the newest crop of Vees back to Penticton in the coming weeks, with training camp opening on August 22nd at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Pion Commits To Nanaimo:

The Nanaimo Clippers are very pleased to announce that Danny Pion 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 Thetford Mines Filons in the Quebec CGEP League.  During the 2015-2016 season the 5’11” 185lb Gatineau, Quebec native tallied 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points in 30 games played.

Centennials Sign Pietrowski:

The Merritt Centennials announced on Wednesday the signing of forward Tyler Pietrowski for the 2016-17 season. Pietrowski comes to the Cents from the Philadelphia Little Flyers of the Eastern Hockey League. In 39 games with the Little Flyers last season, the 20-year-old had 27 goals and 26 assists for 53 points in 39 games played. He was tied for third overall in goals and eighth overall in points in the EHL. “We’re happy to add Tyler to the team for the upcoming season, he’s a great person with very solid values,” said Cents GM and Head Coach Joe Martin. “We think he’ll be a very good player for us. He’s got one year left of junior hockey and we expect people to take notice of his impact right away.” Pietrowski’s 2015-16 season was highlighted by being named the EHL Player of the Month for January 2016 after he put up 14 goals and seven assists for 21 points as the Little Flyers went 9-0, outscoring their opponents 59-15 during the unbeaten streak. He had 12 multi-point games during the regular season and added three goals and one assist in nine playoff games. The Curtice, Ohio native played 46 games for the Little Flyers in 2014-15 (29 games in the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League, 17 games in the Eastern Hockey League), finishing with 27 goals and 28 assists for 55 points. He also skated in 14 games with the Little Flyers U18 team, putting up seven goals and six assists in 14 games.

Silvertips Trade Jost To Regina:

Regina Pats General Manager and Head Coach John Paddock announced today the team acquired over-age forward Dawson Leedahl (’96) and the WHL playing rights to forward Tyson Jost (’98) from the Everett Silvertips. The Pats traded forward Sean Richards (’98), Red Deer’s fourth round pick in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft as well as conditional draft picks to Everett. Dawson Leedahl (6’1”, 200 lbs) is a veteran of 226 WHL games over four seasons with the Silvertips.  In that time, Leedahl posted 101 points (37G, 64A) to go with 266 penalty minutes.  In 2015-16, the Saskatoon, SK product tallied 27 points (12G, 15A) in 48 games to go with a career high 88 penalty minutes.  In eight playoff games, Leedahl registered five points (3G, 2A) and 37 penalty minutes.  He also served as the Silvertips captain, earning the team’s ‘Unsung Hero’ award the past two seasons.  The former second round bantam pick of the Silvertips was a member of the 2012 SMAAAHL Champion Saskatoon Contacts and captured a bronze medal at the Telus Cup. “Any time you can acquire a player that has been a captain of a team, you are eager to do it,” commented John Paddock.  “In Dawson, we are really excited about adding an experienced, big forward to our group who has been playing in a winning program.” Tyson Jost (5’11”, 191 lbs) was selected 10th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.  The St. Albert, AB native played 94 games for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL the past two seasons while totaling 149 points (65G, 84A).  Last season, Jost posted 104 points (42G, 62A) in 48 games and was named the BCHL and CJHL Most Valuable Player.  Jost captained Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF U-18 World Championship in Grand Forks, North Dakota where he led the tournament with 15 points (6G, 9A) in seven games.  Jost has committed to the University of North Dakota (NCHC) for this upcoming fall.  He was the Silvertips’ seventh overall selection in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. “We fully know what Tyson’s desires are and we respect that immensely,” continued Paddock.  “At some point we will have a conversation with his representatives and him about what we think of him as a player.” Sean Richards (5’11”, 180 lbs) joined the Pats last October when he was called up from the Olds Grizzlys.  The St. Albert, AB native played in 54 games for the Blue and White, totaling 18 points (3G, 15A) and 58 penalty minutes.  In the 2016 WHL Playoffs, Richards posted three points (1G, 2A) and was a +3 plus/minus rating in twelve games.  The Regina Pats thank Sean for his contributions to the hockey club and community of Regina during his time with the team.

Surrey-Kirkland Trade:

The Surrey Eagles have acquired 20-year-old goaltender Marc Audet from the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners of the NOJHL. Audet split last season between the NOJHL and Acadie-Bathurst of the QMJHL. He also spent time with the QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar earlier in his career. In Audet’s eight games with the Gold Miners, he posted a .915 save percentage and 2.47 goals-against-average. The native of Thunder Bay, Ontario will replace former starting goaltender Justin Laforest, who finished his junior career at the end of last season. Audet has a large frame, weighing in at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, and scouting reports say that he moves extremely well around the crease for a bigger goaltender. He is a good skater, and used that ability to achieve success in the high-scoring Quebec league. He will likely benefit from playing in a more defensive-minded league like the BCHL. He got off to a lightning-quick start in 2015-16, stopping 145 shots in his first four games of the season with Acadie-Bathurst – good for a .912 save percentage during that stretch. He would only appear in six more games for them after having his season disrupted by an injury in January. In return, the Eagles have sent forward Gunnar Wegleitner to Kirkland Lake. Wegleitner had one goal and one assist in 14 games with the team last season, missing time with a shoulder injury. The team would like to thank him for his time with the club, and wish him the best with his new organization in Ontario. This is the second trade that the Eagles have made this offseason, after re-acquiring Darius Davidson from the Penticton Vees earlier in the summer.

Nanaimo-Steinbach Trade:

The Nanaimo Clippers have added 20 year old forward Adam Donnelly from the Steinbach Pistons of the MJHL. Donnelly was acquired from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs earlier this off-season. Going to the Pistons are future considerations. In Donnelly, the Clippers have added a big forward who brings size, experience, and leadership. During the 2015-16 season the 6’2”, 210lb Bolton, Ontario native tallied 27 points in 56 games for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL.

Bulldogs Sign Witkowski-Trade Willcox:

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are please to announce the signing of forward Jake Witkowski for the 2016-17 season. Witkowski, a 5’10, 175lb, forward from Melrose, MA is coming off an excellent final season with Avon Old Farms School where he scored 40 points (13 goals and 27 assists) in 27 games. Witkowski is a smooth skating, dynamic forward who possesses a lot of skill with and without the puck. Playing alongside 2016 Nashville Predators NHL draft pick Patrick Harper this past season, Witkowski excelled in all situations for the “Winged Beavers.” “I’ve always been excited about the possibility of playing in the BCHL,” says Witkowski. “I can’t wait to begin the season in the Alberni Valley, it is a great fit for me as I hope to prepare myself to become an NCAA student-athlete.” “Jake is an all-around athlete who is motivated to play juniors in the BCHL,” says Head Coach Kevin Willison. “We know he is a competitor and hopefully we can prepare him for collegiate hockey and give him a positive experience in our community.” The Bulldogs also announce that they have traded twenty year old forward Rhett Willcox to the Drayton Valley Thunder of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in exchange for Future Considerations. The Bulldogs want to thank Rhett for his contributions to the community and team and welcome Jake and his family to the Alberni Valley. Main Camp is set to open August 22nd at the Alberni Valley Multiplex.

Blazers Trade Kehler To Winterhawks:

The Merritt Centennials announced today that goaltender Cole Kehler’s Western Hockey League rights have been traded from the Kamloops Blazers to the Portland Winterhawks for a seventh round pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft. The 18-year-old from Altona, Manitoba joined the Cents near the end of September 2015 and played 43 games during the 2015-16 season, finishing with an 18-24-1 record, a 3.84 goals-against-average, and an .898 save percentage. “We’d like to thank Cole for his contributions last season,” said Cents GM and Head Coach Joe Martin. “We certainly wish him all the best with Portland and in his WHL career.”

Wild Name Plate New Athletic Trainer:

The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the BCHL are pleased to welcome Andrew Plate as the Athletic Trainer for the team. He will arrive in Wenatchee in mid-August. Plate is a native of Monroeville, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh and graduated from Penn State with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training in 2014, and furthered his studies with a Masters of Education degree two years later. His extensive service at the University included men’s and women’s volleyball, rugby, lacrosse, football, hockey and more. He was also a member of the Penn State Intramural Hockey program. He joins the Wild as a full time employee and will travel with the team to all road games in accordance with BCHL guidelines. Wild Head Coach / GM Bliss Littler is more than pleased with the addition of Plate to the team. “We’ve always placed the utmost priority on taking care of our athletes, and Andrew has the knowledge and experience to assure that continues.” Littler added, “He will be a great fit for our organization.” Plate is eagerly awaiting his arrival. “I am very excited to join the Wenatchee Wild Staff”, he said. “I have only heard great things about the organization and community. This opportunity to be the athletic trainer in junior hockey has always been a dream of mine.” He added that his primary focus will be to “keep our players healthy and improve as hockey players.”

Prince George-Drayton Valley Trade:

The Prince George Spruce Kings would like to announce they have traded 18 year old goaltender Joseph McLeod to the Drayton Valley Thunder of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) in exchange for future considerations, and 20 year old defenseman Ryan Fritz to the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) in exchange for future considerations. The 6’2” 195 pound McLeod is from Kelowna, BC. Joining the Spruce Kings after the Christmas break from the Castlegar Rebels in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL), McLeod had two wins, 5 losses, and one loss in overtime. McLeod sported a 3.93 GAA and a 0.872 save %. His first game starting with the team was a win in a 4-3 decision over the Coquitlam Express, and he closed out his season with a 5-1 victory against the Surrey Eagles. This was McLeod’s first season in the BCHL. The 6’2” 200 pound Fritz is from Rochester, New York. Last season with the Spruce Kings, Fritz scored one goal and had four assists to go along with 54 penalty minutes in 32 games. This past years was Fritz’s first full season in Prince George after being acquired midway through the 2014/15 season from the Nanaimo Clippers. In 76 BCHL games played, Fritz had four goals and 11 assists while racking up 132 penalty minutes. The Prince George Spruce Kings would like to thank Joseph and Ryan for their time with the team, and wish him them the best with their new teams.

Clippers Name Donaghy New Assistant Coach:

Nanaimo Clippers Head Coach Mike Vandekamp announced today that Dustin Donaghy has been named Assistant Coach. Donaghy joins Head Coach Mike Vandekamp’s staff alongside Strength and Conditioning Coach Clayton Smith and Trainer Rhett White. Dustin had a 5 year Pro playing career.  He spent 3 years in the WHL playing for the Spokane Chiefs, where he won a Memorial Cup in 2008, and then went on to play for the Lethbridge Hurricanes.  He also played Junior A hockey for 2 seasons with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. As for coaching, Dustin was the U18 Prep Assistant Coach for Compete Hockey Academy in 2014-2015 and then went onto become the Head Coach for the U16 Varsity team for Coeur d’ Alene Hockey Academy in 2015. Dustin not only brings years of playing experience at the pro-level but brings great coaching experience at the U18 and U16 levels. Donaghy originally grew up in Cranbrook, BC but is currently residing in Spokane, Washington.

Capitals Announce New Ownership:

A businessman from China is the new majority owner of the Cowichan Valley Capitals junior A hockey team. Ray Zhang, an international businessman who calls Beijing home, finalized his purchase of the B.C. Hockey League club this week. This transaction is the first time someone from China has purchased an overseas hockey franchise,” Zhang said in a press release. “It will open the door for hockey families in China to learn about Canadian hockey firsthand. This link to Canadian hockey will prove valuable to encourage all of our young hockey players in China.” Zhang purchased the majority share of the team from former owner Cory Wanner, the Saskatchewan oilfield tradesman who bought into the club in 2013. Zhang's family plans to relocate to Duncan. “I am extremely honoured and excited to be involved with the Cowichan Valley Capitals,” he said. “The Capitals have a reputation of having the best fans in the league and my family and I look forward to being part of your community.” Head coach and general manager Bob Beatty will remain at the helm of the team under the new ownership. “Ray is looking forward to working with the local ownership and has ambitious visions for the team,” Beatty said. The Capitals have existed in the Cowichan Valley in their current form since 1988. The Caps returned to the BCHL playoffs in 2015-16 after a three-year absence.

Vees Snag College Puck-Stopper:

The search for a new No.1 goalie for the Penticton Vees is over. Mathew Robson is their man. “He’s a big kid, he’s close to six foot three, very athletic,” said Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson. “He’s proven. He won an OJHL championship.” The Vees acquired Robson’s Canadian Junior Hockey League playing rights in late July from the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots for the rights of defenceman Ryan Markovic, who they previously picked up for future considerations from the Brockville Braves. Getting the right player to complete the trade took Harbinson a month-and-a-half to complete. Robson joins the Vees after spending a year practicing with the Clarkson University Golden Knights. Robson was sitting out after he won an appeal against the National Collegiate Athletic Association as he had signed with an Ontario Hockey League team at 16 but never played after getting injured. While Robson won the ruling, the NCAA gave him a 1.5 year suspension. Robson chose to leave Clarkson University as he wanted to get back to playing. Harbinson learned of Robson’s situation, including the unlikeliness of him returning to the Patriots, and received permission from Toronto to recruit him. Several teams were interested in the netminder, who eventually chose the Vees over Dubuque. For Harbinson, getting a veteran goalie like Robson is key for playoff success. “A lot of times in the playoffs, 20-year-olds are the ones, if you look over the years in the BCHL, 20-year-olds are usually the ones that carry the mail,” said Harbinson. The loss of Anthony Brodeur in the playoffs showed the importance of having that veteran in the crease to Harbinson, who said that Zach Driscoll had a great year for them. “Even when he didn’t play in games, he practiced at the college level with a very good hockey team, seeing high caliber shots,” said Harbinson of Robson. “I think he’s a guy that is going to be able to step in and give us a great tandem.” Harbinson also spoke to Robson about being a mentor for Nolan Hildebrand and that both can push each other to get better. Vees notes: Defenceman Jonathan Tychonick is on the development camp roster for Hockey Canada’s Under-17 Hockey Challenge. The national team’s Summer Showcase runs from July 26 to Aug. 1. Players are evaluated during the season then are selected to one of three national teams for the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Oct. 30 to Nov. 5 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Former captain Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro are at the development camp for Canada’s national junior team. Defenceman Griffin Mendel is on the NHL Central Scouting Futures list.

City Lends A Hand To Help Smoke Eaters:

Trail City Council wants to ensure their world-famous hockey team remains in tact for years to come. Councilor Sandy Santori says last season an audit was completed by the Canada Revenue Agency which led to the club being just over $15,000 in debt. So Santori and two other city officials met with team officials to figure out a way to help the team. Council’s decision to help the team was unanimous.

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