BCHL News & Trades:
Prince George-Humboldt Trade:
The Prince George Spruce Kings would like to announce they have traded 18 year old forward Dante Raposo to the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) in exchange for future considerations. Last season with the Spruce Kings, the Alberta native scored one goal and had two assists to go along with 10 penalty minutes in 15 games. Raposo was first called up as an affiliated player and his lone goal was the thrilling winner against the Wenatchee Wild. He joined the team full time following the Christmas break from the Kamloops Storm of the KIJHL. The Spruce Kings would like to thank Dante Raposo for his time with the team, and wish him the best with the Humboldt Broncos.
Salmon Arm-Trail Trade:
Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ general manager Troy Mick today announced the team has traded forward #15 Josh Laframboise to the Trail Smoke Eaters for the playing rights to Carter Cochrane who played with the WHL Vancouver Giants and the BCHL Cowichan Valley Capitals. “We’re extremely excited to have Carter in our lineup this coming season. We were looking for a power play defenceman and with Cater we believe we have found him.He’s a great kid from Kamloops with a passion to win and we look forward to him wearing the Silverbacks colours.” The 5’11 190 lbs blueliner played a full season with the Chilliwack Chiefs in 2013 racking up 47 points in 55 games. The 19-year-old brings a high level of WHL experience spending time with both Everett and Tri-City. The Silverbacks would like to thank Josh Laframboise for his contributions to the team over the past two seasons and wish him the best of luck in Trail where he’ll be an impact player.
Eagles Name Sweeney New Assistant Coach:
Another Surrey Eagles alumnus is returning to the nest. We are extremely happy to announce that former defenceman and Michigan Tech graduate Riley Sweeney has been added to the staff as an assistant coach/strength and conditioning coach. Sweeney, a member of the Eagles from 2009-2011, returns to the organization after spending four seasons with Michigan Tech University. He received his bachelor of science from the prestigious school for studying Sports & Fitness Management. In 113 career games with the Eagles, Sweeney recorded 14 goals and 47 assists. “I’m very happy to be back with Surrey,” Sweeney said in an interview with SurreyEagles.ca. “It’s an opportunity that I am very fortunate to have received, and I’m really looking forward to the journey that will come.” In addition to his role as assistant coach behind the bench, he will put the team through their physical training exercises off the ice. Injury recovery and prevention will be one of his major areas of focus. “I want to keep the players as healthy as possible,” Sweeney explained. “It’s a long year, and we want to keep the players playing at their full potential every night. The facility is a lot nicer now than when I was here! It’s very professional. The players are very lucky to have a lot of tools and different things that they can take advantage of.” In terms of being behind the bench and practicing with the team, Sweeney’s main focus will be with the defencemen. As a veteran of over 150 division I NCAA games at the position, the players will certainly learn from his experience. One of the unique challenges of playing at South Surrey Arena is the fact that it is an Olympic-sized ice surface. As a former Eagle himself, Sweeney knows the importance of training to play in a way that translates well to the larger ice surface. The Eagles will be playing 28 home games, and he plans to use the extra space to the team’s advantage. “I think skating is important for any player, but it’s even more important for defencemen on the bigger ice surface. Especially when it comes to gap control and staying within the dots. Mobility is a big thing for me. Being able to move side-to-side is very important.” The addition of Sweeney isn’t the only change for the Eagles behind the bench this season, as another former Eagle Colin Hemingway was brought in as an assistant coach earlier this summer. Sweeney, Hemingway, and Head Coach/General Manager Blaine Neufeld will make up coaching staff for the 2016-17 season.
Powell River-Okotoks Trade:
The Powell River Kings have acquired the CJHL playing rights to Brian Wilson(96)(G) from the Okotokes Oilers of the AJHL in exchange for future considerations.
Penticton Vees Add Fraser & West To Coaching Staff:
The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club, hosts of the 2017 Western Canada Cup, have finalized their coaching staff ahead of the 2016-17 season. The organization is happy to announce the hiring of Assistant Coach Matt Fraser and Video Coach Adam West. Matt Fraser hails from Barrie, Ontario, but isn’t unfamiliar to the Okanagan and Penticton. The 24-year-old attended the Okanagan Hockey Academy, before playing various levels of junior hockey in Canada and the United States from 2009-2012. Fraser then attended Georgian College in his hometown, where he played for their men’s hockey team in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association. Adam West, a Calgary, Alberta, native, comes to Penticton from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Vierumaki, Finland. West is currently enrolled in their Bachelor of Sports & Leisure Management program. Whilst at school, West served as an Assistant Coach for the past two years with Vierumaki United in the Finnish Mestis Under-20 junior league. He has also served as a Goalie Coach for the Northwest Calgary Athletic Association and Southern Alberta Selects, and was an Goalie Instructor with Hockey Canada. The additions of Matt and Adam, along with the recent hiring of Jason Becker as an Assistant Coach, round out the Vees’ staff ahead of the 2016-17 season.
Rodriguez Stepping Down As Wild Arena Announcer:
The Wenatchee Wild organization has experienced a multitude of changes since arriving in the Valley back in 2008. There have been two different ownerships, two different leagues, three head coaches, and over 200 different players. One of the last remaining original pieces of the Wild experience is stepping away, as Public Address Announcer Ernie Rodriguez has informed the team he will not be returning this season. In a statement provided to the team, Rodriguez revealed the reason for his decision. “As most Wild fans know, my health has been an issue over the last 5 years, now it’s my eyesight. It’s become increasingly harder to see and read the script. I don’t feel I can still do the job and, knowing I can’t perform at 100 percent. I hoped to be a part of the Wild team a few more years, but at this point, my health and family have to come first. I will never be able to fully express my gratitude to the Wild fans, players, coaches and the Wild organization for the years of support given to me and my family. Go Wild!” Rodriguez has been a staple in the Wenatchee Valley on local airwaves for years, under the air names of “Cousin Cody” and “Uncle Ernie”, in addition to his given name. His enthusiastic delivery of in-game announcements with his crisp yet booming voice in addition to his trademark “howl” have been a part of Wild hockey since its inception. Head Coach / GM Bliss Littler knows that Rodriguez brought a special presence to the building. “No doubt that Ernie was one of the best in the business and contributed big time in giving the Wild a home ice advantage with his ability to get the crowd going”, Littler said. “I know he cares deeply for the Wild and will be greatly missed.” Plans are underway for a special tribute to Ernie for his years of service at an upcoming Wild game.
Prince George-Buffalo Trade:
The Prince George Spruce Kings have transferred the CJHL playing rights to Ryan Fritz(96)(D) to the Buffalo Jr Sabres of the OJHL in exchange for future considerations.
Jobs Up For Grabs At Vees Camp:
There may be more quality than quantity at the Penticton Vees training camp, but Fred Harbinson said competition for jobs will be fierce. Training camp is less than two weeks away, starting Monday, Aug. 22 at the South Okanagan Events Centre. While the Vees already have 21 players listed on roster on the B.C. Hockey League website, the Vees president, GM and head coach said nobody will be handed a spot on the team. “We’ve got a few other guys coming, another player who we’re hoping can come in on a transfer,” said Harbinson. “There will be competition. There will be no guarantees. You’ve got to perform and the best 22 left standing will make the team. “There will be no special treatment … and it’s going to be that way the whole season. Talent and skill is great, but we’re demanding optimum work ethic, attitude, accountability and commitment to go with it.” Harbinson said there will be 25 or 26 players with a legitimate chance to make the team. There will also be a handful of younger players – from the hockey academy and midget programs – who will take part at the camp. “They’re primarily guys who are too young to make the team, but could be with us next year,” said Harbinson. “We’ll have some guys, even a few 15-year-olds, who we can have as affiliated players, a lot like we did with (Tyson) Jost a couple years back.” In another interesting twist for this year’s camp, former BCHL player August Aiken will be bringing his entire Anaheim Junior Ducks team (1999 born players) to participate in the camp from Aug. 22-25. Aiken, a native of California, played four BCHL seasons from 2005-08 with Salmon Arm, Westside and Trail. “We’re going to integrate his guys with ours to give us two full teams in camp to play a series of games,” said Harbinson. “It gives them a taste of what it’s like to play in Penticton against Junior-A players, and it gives us a chance to look at some guys who could possibly play for us at some point.” The Vees play their first exhibition games at home against West Kelowna on Aug. 24 and in Vernon on Aug. 25. Harbinson said there is a chance some of Aiken’s players will get to suit up for the Vees in the games. The coach said he’s eagerly anticipating the start of training camp, with big things expected from the Vees this season as they host the Western Canada Cup April 29 to May 7, 2017 at the SOEC. “It’s kind of like Christmas where you’re shaking the package thinking you might know what’s inside, but until you open it up you don’t really know,” said Harbinson. “You’re thinking about the different battles in camp, who works best with who and all those things. Some of the guys will be coming in early next week to get a jump on things. There’s definitely a lot of excitement in the air with this team.” NO GAMES WITH BROOKS BANDITS: The Vees followed a directive by the BCHL at the league’s AGM earlier this summer and will not be going to Brooks, Alta. to play the AJHL’s Bandits in a pair of pre-season games. The Bandits visited Penticton for two games last season and the plan was for the Vees to reciprocate this year. But the Bandits ran into disciplinary issues in their 2016 RBC Cup semifinal game in Lloydminster in May against eventual champions West Kelowna Warriors. Twelve players and coaches were ejected in the third period of the 4-1 Warriors win – and the fallout from the mayhem recently shook down. Head coach Ryan Papaioannou was suspended the first 15 games of the season, assistant Scott Cunningham got five games and the Bandits were fined $15,000 by the Canadian Junior Hockey League. Harbinson said the Vees hope to make the trip to Brooks at some point in the next few years. “I know their coach quite well and we’ve had a good working relationship,” said Harbinson. “I think some things that were said after what happened kind of got blown out of proportion.” But Harbinson said he did feel some of the antics by the Bandits has given Junior-A hockey a bit of a bad name. “They’ve had a great program there for a lot of years, they’ve had some great players, great fan and community support and they’ve enjoyed a lot of success,” said Harbinson. “They don’t need to get involved in stuff like at the RBC. Hopefully everyone can just move on from this.” WORLD JUNIOR A CHALLENGE: By any barometer imaginable, Fred Harbinson would be a legitimate candidate to coach Team Canada West in any year at the annual World Junior A Challenge. Asked about it this week, Harbinson explained a coach has to apply in writing for the position. “I’ve never applied for it, but who knows, maybe after this season I’ll consider it,” said Harbinson. “It’s tough because the way it’s set up now you have to leave your team for quite a while … almost a full month. We’ve had and have great assistant coaches who can run things while I’m away, but with my other duties (as president) the timing hasn’t always been right. This year, we have the Western Canada Cup so it wasn’t possible. But we’ll keep an open mind in the years ahead.” Coquitlam Express GM/head coach Barry Wolff will be coaching Canada West at this year’s WJAC Dec. 11-17 in Bonnyville, Alta.
The Salmon Arm Silverbacks made a major trade sending two year veteran #15 Josh Laframboise to the Trail Smoke Eaters for Carter Cochrane’s playing rights. Head Coach Brandon West talks about why the team had to trade a veteran forward to shore up the blueline this coming season.
West Kelowna-Winnipeg Trade:
The West Kelowna Warriors Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club are pleased to announce the acquisition of defensemen Stephen Kleysen (’97) from the Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) in exchange for future considerations. Kleysen, 19, split the 2015/16 season with the Winnipeg Blues and Madison Capitals of the United States Hockey League. With the Blues last season, Kleysen collected four goals and 23 points over 30 games played while amassing 36 total points in 87 career games in the MJHL. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native spent the second half of his 2015/16 season with the Madison Capitals in the USHL where he compiled one goals and three points over a 25 game stretch with the club. “Stephen is a quality player and will be able to play quality minutes for us on the back end”, commented Warriors Head Coach and General Manager Rylan Ferster. The Warriors would like to welcome Stephen to the organization and the city of West Kelowna. Fans will get their first chance to see Stephen and the rest of the Warriors starting on August 22nd with their main camp followed by West Kelowna’s first preseason game, scheduled for August 24th against the Penticton Vees at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The Surrey Eagles have transferred the CJHL playing rights of Ludvig Adamsen(96)(D) to the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the AJHL in exchange for the CJHL playing rights to Bobby McMann(96)(F) and future considerations.
OJHL Implements Full Facial Protection For 2017-18 Season:
The Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) Annual General Meeting (AGM) wrapped up this past weekend with the OJHL Board of Governors voting to implement full facial protection beginning with the 2017-18 season. With player safety at the forefront of the discussion, the OJHL becomes the first member league in the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) to make full facemasks mandatory for their players. Implementation of the new initiative will begin with the start of the 2017-18 season and is aimed at reducing facial injuries to virtually zero. "Player safety at the junior level of the game of hockey is constantly being monitored and reviewed, and is a never-ending process," said OJHL Commissioner Marty Savoy. "The Governors of the OJHL feel that their decision to move toward full facial protection is a decision that will improve the overall safety of our most important assets; the players of our league." “We have seen too many of our players suffer severe facial injuries wearing the half-shield,” added OJHL Chairman Scott McCrory. “We realize that moving toward full facial protection is a major change in philosophy, but it has been one that we have been discussing and studying for the past number of years. The OJHL is a development league that moves players on to the next level of our great game and I applaud our Governors for taking a leading role in player safety.”