Tuesday, September 20, 2016
BCHL News & Trades:
BCHL News & Trades:
Grizzlies Name Lierop Captain:
It was a tricky task to decide in a two-man sweepstake, said Victoria Grizzlies head coach and GM Craig Didmon. Didmon has selected Cody Van Lierop, a 20-year-old defenceman from Sutton West, Ont., to captain the Grizzlies this season in the B.C. Hockey League. “We have two captains in our dressing room and it was a difficult decision between [Van Lierop] and [forward] Cole Pickup,” said Didmon. “Both players have a lot of [NCAA] schools interested in them.” In the end, Didmon said he liked that Van Lierop was captain of his Lake Forest Academy prep team in Chicago and “knows what is expected of the role.” “He comes to play every day and is a hard working player with character,” said Didmon. The Grizzlies’ bench boss also cited Van Lierop’s temperament. “He has a tough mentality. He doesn’t get too high or too low,” said Didmon. The six-foot-one Van Lierop is entering his third season with the Grizzlies and scored four goals with eight points in 54 games in 2014-15 and two goals with 25 points in 55 games last season. Van Lierop will be aided by assistant captains Pickup, Tyler Welsh, Jake Stevens and Brett Stirling. “It’s a real honour, especially being a third-year player in this organization,” said Van Lierop. “It’s an awesome feeling. I am really excited by our group of players. We have lots of talent on the back end, including the best goaltender in the league [NCAA Cornell-bound Matthew Galajda], and we have people up front who can score.”
The Penticton Vees are feeling good with two out of six exhibition games out of the way. The Vees took the Vipers in a 4-1 game in Vernon on Thursday and shut out the West Kelowna Warriors in a 2-0 home game on Tuesday. Coach Fred Harbinson said the games have been an opportunity to experiment with line-ups and rundowns. "We've had a chance to get some different guys in the line-up and work on some different system stuff," he said. "Just kind of get everybody acclimated to what we do here." He said it's a busy week with four more exhibition games set along with preparing for the season ahead. "You're trying to get all your practices in and different things that you want to get across to players through video," he said. "Then you have four games, back to back, Tuesday-Wednesday and then Friday-Saturday and then you're a week away from playing for real." Despite a heavy workload, he said the team is kicking it into gear for the coming season. "Everybody's come in great shape with a great attitude," he said. The Vees' next game is at home against the Vernon Vipers on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Chilliwack Chiefs Name DeBartolo New Broadcaster:
The Chiefs are pleased to announce that Vanni DeBartolo has joined the organization as their play by play voice. Debartolo, a graduate of the BCIT Radio Broadcast Program has over 15 years experience which includes calling more than 400 games. His experience includes calling Chiefs games from 2002-2006. He has also worked with the Chilliwack Bruins, Abbotsford Heat, Vancouver Whitecaps and BC Lions. “It’s an honour to once again be calling games for such a prestigious club”, said DeBartolo. “When I was 15 years old I entered my name as the Subway Jr. Broadcaster and was able to do an interview during an intermission of a Chiefs game. That really paved the way for me to begin the road into broadcasting and it was such a blessing to be able to circle back after my schooling to begin my career with the Chiefs.” DeBartolo will be joined on all broadcasts by color analyst Jacob Bestebroer. All home games will be broadcast online via mixlr (audio only) and Fasthockey (pay per view video). All playoff games, home and away will be broadcast. “Hopefully I can be a part of something really special and be able to call a Royal Bank Cup championship,” added DeBartolo. “The city should be really excited about what’s to come. My broadcast partner JB and I will do our best to bring this excitement to you.”
Silverbacks To Honour local RCMP-Firefighters:
Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ general manager Troy Mick today announced the Salmon Arm Silverbacks will be planning two special game nights to honour the Salmon Arm RCMP and the Salmon Arm Firefighters. The Silverbacks have invited members from both organizations to be a part of the games that will see the team wearing replica jerseys supporting the first responders. Also the RCMP and Firefighters and their families have been invited to the game for free. On November 19th the Silverbacks will be wearing a jersey with a red serge design against the Cowichan Valley Capitals as a fitting tribute to the countless hours of service that the RCMP do. On January 27th against the Nanaimo Clippers, the Silverbacks will then sport a black and yellow firefighters style jersey to pay tribute to the firefighters for all of their hard work in keeping our beautiful city safe!
Vees Name Assistant Captains:
The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Club has rounded out its leadership group for the upcoming 2016-17 BCHL season. Monday the team announced defenceman Mitch Meek (96) and forward Owen Sillinger (97) will serve as Assistant Captains. Meek and Sillinger join fellow Assistant Captain Gabe Bast (96) and Captain Nic Jones (96) as part of the Vees’ Captains. “I am confident that our leadership group is in good hands led by Nick Jones, Gabe Bast, Owen Sillinger and Mitch Meek,” stated President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson. “The word culture seems to be over used these days but all four of these players have a solid grasp of what it means to be a Penticton Vee, and will do an outstanding job as an extension of our coaching staff.” Meek is entering his fifth and final season of junior hockey and his first with the Vees, after stops in Victoria, Vernon and Cowichan Valley. The Victoria, BC, product has a wealth of experience under his belt, as he is nearing the 200 games played plateau. In four seasons, Meek has played in 193 career regular season games, collecting 15 goals and 72 points, to go along with 162 penalty-minutes. Meek was acquired from the Capitals earlier in the summer. The 20-year-old rearguard has played in 38 career playoffs games and played in both the 2014 Fred Page Cup Final and RBC Cup with the Vernon Vipers. In those 38 playoff games, Meek has a goal and 10 points. Meek led all Vees defenceman in scoring this pre-season with a goal and six points in four games. Sillinger, 19, is entering his second season with the Vees after coming from the Regina Pat Canadians in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League (SMHL). In his rookie season, the Regina, Saskatchewan, native had 16 goals and 45 points in 58 games. He was one of the Vees’ best forwards after the Christmas break and was named the Vees’ Player of the Month in January. Prior to joining the Vees, Sillinger won the SMHL Championship in 2015 and led the Pat Canadians to a third place finish at the Telus Cup in Quebec. There, he was the Top Scorer and was named the Top Forward and Tournament MVP. Wearing a letter isn’t new to Sillinger as he was the Captain of his midget team two years ago. Sillinger finished with a goal and five points in four pre-season games. He’s committed to Arizona State University next fall. The Vees open their regular season on Saturday, September 10th, when they travel to Prince George to face the Spruce Kings; face-off is 7 pm. Fans can listen to the season opener on EZ Rock AM 800, or they can watch online at www.fasthockey.com.
McAvoy Returning As Eagles Captain:
The Surrey Eagles hockey club has formally announced their leadership group for the 2016-17 BCHL season. Paul McAvoy will return as the team’s captain, after picking up the ‘C’ partway through last season. His assistants will be Nick Minerva, Darius Davidson, and Tyler Cooper. McAvoy, a native of Lexington, Kentucky, tied for the team lead in goals last season with 14. The 1996-born forward will resume the leadership role that he took in 2015. Minerva, acquired this offseason after playing for the Fort Frances Lakers of the SIJHL, made a strong first impression on his new teammates. He was also an assistant captain last season with the Lakers. Davidson, who was re-acquired this offseason after finishing the year with Penticton, led the Eagles in scoring in 2014-15. Entering his final year of junior eligibility, he is expected to be a player that leads by example. Cooper, who was acquired from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in 2015-16, is a workhorse on defence. The Sudbury, Ontario native won the team’s “best defenceman” award last season, and is a vocal leader both on and off the ice.
Victoria Grizzlies Hungry For Playoff Spot:
A hint of grey shoulder stripes will adorn the Victoria Grizzlies jerseys this season, but there is nothing but blue-sky optimism for the B.C. Hockey League club which opens regular-season play tonight at 7 at The Q Centre. Just turned 50-year-old general manager and coach Kent Lewis will lead the opposition as he brings the Powell River Kings to town before the Grizzlies play host to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Saturday for opening weekend. Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon has plenty to be excited about as he leads a veteran-laden team onto the fresh ice at The Q, looking to make amends on a playoff-less and disappointing 2015-16 campaign. At 24-30-4-0, the Grizzlies took a giant slide in the final two weeks to narrowly miss a post-season spot last season. They are nothing but bad memories now and the players are looking to establish themselves early in 2016-17. “It was a roller-coaster of a ride last year, so many ups and down, at the beginning, the end and the middle. In the end, it left a weird feeling in my stomach, knowing we could have given more with games we could have had back,” said captain Cody Van Lierop. “It gave me a different outlook coming in here this year, knowing I don’t want that happening again. We want to put in full effort every game and not have any regrets.” After a solid 6-0 preseason, there are high expectations for the club, but they know exhibition games mean little. “We can’t take too much from the preseason,” said veteran Cole Pickup, who is lining up on left wing with Nathan Looysen on the right (his off-wing) and Tyler Welsh at centre. “It’s better than going 0-5 or 1-5, but, again, some of the teams aren’t fully dressed and neither were we. “We’ve got more to come. We’re not playing our best hockey yet and I’m sure it will be a good test Friday,” he said of facing the Kings. Pickup, too, was not happy with last year’s outcome. “With the guys coming back we were eager to get back together on the ice and get back at it for the logo. It wasn’t a good feeling missing the playoffs,” said Pickup, who will wear an A as assistant captain along with Welsh and blue-liners Jake Stevens and Brett Stirling. “The Grizzlies aren’t an organization that misses that too often. It’s a season we want to turn around and be at the opposite end of the standings, for sure.” Pickup, Looysen and Welsh will be needed for offensive output, but the team has plenty of depth there, adding some talent in the likes of Justin Michaelian, Sage Englund and Jamie Rome. Keyvan Mokhtari and Nick Guiney are also back and Didmon has added other locals in Cam Thompson, Marty Westhaver and Cory Hatcher. In goal the GM is more than comfortable with Matthew Galajda, who recently committed to Cornell University of the NCAA for the 2017-18 season, and Mitchel Benson, and the defence is loaded with experience in Van Lierop, Stevens, Stirling and Drayson Pears. Nico Somerville was an affiliated player last season and Didmon and the scouts have brought in Dayne Finnson and Carter Berger. There is plenty of talk that this team could be among the top three in the league, but all 17 clubs start at 0-0. “It’s an honour if we are. It’s being talked about throughout the league, but we haven’t proven anything yet,” added Pickup. “It’s important for all the guys to have a good start going into that [BCHL] Showcase,” said Welsh. “Schools definitely seem to look at teams that are having a good season. “Last year was a struggle,” he admitted of a poor start. “We didn’t have many returning guys and it took the new guys some time to get a feel for the league and to adjust. “We’ve got a good core group of guys this year. We think we’re one of the stronger teams on the Island. Powell River will be good and Nanaimo will be as well.” They’ll find out where they stand, starting tonight.
Warriors Name Leadership Group:
The West Kelowna are pleased to announce their leadership group for the 2016/17 season. Joining captain Nicholas Rutigliano will be forwards Connor Sodergren, Quin Foreman and defensemen Tyler Anderson as they will serve as alternate captains for the Warriors this season. Sodergren, 20, is going into 2nd BCHL season after suited up in every one of the 58 regular season games for the Warriors last season, collecting 8 goals and 22 assists for 30 points. In the BCHL playoffs, the Tewksbury, Massachusetts native exploded for 6 goals and 7 assists for 13 points in 24 games while the Army commit earned a goal and 3 assists for 4 points in 11 games combined between the Western Canada Cup and RBC Cup. Foreman, 20, enters his 2nd BCHL season having played in 50 games last season, picking up 13 goals and 26 points while netting four goals and 10 points in the postseason for the Warriors. The Norwood, Mass. native collected four goals and 8 points in 10 games between the WCC and RBC Cup. Anderson, 20, returns for his second season after scoring three times and adding nine points in all 58 games for the Warriors last season. The Niverville, Manitoba native suited up in all 24-league playoff games, earning a goal and six points before appearing in 11 games between the WCC and RBC Cup, earning two assists en route to the Warriors National Championship victory. “All three have shown solid leadership qualities coming back in very good shape and really selling the vision to the younger players,” stated Warriors head coach and GM Rylan Ferster, “They are winners and played key roles for us last year.”
Nanaimo-Grande Prairie Trade:
The Nanaimo Clippers have acquired the CJHL playing rights to Tristan Crozier(98)(F) from the Grande Prairie Storm of the AJHL in exchange for future considerations.
Coquitlam-Alberni Valley Trade:
The Coquitlam Express have transferred the CJHL playing rights to Malik Kaila(96)(D) to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in exchange for future considerations.
Vees Sign Johnson:
The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club has signed defenceman Kenny Johnson (98), the team announced Wednesday afternoon. President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson, “We had a spot open on our backend with the injury to Sam Rossini, and Kenny is the piece we were looking for. He’s a big body that plays a heavy game and he’s a sound player on both sides of the puck.” Johnson, 18, comes to Penticton after spending the last four years at the prestigious Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school in Faribault, Minnesota. Johnson spent the last two seasons playing for the school’s prep team, where he appeared in 91 games, picking up 10 goals and 53 points. The 6’3, 220 pound blue-liner also played on both Shattuck-St. Mary’s Under-16 and Bantam Tier One teams. The Ann Arbor, Michigan, native is the younger brother of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson, and is committed to the University of Michigan. Johnson will wear number 28 with the Vees and his signing fills out the team’s 22-man roster. Shattuck-St. Mary’s has a rich history of NHL alumni, including Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Zach Parise. The Vees also have a connection to the school, as alumni Mike Reilly and Anthony Brodeur also played their prep hockey there. Johnson will have a chance to make his Vees debut this weekend on the team’s three-game Island Division road trip. The Vees play Powell River Friday, Alberni Valley Saturday and Cowichan Valley Sunday afternoon.
Spruce Kings Acquire Luhmann:
The Prince George Spruce Kings are pleased to announce the acquisition of 19 year old forward Hunter Luhmann from the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League (USHL). The 5’11” 194 pound Luhmann is from White River Junction, Vermont. Last season with Waterloo Luhmann scored three goals and had four assists for seven points to go along with 21 penalty minutes in 40 games played. Prior to joining the USHL, Luhmann played three season at Proctor Academy of the United States High School League putting up 76 points (43 goals and 33 assists) in a combined 82 games. “We are excited to add Hunter to our roster. He’s a very good hockey player and a great young man who will come in here and enhance a talented group of forwards. He brings good speed and skill and will be a good fit with what we are trying to build with this group,” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes. Hunter Luhmann is expected to join the team ahead of this weekend’s double header with the Wenatchee Wild.
The Nanaimo Clippers have acquired the CJHL playing rights to Ian Beck(98)(D) from the Wenatchee Wild in exchange for future considerations.