Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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:

Rizzo Joins Vees For Playoff Run:

F Massimo Rizzo will be joining the BCHL’s Penticton Vees for the remainder of their playoff run that begins Friday against the Merritt Centennials. Rizzo was a first-round selection, 15th overall, by the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He played in three games with the Vees during the regular season. Last season, Rizzo put up 137 points, including 60 goals, in 61 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s Tier 1 bantam team. This season, with the BWC midget prep team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League, he had 78 points, including 59 assists, in 43 games. Rizzo’s club will conclude its season this weekend, after which he will join the Vees. Rizzo was pointless in his first three games with the Vees. Of course, F Tyson Jost didn’t get a point in his first three games with the Vees, either, when he was an AP in 2013-14 while playing for the major midget Okanagan Rockets. Jost went on to enjoy 45- and 104-point seasons with the Vees before being the 10th overall selection by the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL’s 2016 draft. Jost now is completing his freshman season at North Dakota. The Hockey News, in its Future Watch issue, wrote: “. . . college coaches are swooning for him. Some say he’s better than Tyson Jost at the same age.” Rizzo spent some time in mid-February on the U of Wisconsin campus in Madison. Maco Balkovec, his coach at BWC, was a Wisconsin defenceman for four seasons (1991-95).

Stagnant Lease Talks Leaves Clippers Future In Nanaimo Unclear:

NANAIMO — The Clippers won't be displaced by a Western Hockey League (WHL) team, but their future in Nanaimo depends on smooth contract negotiations with the City. The Clippers' lease at Frank Crane Arena and an advertising revenue agreement with the City both expired this year. With the events centre dominating focus for the last six months, only limited talks on a new deal have taken place. "It's been one of my highest priorities to get this lease renewed since I came aboard last summer," David LeNeveu, Clippers president, told NanaimoNewsNOW. LeNeveu said Clippers owner and governor Ken Wagner is headed to Nanaimo to take part in discussions, expected to get going this week. "We're waiting for them (City) to confirm the meeting. We have our idea how we'd like to proceed with it. They haven't come back to us with how they want to proceed so we're just waiting on that." He said the organization is "relieved" after the referendum result put an end to the WHL's potential move to Nanaimo, which would have ended the Clippers 45-year tenure. LeNeveu said some of their staff were "strained" not knowing what their future held beyond this season. "We were operating as normally as possible, but there was a lot of resistance on the corporate and season ticket sales because we didn't know how we were going to be operating moving forward," LeNeveu said. One of the biggest factors in the negotiations will surround advertising revenue for signage at Frank Crane Arena. Richard Harding, Nanaimo's director of parks and rec, said in the past the City took a percentage of the Clippers revenue. That hasn't been happening for the last seven years, in exchange for the team paying for upgrades to the arena. "It will be in the mix of course, it's very common in other junior 'A' agreements, that some of the advertising comes back," Harding said. "Prior to this agreement it was always a percentage." The City would not notice a financial shortfall or have unfilled ice without the Clippers as Frank Crane's major tenant, Harding said. However, he said there is a huge list of intangibles the team provides to the community. "They've been a key component to the hockey community...if I started with one, I'd probably miss 20." Harding said it's "difficult to comment" on how the events centre process has impacted the City's efforts to work on a new deal with the Clippers. "We always knew we would be discussing it at some point, regardless of the events centre." BCHL commissioner John Grisdale said it's been "difficult sitting on the sideline knowing one of our anchor franchises is going into a season without a contract, without discussion." Grisdale said he plans to meet with Clippers ownership this week to discuss their plans. "They have the ability to go dark, to not operate, to remain in Nanaimo or look at moving their club," Grisdale said. "It's a little disappointing if you get a feeling that their (team owners) efforts in those communities aren't respected. I hope these negotiations can get back on track and the Clippers continue to operate in the BCHL." The Clippers have scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon. LeNeveu described the event as a "major announcement" related to the future of the team.

Mumps Hits Penticton Vees:

It seems that the mumps outbreak also has touched the BCHL. Taking Note has been told that a player with the Penticton Vees was diagnosed with mumps two weeks ago. He was quickly isolated and the viral disease doesn’t appear to have spread within the organization. The player in question returned to practice this week.

Nanaimo Clippers Announce Potential Relocation:

The city and the sports community could lose Nanaimo Clippers hockey. The B.C. Hockey League club held a press conference Thursday at Frank Crane Arena to announce that the team will be relocated or shut down if new ownership can’t be found in the next two weeks. “We need some more local ownership here to make this work,” said Ken Wagner, the team’s owner. “I believe that if there’s more local ownership it will work. I don’t want to be the guy who moves this team after 45 years.” David LeNeveu, Clippers president and a minority owner, is leading an effort to try to keep the team in Nanaimo. “I need the support of the fans and the businesses in this community. I’m asking for that continued support,” he said. “The second thing I’m going to ask for is for a group of people or a single individual or a couple of people to step forward and come and buy the ownership of the Nanaimo Clippers from the current group. “Without somebody stepping forward or a group of individuals stepping forward, I fear that the club will be moved in very short order.” Wagner and his partners have been looking to sell the Clippers for the past two years, and the owner said the city’s recent sports and events centre referendum – which would have brought a major junior hockey team to Nanaimo, displacing the Clippers – was a contributor to potential relocation of the franchise. “We felt we were forced to go out and find another place to play hockey. Well, we did,” Wagner said. “We have a city that is willing to bend over backwards to have a junior A hockey team.” He wouldn’t identify the city in question, but BCHL commissioner John Grisdale mentioned Campbell River as a possible destination in an interview with the News Bulletin earlier this year. Grisdale said Thursday that a relocation process could be expedited in time for the team to take the ice in a different city by the 2017-18 season. He also confirmed that the 17-team league has been working on a 2017-18 schedule with only 16 teams in case the Clippers suspend operations. Wagner, who has owned the team for the past 11 years, said there are financial benefits to moving the club. “We’ve hit a wall in Nanaimo as an ownership. We’ve tried for a lot of years to make it work…” he said. “We are done writing cheques. We’re spent out … The business side of it is the numbers are the numbers. The emotional side is we don’t want to move the club.” Wagner said he thinks two weeks is long enough to find a new owner or owners. LeNeveu said time is of the essence. “This is not a ploy, this is not a threat, this is actual. I’ve been on conversations where there’s interest elsewhere and there is a timeline,” he said. “I really believe that the team will succeed here, but we do need local ownership. We do need local people that have a vested interest in this community and in this team and in these players.” Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said he understands that hockey is a business and the owners need to make business decisions. He called the Clippers part of the “cultural fabric” in Nanaimo. “So we have to do what we can do now to rally behind the team and to see if we can get some investors…” McKay said. “All is not lost, but we’ve got to get our community together to say we understand what happens when the Clippers play and they play well and what they contribute to the community and we’re behind them.”

Vees Alumni Kariya & Morrison To Be Inducted Into Ring Of Honour:

The Penticton Vees Jr. A Hockey Club is pleased to announce alumni and former NHLers Paul Kariya and Brendan Morrison will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honour at the 2017 Western Canada Cup, presented by Sun Life Financial. The two will be in Penticton to see their names join the original 13 members of the Ring of Honour on Thursday, May 4th, during a pre-game ceremony before the Penticton Vees final round-robin game at the WCC. WCC Chair, David Michaud, says they’re thrilled to be able to host two such prominent alumni, “The creation of the Ring of Honour was a huge part of our Western Canada Cup bid.  We felt it would add tremendous character to the SOEC, and the additions of Brendan Morrison and Paul Kariya were obvious choices for the WCC.  We thank them for coming back and celebrating this big night in person with us” Kariya enjoyed a star studded career, which started in Penticton with the Panthers in 1990. The North Vancouver native took the BC Hockey League (BCHL) by storm, racking up 92 goals and 244 points in just 94 career regular season games over two seasons. He was named the Interior Division Rookie of the Year and was twice named the BCHL MVP. After his time in Penticton, Kariya played parts of seasons at the University of Maine, winning the NCAA championship and Hobey Baker Award, as college hockey’s top player, in 1993. Kariya broke into the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks and went on to play 15 seasons between the Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues. In 989 career regular season games, Kariya amassed 402 goals and 989 points. He was named an NHL All-Star five times, and won the Lady Byng Trophy (most sportsmanlike) twice. He also won two Olympic medals, winning gold with Canada in 2002 and silver in 1994. Morrison played with the Panthers for one season, in 1992-93, compiling 35 goals and 94 points in 56 games and was named the Interior Division Rookie of the Year. After Penticton, Morrison spent four seasons at the University of Michigan, and won an NCAA national championship in 1996 and was the Hobey Baker award winner in 1997. In his four years at Michigan, Morrison amassed 102 goals and 284 points. Morrison made his NHL debut in the 1997-1998 season with the New Jersey Devils and went on to play 934 career regular season games over 14 seasons with the Devils, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, Washington Capitals, Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks and finished with 200 goals and 601 points.

BCHL To Host Summer Camp:

For the first time, the BCHL will be hosting an exposure camp for elite players to get seen by the league’s coaches and scouts from the college and professional ranks. The BCHL Exposure Camp is for players born from 1999 to 2002 and will be held July 1 to 3 at the Richmond Olympic Oval. “We think this camp can provide a huge benefit to young players, their families and offer value to our teams because they’ll be on the benches and running drills,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale. “Our league’s reputation for developing talented players for college and pro hockey is well established and we just want this camp to add to that.” In addition to the exposure players will receive to BCHL coaches and scouts from the college and pro ranks, there will be three practice sessions, three full games, three educational seminars for players and parents and coaches meetings for performance feedback. Each player will receive a BCHL Exposure Camp jersey as well.

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