Sunday, June 4, 2017
BCHL News & Trades:
BCHL News & Trades:
Brodziak Commits To Clippers:
The Nanaimo Clippers are very pleased to announce that Preston Brodziak has committed to play for the Team for the 2017-2018 season. The 1999 born forward joins the Clippers after playing this past season for the Regina Pat Canadians of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League. During the 2016-2017 regular season, the 6’0″ 185lb Estevan, Saskatchewan native scored 13 goals and 23 assists for 36 points in 43 games played. In the playoffs Brodziak tallied 16 points in 11 games helping the Pat Canadians win the SMAAAHL Championship. At the Western Regional Championships Brodziak was named the tournament MVP after leading his team to victory with 7 points in 4 games played. The Pat Canadians Aaaaaarecently participated in the Telus Cup Canadian Midget Hockey Championships where he was once again one of his team’s offensive leaders with 8 points in 7 games played. We would like to welcome Preston to the Clippers Family and look forward to seeing him on the ice with his new teammates at Training Camp in August.
Harbinson Talks Vees, RBC Cup, Contract Talks & More:
The 2016-17 season was a wild and emotional nine-month ride for the Penticton Vees, leaving president, GM and head coach Fred Harbinson with plenty to say about the past, present and future of the B.C. Hockey League team. The Herald sat down to chat with the most successful coach in Penticton junior hockey history on Wednesday as the Vees players cleaned out their lockers and dispersed – some for the summer and some, at least as players, for the final time. BCHL SEASON: The Vees went 41-13-3-1 in 2016-17, yet still had their detractors, especially after struggling in January in large part due to injuries. Scoring didn’t come easy to a team that lost generational talents Tyson Jost and Scott Conway after 2015-16, and Harbinson didn’t disagree with the suggestion it was his most challenging season since before the Vees won the national title in 2012. “It was the most we had to coach … changing systems, structure and having to get creative to win games,” said Harbinson, who also had to integrate a practically entire new staff of assistant coaches this year. “In January, people were laughing at us, thinking we were falling apart, but the foundation was so strong, it held us together in some stretches. “We had guys like Brett Hextall and later Troy Stecher come in and talk to the guys. Then you have greats like Brendan Morrison and Paul Kariya coming in (for induction into the Vees Ring of Honour). Not many teams can draw on that kind of alumni component, and they’re all so proud of what’s being done here by the new guys.” Stressing that it “takes a lot to impress me”, the coach suitably was after the Vees won three straight Game 7s to capture the fourth Fred Page Cup BCHL title in Harbinson’s 10-year tenure, then won three more ‘do-or-die’ games at the Western Canada Cup which the Vees hosted April 29 to May 7 at the SOEC. “I’m always going to cherish this team,” he said. “They will be remembered for a long, long time. It was a special, special group. It may have been the most rewarding and satisfying season ever.” THE WCC … AND THE RBC: Harbinson said earlier this year the Vees would consider putting in a bid to host the RBC Cup national championship depending on the success of the WCC. The coach was non-committal this week, saying it’s something that needs to be discussed at length as an organization. “The WCC was OK, attendance was OK, I thought it was run extremely professionally, but a lot was asked of our fans … we had 11 home playoff games before we got to the WCC and I think people were worn out a bit emotionally and financially.” Philosophically, Harbinson wonders - for any number of reasons - if the BCHL should be partaking in the RBC Cup long-term. “The other leagues don’t want to play by the same rules - mainly in terms of the fact they can use so many more 20-year-olds than our league,” said Harbinson. “And once you leave your league, you do nothing but lose money.” Even in 2012 when the Vees won the RBC, he said he was more excited about beating Powell River in the BCHL final than the win over the Woodstock Slammers in the RBC title game. “You battle with these (BCHL) teams from August to April,” he said. “The league championships are the big thing and other good leagues like the USHL end the season that way. I mean, we played 32 playoff games in 64 days. It’s something we need to discuss as a league. It would enable us to space out our playoff games a lot more and ultimately improve the product on the ice.” He credited Cobourg for winning the RBC and doing a solid job of hosting the event, but noted they didn’t come close to winning their own league, then got on a run for a few days at a knockout tournament and came out on top with massive upsets of the Vees and Brooks in the semifinal and final. “Of course we wanted to win it and we did everything we could to win with the team we had. But it really felt like a minor hockey type tournament compared to say, Game 5 of the Vernon series when we won in OT, which almost had a pro environment and feel to it. Then you have challenging road environments like Vernon and Chilliwack. It’s such an emotional letdown when we leave our own league to play.” It could be food for thought when the BCHL holds its annual general meetings June 7-9, though nothing will change with the RBC this year with the Chilliwack Chiefs hosting the 2018 event. The WCC has been discarded after five seasons, likely meaning a return to a best-of-7 B.C.-Alberta championship series with the winner advancing to the RBC. FRED’S FUTURE: The 45-year-old native of Calgary has just two years left on his current deal. He will be sitting down in the near future with owners Graham and Sue Fraser where it’s quite likely an extension will be discussed. Harbinson said probably the No. 1 reason he’s so content in his current position is his close relationship with the owners. “They’ve owned this club for nine years and I don’t think they get enough credit,” Harbinson stressed. “None of this is possible without them. Graham gives us everything we need to be successful, he’s very respectful and trusts us to do our jobs.” With the success Harbinson has enjoyed in 10 years in Penticton – four BCHL titles, six straight Interior pennants, three RBC Cup appearances (one win in 2012), a WCC title and recruiting an unparalleled list of elite players and moving so many on to top university programs and ultimately to the NHL – he has fielded several job offers and opportunities at higher levels of hockey. “It comes down to the whole package of what we’re building here,” said Harbinson. “We’ll sit down and see where we all stand on the vision of this organization going forward. Right now I’m focused on building this team for next year and beyond.” In a season where the Vees shattered attendance marks by drawing over 136,000 fans to the SOEC, Harbinson said he “loves” the culture that has been created when you walk into the soon to be 10-year-old building. “It really is a mini-professional environment,” he said. “People have really taken a lot of pride in coming to the games and the community is incredibly supportive of the team. “(But) it can go away in a heartbeat. We’ve seen it in other real good markets. You’ve got to keep the foot on the pedal. From my standpoint, I can’t guarantee a championship every year, but we’re never going to stop working and doing everything we can to contend year in and year out, and giving the fans the best possible entertainment value for the dollar.” THE 2017-18 VEES: Harbinson said the Vees will have the most players returning during his tenure with the team, and some other high-end recruits waiting in the wings. The coach likes the mix of leadership, experience, talent and upside the teams have going forward. Confirmed returnees include goalie Nolan Hildebrand, defencemen Jonny Tychonick, James Miller, Joe Leahy and Kenny Johnson, and forwards Owen Sillinger, Taylor Ward, Grant Cruikshank, Jared Nash, Cassidy Bowes, Massimo Rizzo, Turner Ripplinger and Matt Gosiewski. Defenceman Sam Rossini and forwards Chris Klack, Jamie Armstrong and Ty Amonte could return depending on the university programs they’re committed to. Aside from the graduating 20-year-olds, only defenceman Griffin Mendel (Denver) is definitely heading to university this fall. “A kid like Cruikshank, he led us in scoring with 30-plus goals and he wants to come back and round out his game,” said Harbinson. “In 10 years, we’ve played 182 playoff games and that’s incredible experience for these young players. It’s like Hockey University 101 for them.” Cruikshank was originally headed for University of Wisconsin this fall, but will go in 2018 instead. The Vees Spring Camp starts Friday with 160 players divided into eight teams and playing a series of scrimmage games under the watch eye of Harbinson and his staff. Several of those will get invites to main camp in August. Harbinson said the team will be announcing some of the top new recruits for 2017-18 in the coming weeks. “We want to continue to be a good defensive team, but we want to be able to create a bit more offensively up and down the lineup,” he said. “It’s funny, the offence is usually the least of our worries.” The gaping hole to fill will be between the pipes, where graduating veteran Mat Robson played 49 or 58 league games and all 32 playoff games. Harbinson said rookie Nolan Hildebrand is a talented goalie who will “take another step” and Harbinson said another top goaltending recruit will be among those to be announced in the coming weeks.
Alberni Valley Bulldogs - Eligible Returnees and Graduating Players:
Jake Witkowski (aged out)
Nicholas Rasovic (aged out)
Paul Savage (aged out)
Malik Kaila (aged out)
Brody Claeys (aged out)
Trevor Cosgrove (Colgate University)
Henry Marshall (Colgate University)
Darren Rizzolo (Northeastern University)
(* indicates an open spot - assuming the team goes with 13 forwards and 8 defencemen)
Keith Anderson (97)
Tristan Bukovec (97)
Alex Macdonald (97)
Ryan Steele (97)
Spencer Hunter (98)
Jordan Sandhu (99)
Braydon Nelson (99)
Kyle Kaufmann (99)
Cayden Kraus (99)
Mackenzie Wight (99)
Cameron Kuhl (97)
Connor Welsh (97)
Cole Slaney (98)
Jake Wilhelm (99)
Carson Schamerhorn (97)
Trail Smoke Eaters Name Ring Captain For 2017-18 Season:
Vancouver native Troy Ring will lead the Trail Smoke Eaters into the 2017-18 BCHL campaign after being named the team’s new captain. “I was very honoured,” said Ring. “I think it’s going to be very exciting come next season. I just look forward to representing Trail.” Sandwiched between the spaghetti-eating and grape-stomping contests, the Smoke Eaters revived the tradition of naming the captain during Silver City Days, and so in front of a capacity crowd at at the Sidewalk Cafe on Saturday in the Cominco Arena, Smoke Eaters coach and GM Cam Keith introduced Ring as the new captain. “It was something the Smokies did years and years ago, was name him (the captain) at Silver City Days and we thought with all the excitement going on that it would be a good time,” said Smoke Eaters Director of Hockey Operations Craig Clare. “We had a good idea on who our leadership group was going to be going into next year.” The 20-year-old defenceman was a unanimous choice by teammates after the Smokies’ season wound up in March, which confirmed the direction the Trail coaching staff was already leaning. “During the year-end meetings I asked every kid, ‘Who would you want as captain next year?’ and there wasn’t one kid that didn’t say Troy,” said Keith. Ring came to Trail from the Langley Rivermen in a trade for former Smoke Eater forward Cooper Leitch in June, 2016, and settled in nicely from the start. “It was a very smooth transition,” said Ring. “I had amazing billets, and the coaches were tremendous last year, and it was very easy to make the move up here from down in the city to the small town.” A leader on and off the ice, Ring is a solid two-way blueliner who was named the Smoke Eaters top defenceman at it’s awards banquet at the end of last year. He netted seven goals and 27 points for the Smoke Eaters while playing in all 58 games. As for his leadership qualities, much like last season’s captain Connor Brown-Maloski, Ring is a lead-by-example type player. “I’m going to have tremendous teammates around me who can help me out with that vocal stuff. However, I think when I do say something that I will be able to get the attention of our teammates. That’s just the kind of relationship I can build with my teammates.” For Clare, Ring has proven himself to be a durable and respected player and a fitting leader for the Trail Smoke Eaters culture. “The guys respect the way he plays. I don’t think he missed a game last year, I know he played through injuries, he blocked shots, he hit, and he really plays the game the way Cam and the coaching staff wants, hard-nosed. He’s not a boisterous personality but when he speaks guys respect him, the guys listen, and follow him.” The whole Smoke Eaters team, including owners Rich and Annie Murphy, out-of-town and local players, and staff, were seemingly everywhere at Silver City Days on the weekend: selling season tickets at the Beer Refinery, refereeing the 3-on-3 hockey tournament, participating in the parade, stomping grapes, working the beer gardens and dances. Their efforts have the Smoke Eater buzz growing in Trail and with the newly minted captain and a handful of high-end commitments in place, there is good reason for excitement and optimism for Smokies fans and players heading into the 2017-18 season. “I think we can go a long ways if we just stick together and play as a team,” said Ring. “We’re going to have a very special group; and for me personally, I just want to be there for my teammates and just play hard every game, work hard at practice, and just be a good example for not only everyone but for the younger guys coming in. “I’m very excited, I wish we could start tomorrow.” Smoke Signals:The Trail Smoke Eaters season ticket sale has been extended to May 31. Get 28 game tickets for $199 until the end of the month.
Spring Identification Camp Impresses Kings Coaches:
The 2017 Powell River Kings Spring Identification Camp is in the books, having been held in Kamloops last weekend. Around 80 players turned out to show their stuff and attempt to get on the radar of Kings coaches and scouts for this upcoming season or further in the future. Kings Assistant Coach Brock Sawyer sat down to discuss the turnout, the quality of the camp and what’s to come in the off-season.
Warriors Name Marino Captain For Next Season:
The West Kelowna Warriors Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club are pleased to announce that forward Jared Marino (’97) has been named team captain for the 2017/18 season. Marino, 20, has played the last two seasons in West Kelowna with 99 career regular season games played, compiling six goals and 29 points over that span, along with 68 penalty minutes. The 6’3”, 205-pound forward has seen 39 career games of playoff action as well between the BCHL, Western Canada Cup and Royal Bank Cup earning a goal and three points along with 14 penalty minutes. The Niagara Falls, Ontario native is one of two players, along with defenseman Jake Harrison, that remains from the Warriors 2016 RBC Cup National Championship squad, a team that was captained by Jared’s older brother, Kyle, and looks to bring that championship experience and guidance to the Warriors locker room. “I’m honoured to be named captain for such a great organization and am confident that we can once again be an elite contender,” stated the Warriors newly minted captain, “I have played for West Kelowna for two years now under great leadership and I know I can also be a strong captain and role model on and off the ice.” “Jared has all the qualities that great leaders possess,” commented Warriors head coach and general manager Rylan Ferster, “He’s a good person, good teammate and always gives 100%. Having been with our program through the RBC Cup, he has gotten the opportunity to be around not only a great leader and captain like his brother, but many solid leaders. He will represent the program on and off the ice like a pro.” The Warriors will announce the remainder of their leadership group prior to main camp in late August.