BCHL News & Trades:
Klack Returns To Vees-Named Alternate Captain:
The Penticton Vees are proud to announce that veteran forward Chris Klack will return to the club for the 2017-2018 Campaign. Klack, a 20-year-old forward from Georgetown, Ontario joined the Vees last season from Muskegon of the USHL. In 58 games with the Vees, Klack scored 13 goals and added 34 assists for 47 points. Klack’s production took off in the playoffs where he posted 18 points in 20 games in helping the Vees win the Fred Page Cup in dramatic fashion over the Chilliwack Chiefs in 7 games. Vees president, head coach & general manager Fred Harbinson immediately named Klack an alternate captain, joining Grant Cruikshank and Owen Sillinger on the Vees leadership group for next season. Harbinson noted that a final alternate captain would be named during the clubs training camp in August. “Chris was an integral part of our success last season, especially as the playoffs went on, his leadership skills became evident, not only to our staff, but the players as well. We’re excited to have Chris back in the fold joining a strong group of returning players, as well as incoming players” said Harbinson.
Merritt Centennials - Eligible Returnees and Graduating Players:
Zach Court (University of Nebraska-Omaha)
Cade Gleekel (St. Lawrence University)
Brett Jewell (Yale University)
Michael Regush (Cornell University)
Mike Faulkner (Hobart College)
Aaron Murray (Concordia University Wisconsin)
Stephan Seeger (aged out)
Nick Fidanza (aged out)
(* indicates an open spot - assuming the team goes with 13 forwards and 8 defencemen)
Chase Bell (97)
Henry Cleghorn (97)
Zach Zorn (97)
Zach Risteau (98)
Nicholas Wicks (98)
Tyler Ward (99)
Rylan Van Unen (99)
Tyrell Buckley (97)
Zach Bleuler (97)
Zach Metsa (98)
Ethan King (99)
Michael Van Unen (99)
Jacob Berger (97)
Colten Lancaster (98)
Manz Commits To Prince George Spruce Kings:
The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce that Dustin Manz has committed to play for the team this upcoming season. Dustin Manz is a 5’11” 205lb 1999 born forward who hails from Vanderbilt, Michigan. Playing for the Aston Rebels of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), the young forward had four goals and 12 assists in 56 games. Then in the playoffs enroute to the league finals, Manz contributed three goals and one assist in 12 games. Dustin is committed to play NCAA division 1 hockey at Lake Superior State University where he will join former Spruce Kings Bryan Basilico and Tyler Anderson. “Dustin Manz is a strong power forward type player who will make an immediate positive impact on our lineup. He is a very good 200 foot player who will be able to play in all situations. He’s also a very focused young man who will provide some great leadership on and off the ice,” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes. Dustin will join his new Spruce Kings teammates when the team begins their main training camp on Thursday August 24th at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena The team would like to welcome Dustin and his family to the Spruce Kings family.
Smoke Eaters Sign Peacock:
The Trail Smoke Eaters have signed two goalies in as many days. While the trade for Brandon Wells has taken care of the team’s need for an experienced goalie next season, the team is also excited that they have signed their goalie for the future. The Trail Smoke Eaters are pleased to announce that 17-year-old Brandon Peacock has signed with the team. Peacock, who hails from Quesnel, British Columbia, has played the past four seasons for the Okanagan Hockey Academy. Peacock is ready to make the jump to the next level and the Smoke Eaters feel the duo of Wells and Peacock will give them two solid options next season. Head Coach Cam Keith on committing Peacock: “Brandon is a goalie that we had an eye on for a while. We’re confident that he can come in to the BCHL as a 17-year-old. Brandon had a strong spring camp and we knew right away that he was a player we could help develop into a BCHL starter.” The entire Trail Smoke Eaters organization would like to welcome Brandon to Trail.
Regina Pats Aren’t Holding Their Breath On Former Penticton Vee Jost:
Head coach and general manager John Paddock is content to let things play out with the dynamic 19-year-old centre, who was selected 10th overall in the 2016 NHL draft by the Colorado Avalanche. Although Regina owns Jost’s major-junior rights, he is expected to open next season with the Avalanche. “It’s all in Colorado’s hands,” said Paddock, a former head coach and GM of the Winnipeg Jets. “I don’t have the need or desire to reach out. I know how it works in the NHL. He’s going to be given every chance to make the Colorado Avalanche. If he’s playing there and he’s playing good enough, then they probably won’t let him go. If circumstances are different, then there definitely will be a conversation that ‘I would like you to look at this option.’ ” Jost made his NHL debut this spring, recording one goal in six games after his freshman season ended with the University of North Dakota. Jost signed an entry-level contract with Colorado on March 29, which makes him ineligible to return to North Dakota next season. That seemingly opens the door to Regina if he’s unable to win a spot with the Avalanche. Then again, maybe not. Although there are differing opinions on the subject, Colorado is operating under the assumption that Jost would be eligible to join its AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage. If Jost had been playing for a WHL club when he was drafted, it would be cut and dried: The agreement between the NHL and the Canadian Hockey League prohibits teams from sending major-junior players to the minors until their 20-year-old season. However, a spokesman for the Avalanche told the Regina Leader-Post earlier this year that Jost is indeed eligible to be assigned to the AHL because he was drafted out of the B.C. junior A ranks. Paddock has been led to believe that’s the case. “It’s really tricky because, for some ridiculous reason, there’s a lot of grey around that,” he said. “I tend to believe that he can (go to the AHL). There are people who should know and nobody really seems to know (for certain). I’m thinking that’s an option for the Avalanche but I don’t know for sure.” It becomes a moot point if Jost does as expected and earns a spot with Colorado. That’s the most likely scenario, especially since GM Joe Sakic has committed to rebuilding his roster around young talent like Jost, who’s among the team’s top prospects. “You wish him the best to play in Colorado,” said Paddock. “I hope he plays in Colorado next year and scores 20 goals. If he’s in Colorado and he’s going to get two goals by the end of the year, then there’s a better place for him.” The Pats believe they became a more appealing fall-back option when they were named the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup. The addition of Jost would give them an unparalleled one-two punch at centre along with fellow NHL first-rounder Sam Steel. However, knowing that Jost is likely ticketed for the NHL, Paddock went ahead last week and traded for Medicine Hat Tigers centre Matt Bradley. The Pats acquired Jost’s WHL rights last summer from the Everett Silvertips, who were unable to recruit the native of St. Albert, Alta., after selecting him seventh overall in the 2013 bantam draft. Paddock spoke to Jost and his mother last summer, at which point he confirmed his commitment to UND. Jost’s future now lies in Colorado and the Pats are content to leave it at that until they hear differently. “It’s not a priority in my mind,” added Paddock, who would send a first-round bantam pick in 2019 to Everett if Jost reported. “We have his rights like we always wanted to have his rights if this situation arose where we have the Memorial Cup. It’s just a wait and see.”
Salmon Arm-Weyburn Trade:
Salmon Arm Silverbacks general manager Troy Mick today announced the team has traded forward Trevor Ayre to the Weyburn Red Wings of the SJHL for future considerations. Trevor was acquired at the Jan 10th deadline along with Ryan Hogg and future considerations for Mitch Skapski & Haydn Hopkins. “With so many players returning we have to find a home for some of our players and Trevor is a great kid and will do great in the SJHL” stated GM Troy Mick. It’s tough to make these deals but we wanted to make sure he gets to start the season with his new team right from main camp. The silverbacks would like to thank Trevor for his time in Salmon Arm and wish him the best of luck with Weyburn.
Giant Video Screen Installed In Cominco Arena:
The Trail Smoke Eaters organization adds even more excitement to game nights. The Trail Smoke Eaters organization is hoping the latest six-figure addition to the rink will add even more excitement to game nights. This week crews are installing a giant video screen on the south wall of the Cominco Arena that is expected to bring fans even closer to the action. A series of LED panels have been installed to create a screen 19-feet wide and 10-feet high. Add to that the installation, the new electronics to operate the board and the video cameras around the rink and the price tag hits close to $200,000. “It is absolutely 100 per cent crucial for our organization to provide a spectacular, inter-active night out for the local communities,” said team owner Rich Murphy. “In this day and age it’s crucial to have this type of inter-active video board, to basically get Millennials into the mix. Without them, it’ll be very difficult to survive. “I can’t stress enough how important it is for us to do our job, not just provide a hockey game, but provide a night out for our fans.” In addition to the giant video screen, four cameras will be providing viewpoints for the fans. Two fixed cameras will be located above the penalty box allowing fans to see a wide-angle shot of the action or a close-up of the play around the puck. Two hand-held cameras will be located at both ends of the rink to give fans a complete look at the game. Steve Robinson, operations manager for the Smokies, said the cameras will allow fans to see action all over the ice on the big screen. He said in some spots of the rink, fans had a hard time seeing the action in certain corners or even at the other end. The video screen, with its high definition picture, will bring that all into a clear focus. “They will have a high-def visual of everything that’s going on,” said Robinson. “We used to have a replay (with the old video scoreboard) with the one angle but now we can show different angles.” He added the new system would allow the rink to produce video replays for officials should the BCHL adopt that policy for its games. Penticton has already experimented with video reviews during a few games last season but so far no word on a league-wide decision. And the screen won’t be limited to the action between the whistles. The goal is to provide a full entertainment package for the paying customer, said Robinson. “There will be pre-game stuff for people who come to the rink early, featuring interviews with players and stuff like that.” The hockey fans won’t be the only ones benefiting from the latest addition to the Cominco Arena. Robinson said the Smokies will work with the City of Trail to make it available for other events like graduation or Silver City Days. But the bottom line is also to help generate some extra revenue to make the venture worthwhile. And that’s where sponsorship deals come in with businesses being promoted on the screen for in-game moments like power plays, said Allison McCarthy, the team’s sales and event manager. “We hope people look at it and see it as a great opportunity to get up there and promote their business,” added Robinson. The video screen is expected to be operational this week but the full capabilities won’t be ready until the work is complete in the media booth above the players’ benches. It’s just one of a series of on-going improvements to the facility since the Murphy family purchased the team last fall. “The Trail Smoke Eaters and the Murphy family have a significant six-figure investment in this video screen and the infrastructure involved with the screen itself,” added Murphy. “As well, with the purchase of the team, renovations to the corporate office, the weight room, the players’ lounge, the new dressing rooms, the new bathrooms and showers, the new coaches’ office and training room, we have a healthy investment north of $1.8 million.” Meanwhile the team’s early bird ticket sales wrapped up on May 31 and McCarthy said 620 season tickets have been sold for the upcoming season as the club approaches its goal of 750 season tickets for the start of the season.
Franlin Commits To Cowichan Capitals:
The Cowichan Valley Capitals junior A hockey club is pleased to announce the commitment of forward Caleb Franklin (99) for the 2017-18 season. Franklin, from Lake Cowichan, has spent the past two seasons with the Kerry Park Islanders in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). After 13 goals and 25 points as a rookie with the club two years ago, Franklin led the Islanders in goals (20), assists (27) and points (47) in 47 games this past season, and would be named a first-team all-star in the junior B league. The 17-year-old also led the Isles with 11 points in 11 playoff games, as Kerry Park advanced to round two of the VIJHL playoffs for the first time since 2012. Franklin also was an alternate captain for the Islanders. His commitment to the Capitals is a “no brainer”, according to Islanders head coach Aaron Spotts, who helped Franklin follow a development plan in the past two seasons. Spotts is a Capital alumni himself, having played 141 games with the club between 2003-2006. “Frankie is a hard working two-way forward capable of playing center or wing. He has a high compete level and a great team-first attitude,” Capitals head coach and general manager Bob Beatty commented. Franklin got in to five games of BCHL action as an affiliate with the Caps last season and practiced regularly with the club.
Nanaimo-Salmon Arm Trade:
The Nanaimo Clippers have acquired Sam Macbean from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in exchange for future considerations. The 19-year old defenceman was recently acquired by the Silverbacks from the Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The 6’3”, 180-lb., Calgary, Alberta native tallied 6 points in 51 games played last season with the Storm. We would like to welcome Sam to the Clippers Family and look forward to seeing him on the ice with his new teammates at Training Camp in August.
Rodgers Steps Away From Broadcast Booth:
The Penticton Vees Jr. A Hockey Club will have a new voice calling games in September, as longtime broadcaster Fraser Rodgers, is stepping down from his post as Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations. Rodgers spent six years (2011-2017) in Penticton, calling over 474 regular season and playoff games, including four BCHL Fred Page Cup Finals, two Western Canada Cups and Three RBC Cups, including the Vees 2012 national championship in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. “First and foremost, I want to thank the Vees’ ownership group and Fred Harbinson for giving me the opportunity to work for such a prestigious organization for the last six years. I also want to thank the incredibly passionate and loyal fan base for their tremendous support; it was an incredible experience and one I will cherish forever,” said outgoing broadcaster Fraser Rodgers. “Fraser has been a huge part of our fans experience over the past 6 years. His voice has connected our fans & families from all over North America and he will be greatly missed. We wish Fraser the best of luck!” said Vees president, head coach & general manager Fred Harbinson. The organization would like to congratulate Fraser on his tenure in Penticton and wish him all the best in his future endeavours. The Vees are expected to announce a replacement in the coming days.