Tuesday, July 18, 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:

Chilliwack-Caledonia Trade:

For the second consecutive off season the Chiefs have addressed their goaltending needs by making a deal with the Caledonia Corvairs of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. Last summer the Chiefs acquired starting netminder Mark Sinclair from the Corvairs. Sinclair went on to set a Chiefs single season record for wins with 33. Today the Chiefs announced that they have acquired 18 year old goaltender Daniel Chenard from the Corvairs in exchange for future considerations. In a starting role for the Corvairs last season, Chenard appeared in 27 games, putting up a goals against average of 1.77 and a save percentage of 92.2.

Doucet Commits To Bulldogs:

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are pleased to announce that Shawnigan Lake Midget Prep forward Jackson Doucet has committed to join the team for the 2017/18 BCHL season. Doucet is a skilled centre who scored 25 goals and added 24 assists in 30 regular season games for Shawnigan Lake during the 2016/17 Canadian Sport School Hockey League campaign, tying for eighth in scoring in the Midget Prep division. He also tied for top spot amongst 1999-born scorers with OHA forward and Penticton Vees commit Cassidy Bowes. The 18-year old wrapped up his season with five goals and two assists in four games at the CSSHL championships. “Jackson is a dynamic forward whose skating and skill level make him an outstanding BCHL prospect,” says Bulldogs head coach Matt Hughes. “He has consistently produced offence in a very competitive league, and I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact he can have on a game when the puck is on his stick. We’re thrilled that he has chosen to take the next steps in his hockey career as a Bulldog.” Over three seasons at Shawnigan Lake, Doucet totaled 62 goals and 128 points in 89 CSSHL games. “I’m very excited to meet my new teammates and the community,” says Doucet, who describes himself as an offensive player who also takes pride in playing a complete 200-foot game. “The Bulldogs are well known for having a very supportive fan base and I’m looking to be a part of the team regaining it’s winning tradition.” “I’m going to be focused on helping to bring more offensive depth to the team and on using my speed to create opportunities. In the end I want to be a part of instilling a winning mindset in our group and always be playing to win.” Doucet will take the ice with his new teammates when the Bulldogs begin their main training camp on Monday, August 21st at Weyerhaeuser Arena.

Rizzo Picks Vees Over Kamloops Blazers:

Massimo Rizzo is coming back. Rizzo has chosen to play for the Penticton Vees in the B.C. Hockey League over the Western Hockey League’s Kamloops Blazers. The Vees made the announcement on Tuesday. The Burnaby product tallied 84 points in just 48 games for the Burnaby Winter Club Midget Prep team. Rizzo played in three regular season games with the Vees as an underage forward and affiliate player. In the Fred Page Cup playoffs, Rizzo scored his first BCHL goal, and really showed flashes of brilliance during the Western Canada Cup where he scored a goal and added four assists for five points in five games as the Vees advanced to the Royal Bank Cup in Cobourg Ontario. Vees president, general manager, and head coach Fred Harbinson was pleased with the family’s decision. “Although we gave Massimo and his family the appropriate time to make a decision as to which route they felt was best for his development; we’re excited he has chosen to continue his hockey career as a member of the Penticton Vees,” said Harbinson in a press release. “I look forward to coaching Massimo, and I’m certain Vees Nation is thrilled to be able to watch another elite prospect grow here in Penticton.” Rizzo was originally drafted 14th overall in WHL Bantam Draft by the Kamloops Blazers. After meeting with Blazers brass last week, the family made the decision to return to the Vees and continue his development in the South Okanagan following the likes of Tyson Jost, Dante Fabbro, and most recently Johnny Tychonick. “Talking to a variety of different people that have been involved in both leagues and the experiences they’ve gone through and looking at where he’s at, it keeps his development options open,” Rizzo’s father, Remi, told Kamloops This Week on Tuesday. “It really is no different than what we stated before the bantam draft, that Massimo is going to take it year by year and look at what the best options are the following season, developmentally for him and his growth.” KTW reported that the Blazers had owner Tom Gaglardi, part-owner Shane Doan, general manager Stu MacGregor and head coach Don Hay meet with Rizzo and his father in Vancouver last week. “I don’t think any doors have ever been closed,” Remi said. “If that was the case, it would have been a very short meeting with the boys last week. “This is the right choice for this year and next year he re-evaluates what the best opportunity for development is then,” he continued. Rizzo is one of 111 players, along with Vees teammate Luke Reid to be invited to attend the Hockey Canada U17 Development Camp in Calgary starting on July 22. Rizzo and the Vees will be back on the ice at the SOEC in late August to open training camp. Rizzo will wear No. 13 once the puck drops on the season.

Brooks Bandits To Host 2019 RBC Cup:

The RBC Cup, Canada’s National Junior A Championship, is headed to Brooks, Alta., where the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League will play host to the 49th edition of the tournament from May 11-19, 2019 at the Centennial Regional Arena. Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), Alberta Junior Hockey League and Hockey Alberta made the announcement Thursday in Brooks. “We are immensely grateful to Hockey Canada for the opportunity to showcase our community's passion for Junior A hockey on the national stage, and to the local businesses, government, and organizations that helped to support our bid and make this event possible,” said Tyler King, chair of the bid committee and Bandits communications manager. “We are already looking forward to the next two years of preparation to ensure an unforgettable national championship." The RBC Cup will return to Alberta for the seventh time. The event was previously hosted in Lloydminster (2016), Camrose (2011); Grande Prairie (2004); Fort McMurray (2000); Olds (1994); and Edmonton (1975). “Hockey Alberta is excited to have this prestigious event return to Alberta. We are always proud of how our Alberta host communities raise the bar when it comes to hosting a major event and welcoming teams from across the country,” said Rob Litwinski, CEO, Hockey Alberta. “We look forward to working with Hockey Canada and the Alberta Junior Hockey League to provide support for the Brooks Bandits and their host committee to make the 2019 RBC Cup a successful event.” The 2019 RBC Cup will bring together the top Junior A teams from across the country, along with the host Bandits, to face off for the national championship. Historically, the event has generated more than $2 million in local economic impact, with event proceeds being directed to supporting hockey development in the community. "We are thrilled to host the 2019 RBC Cup and welcome the athletes, their families and coaches to Alberta and show them all the warmth and hospitality our community has to offer,” said Barry Morishita, mayor of the City of Brooks. “These tournaments not only provide athletes with an important chance to compete at a national level, they also help strengthen the local economy, boost local pride and increase volunteerism. We look forward to supporting the RBC Cup, and are excited at the challenge of making this the best championship ever.” Having previously captured Canada’s National Junior A Championship in 2013 in Summerside, P.E.I., the Bandits also appeared at the RBC Cup in 2016 and 2017 and will look to carry momentum from their runner-up finish at this year’s championship in Cobourg, Ont. "The experience of the Bandits having appeared in two successive championships, the strength of their hockey program, and the tremendous fan support evident across their community were key factors in the support Brooks received from the CJHL to host the 2019 RBC Cup,” said Canadian Junior Hockey League president, Brent Ladds. Tournament ticket packages are tentatively scheduled to go on sale in May 2018 and season ticket holders will be given the first opportunity to reserve seats for the tournament. Schedule information for the 2019 RBC Cup will be announced at a later date. The RBC Cup is made possible thanks to the partnership between Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League, and the support of RBC. For more information on the 2019 RBC Cup, please visit HockeyCanada.ca/RBCCup, or follow along via social media on Facebook or Twitter.

Blaisdell Commits To Chilliwack:

Chilliwack was never able to take a bite out of the Vancouver Giants in the five years the teams clashed in the Western Hockey League. All the Giants did was win, win, win no matter what. But now, six years after that rivalry expired, Chilliwack gets some ice cold revenge with the signing of Harrison Blaisdell. The 16 year old is the second summer signing of the junior A Chiefs, stolen away from the Giants, who picked the Saskatchewan kid 31st overall in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. Blaisdell was still in elementary school when Milan Lucic was delivering high elbows to Oscar Moller and doesn’t feel any animosity towards the G-men. But he’ll be happy if that helps endear him to Chilliwack hockey fans. “Obviously the WHL is a good way to go, but there are two ways and I think the time and development you get going the college route is good,” Blaisdell said. “You get as much junior hockey as you need and four years in college. It’s a lot more time if you’re not quite ready for the next level.” Blaisdell comes to town with an NCAA scholarship already secured. The kid is so good that the University of North Dakota got his signature on a commitment when he was just 15 years old. Eventually he may play alongside former Chiefs captain Jordan Kawaguchi, who will play his first season with the Fighting Hawks this fall. Blaisdell made his way to UND for a campus visit during his bantam season and the teenager had already put pen to paper by the time the Giants made him their bantam draft pick. Maybe they thought they could talk him out of it, but Blaisdell never doubted his decision. “It was a big decision to make, but at the same time it wasn’t a real big deal because my dad did the same thing, going the NCAA route and playing for Wisconsin,” said Blaisdell, who also had strong interest from Denver and Minnesota-Duluth. “I am young and it seems so far away, but I felt like it was the right decision to make at the time and I still feel that way.” His dad is Mike Blaisdell. After leaving Wisconsin Mike went on to a 343 game National Hockey League career with Detroit, Toronto and Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers. Very late in his career he crossed paths with a young Jason Tatarnic. Coach T was winding up his playing career in 1999-00 with the British National League’s Hull Thunder. Mike was the head coach of the British Ice Hockey Super League’s Sheffield Steelers. In the ‘who you know’ recruiting game, sometimes all you need is a conversation starter. “Harrison is a kid we’ve been on for a long time because I think he fits the mold of how we like to play,” Tatarnic said. “He’s a typical Sask player where he’s got that grit, but he’s also got skill. “He can play real hard but he’s got the skill-set to score goals and make plays and there’s a reason he’s going to North Dakota.” The Penticton Vees and Vernon Vipers were both pursuing Blaisdell before the Chiefs reeled him in. Blaisdell was already leaning towards Chilliwack after spending the 2016 season with Abbotsford’s Yale Hockey Academy. Seeing Prospera Centre and the Chiefs’ cutting edge training facility made a big impression, and something Tatarnic said helped seal the deal. “When I asked him about how they play he said, ‘When you cross the red line into the other team’s half of the ice, it’s basically a free for all and have fun down there,’” the teenager said. “They have the mentality to not give up the puck and try to make plays and I thought that was really cool.” Oh, and also, that Royal Bank Cup thing played a role. “That’s a no-brainer and definitely a cool thing that I’m excited to be a part of,” Blaisdell said. Blaisdell spent last season with the Regina Pat Canadians in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. He had 20 goals, 41 points and 60 penalty minutes in 40 regular season games, leading his team to a league championship and an appearance in the Telus Cup national tourney. “I had a few injuries that set me back at the start of the year, including having my appendix out just before the season started,” Blaisdell said. “That erased a lot of work I’d done over the summer, but around Christmas time I was back to regular form and it was a good season for me. Online resources (eliteprospects.com) list Blaisdell at five-foot-nine and 163 pounds, which he says is innacurate. Blaisell pegs himself at five-foot-eleven and 175 and isn’t worried about being overwhelmed by big BCHL blueliners. “I think if I have a good summer, work on my skills and come in the best shape that I can — if I play the way I think I can I think I can be an impact player next season,” Blaisdell said.

Kings Sign Kawamura:

The Kings are thrilled to announce the signing of 1999-born forward Kyle Kawamura for the upcoming 2017/2018 season. Kawamura, from Franklin, TN is a 5’6, 155lb forward with a high end skill set. “I’m fast, I like to use my speed, shoot and shoot from a lot of different angles” said Kawamura. “I like to make plays with the puck and try to score. That’s what I’m focused on out there.” Kawamura has an extensive hockey resume including a 105 point season during his final year of Bantam hockey in Georgia, along with a taste of Junior hockey in the USHL and NAHL with Lincolm and Shreveport respectively. “Guys are bigger, faster and stronger here at this level, more experienced too and so it’s a huge step coming up from midget to Junior” said Kawamura. “I feel I’ve done a good job making that transition so far and I’m hoping to carry that on in Powell River.” “Kyle is a highly skilled player that we’re excited to add to our organization” said Kings Head Coach Kent Lewis. “He is creative, offensively gifted and sees the game well. Having an offensive threat like him to compliment the returning guys gives us more options to be effective in the offensive zone.” In addition to helping the Kings this season, Kawamura will use his time in Powell River to ready himself for the NCAA. Kawamura is slated to join the University of Maine for the 2018/2019 season. “Confidence is a big thing I want to work on ahead of college hockey” said Kawamura on what he needed to develop ahead of a four year stint in the NCAA. “Working on my touch with the puck, getting ice time and developing that way by finding a way to play the game against guys who are older, bigger and stronger.” Kawamura will arrive in Powell River in mid-August, ahead of Main Camp at the Hap Parker Arena August 21-24. The Kings would like to welcome Kyle and his family to Powell River.

Rizzo's Father Comments On Decision For Picking BCHL/Vees Over WHL/Blazers:

Massimo Rizzo has committed to play next season with the Penticton Vees. Rizzo was the Kamloops Blazers’ first-round pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, but has not signed with the major-junior squad and will spend his 16-year-old campaign playing in the junior A B.C. Hockey League. “Talking to a variety of different people that have been involved in both leagues and the experiences they’ve gone through and looking at where he’s at, it keeps his development options open,” Rizzo’s father, Remi, told KTW on Tuesday. “It really is no different than what we stated before the bantam draft, that Massimo is going to take it year by year and look at what the best options are the following season, developmentally for him and his growth.” By not signing a WHL contract, Massimo maintains his NCAA eligibility. The Blazers brought a few of their heavyweights — owner Tom Gaglardi, part-owner Shane Doan, general manager Stu MacGregor and head coach Don Hay — to a meeting with Massimo and his father in Vancouver last Wednesday. “I don’t think any doors have ever been closed,” Remi said. “If that was the case, it would have been a very short meeting with the boys last week. “This is the right choice for this year and next year he re-evaluates what the best opportunity for development is then.” MacGregor spoke to KTW after the meeting. “The philosophy that we have is that a player should come when he’s ready to be here because he’s going to perform to the best of his ability, for himself and for the team,” MacGregor said. Remi was asked if there is anything in particular he will be paying attention to in Kamloops in 2017-2018, on the ice or off, that may influence the family’s decision ahead of Massimo’s 17-year-old season. “No, I don’t think there is anything about Kamloops in particular,” he said. “It’s more of a Massimo thing and really what’s going to give him the best opportunity for his growth.” The highly skilled forward could opt to go the same route taken by Kamloops product Ryan Gropp, who joined the Vees and kept his NCAA options open before eventually signing with the WHL team that drafted him, the Seattle Thunderbirds. Some WHL-drafted players who join junior A squads never return — see Dante Fabbro and Tyson Jost. “I look at Mark Recchi,” Remi said. “His path was no different than what Massimo is doing now. Mark played a year junior A and went on to play for the Blazers and now he’s in the Hall of Fame. I don’t see it as a bad thing. I see it as an opportunity to grow and develop.” Rizzo could play two seasons in Penticton and be selected at the NHL Draft by a team that prefers he develop further in the WHL. “Would you like to know everything about what’s happening with someone? Maybe,” MacGregor said. “But as long as they come when they’re ready to play and they’re comfortable to play, there’s no real timeline for anybody.” Rizzo was recently invited to Hockey Canada’s under-17 selection camp in advance of the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August. He notched 22 goals and 84 points in 48 games with Burnaby Winter Club’s midget prep team last season and won the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s 2016-2017 Freshman of the Year Award. He racked up 60 goals and 137 points in 61 games in his second-year bantam campaign with BWC in 2015-2016. “It’s probably the hardest decision I’ve had to make so far,” Massimo told KTW last August at Blazers’ training camp. “There are lots of options and lots of things to think about, either playing college or Dub (WHL).”

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