BCHL News & Trades:
Brind'Amour Commits To Chilliwack Chiefs:
The Chilliwack Chiefs are welcoming the son of a Stanley Cup champion into the fold. Skyler Brind’Amour has committed to the team for the 2017-18 season, bringing a familiar surname to the BCHL. Skyler’s dad, Rod, played 21 big-league seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes. Between 1988 and 2010 he logged 1,643 regular season and playoff games. Rod is a member of the NHL’s 1,000 point club (1,184, including 459 goals) and a two time winner of the Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward. He won an NHL championship with the Hurricanes in 2006 and casts such a large shadow that we’ve spent the first six paragraphs of Skyler’s introductory article talking about his father. “It’s been a blessing because my dad knows the game and he can help me with a bunch of stuff,” the 18 year old said. “He’s watched all my games and helped me become a better hockey player for sure. “That’s been huge and I’m very thankful for that.” Having Brind’Amour on his back raises expectations for Skyler. Fairly or unfairly, people will compare him to his famous father and those are massive skates to fill. If he were Skyler Smith or Skyler Jones instead, the burden of those expectations might be eased. But the teenager, who will come into next season on the radar of NHL scouts, doesn’t seem bothered by any of it. “I’m a pretty quiet guy who just likes to get things done,” he said. Skyler has already been rated 157th among North American skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau. Standing six-foot-two and weighing 175 pounds, he has the frame to add muscle and be a physical force at the junior A level. Rod was a tank on skates, so the genetics are there. “He was a bit stronger than I am right now but I’m trying to get there,” Skyler said. Rod was a legend in the faceoff circle, one of the best the NHL has seen. “He says you’ve got to get in there and own the circle,” Skyler said “Get in there, get low and you’ve got to try and cheat a bit as well.” A smart and instinctive player, Skyler also shares his dad’s competitive fire. “I’m competitive in everything I do and it’s something I’ve worked at in my game, getting my compete level up for every game and every shift,” Skyler said. “It’s something I worked on last season and something I continue to work on.” Skyler spent much of last season training with the vaunted U.S. Development Team Program (USDTP) and had options on where to go. Chiefs head coach/general manager Jason Tatarnic reached out to Skyler at one of his tournaments and whatever he said resonated. “We had a good conversation and it was mostly just the honesty,” Skyler recalled. “He doesn’t guarantee anything to anybody, but he talked about where he sees me fitting in. “He said he feels I can have a good effect on the team and I felt really comfortable with him. “My dad and I feel he’s a good guy and a good coach and I’m going to learn a lot from him.” Tatarnic has an extra card to play in recruiting this year, with his team hosting the 2018 Royal Bank Cup tournament. The chance to play for a national junior A title next spring played a big role in Skyler’s decision. “There were other options and tons of leagues to play in, but playing in the RBC Cup is something cool and an added bonus for sure,” Skyler said. “I don’t know too much about it yet, but I look forward to it for sure.” Skyler is likely to be a one-and-done in Chilliwack. He already has a commitment to the University of Michigan State in his back pocket, coincidentally the same school his dad went to in the mid 1980’s. Tatarnic is happy to have the kid for one season and looks forward to seeing Skyler’s development. “The one thing Rod insisted on during the recruiting process is I had to go watch Skyler play live,” Tatarnic said. “When I did, I saw a big player who skates well, has great vision and has a ton of potential. “He’s got some things he has to work on too, but that’s OK. I think every player should be working on something at the junior level, and what separates good players from great players is the great ones are willing to work on those areas.” Skyler says he has high expectations for himself and the team and can’t wait to get started. “First and foremost I want to win, because that’s the main goal always,” he said. “Personally I want to get better and stronger and just be the best I can.”
Maser Commits To Nanaimo Clippers:
The Nanaimo Clippers are very pleased to announce that Tyler Maser has committed to play for the Team for the 2017-2018 season. The 1999 born forward joins the Clippers after playing the past two seasons for the Cariboo Cougars of the British Columbia Major Midget Hockey League. During the 2016-2017 regular season, the 6’3″ 200lb Houston, BC native scored 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points in 31 games played. In the playoffs Maser tallied 4 points in 8 games helping the Cougars win the BCMML Championship. The Cougars recently participated in the Telus Cup Canadian Midget Hockey Championships where Maser led his team in scoring with 4 points in 5 games played. We would like to welcome Tyler to the Clippers Family and look forward to seeing him on the ice with his new teammates at Training Camp in August.
Kamloops Blazers Going After Vees Forward Rizzo:
Concrete answers didn’t emerge from a meeting with the Kamloops Blazers’ top unsigned prospect. The Blazers brought the heavyweights — owner Tom Gaglardi, part-owner Shane Doan, general manager Stu MacGregor and head coach Don Hay — to the gathering with Massimo Rizzo, 16, and his father in Vancouver on Wednesday. Rizzo, a top-tier talent who notched 22 goals and 84 points in 48 games with Burnaby Winter Club’s midget prep team in 2016-2017, was the Blazers’ first-round pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, but may play junior A hockey next season in order to maintain his NCAA eligibility. “We’re just continuing to converse and decisions are still moving forward,” MacGregor said. “There’s no final decision either way. It’s really status quo at the moment.” In an interview with KTW in April, MacGregor said he, “would like to think we’ll have a decision by the end of May, end of June.” Canada Day is Saturday, July 1, and still no word on Rizzo’s future as of Thursday morning. “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 on Thursday. “Would you like to know everything about what’s happening with someone? Maybe. 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.” Hay declined comment, saying MacGregor is the point man on all Rizzo news, but it is safe to assume any head coach would like to know who he is working with sooner than later. Training camp on Mark Recchi Way is just around the corner. “He’s a passionate player who brings a lot of emotion to the game and wears his heart on his sleeve and we believe one day he’ll be a top-end player for us,” Blazers’ director of player personnel Matt Recchi said at the draft last year. Rizzo has potential to change the face of the franchise for the next few years, a game-breaker who was recently invited to Hockey Canada’s under-17 selection camp in advance of the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August. He racked up 60 goals and 137 points in 61 games in his second-year bantam campaign with BWC in 2015-2016. He won the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s 2016-2017 Freshman of the Year Award. “It’s probably the hardest decision I’ve had to make so far,” Rizzo 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).” Rizzo suited up for three regular-season games and seven playoff games with the junior A B.C. Hockey League’s Penticton Vees in 2016-2017. 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’s Seattle Thunderbirds. Some WHL-drafted players who join junior A squads never return — see Dante Fabbro and Tyson Jost. “They’re just continuing to evaluate and make some determination on what they want to do,” MacGregor said. “They’re trying to decide exactly which is the right route.”
BCHL 2017-18 Regular Season Schedule Released:
The 2017-18 BCHL regular season schedule is ready and has been uploaded to the league website. Fans and media can navigate the schedule using the ‘Schedule & Scores’ menu at www.bchl.ca. The subpages of that menu include ‘League Schedule’ which shows all games in a month-by-month format and ‘League Scoreboard’ which shows the games scheduled on any given night. Website users can filter the schedule by team, by date and by month using the drop-down menus on these pages. Opening night for the coming season will be Friday, September 8 with seven games on the slate for that evening. The league will complete two weeks of regular-season games before the Bauer BCHL Showcase which begins Sept. 20 in Chilliwack. Each team will play 58 games again this season with two of those contests taking place at the Showcase. The last day of the regular season will be Sunday, February 25 and the Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs will be on the following Friday, March 2. The upcoming season is the 56th for the BCHL since its inception in 1961.
Thorpe Commits To Capitals:
The Cowichan Valley Capitals junior A hockey club is happy to announce that defenseman Riley Thorpe, from West Kelowna, BC, has committed to the club for next season. The 18-year-old Thorpe joins the Capitals from the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs program of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL); he totalled one goal and 10 points in 39 games with the Monarchs last season. Prior to his year in the EHL, Thorpe spent two seasons developing with the highly-regarded Pursuit of Excellence (POE) program in Kelowna. With the POE Elite 15’s team in 2014-15, playing on the same club as current Capitals forward Alec Zawatsky, Thorpe tied for the league-lead in defensemen scoring with 22 points in 30 games. A year later with the POE Midget Prep club, Thorpe tied for the team-lead in scoring among defensemen, with 22 points in 36 games, and played alongside another current Capitals forward in Ty Pochipinski. “Riley has a year of junior under his belt… He’s a good skater, physically strong and has good puck skills,” Capitals Head Coach and GM Bob Beatty commented. “We’re excited to add another solid young defenseman to our D core.” In New Hampshire last season, Thorpe helped the Monarchs to the third round of the EHL playoffs, after posting an impressive 33-11-4 regular season record – good for first place in the New England Division and third overall in the 17-team EHL league.
Two Financial Takeaways From The Cents AGM:
After the Centennials' AGM two things are clear: they're in better financial standing then they have been in several years, and they have a new program to help them pack the rink. The Centennials are reporting a surplus due in large part to a program initiated by Aspen Planers. By receiving partial proceeds from timber salvage from the Pine Beetle problem, the Cents were able to add over 200,000 dollars to their revenue streams. Director of Hockey Operations, Brian Barrett, says, "We hadn't had an amount for quite a while, and then they got on the program again so we were very fortunate to be able to get a large amount of money out of that." The other exciting development is a new initiative spearheaded by the league called 'The Ultimate Tool Box.' It's a platform that's been used in many different leagues, including the NBA and MLB, and now it's coming to the BCHL. The objective of the program is to focus on a handful of games throughout the year, make them special, and try to sell the last seat in the house. By targeting these games, it's proven to help retain fans throughout the season. Barrett adds, "If we can increase our attendance significantly through this program, then I think it will ease a lot of the revenue problems for teams throughout the league." Armed with 'The Ultimate Tool Box,' and the best financial standing they've been in for years, the Cents are ready to make their 45th season their best.
Bahn Commits To Nanaimo:
The Nanaimo Clippers are very pleased to announce that Lucas Bahn has signed to play for the Team for the 2017-2018 season. The 1999 born defenceman joins the Clippers after playing this past season for the Skipjacks Hockey Club of the USPHL. During the 2016-2017 regular season the 5’10”165lb Hendersonville, Tennessee native scored 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points in 25 games played. At the completion of the season Lucas was awarded the USPHL U18 Defenceman of the Year Award. He is also committed to play for the NCAA Division 1 University of New Hampshire Wildcats at the conclusion of his Junior career. We would like to welcome Lucas to the Clippers Family and look forward to seeing him on the ice with his new teammates at Training Camp in August.
Silverbacks Name Former Captain Killip New Assistant Coach:
The Salmon Arm Silverbacks Hockey Club are proud to announce that Backs Alumni and former Captain David Killip is the new full time Assistant Coach. David played for the Silverbacks for three years in 2008-2009, 2009-2010 & 2010-2011. He was the assistant captain during the 2009-2010 season and then captain in the 2010-2011 season. He then went on to a 4-year scholarship at Western Michigan NCAA. After his 4 years he has been the Volunteer Assistant coach for the Western Michigan Broncos and has been working side by side with former Silverbacks owner Andy Murray at WMU. “We are very excited that David has agreed to come on board with his former junior team” says GM Troy Mick. David has grown into an amazing young man and coach and we are looking forward to him returning to Salmon Arm. His passion is second to none and we look forward to him working with our new coach Scott Atkinson. “I’m extremely excited to rejoin the Silverbacks, and can’t wait to get started. I have many fond memories of Salmon Arm and am looking forward to the challenge of improving upon some of the great seasons in Silverbacks History. I want to thank Andy Murray for all the help and knowledge shared, and Western Michigan University for a great 6 years in Kalamazoo.” David will start his new role Aug 7 as the Silverbacks start their first year running the Salmon Arm Hockey School where he will be a lead instructor and then move onto the Backs Main camp which will start Aug 21 at the Shaw Centre.
Clippers Make Appeal To City Council:
The Clippers hockey team decided to take a shot and ask city council for a grant. The Nanaimo Clippers are continuing their campaign to try to finalize the sale of the junior A hockey club from the previous ownership group to the new Clippers Hockey Society. Andrea Trepanier, Clippers chief executive officer, said the campaign has “lost momentum” in recent weeks, which is one of the reasons she addressed city council as a delegation last week. Earlier this year when ownership talked about relocating the team, “it was all doom and gloom and people were like, ‘no, we’ve got to save the Clippers,’” Trepanier told the News Bulletin. “And we thought we’d get lots of support and we have, we’re doing OK, but it hasn’t been as big as we’d hoped.” She said the previous ownership group has now asked the society to work toward a Dec. 1 deadline to complete the sale of the team. Trepanier said the society will eventually be able to access gaming funds and hold lotteries, but in the meantime, financial support is needed. “We would also like the City of Nanaimo to consider a possible grant for the first two years of operation, as our monies from gaming will be delayed…” she told city council June 12. “The Clippers are a thread in the fabric of Nanaimo and we want to stay here and create more winning moments for our community.” She said the estimated benefit of a BCHL team to a city is $4 million annually, noting that visiting teams stay in hotels, eat at local restaurants and make other purchases on their travels. Trepanier told the Bulletin she couldn’t get into more specifics about her grant request to the city as the team and city are still in lease negotiations. City council motioned to receive the Clippers’ delegation. “I appreciate the fact that you’re working hard to save the Clippers,” said Coun. Jim Kipp. Coun. Diane Brennan acknowledged the presence of numerous Clippers fans in the gallery at council chambers that night. “I think it’s obvious that the Clippers have a great deal of meaning for the people in Nanaimo and it’s wonderful to see so many supporters here tonight to urge us forward,” she said. The new Clippers Hockey Society took another step toward faceoff with the selection of its board directors. The society held a meeting Tuesday and elected Graham Calder as chairman, Paul Manhas as vice-chairman and Jim Olsen as secretary-treasurer.
Spruce Kings Name Buffie New Director Of Scouting:
The Prince George Spruce Kings are very happy to announce the hiring of former Spruce Kings assistant coach Colton Buffie as the team’s new Director of Scouting. Colton had previously worked with the team in the role of assistant coach for four seasons from 2011 to 2015. Most recently Colton had been in a scouting role with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. “Colton is somebody who’s eye for talent I trust. In his time with us previously he proved to me that he has a knack for spotting talented players and does a good job in recruiting them to our program. I’m really looking forward to having him back on board with us because he understands the type of player and more importantly the type of young man we like to have as Spruce Kings” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes. “I am very honored and excited to be a part of the Spruce Kings organization again. This organization is one of the most professionally run and well respected franchises in the BCHL. Mike Hawes and his staff have done a phenomenal job putting a competitive team on the ice each and every night and I will do everything I can to help that process. I spent four years as a part of the coaching staff and feel as though I have a good understanding of the type of players that are successful in Prince George. My plan is to work with Mike, Adam and Alex to help recruit as many talented, driven, respectful, and hardworking players to the Spruce Kings family and hopefully bring a championship to the City of Prince George. I want to thank Mike, Tom Bohmer, and the rest of the organization for giving me this opportunity. Now it’s time to get to work” said Spruce Kings new Director of Scouting Colton Buffie.