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:
Alberni Valley-Drayton Valley Trade:
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have completed a trade with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Drayton Valley Thunder, acquiring the CJHL playing rights to 1999-born defenceman Marcus Walter in return for 1998-born forward James Orban and 1999-born forward Bradley Ong. Walter hails from St. Albert, AB and began his junior hockey career in Drayton Valley before spending the 2017/18 season with the NAHL’s Springfield Jr. Blues. He scored five goals and added 16 assists in 59 regular season games for Springfield and in December earned an NCAA Division I commitment to Bentley University for 2019/20. “Marcus brings size, physicality, puck-moving ability and poise to our blueline,” says Bulldogs head coach Matt Hughes. “One of our goals heading into the offseason was to find a veteran defenceman who would make us bigger and harder to play against in our own zone, and Marcus certainly does that. He’s also an excellent two-way player who makes a good first pass and will contribute offensively. We’re very excited to add a young man of his caliber to our group of defencemen.” Walter spent the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons with the Drayton Valley Thunder, dressing in 100 regular season games as a 16- and 17-year old. His most recent campaign with the Thunder included six goals, 12 assists and 47 penalty minutes in 59 regular season games. Heading to Drayton Valley are a pair of forwards in Orban and Ong, who each recently completed their first seasons with the Bulldogs. Ong dressed in all 58 regular season games with the team, scoring four goals and totaling nine points, while Orban was acquired in a mid-season trade with the Olds Grizzlys and went on to net 15 points in 30 regular season games. “This was a difficult deal to make because James and Bradley are both talented players and great people,” says Hughes. “Ultimately it was a case of having to give up good players to acquire a good player, but we’d like to thank them both for their efforts on the ice and for representing the team so well in the community.” Walter will join the Bulldogs when training camp opens at Weyerhaeuser Arena on Monday, August 20th.
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College Commitments One Sided?
Junior hockey programs have a way of treating college commitments like a badge of honor to influence the decision process of young hockey players. The truth about college commitments is very simple. Anything before their senior year in high school is a Verbal Commitment. What does that mean? Exactly. Before anything is signed, either the player or school can walk away from their original agreement, leaving a player or coach in a bad position. There is a Detroit area player who received a college commitment from one of the eastern schools back when he was sixteen, and the new coach at the school did not honor it. The player was rated high as a young prospect and even drafted into the USHL, where he played for years. However, he never really developed into the player the college was hoping he would, so they understandingly did not honor the commitment. Was this wrong? Personally I think the system is wrong. Hockey is one of the few sports where players leave home to play junior hockey for a few years with the purpose of development before entering college. In most cases all the college freshmen are not true freshmen by age. These players usually range from 19-21 years old, and have played a few years, or more, at the junior hockey level. Most junior teams and leagues use college commitments as an advertising tool to proclaim the success of their programs. How many of those players actually played for that school? Should a player that never actually played a game for THAT team be listed as a commitment on the junior team’s website? Should a coach be allowed to take his commitment list with him from coaching job to coaching job? It may sound funny, but we see it all the time. We know one junior coach that used his short term employment as a college coach, back in the 70’s, as the basis for his entire junior program for years. Junior hockey leagues and the NCAA should work together to protect the integrity of the recruiting process. The baloney verbal commitments should be eliminated. Force each college to actually sign the player for whatever deal they are willing to offer at the correct age they are allowed. This will help eliminate us seeing fifteen and sixteen year olds committed to colleges that they may never play for. If they cannot commit to players, until they are in their senior year, then maybe the junior teams won’t be going after younger and younger players. The NCAA does a great job with everything they do to give the student athlete an exceptional college experience. This is one area that we believe is misleading to parents and players. Schools should have to stand behind their end of the commitment and they do most of the time. The system is so weighted towards the universities it's become a joke. Players are recruited, enrolled, and are locked in when the coach can jump at any moment with no repercussions. Like junior players, college athletes should have the ability to freely transfer, without penalty, in the event the coach leaves or the school fails to maintain their end of the deal. At the same time, if a player decides to leave school, for major junior or professional hockey, before the end of his agreement he should be on the hook for every dime the college invested in him (or her). That rule should apply to the entire spectrum of NCAA Division I sports.
Penticton Vees Sign Lafontaine:
The Penticton Vees are excited to announce they’ve signed 1998-born goaltender Jack LaFontaine from the University of Michigan. LaFontaine, from Mississauga, Ontario, was the 75th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes. He was the sixth goaltender chosen in the draft and has spent the past two seasons at the University of Michigan. Prior to his time in the NCAA, LaFontaine spent one season in the North American Hockey League and one in the OJHL. With the Janesville Jets of the NAHL in 2015-16, the 6’3’’ goaltender posted a 24-8-7 record with a .921 save percentage and 2.16 GAA. He also record four shutouts. For his efforts he was named to the NAHL All-Midwest Division Team. With the Georgetown Raiders in 2014-15 he went 20-6-0 with a .923 save percentage and 2.13 GAA and was named to the OJHL First Team All-Prospect. LaFontaine will play his 20-year-old season with the Vees before returning to the University of Michigan for the 2019-20 season.
The Nanaimo Clippers have traded Jeremy Gervais to the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the AJHL for MacKenzie Merriman. MacKenzie a White Rock, BC native played 9 games in the 2016-2017 season with the Surrey Eagles. He then played 46 games for the Surrey Eagles in the 2017-2018 season. The 18-year-old, 5’11”, 168 lb. forward had three goals and 9 assists in the regular 2017-2018 season for Surrey. In the 2018 playoffs he played 13 game for Surrey scoring one goal and having one assist.
Chilliwack Chiefs Sign Wilkie:
The Chiefs are pleased to announce the signing of 2000 born forward Carter Wilkie. Wilkie joins the Chiefs after two seasons with the International Hockey Academy Midget Prep team based in Calgary Alberta. Last season he led his team in scoring with 20 goals and 23 assists in 36 games. Chiefs General Manager and Head Coach Brian Maloney had this to say about the Chiefs newest recruit. “Our scouting staff has been watching Carter for a while. We feel Carter is one of those players that can play up and down the lineup and can be utilized in all different situations. He has good offence instincts that should really help our young team next year. To add to all that, he has unbelievable character and we look forward to watching his and his game grow. We’re excited to have Carter join the Chiefs family.” Wilkie is thrilled to be making the move to Chilliwack “I am very excited and honored to start my junior career in Chilliwack. The Chiefs have produced many good players and have an exceptional program to be involved with. I will be very proud when I put the Chiefs jersey on for the first time in the upcoming season and continuing their long history of high level hockey. I’m also looking forward to being part of the community of Chilliwack as they have long standing support from their community and that is critical when being part of a junior team. I am very excited and can’t wait to get out to Chilliwack.” When asked what type of player the Chiefs are getting, Wilkie describes himself as a motivated two way player. “The Chiefs are getting a highly motivated player. Dedicated to improvement and development every practice and game. I try hard to adapt to any situation within a game whether that ranges from playing an offensive or defensive role. I have worked hard to be known as a player who has a nose for getting to the net, and who is dedicated to being a good teammate and a role model within the community.”
Grizzlies Sign Bucheler:
The Victoria Grizzlies just made a big signing, literally. Grizzlies general manager and head coach Craig Didmon announced Thursday that the B.C. Hockey League team has signed Jérémie Bucheler, a six-foot-four, 182-pound defenceman from Montreal who is committed to the NCAA’s Northeastern University for the fall of 2019. The 18-year-old played last season with the Chicago Steel of the USHL. Bucheler happens to have the same Montreal-based adviser as Grizzlies newly-named captain Alex Newhook, so when he was looking for a place to play this season, the decision seemed obvious. “Jérémie was looking to come to the BCHL, knowing it’s one of the best Junior A leagues in the country, so, knowing Alex, their adviser called us and we put it together. “He’s a high-quality defenceman and we feel that, together with Carter [Berger], we will have two very dangerous offensive guys on the back end.” Both Bucheler and Berger, the North Vancouver product who had 34 points in 56 regular-season games and another eight in 12 playoff games last season, are eligible for this weekend’s NHL draft. “They’re both expected to have big years this coming season so several NHL scouts have inquired about both of them, so there is a possibility one or both get drafted this weekend,” added Didmon. And Didmon wasn’t finished piecing together his blue line for next season. He has also inked 18-year-old defenceman Brady MacDonald, who spent the last two seasons in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. Last season, MacDonald, who hails from Dorchester, Ont., had four goals and 14 assists in 40 games for the Strathroy Rockets. The Grizzlies will open training camp on Aug. 20.
The Penticton Vees would like to announce they’ve acquired 1999-born forward David Silye and 2000-born defenceman Max Crozier from the Nanaimo Clippers in exchange for 1998-born forward Marcus Mitchell. Silye will join the Vees while Crozier has previously committed to the USHL for the 2018-19 season. Silye, from Arnprior, Ontario, finished his second season in Nanaimo by blowing away his rookie season point totals. In 54 games, the 5’9’’, 170-pound forward scored 10 goals and 31 assists after posting eight goals and 10 assists in 52 games in 2016-17. He then scored three times and added an assist in six playoff games. He is committed to Clarkson University for the 2019-20 season. “The addition of David Silye gives us stability through the middle,” Vees head coach and general manager Fred Harbinson said. “In addition to being a gritty centre who can kill penalties, David hit his stride offensively scoring 36 points in the last 34 games of the season. He’s secured a scholarship to Clarkson where many former Vees have gone on to play.” Crozier, from Calgary, wrapped up his rookie season in the BCHL with six goals and 23 assists in 49 games. He is committed to Providence for the 2019-20 season. “Max Crozier is an elite two-way defenceman who had a strong rookie season in Nanaimo,” Harbinson said. “We were made aware prior to the transaction that Max was looking to go to the USHL prior to moving on to Providence. We are hopeful Max will take time to re-evaluate his decision, nobody would blame him now that we’ve obtained his rights. This would give him an opportunity to play for Team Canada at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge and follow in the footsteps of some of the outstanding defenceman we have developed in the past such as Jonny Tychonick, Gabe Bast, Dante Fabbro Troy Stecher, Joey Laleggia and Mike Reilly, just to name a few.” Mitchell, from Kelowna, was acquired at the trade deadline last season from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. In 24 regular season games he scored four goals with six assists before six goals and five assists in 11 playoff games. “Marcus is an outstanding kid who will add leadership and toughness to Nanaimo,” said Harbinson. “We with him the best of luck moving forward.” The Vees would like to welcome David and Max to the team.
The trade that landed PJ Marrocco with the Chilliwack Chiefs has been finalized. Chilliwack owed the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Bonneyville Pontiacs future considerations, and it turned out to be two players. Ryan Miotto and Regan Kimens were sent to Bonneyville. Kimens, a 1999-born forward has already bounced back to the BCHL, acquired by the Coquitlam Express in return for 2000-born forward Mackenzie Merriman. With the Chiefs, Marrocco collected 23 points in 28 regular season games, three points in seven playoff games and two points at the RBC Cup. The Chiefs would like to thank Regan and Ryan for the contribution to the team and our success last season and wish them luck with their new teams and future hockey careers.
Isaksson Commits To Penticton Vees:
The Penticton Vees are excited to announce 2000-born defenceman Trevor Isaksson has committed to the Vees full time for the 2018-19 season. Isaksson, from North Delta, has spent the past two seasons with the Valley West Hawks in the British Columbia Major Midget League. He totalled 19 goals and 35 assists in 76 games. The 6’2”, 194-pound defenceman had a banner season in 2017-18, leading the league in defensive scoring with 14 goals and 22 assists in 36 games. He was named to the BCMML All-Star Team as a result. Isaksson also served as the Hawks captain during last season. His name may be familiar to Vees fans as Isaksson suited up for four games as an affiliate with the Vees last season. Vees play-by-play broadcaster Craig Beauchemin caught up with Iskasson for this feature story. Trevor Isaksson was pretty nervous before his first game with the Penticton Vees November 10 against the Vernon Vipers, but according to him, that’s how he’s always been. “I’m usually a bit of a nervous player,” Isaksson admitted. “I used to get nervous over who was watching, and not wanting to make any mistakes. But I overcame that this season and played with a lot of confidence. I told my team this was our year and they helped me have a successful season.” Isaksson was named captain of the Valley West Hawks Major Midget team for 2017-18 and lead by example. His 14 goals and 36 points led the league amongst defenders in both categories, and he was the only defender to average a point per game. He was named as a league All-Star as a result. “I didn’t think that’s the kind of season I was going to have, but I was hoping for it,” Isaksson said. “[The captaincy] didn’t really change my thinking process. It was a nice thing to have but I knew I just needed to keep doing what I do best.” While his offensive game exploded this past season, Isaksson says he tries to lead on the ice with his physical play, but also by being an energetic character inside the locker room. After suiting up for his first game in November, Isaksson joined the team again for their Island road trip at the beginning of December and played in the second game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. He nearly found the back of the net that night too. “I think once I got that puck in my stick I was almost scared to take the shot,” he said with a laugh. “But once I shot it I calmed down a lot. After the first few shifts I knew I just had to play my game and I would fit in.” While he wasn’t able to hit the scoresheet in any of his four games with the Vees, Isaksson says his time as an affiliate helped him make up his mind on where to play during the upcoming season. “I felt like the Vees were a really close family,” Isaksson said. “I got to know the coaches and I knew I’d fit in there well. I wanted to keep my NCAA eligibility open.” When it comes to his style of play, Iskasson says he hopes to be known as a tough defenceman who will always look to make the physical play, but can also start the breakout with passes from his defensive end. Of course, Isaksson knows the work to be an impact player doesn’t start during training camp, but rather ever since his midget season ended. “I think my cardio is where it needs to be, but I want to work on lifting a lot of weights,” Isaksson said of his summer training regime. “I feel like I need to gain a lot of muscle to compete with the older and stronger players.”