BCHL News & Trades:
Clippers Name Hensel New Assistant Coach-Video Coach & Scout:
The Nanaimo Clippers are please to announce the appointment of Jordan Hensel as an Assistant/Video Coach and Scout. Jordan has been working in junior hockey for five years, coming to us from the Cowichan Capitals where he served as both video coach and Assistant General Manager. Previous to his time in Cowichan, Jordan spent the prior two seasons as video coach for the Chilliwack Chiefs where he and the Chiefs made back to back appearances in the BCHL finals as well as a finals appearance in the 2017 Western Canada Cup, Before working in the BCHL, Jordan worked in the Hockey Operations department focusing on video and analytics for the 2014-15 Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.
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The Chiefs announced today that they have acquired 20 year old defenseman Callum Volpe from the Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League in exchange for future considerations and the CJHL playing rights of defenseman Kyle Yewchuk. Volpe, who calls Coquitlam BC home, is no stranger to the BCHL, having suited up for 123 games over three seasons with the Vernon Vipers and Powell River Kings scoring 11 goals and adding 39 assists. Chiefs General Manager and Head Coach Brian Maloney says Volpe fills a need as an experienced right handed shot defenseman. “To be honest we weren’t really actively pursuing any defensemen until Callum’s name popped up. Both Cam Keith and I had long conversations with him. After a 30 minute conversation I was convinced that he would be a perfect fit in what we’re trying to develop here in Chilliwack. We will have a young team so having someone with outstanding leadership qualities like Callum will help our team. He also brings BCHL experience with him. He’s that right-handed puck moving defenseman that we were Lacking.”
Chris Hebb Interview:
Alberni Valley Bulldogs broadcaster Evan Hammond interview’s the new BCHL comissioner Chris Hebb.
Wenatchee Has Become Junior-Hockey Paradise:
The tranquil, apple-growing community of Wenatchee doesn’t exactly scream “junior hockey powerhouse.” But the Wenatchee Wild just had as many players drafted to the National Hockey League as the Seattle Thunderbirds, Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans combined. Those latter teams play at a higher rung of junior hockey than the decade-old Wild, which speaks to what’s been accomplished within the north-central Washington town of 33,000 in a short amount of time. “I think Wenatchee is one of the true special places to play junior hockey in North America,’’ said Wild head coach Bliss Littler, who boasts one of the best first names and win totals of any hockey coach. Littler’s team has also become the top destination in this state for junior players ages 16-to-21 hoping to go to college before they turn professional. For the past three seasons, the Wild have suited up in the Junior “A” British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), a notch below the “Major Junior” Thunderbirds, Chiefs, Americans and Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Other than overall talent level, the biggest difference between leagues is WHL players are paid a stipend that causes the NCAA to view them as professionals. A player loses a season of NCAA eligibility for every game of WHL hockey they participate in. BCHL players get free lodging from host families, but are unpaid and free to pursue college careers once their junior days are done. “You keep all of your options open,’’ Littler said. “College hockey wants their players to play a year or two of junior hockey so they can come in bigger, stronger and more mature.’’ And so, Wild draftees Slava Demin and Jasper Weatherby are off to school after last month becoming the fifth and sixth Wenatchee players picked by NHL teams since the franchise was formed in 2008. Second-year defenseman Demin, from Cypress, Calif., taken by the Vegas Golden Knights in the fourth round (99th overall) will play for the Division I University of Denver Pioneers. Leading BCHL playoff scorer Weatherby, a forward from Ashland, Ore., and a fourth-round (102nd overall) pick by San Jose, will play for longtime Division I powerhouse University of North Dakota. Demin and Weatherby helped lead the Wild to their first BCHL championship this past season, then a Pacific region title when they defeated the Alberta league’s Spruce Grove Saints 4-games-to-1. That sent them to the Royal Bank Cup Tournament in Chilliwack, B.C. – Junior A hockey’s equivalent of the Memorial Cup – where they were beaten 2-1 in the semifinal game by the Wellington Dukes despite having a 51-14 edge in shots. It was a banner season for a franchise that had tried in vain for years to join the 17-team BCHL up until becoming its only U.S.-based squad three seasons ago. The Wild began in 2008-09 as a Junior B, or Tier II level franchise in the North American Hockey League, playing at the spanking-new 4,300-seat Town Toyota Center. The $53-million, multi-purpose arena was built specifically to lure a hockey team and the community quickly got involved when one showed up, having local schools choose the “Wild” moniker in a “name-the-team” contest that included suggestions such as Wonders, Bombers, Winning Walruses and Ice Busters. Their first head coach was Paul Baxter, a rugged ex-NHL defenseman best known for having a puck thrown at his head in the penalty box – and getting cut for 10 stitches – by longtime enforcer Chris Nilan. After nearly winning it all their first season – losing 3-2 in overtime in the championship game – the Wild captured their second division title the following year but were eliminated in the second playoff round. By the next year, Baxter was replaced as coach mid-season by John Becanic, who took the Wild to two more playoff appearances before resigning. In came Littler, the man of intriguing first names and a Scotty Bowman-like win total in the lower junior ranks. On the name thing, Littler said: “My parents were just happy to be able to have a kid.’’ The regular-season win total speaks for itself: 788 and counting after 25 years grinding through junior hockey’s lower tiers as a B-level player, then coach in places such as Billings, Mont., Topeka, Kan., and Omaha, Neb., before arriving in Wenatchee. Littler’s first three seasons running the Wild were also in Junior B before the franchise jumped to the A-level BCHL, largely because the proximity to other teams makes travel easier. His squads have gone 116-41-12-5 in Junior A since, though Littler has no plans to move up to major junior or college coaching. “I’ve got the best owner setup any coach could hope to have,’’ he said. That ownership came together in June 2013 after some whirlwind events saw the Wild confirmed as BCHL members, only to have the team’s owners announce the next day they were relocating the franchise to Hidalgo, Texas. A week later, it was announced a Fresno, Calif., franchise owned by David and Lisa White was moving to Wenatchee and would keep the Wild name and logo intact. They kept Littler as well. The rest is part of some fast-growing junior hockey history. The Wild averaged 2,767 fans last season – second-most in the league and more than 8 percent of the town’s population. Though star players typically stay only a year or two before leaving for college – compared to three or four years for most WHL players – the team’s consistent strong play has provided marketing enough despite the turnover. And that marketing includes recruiting pitches to future players: touting their college options, the winning tradition, the arena, the draft picks and the small-town feel of a place that loves its junior hockey. “It’s a great building,’’ Littler said. “It’s a community where the hockey team is the one thing that pulls everybody together. It’s just a really special place.”
Vees Won't Be Getting D-man Crozier:
Max won’t be in the house for the Penticton Vees this season. Defenceman Max Crozier, acquired by the Vees along with forward David Silye in a three-player trade with the Nanaimo Clippers in June, has decided to play for Sioux Falls of the U.S. Hockey League this season. Vees GM/head coach Fred Harbinson said he didn’t get the chance to meet with Crozier as anticipated. “His Dad was directing the situation and he said the player is sticking with the commitment he made earlier with the USHL team,” said Harbinson. “We gave them a timeline and it wasn’t going to happen, so we pulled out on Monday.” Harbinson said the Vees will retain the Canadian Junior-A rights to the gifted 1999-born blueliner. “If he decides he wants to come back to Canada to play at some point, we’ll trade his rights to another team,” said Harbinson. The Vees gave up veteran forward Marcus Mitchell in the deal with Nanaimo. Harbinson said the speedy Silye is excited about joining the Vees. Harbinson said the Vees will still boast plenty of offence from their back end this season. He noted James Miller brings offence to the table and added fellow 20-year-old returning veteran Kenny Johnson “showed some flashes” of providing some punch from the blueline as well. The coach also noted new recruits Connor Hutchison (Vermont commit) and Jack Lagerstrom (Cornell commit) also are strong offensive defencemen. “Lagerstrom is a right-handed shot with a bomb from the point,” said Harbinson. The Vees also boosted their depth by bringing in veteran defenceman Devon Mussio as a free agent. Mussio played two seasons with the Coquitlam Express, and while he managed just a goal and 19 points in 111 games, Harbinson said the 1999-born player from Vancouver plays with an edge. “He’s got a lot of experience at this level and you can never have too much of that on the back end,” Harbinson said, of the 6’ 1”, 190-pounder. “After playing on a struggling team, he’s really excited about coming to a team with a chance to contend.” Harbinson said the Vees are set in goal but may add another forward and defenceman. “We’re working on a few things, have a few small moving pieces as we get ready for training camp (Aug. 20), but we’re in pretty good shape,” said Harbinson. “We’ve got until Jan. 10 to figure out everything we might need.”
Chilliwack-Fort McMurray Trade:
The Chiefs announced this morning that 18 year old defenseman Sean McCloskey has been traded to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in exchange for future considerations. McCloskey played in 39 games over two seasons with the Chiefs, registering three assists. “We’d like to thank Sean for being a part of the Chiefs family,” said Chiefs General Manager and Head Coach Brian Maloney. “We wish him all the best as he continues to work on all aspects of his game.”
Clippers Name Gaëlle New Athletic Therapist:
Gaëlle graduated in June 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Sciences, specializing in Athletic Therapy from Concordia University. In 2015-2016, she worked at College Jean-de-Brébeuf, Montréal, as part of her internship with multiple sports including Rugby, Basketball, Field Lacrosse, Soccer and more. In 2017-2018, she worked with the Concordia Stingers varsity athletes, mainly with their men’s hockey team as a student Athletic Therapist. She has also covered multiple combat sport tournaments over the last three years, which included Judo, Karate and Taekwondo. Gaëlle grew up and currently lives in Rouyn-Noranda, Québec but spent the last four years in Montréal for school. She has been a huge QLJMH Rouyn-Noranda Huskies’ fan since she was a teen and has wanted to work with hockey since she discovered the field of Athletic Therapy at age 15.
Salmon Arm Silverbacks Name Cochrane New Assistant Coach:
The Salmon Arm Silverbacks are happy to announce the appointment of Tanner Cochrane to the team’s coaching staff. Cochrane played three seasons in the BCHL with the Chilliwack Chiefs and Powell River Kings. The 25-year-old Kamloops native recently spent the past two seasons coaching the BCMML Thompson Blazers.
Conquest Commits To Cowichan Capitals:
The Cowichan Capitals are very pleased to announce that Adam Conquest has committed to play for the team for the upcoming season. The 6’0″ 190lb forward joins the Capitals from Brighton High School of the Kensington Lakes Athletic Association. The 18 year old Brighton, Michigan native tallied 25 goals and 21 assists for 46 points in 27 games played for Brighton High this past season. After completing his Junior ‘A’ career with the Capitals Adam is committed to play NCAA Division 1 Hockey with the Bowling Green Falcons of the WCHA. The Capitals would like to welcome Adam to the Capitals Family and look forward to seeing him on the ice at Main Camp in late August.
Svejkovsky Leaves Wild For Western Hockey League:
Vancouver Giants General Manager Barclay Parneta announced today that the Giants have signed 2001-born forward Lukas Svejkovsky (Point Roberts, WA) to a Standard WHL Player Agreement. “We are extremely excited to have Lukas signed and committed to the Vancouver Giants organization,” said Giants GM Barclay Parneta. “He’s an incredibly skilled and dynamic player who we feel will develop into a high-end point producer in the WHL.” Parneta adds, “Lukas and his family had no shortage of options when it came to his junior hockey future, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome Lukas and the Svejkovsky family to the Vancouver Giants organization.” Originally selected by the Giants in the second round (36th overall) of the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, the 5’9” Svejkovsky is coming off a strong 16-year-old season with the BCHL champion Wenatchee Wild. In 16 regular season games he scored five goals and added six assists for 11 points and added a goal during their run to the Fred Page Cup. He added four assists for Wenatchee in the Royal Bank Cup tournament. Earlier this summer Lukas Svejkovsky attended Team USA’s Select 17 Summer Development Camp where he was named to one of the two all-star teams. He finished the tournament with two goals and three assists. The season prior, he compiled 17 goals and 27 assists for 44 points in 22 games with the Delta Hockey Academy’s Elite 15’s. “It’s an honor to sign with the Vancouver Giants,” adds Lukas Svejkovsky. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid and to have it happen is unbelievable. I can’t wait to get started and I’m excited for what lies ahead for my teammates and I.” Lukas Svejkovsky is eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft.
Clippers Broadcaster Wins Prestigious Play-By-Play Award:
For nearly 11 seasons, broadcaster Dan Marshall has painted a gripping and exciting picture of what's happening on the ice with the Nanaimo Clippers. He'll now call games with a prestigious new medal sitting in his trophy case. Marshall was honoured with the Bernie Pascall Media award by the BC Hockey Hall of Fame on Friday, July 20. It's presented annually to a hockey personality who “demonstrates commitment and dedication to the promotion within the game of hockey,” according to their website. “Something this big where you're talking about the BC Hockey Hall of Fame and people who have NHL connections, certainly it's the biggest thing I've ever been part of and it's really neat,” Marshall told NanaimoNewsNOW, where you can find weekly columns and articles from Marshall's life on the road with the Clippers and the Harbour City's top sports events. "I wouldn't have even expected to be in consideration. Junior A certainly isn't at the top of the broadcasting world, so to be at the level and recognized in this way is humbling and shocking.” Marshall was the play-by-play voice for the Pentiction Vees for eight years before moving to Nanaimo to be the voice of the Clippers ahead of the 2006-2007 campaign. Marshall has called more than 1,000 BCHL games. He's also won the BCHL Broadcaster of the Year award twice. Former Clippers assistant coach and assistant GM Michael Olsen said it's a long overdue award. “Dan Marshall is a true ambassador, not only for the Nanaimo Clippers but for all other franchises he was part of in the BCHL. The league is greater when Dan is involved. He's a joy to listen to every night.” With so many players coming to Nanaimo from all over the country, Olsen said it was a blessing to have a play-by-play broadcaster who could connect families and listeners to the riveting action on the ice. “He does a wonderful job of putting it out on the table of how the game is being played and he's got a great vocabulary. He's able to explain the game with ease,” Olsen said. “He's a wonderful person, an even better friend and he's one heck of a broadcaster.” You can catch all of Marshall's stories online at NanaimoNewsNOW, hear him on 106.9 The Wolf when the Clippers season starts on Friday, Aug. 24.
Prince George-Fairbanks Trade: