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:
Steele Commits To Vees:
The Penticton Vees are pleased to announce 2000-born forward Sammy Steele has committed to the Vees for the 2018-19 season. Steele, from Hummelstown, PA, spent the 2017-18 season with the Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League. In 46 regular season games, Steele scored 11 goals and added 13 assists while recording just four penalty minutes. The 6’3’’, 185-pound forward then added a goal and an assist in 14 playoff games, helping the Force lift the USHL championship, the Clark Cup. “Sammy brings size and scoring ability to our forward group,” Vees head coach and general manager Fred Harbinson said. “He is coming off being an integral part of winning a USHL championship and that experience will be invaluable.” Steele has already secured himself an NCAA scholarship to Arizona State University. He will join the rest of his new teammates in Penticton for training camp in late August.
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Chiefs Name Keith Associate GM/Associate Head Coach:
Chilliwack Chiefs General Manager and Head Coach Brian Maloney announced a trio of staff additions to the hockey department today, headlined by the appointment of Cam Keith as Associate General Manager and Associate Head Coach. Maloney was thrilled to have Keith, who joined the Chiefs just prior to the recent RBC Cup Championship, agree to a long-term contract with the club. “As a player, Cam has experience at both the NCAA and professional level,” said Maloney. “He also has experience coaching in the BCHL. We’re very fortunate to find someone with this much experience to help enhance our program.” Prior to joining the Chiefs, Keith spent two seasons as the General Manager and Head Coach of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. Under his guidance the Smoke Eaters posted a regular season record of 58-47-9-2 and earned a spot in the post season both years. This past post season the Smoke Eaters defeated the West Kelowna Warriors and Penticton Vees before falling in the third round to the eventual league champion Wenatchee Wild. Prior to joining the Smoke Eaters, Keith spent two seasons as an assistant coach of the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. Keith’s playing days included two plus seasons in the BCHL where he spent time with both the Victoria Salsa and the Smoke Eaters. After four seasons at the NCAA’s University of Alaska Fairbanks, he moved on to a pro career where he suited up for eight different teams in six leagues including stops in both Germany and Italy. “I’m really excited to be joining the Chilliwack Chiefs organization and to work with Brian Maloney,” said Keith. “Watching how much passion he brought to the RBC cup I knew that this team and working with him was something I wanted to be a part of.” Also joining the Chiefs hockey staff is Brad Rihela, who will add his talents to the coaching, as well as the scouting and recruiting departments. Rihela also joined the Chiefs just prior to the RBC Cup and is someone who Maloney says will be counted on in multiple positions. “Brad will help out as an assistant coach as well as playing a huge part in the Chiefs recruiting process. He brings with him a ton of experience in both areas. With Brad’s positive approach to everything it is our hope that his example will extend to our players and how they carry themselves not only around the rink but also in the community.” Rihela is looking forward to the challenge. “I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to work with the Chilliwack Chiefs. The plan that Brian is implementing here is something that is exciting and innovative. It is definitely a privilege to be a part of it.” Taking over as the Chiefs trainer and athletic therapist is Brian Patafie, who also brings a wealth of experience, including a stint with the NHL’s Calgary Flames with him to the Chiefs hockey department. “There isn’t anyone in the game that has as much passion for his position than Brian,” said Maloney. “He’s more than just his job title, he will bring so much more than that. Knowing that everyone around him is being taken care of will only help the coaching staff and players concentrate more on their roles. There was a reason why Brian’s career path took him to multiple levels of professional sports. He’ll bring his organizational skills along with his passion, while adding some good old stories to keep everyone entertained.” Looking at all the new additions, Maloney summed it up with the following comment. “Blending all this enthusiasm and passion together only makes it that much more exciting for the years to follow. I’m very honoured and humbled to be working alongside these talented individuals.”
Cowichan-St. Stephens Trade:
The Cowichan Capitals have acquired 19 year old goaltender Jack Grant from the St. Stephens Aces of the Maritime Hockey League in exchange for Future Considerations. The 6’0′ 175lb goaltender is a veteran of 56 games in the MHL with both the Aces and the Woodstock Slammers. During his time in the MHL the Fredericton, New Brunswick native posted a 3.93 GAA and .900 Save Percentage. Although he was a draft pick of the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Jack has decided to join the Capitals and pursue an NCAA Division 1 hockey opportunity. The Capitals would like to welcome Jack and look forward to seeing him on the ice at Training Camp in late August.
Rowan Commits To Smoke Eaters:
The Trail Smoke Eaters would like to announce the signing of Hayden Rowan. Rowan, who hails from Pemberville, Ohio, comes to the Smoke Eaters with a commitment in place to attend Yale University after next season. Rowan played the 2017-2018 season with the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League (USHL). In 46 games last year, Rowan helped the Musketeers with 10 points on their way to a 26-win season. Before last season, Rowan skated with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) where he compiled an impressive 45 points in 57 games as a seventeen-year-old rookie. Jeff Tambellini, General Manager & Head Coach of the Trail Smoke Eaters feels that Rowan will help the team on multiple levels. “Our staff is very excited to add Hayden Rowan to the Trail Smoke Eaters. Hayden is a complete player who can play anywhere in our lineup. He’ll add a great deal of experience and leadership to our group. We look forward to continue building Hayden’s game and preparing him for an exciting transition to Yale the following season.” The Smoke Eaters are pleased to have Rowan and his family join our organization and look forward to helping him to develop and prepare next year.
Guy Commits To Cowichan Capitals:
The Cowichan Capitals are very pleased to announce that Vincent Guy has committed to play for the team for the upcoming season. The 5’8″ 160 lb forward joins the Capitals from the St. Lawrence Lions of the RSEQ League. The 18 year old Limoilou, Quebec native tallied 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points in 35 games played for the Lions this past season. The Capitals would like to welcome Vincent to the Capitals Family and look forward to seeing him on the ice at Main Camp in late August.
Byrne Commits To Vees:
The Penticton Vees are excited to announce Penticton native Matthew Byrne has joined the team for the 2018-19 season. Byrne, a 2000-born forward, has spent the last three seasons playing next door to the South Okanagan Events Centre with the Okanagan Hockey Academy. Last year, Byrne set career highs across the board with 26 goals and 28 assists in 35 games. He also suited up for two games with the Vees as an affiliate player, recording an assist in his first BCHL game November 17 at West Kelowna. Byrne will wear number 28 and will join the rest of his teammates for training camp in August. Vees play-by-play broadcaster Craig Beauchemin caught up with Matthew Byrne for this feature story. Matthew Byrne knows all about the Penticton Vees. Born and raised in the city, Byrne has been following the team and attending games since he was a child. Considering that, the opportunity to call himself a Penticton Vee is something he can hardly contain his excitement about. “I used to always go to games with my dad and it’s always been a good experience for me,” Byrne said, “It’s a very good opportunity for me to be able to play in my hometown. I remember going to a Fred Page Cup final game in the old Memorial Arena.” While honing his skills to one day be able to call himself a Vee, Byrne has been attending the Okanagan Hockey Academy for the past three years, right next door to the South Okanagan Events Centre. A set schedule that balances school work, games and both on and off ice workouts has been nothing short of a blessing, Byrne says. “We went to school from 8-12, they’re really strict about academics so it really helps to keep me in line,” Byrne explained. “Dave Nackoney does a great job. We usually have about an hour on the ice and then any other off ice activity until around 5. It’s improved me significantly, I went into the Elite 15’s program and now am coming out of my third year of midget. It’s been an amazing experience. It’s very structured, it makes sure that we’re always on top of what we need to do.” The improvement in his game is easily noticeable when looking at Byrnes statistics as he more than doubled his point total from 2016-17 this past season. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Byrne was quick to give thanks to others. “I can’t take all the credit, my teammates were great people and they helped me so much throughout the season,” Byrne said. “I just gained a lot of confidence heading into the season. I felt like I could do a lot more on the ice than I had in previous years.” During the year, Byrne was able to come to the SOEC and practice with the Vees regularly. As one might imagine, Byrne’s attention to detail during those practices was something he zero’d in on whenever called upon. He was also quick to mention how welcoming and helpful all the Vees players were whenever he jumped on the ice. For years Byrne had envisioned himself suiting up for his hometown team one night, and that moment finally came November 3 against the West Kelowna Warriors. It was a memorable night in both the time leading up to the game, and during. “My mom was just so happy,” Byrne said with a laugh. “It was a weird feeling, I don’t know if nervous is the right word, I was almost in shock. I had been watching this team my whole life and then I finally got to play a game for them.” When the game started, the Vees seemed to be in cruise control right from puck drop as they skated to an 11-3 win. That kind of result isn’t one a player, or team, ever imagines when getting ready. “It was a weird first game to get into,” Byrne admitted. “A game like that is a lot of fun. Nobody ever gives up no matter what the score is, they’re like a family so it was a pretty cool.” The cherry on top came in the third period with the Vees on the power play. Jonny Tychonick sent a pass to Byrne who was parked at the side of the goal and the puck went off his stick and right to Ben Allen who tapped it home, giving Byrne the distinction of saying he recorded a point in his first ever BCHL game. Byrne is well aware the hard work to become a fixture in the lineup next season is already underway, which is why he wanted to have a strong showing during the Vees Spring Camp at the end of the May. Though he says he also had motivation from another source to play well. “Matt Fraser challenged me to score six goals during the weekend, and I ended up with seven,” Byrne stated. “I just wanted to show what I could do on the ice. I wanted to prove to the staff that I could be effective, whether it was on the offensive side of things or on defence.” Having been into game action, Byrne is aware of the challenges that await him in becoming a full-time junior player. His training program for the summer is built around taking his game to the next level. “I really want to focus on my speed,” he admitted. “I want to be a two-way forward that works hard. I want to make sure that I’m doing my job out on the ice.” It should be no surprise to see a large number of Byrne fans at every Vees home game next season.
Nisse Commits To Silverbacks:
The Salmon Arm Silverbacks are pleased to announce the acquisition of former Thompson Blazer (MML) defenceman Cole Nisse for the upcoming 2018-19 season. The Silverbacks committed to the Salmon Arm native on June 1, the first day of player carding eligibility. “We are excited to add Cole to our line-up and feel that he will make a very positive impact on the performance of our team for the next few years,” said Head Coach and General Manager Scott Atkinson. “Cole’s development really accelerated last season with the Blazers. He has grown into a solid two-way defenceman, but his offensive production really jumped off the page for us. Scoring 33 points in 38 games as a defenceman tends to garner your attention,” continued Atkinson. Nisse is no stranger to the Silverback organization as he was an affiliated player for the team last season, seeing action in four league games, in addition to practicing with the team on numerous occasions. “We feel that Cole’s attitude and character, as well as his hockey playing abilities will enhance the Silverback’s prospects for success in the foreseeable future,” concluded Atkinson. In response to the commitment, Nisse stated, “I am honoured and excited to have this amazing opportunity. I want to thank my parents and coaches for allowing me to do what I love. I am excited to start my junior career in my hometown with the Silverbacks.”
The Trail Smoke Eaters have acquired 1999-born Diarmad DiMurro from Highland Mills, New York. The 5’9” 170 lb defenseman spent last season with the Philadelphia Rebels of the North American Hockey League. As a rookie in 2017-2018, DiMurro registered 4 goals and 24 assists for the Rebels, a point total good enough for eighth amongst rookie defenseman, which earned himself a place on the NAHL East Division All-Rookie Team. DiMurro is expected to have an immediate impact on the Smoke Eaters defense next season. General Manager and Head Coach, Jeff Tambellini: “Our staff is very excited to add Diarmad to our lineup next season. He is a dynamic puck moving defenseman who is coming off a great season in the NAHL. We believe Diarmad is going add great poise and confidence to our defensive group and we feel his style will add a great dimension to our system. “ The Smoke Eaters organization welcomes Diarmad and his family to our team. We look forward to watching his development in the BCHL and are excited to provide another player the opportunity to continue their hockey career in our program. DiMurro joins defenseman, Jeremy Smith and forward, Hayden Rowan as the third Smoke Eaters acquisition this week.
Ferster Gets Stolen Championship Ring Back, But Another Still Missing:
An Okanagan hockey coach who lost two championship rings in a car break-in has had one of them returned. Rylan Ferster, head coach for the West Kelowna Warriors, was grateful to get back the ring, which commemorates his team’s 2016 RBC Cup win. Global News first reported on the theft from Ferster’s truck in mid-December. The story quickly spread through the community and other media outlets. It was about a month later that someone came forward with the ring. “A gentleman just reached out to me and said he had come across it, and I really didn’t ask any questions. I was fortunate enough to get it back from him, so I just kind of left it at that,” Ferster said. Ferster is still hoping for the return of his other championship ring, which he won as a player with the Vernon Lakers back in 1990. Due to its sentimental value, he’s hoping whoever may have it brings it back — no questions asked.
Powell River-Wellington Trade:
The Powell River Kings have agreed to a trade with the Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL), sending defenceman Callum Volpe, forward Nick Abbott and future considerations to Wellington, in exchange for 2000 born defenceman Mason Snell. Snell was a key piece to the Dukes’ Royal Bank Cup run this past season that ended in a loss to the Chilliwack Chiefs in the final. The 6’0, 190lb blueliner started last year with the Whitby Fury before being moved to Wellington. He played in a combined 43 games, scoring 6 goals and assisting on 14 others through the regular season. Snell also committed to Penn State for the 2019/2020 season. However it was during the Dukes’ long playoff run where Snell turned heads. He had 13 points in the Dukes’ 25 playoff games, helped the team to an OJHL Championship and Dudley Hewitt Cup, scored twice in six games during the Royal Bank Cup and was named the top defenceman at the tournament. In addition, Snell was ranked 173rd among North American skaters for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, however was not selected. Heading to Wellington from Powell River is Callum Volpe, who dressed in 77 games as a King, in addition to his 46 others with Vernon and Langley. The veteran blueliner scored 11 goals in the BCHL and assisted on 39 more. Also joining the Dukes is Nick Abbott, following his rookie campaign in Powell River last year. Abbott scored twice and assisted 3 times in 25 games in an injury shortened season. In addition to their efforts on the ice, both Abbott and Volpe were incredibly active in the Powell River community. Volpe was named the Kings Community Award recipient for 2017/2018, while Abbott juggled his high school course load, while attending several events in Powell River. The Kings would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to both Callum and Nick for their outstanding contributions to the Kings organization during their time here, while also welcoming Mason to the Powell River family.
Budvarson Commits To Trail:
The Trail Smoke Eaters would like to announce the commitment of Kyle Budvarson for the 2018-2019 season. The Red Deer native has played the past two seasons with the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs of the Alberta AAA Midget League. This past season, the 6’0”, 190 lb defenseman was the captain of a Chiefs team that was near the top of league standings with a 24-5-6 record. Over the past two seasons, the defenseman has amassed 27 points from the back end in the highly competitive AMHL. General Manager and Head Coach, Jeff Tambellini is excited to add another piece to the Trail Smoke Eaters defense, adding “We are thrilled to add Kyle to our defense group for next season. He has been a captain at every level and possesses the ability to defend and compete at an outstanding rate. We feel that Kyle is going to represent what a Trail Smoke Eater truly is on and off the ice.” The Trail Smoke Eaters are excited to add another high-caliber recruit to our organization and welcome Kyle and his family to our team and community. Budvarson joins defensemen Jeremy Smith, Diarmad DiMurro and forward, Hayden Rowan as the fourth acquisition for the Smoke Eaters this week.