Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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:

Nanaimo Clippers To Bid For National Championship Hockey Tournament:

The Nanaimo Clippers hope the Harbour City will be a gathering place for the best of the best in junior A hockey in 2021. The B.C. Hockey League club announced today an intention to bid for the Royal Bank Cup national junior A hockey tournament. The annual round-robin-style tourney brings together champions from leagues across the country. “This is a huge event that will bring millions of economic dollars into the city of Nanaimo not to mention plenty of publicity for the Harbour City,” said Wes Mussio, Clippers owner, in a press release. Clippers director of business operations Tali Campbell and Clippers coach and general manager Darren Naylor will spearhead the bid committee. Campbell told the News Bulletin he thinks Hockey Canada will be swayed by such factors as the love of hockey in Nanaimo, the ability to put together an organizing committee, and municipal support. He said the Beban Park venue will work well with the proximity of the practice ice at Cliff McNabb Arena and meeting rooms at the social centre. “I think Nanaimo’s got a great chance,” Campbell said. “One thing that Hockey Canada looks for is the community itself, can they host large-scale events? And Nanaimo’s been known to do that.” Nanaimo last hosted the Royal Bank Cup in 1998 and hosted the Western Canada Cup in 2013. The Chilliwack Chiefs hosted the RBC Cup last May and received provincial grants of $40,000 from the tourism events program and $7,500 from Hosting B.C. Anyone interested in being part of Nanaimo bid process is asked to e-mail tali@nanaimoclippers.com.

Harbinson Nears Special Milestone:

Fred Harbinson is on the verge of reaching a remarkable milestone – and there’s a chance it could happen in the most pivotal game of the season for the Penticton Vees. In his 12th season as president, GM and head coach of the Vees, Harbinson finds himself just five wins away from the 500-win plateau in BCHL regular season play. With 10 games left in the regular season, the Vees – if they continue at their current pace – should get their bench boss to 500 before the 58-game schedule concludes Saturday, Feb. 23 in Penticton against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Intriguingly, it could happen on Friday, Feb. 15 at the South Okanagan Events Centre (though it could occur as early as Feb. 13 in Trail if the Vees were to win their next five in a row). But, on the 15th, the Vees face the only team with a realistic chance of preventing them from winning an unprecedented eighth straight Interior Division pennant – the Merritt Centennials. Theoretically, the Vees could also be in position to clinch No. 8 against the Centennials. It would also be a sweep of the six-game season series against a very good Merritt club. It sure would be fitting if the stars were to align that night for Harbinson and the Vees organization in front of their devoted legion of fans. The Vees are five points ahead of the Cents with Merritt having a game in hand with 11 left. Looking at the schedules, you have to like the Vees chances. Penticton plays six of its last 10 games at the SOEC where they have been virtually unbeatable again this season. The four road games are all of the one-and-done variety, with stops in Chilliwack, Vernon, Trail and Salmon Arm. The Centennials play seven of their 11 games on the road, including a three-in-three-night trip to play the three best teams in the Island Division. Assuming the Vees hang on, it will make it nine division pennants in 12 seasons for the Vees under Harbinson. Overall in the regular season, the Vees are 495-147-18-34 with Harbinson at the helm. The Vees twice finished second to terrific Vernon teams, including one season where Penticton went 48-8-4, only to see the Vipers go 51-6-3. The only time the Vees finished out of the top two was a fourth place in 2008-09, where their 36-17-7 record was hardly much to quibble about. The Vees have also won four BCHL regular season titles and are in contention for a fifth this season. The fewest wins the Vees have had in a season was 35 – with that happening in 2012-13. The Vees still won the division and went all the way to the BCHL final before losing in heartbreaking fashion to the Surrey Eagles. That, of course, followed the record-smashing, championship season of 2011-12 when the Vees went 54-4-2, winning 42 straight games as well as everything else there was possible to win in Canadian junior-A hockey. The Vees also had a 50-win season in 2015-16, with that being accomplished in only 58 games. The most regulation losses they’ve had in one season is just 17. The Vees have had plenty of success in the playoffs, too, winning four BCHL championships, a Doyle Cup, a Western Canadian championship, and of course the RBC Cup national championship in 2011-12. Penticton has been to three RBC Cups and has won at least one playoff series in each of the prior 11 seasons under Harbinson. “Consistency” has been the operative word for the Vees during Harbinson’s tenure. And the operative phrase is “best junior-A team in the country”. Year-in, year-out, the Vees always contend for a championship. You need a bit of luck – especially in the post-season – and one could argue with a bit more good fortune, the Vees could very easily have won several more championships. There are no guarantees, and there aren’t again this season, but there is no question Harbinson and the Vees have as good a chance as any of the top teams to win a BCHL championship this year. And maybe even find themselves playing for another national title in Brooks, Alta. in mid-May. Ya gotta believe.

Study Reveals RBC Cup Tournament Nets $2.5 Million For Chilliwack:

Tourism Chilliwack executive director Allison Colthorp says a published study reveals the RBC Cup national Junior A championship tournament — hosted last May by the Chilliwack Chiefs — brought $2.5 million into the local economy. She suggests it also may have bonded the community like no previous events. She says the tournament attracted 220 volunteers, which is the most she has on record for any such endeavour. “I think the socioeconomic benefits far surpassed what we were hoping for,” says Colthorp. “We were all coming together for the right reasons. We’re getting asked about ‘What’s next?’ There’s a positive vibe out there. “The impact that the RBC Cup has had has us looking at hosting future events.” Chiefs vice-president of business operations Barry Douglas adds: “We were obviously thrilled with how the event transpired both on and off the ice. It was a dream come true for me and everyone in the organization. “I’m proud of how we all represented Chilliwack. This gave us experience and I’m optimistic about hosting other major events.” There’s no word yet on what those major events might be. The five-team, 13-game RBC Cup tournament last season featured the Chiefs, as well as the BCHL champion Wenatchee Wild, the league’s Washington State entry who were representing the Pacific region. Manitoba’s Steinbach Pistons (Western), Ontario’s Wellington Dukes (Central) and Ontario’s Ottawa Junior Senators (Eastern) also took part. The Chiefs, who were eliminated in the first round of the BCHL playoffs and had to sit idle for several weeks, rallied and won the national title, beating Wellington 4-2 in the final. CBC reported the 2013 RBC Cup in Summerside, P.E.I., had an economic impact of “about $2 million,” while the Victoria Times Colonist reported the 2009 RBC Cup had an impact of “more than $2 million.” The Nanaimo News Bulletin reported earlier this week the Nanaimo Clippers plan to bid on the 2021 RBC Cup. Alberta’s Brooks Bandits are hosting the 2019 tournament from May 11-19.

Concussion Ends Chernenkoff’s Career, Opens Doors Behind The Bench:

Trail Smoke Eaters veteran defenceman Kyle Chernenkoff’s playing career came to an abrupt end last month, but the Smoke Eaters did all they could to help soften the blow. After sitting out all of December, Chernenkoff returned to action in the New Year. However, five games in he suffered another blow to the head against the Wenatchee Wild on Jan. 18, in what would be his last game on the ice in a Smokies uniform. “Our biggest loss is losing defenceman Kyle Chernenkoff for the season,” said Smoke Eaters head coach and GM Jeff Tambellini. “But we made Cherny an assistant coach going forward for the remainder of the season. He’s already been a part of our staff for the past couple weeks, and he’s done an amazing job.” ‘Cherny’ played tough defensive hockey, but a career marked by multiple concussions finally caught up to the 20-year-old Creston Valley native. “It wasn’t really a hard decision to make,” said Chernenkoff. “It was a decision made for me by the doctors. It was a hard pill to swallow so I took a couple days to come to terms with it myself, and then transitioning into the coaching and being with the team made it easier for me to make that transition.” A character player, Chernenkoff was named assistant captain at the start of the year and the three-year veteran proved as valuable in the dressing room as he was on the ice, so making the decision to appoint him assistant coach, a no-brainer for Tambellini. “Kyle is one of those guys that has done so well this year as a leader that we knew we had to make him a part of our coaching staff just to keep the impact of him in the dressing room,” said Tambellini. “We know that he can help us going forward.” Chernenkoff played a vital role in the Smokies resurgence over the past two years, as a leader, a person and a player, yet the loss on the Smoke Eaters backend wasn’t worth the potential health risk. “Our main goal is always to protect the safety of our players,” said Tambellini. “He’s a kid that would play through anything, so we pivoted right away, and threw him into the coaching staff and it’s like he’s been there all year.”

Clippers Working On Bid For 2021 RBC Cup:

The Clippers are hoping to bring Canadian Junior A hockey's most important event back to the Harbour City. A bid for the 2021 RBC Cup is being made by the team, to see the CJHL's championship return to Nanaimo for the first time since 1998. After seeing first hand the success of the 2018 tournament hosted by the Chilliwack Chiefs, team business operations manager Tali Campbell says he wanted to see the cup in Nanaimo. “Barry Douglas and his team did an incredible job there and I had a chance to see some of it,” said Campbell. “It was quite a quick process. I asked Wes Mussio if this was something we might entertain and he was all over it. We had a brainstorming session with Wes and head coach and general manager Darren Naylor and next thing you know we're at this stage now.” Campbell says the Clippers have already sent their expression of interest on to Hockey Canada and all other teams and cities have until February 20 to do so. The complete bid document must be completed by April 30. According to Campbell, Hockey Canada will do in person interviews with selected communities in mid May and then the winning bid will be unveiled by mid June. At this point he and Darren Naylor will be spearheading the committee to bring the RBC Cup to Nanaimo but Campbell says others have already offered their support since news of the bid came out on Monday morning. The Clippers organization was involved in putting on the recent World Junior exhibition game between the Czech Republic and Slovakia in December and they also hosted the Western Canada Cup in their 40th anniversary season of 2013. The RBC is a bigger event but there are a lot of similarities to the structure of the WCC and the RBC Cup. Bid documents put forward by Chilliwack and this year's hosts, the Brooks Bandits, were approximately 100 pages long so there's much work to be done before the April 30th deadline. From talking to previous RBC Cup hosts Campbell says Nanaimo could see an economic impact of roughly one to two million dollars from the tournament. On the ice the Clippers have never won an RBC Cup. Their last appearance was in 2004 when they failed to advance out of the round robin, and when the Clippers hosted in 1998 they lost in the semi finals to Weyburn. Last year the Chiefs won the national title as the host team and now the Clippers organization will be looking for two victories - a winning bid and ultimately a historic winning season in 2021.

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