Thursday, June 4, 2020

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:

Djurasevic Commits To Vees:

The Penticton Vees are pleased to announce defenseman Frank Djurasevic (’02) has committed to the team for the 2020/21 season. Djurasevic, 18, began the season patrolling the blue line with the North Jersey Avalanche U18 squad, playing in 28 total games and compiling 6 goals and 13 assists for 19 points during that span. Djurasevic helped his North Avalanche team to an American Youth Hockey League (AYHL) U18 Premier championship. The 6’2”, 190-pound rearguard completed the 2019/20 campaign with Trinity-Pawling School in the USHS-Prep league, amassing 4 goals and 16 assists for 20 points in 21 games from the blue line. The New Rochelle, New York native, who is a dual citizen to both the United States and Canada, played two seasons at the Selects Hockey Academy before making his way to U18 hockey last season. Djurasevic played in 93 total games with the program, scoring 12 goals and adding 46 assists for 58 points during his two seasons. The Vees would like to welcome Frank and his family to the organization and the South Okanagan.

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Capitals Name Grimwood New Head Coach/GM:

The Cowichan Valley Capitals are pleased to announce the signing of Geoff Grimwood as their new Head Coach and General Manager to a multi year contract. Along with Grimwood joining the staff, Assistant Coach Dan Whiteford, Goalie Coach Chris Carter, and Athletic Therapist Jordan Brucks will all be returning to the Capitals this season. “I am grateful to the ownership and executives of the Cowichan Valley Capitals for this opportunity.  The team had a tremendous 2019-2020 season led by Mike Vandekamp, who deserves a lot of credit for building a contending program. I am looking forward to building off a successful season. Being able to return home to Vancouver Island and coach again the BCHL, it just means a lot to me.  I couldn’t be happier” said Grimwood. Grimwood joins the Capitals after a stint as an Assistant Coach with the Winkler Flyers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Previous to last season, Grimwood was the Head Coach and General Manager of the West Kelowna Warriors during the 2018/19 season where they finished 28-28-1-1 for 6th in the Interior Division before falling in game seven of the first round against Wenatchee. His BCHL tenure began in Powell River between 2010-2012 as an Assistant. During his time in Powell River the Kings made back to back appearances in the BCHL Final and won the BCHL Regular Season title in 2011-2012.  Grimwood’s coaching experience also includes three seasons as an Assistant Coach with the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and three seasons as GM/Head Coach of the Kindersley Klippers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL). A former BCHL player with the Victoria Salsa, Geoff was born and raised in Victoria and began his coaching career in the VIJHL with the Victoria Cougars and Peninsula Panthers. During his time in the VIJHL, his teams won three VIJHL Championships while also winning Gold and Silver Medals in the Cyclone Taylor Provincial Championships. “I would also like to  thank everyone in the Cowichan Valley who is helping on the front lines of the COVID-19 situation. We would like to remind everyone to support local businesses and look forward to helping our local business and sponsors bounce back during the 2020-2021 season.”

Coquitlam Express Graduating Players & Eligible Returnees:

The biggest change for the Coquitlam Express this off-season is there will be an entirely new coaching staff and general manager. The change comes after head coach Jason Fortier and assistants Sam Waterfield and Jamie Jackson couldn’t agree to terms on a new contract.

Regardless of the difference behind the bench, the Express is still coming off its best regular season in franchise history. With so much success, there are many impactful players moving on to college or have aged out of junior hockey.

In total, Coquitlam has eleven players committed to school for this fall and three who aged out as 20-year-olds. Up front, only Danny Pearson, Christian MacDougall, Adam Trotman, Tyler Schleppe and Ryan Tattle are eligible to return while on the blueline, it’s just Drew Cooper and James Bohn. In goal, Joe Howe is the incumbent as he’s committed to Cornell University for 2021-22

The depth chart is based on coaches going with a 23-man roster of 13 forwards, eight defencemen and two goaltenders.

Graduating Players

Greg Lapointe (St. Lawrence University)
Connor Gregga (Minnesota State University)
Massimo Rizzo (University of North Dakota)
Cooper Connell (Bentley University)
Will Margel (University of New Hampshire)
Joshua Wildauer (Lake Superior State University)
Nicholas Carabin (Princeton University)
Noah De La Durantaye (Princeton University)
Steven Bellini (Minnesota State University)
Wyatt Head (University of Alaska-Anchorage)
Jack Watson (Rochester Polytechnic Institute)
Ethan O’Rourke (aged out)
Bradley Ong (aged out)
Joey Berkopec (aged out)

Eligible Returnees

(* indicates an open spot – assuming the team goes with 13 forwards and eight defencemen)


Adam Trotman (00)
Danny Pearson (00)
Tyler Schleppe (01)
Ryan Tattle (01)
Christian MacDougall (01)


Drew Cooper (00)
James Bohn (02)


Joe Howe (01)

Top 10 Prince George Spruce Kings Goals of 2019-20

A pair of 2001-born forwards in Corey Cunningham and Nick Poisson led the way offensively for a young Prince George Spruce Kings team - scoring 26 and 21 goals respectively.

Marburg Commits To Langley Rivermen:

A busy offseason continued for the Langley Rivermen as on Saturday the team announced they have received a commitment from 2002-born forward Samuel Marburg. Marburg, who turns 18 in July, was ecstatic when he heard the news that the Rivermen were interested in him. “When Bobby (Henderson) reached out saying that they’d like to sign me, in all honesty, it sent shivers through my body. It meant a lot to me to hear those words because growing up and playing minor hockey I never made the top team or was a standout player that really drew any interest from anyone and now reaching one of my goals of playing Junior A is a totally sweet moment for me.” Marburg is a 6’1″ 180-pound forward from North Vancouver, BC who played the last two seasons with the North Van Wolf Pack of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. While playing in the Wolf Pack organization, Marburg put up 13 goals and 30 assists in 70 games, including nearly a point per game this season. He also suited up in the Cyclone Taylor Cup in 2018-19 where he had a goal and two assists in four games. He describes himself as a power forward who also takes pride in his defensive play. “My game is more of a power forward, two-way game. I feel that my physical presence helps me get to a lot of places I’d like to go on the ice and that also helps me create offense as well as I pride myself in the d-zone.” Marburg emphasizes the big impact playing in the PJHL had on his development to move on to the next level. “Playing junior B in North Van has helped my game improve leaps and bounds. Don’t get me wrong though, there is still a lot more work if I want to succeed at the junior A level.” An interesting thing that stands out when talking to Marburg is the fact that he understands there is still a lot of work to do. Many young hockey players don’t realize if they don’t give the extra effort, they won’t last long in a high caliber league like the BCHL, nor move on to college or pro opportunities. During his time with the Wolf Pack, Marburg won a PJHL championship and a bronze medal at the Cyclone Taylor Cup, all in his rookie season of 2018-19. This past season could have had a similar outcome as his team was once again in the PJHL championship series, this time against the Aldergrove Kodiaks, but unfortunately due to COVID-19, the season came to an abrupt end. Coaches play a huge part in a young player’s development and this situation is no different. Marburg had nothing but good things to say about the coaching staff on the Wolf Pack, led by former Merritt Centennials assistant general manager and assistant coach Matt Samson. “If I hadn’t received the great coaching and the individual time both my coaches graciously gave me to help me grow and succeed, I don’t think that any of this would be possible right now.” With his ability to play physical and chip in offensively from time to time all while playing a defensive-minded game, Marburg should slide right into a key checking role on the Rivermen.

Fraser Commits To Coquitlam Express:

Commitment: The Express are excited to announce the signing of AUSTIN FRASER from West Vancouver, BC for our 2020-2021 season! Welcome aboard Austin!

Vees Coach Harbinson Fires Back On Rival Leagues Suggesting BCHL's Demise:

Teams from rival leagues are apparently trying to take advantage of the B.C. Hockey League opening up about asking for government assistance. Penticton Vees general manager and coach Fred Harbinson says he was so frustrated with prospective players and college coaches telling him that they’re being told that the BCHL won’t run this season that he felt obligated to take to Twitter to fire back. Harbinson says it started three weeks ago after BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb went public about asking for provincial and possibly federal financial help due to the teams losing money as a result of the coronavirus shutdown. Hebb never suggested that the league as a whole was in jeopardy. He said that there might be teams in trouble, but was quick to point out that no club has told him that they won’t be ready to go for next season. Harbinson wouldn’t point fingers at exactly who might be trying to spread the word that the entire BCHL is in harm’s way, but it’s no secret that the league has long duelled with the U.S. Hockey League for players. That 16-team loop, based largely in the American Midwest, started its two-day entry draft Monday. There’s also the 26-team North American Hockey League, which had franchises in places like Alaska, Minnesota, Texas and New Jersey. Seven of the BCHL’s top-20 scorers during the regular season were Americans. Harbinson tweeted on Saturday afternoon: “Attention advisers, scouts, coaches. No need to call and ask if the BCHL is planning to play this fall — WE ARE! Our commish was simply trying to see what gov’t funding was available for our business; leagues or teams that tell you they know the exact start date are simply lying.” It was his first tweet since signing on to Twitter in May 2017. The BCHL account followed him up 52 minutes later: “As much as other leagues wish it were true, the demise of the BCHL is only in their imaginations. We will be playing hockey as soon as we are cleared to play. See you all soon!” Harbinson maintains it wasn’t an orchestrated counterstrike. “I didn’t know the league was going to do something too,” Harbinson explained later. “I felt it was something that I had to do. I was hearing about it on a daily basis.  “The bottom line is that we want to play. As soon as we’re allowed to play, we will play. The league is looking at different opportunities to help with funding. That’s all. We’re certainly not lying down. The BCHL has been around for a long time. The Penticton Vees have been around for a long time. We all plan to be around for a lot longer too.” Harbinson said he didn’t begrudge whomever is causing problems for the BCHL, saying that he understands that recruiting players is a “continual arms race.” He was an assistant coach and lead recruiter at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota before joining the Vees for the 2007-08 season, and he’s shown an ability to bring in talent from various spots to the Vees. Penticton won the Royal Bank Cup national championship in 2012 and their roster featured eight players from Minnesota. Harbinson did take a small poke at the USHL, pointing out the proximity of a Tyson Foods meat-packing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, that’s drawn considerable attention due to a COVID-19 outbreak to the arena of the Waterloo Black Hawks. “You can see the plant from the rink,” he said. According to Google Maps, they’re an eight-minute drive apart. Hebb couldn’t be reached for comment Monday but did post a letter on the BCHL’s website. In it, he stated the league has reached out to the provincial government and explained that “these discussions have been positives so far and are ongoing.” He added this: “This call for financial support has also, unfortunately, led to some talk at various levels that the B.C. Hockey League is somehow in danger of not returning next season. This is entirely false. As we’ve mentioned in previous communications, the BCHL will be back on the ice as soon as we get the go-ahead from Hockey Canada and the provincial health authorities. “The idea behind our call for financial support is to address the losses that our teams have incurred before they become a major problem down the road. Like everyone else, we eagerly await the day that we can return to the ice in a safe manner.” Teams throughout the BCHL are acting like they’re prepping to play next season. The Cowichan Capitals, for instance, named Geoff Grimwood as their GM and coach Monday. He replaced Mike Vandekamp, who parted ways with the Capitals and signed on as the GM and coach of the Alberta league’s Grand Prairie Storm.

Erichuk Commits To Merritt Centennials:

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce that they’ve committed to defender Alek Erichuk (01) for the upcoming season. The hulking Kamloops native standing at 6’4″ and 210 pounds is poised to join the Cents after spending the last two seasons with the Nelson Leafs of the KIJHL. The right handed D-man was relied upon in all situations last year with the Leafs putting up 7 goals and 18 assists for 25 points in 29 games. He was also able to add 4 points in 6 games before the playoffs were suspended. Head Coach and General Manager Derek-Sweet Coulter says that Erichuk has a lot of different abilities that will make him a good defender in this league. “Alek is a solid puck moving defenceman, he is able to take away time and space quickly from opponents with his long reach and keeps the play in front of him. He has great awareness with the ability to read the play and make the high percentage decision. He sees the ice very well, and had success as the QB on his teams power play last season where he excelled at getting his shot through from the point.” Erichuk says that he’s excited to join a storied franchise that’s close to home. “There’s a long hockey history in Merritt which shows how much support this team has from the community. I’m proud to get to play for the Cents and be a part of that history. I’m also really happy to play close to home. I live in Knutsford and Merritt is only 45 minutes away. My family will be able to come to all of our home games, which my mom is very excited about.” Erichuk adds that he likes to get into the action at both ends of the ice. “I see the ice well so I think I play a two-way game. I know when to support the rush from behind and defend with my stick and body. But I’m also a passer who can join the rush and make plays.” During the off-season Erichuk plans to do what he can in the limited capacity to be ready for camp. “This summer I’m working on increasing my foot speed, building up my endurance, and getting bigger and stronger.” Coach Sweet-Coulter is excited to not only add the skills that Erichuk can bring to the team, but the character. “Alek is a high end character person who understands our family first culture, and is extremely grateful and excited to be a part of the Merritt Centennials.” The Centennials would like to welcome Alek and his family to the team and the Nicola Valley community.

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