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:
Warriors Announce New Alliance Program:
The West Kelowna Warriors are excited to introduce the Warriors Alliance Program. The Alliance membership will include all season ticket holders, host families, players, staff, and volunteers. Alliance members will receive discounts at various corporate partners throughout the community as well as on Warriors merchandise at our games. There will also be team events that are exclusive to Alliance members. “The Alliance program is designed to reward our core Warriors family with perks and discounts throughout the community, while helping support the local businesses who support us,” stated Warriors President Chris Laurie. “Ultimately we want our fans and corporate partners to feel closer to the organization, and this program is one step in that direction”. Fans can join the Alliance Program by purchasing Season Tickets or a Flex Pack for the 2020/21 season. Corporate Partners will also receive a Warriors Alliance Membership at no cost. All the Alliance discounts and benefits will be listed on the Warriors website and shared via social media before the start of the 2020/21 season. Stay tuned for more announcements over the following week.
The Chilliwack Chiefs have made a move to clear a logjam in the goal crease. Kolby Thornton has been traded to the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, with future considerations coming back to Chilliwack. “Kolby is a great kid who was loved in our locker room last season,” said Chiefs hockey boss Brian Maloney. “This move was all about Kolby and him having the opportunity to become a starting goaltender. We wish him nothing but the best and will be cheering for him.” The soon-to-be 19 year old was the odd man out with veteran stopper Mathieu Caron returning for another campaign and the team inking promising prospect Ethan Pearson. Thornton struggled a bit in his one season in Chilliwack. He played sparingly, making 16 regular season appearances with a 3.13 goals-against average and .893 save percentage. The Chilliwack Chiefs would like to thank Kolby for everything he has done for the organization and the community of Chilliwack. The Chiefs organization wishes Kolby all the best in his future.
Rickwood & Easter Commit To Grizzlies:
A pair of B’s hope to be buzzing in Victoria this fall. The Victoria Grizzlies announced Monday they have signed two players from the Hamilton Kilty B’s of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. Highly-touted 17-year-old forward Ellis Rickwood and 19-year-old netminder Justin Easter, a conference all-star in the GOJHL this past season, are coming west to the B.C. Hockey League, and Grizzlies general manager and head coach Craig Didmon couldn’t be happier as he starts to rebuild a team that was swept in the first round of the playoff this spring. “We are thrilled to sign these two top-notch players,” said Didmon, whose team, if all goes as planned post-COVID-19 pandemic, will open training camp on Sept. 1. “We have been following Ellis and Justin for more than a year now and our scouts and myself expect them to be big additions to our hockey club.” Rickwood, who turns 18 in July, brings an offensive flair to the Grizzlies. He had an impressive rookie season in the GOJHL, racking up 17 goals and 45 assists in 50 regular-season games for the Kilty B’s, who were early into the second round of their playoffs when their season was halted by the coronavirus. Rickwood, who hails from Wayne Gretzky’s hometown of Brantford, Ont., was also selected in the first round (10th overall) of the OHL’s U-18 draft by the Peterborough Petes. “Peterborough showed a lot of interest, but I felt the B.C. Hockey League would be a better fit for me development-wise and my ultimate goal is to get an NCAA Div. 1 scholarship so I’m thrilled to be coming to a great organization like Victoria,” said Rickwood, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 165 pounds. Much like the most famous person from his hometown, Rickwood is a pass-first kind of player who sees the ice extremely well. “Passing is probably the strength of my game. I like to generate offence any way I can,” said Rickwood, who came up through Brantford’s minor hockey teams, which are named — you guessed it — the 99ers. “Of course everyone in Brantford looks up to the Gretzkys and I was fortunate to grow up just a couple blocks from their house.” And these days, Rickwood has been inside his house a lot thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. But he’s making the most of it. “I’m doing a lot of exercises inside and while I don’t have a lot of weights, the Grizzlies fitness trainer has sent me some great body-weight exercises to do so I’m staying in pretty good shape and hopefully we can get on the ice soon.” Goaltender Easter, who hails from Burlington, Ont., has been trying to get outside as much as possible to stay in shape. “I’m lucky to live close to a high school so I go down to the track and train and do a lot of cycling so it hasn’t been too bad,” said Easter. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound netminder is coming off his best season of hockey. He played 30 regular season games while posting a 2.26 goals-against average and a league-best save percentage of .927. And he didn’t slow up in the post-season, posting a 1.50 GAA and .964 save percentage in six games. “I was really happy with my season and especially in the playoffs when I was seeing 45 or 50 shots so I was disappointed when they told us we had to stop playing,” Easter said. “And hopefully I can carry the momentum over to the Grizzlies because I hear great things about the team they’re building and the city and organization so I can’t wait to get out there.” The addition of Easter gives the Grizzlies two netminders now as Nanaimo native Blake Wood will be returning for his second season. “We now have a great goaltending combo with two solid goaltenders who can both be No. 1s so we feel that’s an area of strength for us now,” said Didmon.
Clippers Name Walters New Skills Coach:
The Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Club are excited to announce the hiring of Ben Walter as the Hockey Club’s new Skills Coach. Walter who is the current Head Coach of the North Island Silvertips U18 Team has a ton of experience playing in the NHL and 13 pro seasons. He started his Junior Career in the BCHL with the Langley Hornets following three years in the NCAA. “We are excited to welcome Ben to our program to continue to develop our Junior A Players while we continue to build our relationship with our minor programs like the Silvertips.” commented Tali Campbell, Clippers general manager. “Ben will help with all our programs, Junior A, Spring Teams and all Minor Hockey Programs.” “Having Ben join our team just gives us that extra push in being the best Junior A Program in Canada.” said Darren Naylor, Clippers vice-president and head coach “I had the pleasure of working with Ben a bit this past season and his attention to detail will help every player he works with.” Walter will continue as the Head Coach of the North Island Silvertips while working alongside the Nanaimo Clippers.
Top 10 Coquitlam Express Goals of 2019-20
With 96 points, the Coquitlam Express finished the 2019-20 season as the BCHL's top team. They were also the league's highest-scoring team with 227 goals. They could really fill the net!
Trotter Commits To Spruce Kings:
The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce the commitment of goaltender Aaron Trotter (’01) for the 2020-21 season. “We are excited to add Aaron Trotter to join Carter Woodside to form our goaltending duo for this coming season,” says Head Coach Alex Evin. “Aaron has good size and mobility which compliments his work ethic and compete level.” The 19-year-old Trotter spent last season with Shawnigan Lake School Prep of the Canadian Sports School Hockey League (CSSHL). The 6’2 171-pound goaltender from Victoria sported an 11-7-1 record in 19 games played. Trotter also finished the 2019-20 campaign with a 2.57 GAA and .905 save percentage. “We hope that he can contribute to our team’s future success and develop into an NCAA prospect,” added Evin. The Spruce Kings would like to welcome Aaron and his family to the organization and to the BC Northern Capital.
Shull Commits To Cowichan Capitals:
The Capitals are excited to announce the commitment of 2002 born goaltender Jayden Shull for the 2020/2021 season. The 18 year old is from North Vancouver, BC and has spent the past two seasons playing for the North West Hawks of the British Columbia Major Midget League. and the previous season for the Valley West Hawks before they re-located to the North Shore. As a 3rd year Midget player last season Shull finished the season with 20 games played and a 13-6-1 record. He finished 5th in the BCMML in goals against average with 2.43 and recorded two shutouts, the 4th most in the league. “I’m super excited to be joining the Capitals, they were the first team to AP me and show me, and give me attention. It’s going to be an awesome place to play” said Shull. In 2018/19 Shull played in another 21 games, starting 19 of them and recording 9 wins, with 9 regulation losses and an overtime loss. He also went through a huge growth spurt over the summer of 2019, going from 5’7” to 6’2.5” between seasons. “Jayden is a plug and play goaltender, he’s a zero worry young man, who was one of the Hawks best players from Christmas on. He’s big, moves well, and comes from a great family. We had him as an affiliate in 2018/19 so he knows the area as well” said Capitals Assistant Coach Dan Whiteford. Having spent some time with the Capitals a few years ago, Shull knows a thing or two about the Cowichan Valley. “I know outside the rink it has the big hockey stick, which is cool. I also hear it’s got a lot of good fishing spots and I love to fish and be outdoors” said Shull. “I’m very competitive, I hate to lose, so I’ll always battle until the very end” Capitals Head Coach Geoff Grimwood also noted Shull’s work ethic stood out “We are really excited to add a goalie of Jayden’s calibre to our roster. His character and commitment to the game are exactly what we are looking for in players who wear the Capital’s sweater.” The Capitals are excited to welcome Jayden to the team and the Cowichan Valley!
The Merritt Centennials have acquired forward Walker Erickson (02) from the Trail Smoke Eaters to complete a trade from January 7th that saw Matt Osadick (00) sent to Trail for future considerations. A Surrey, BC native, Erickson was a role player on a deep Smoke Eaters team this past season playing 31 games while scoring 7 goals, and adding 2 assists for 9 points. At 6’1 and 170 pounds, the right shot will be looking to see his role expand with the Centennials next season. In 2018-19 with the Valley West Giants Erickson was a point-per-game player in Major Midget compiling 17 goals, 21 assists in 38 games. Head Coach and General Manager Derek Sweet Coulter says that Erickson is excited to join the Cents. “He plays a power forward game, and has tremendous speed and skill. Add in high end compete and character and he’s the kind of player we look forward to adding to the roster.” Erickson echoes the sentiments of Coach Sweet Coulter. “I’m going to bring my speed as well as my compete level. I’ve been getting ready for the season by boxing and skating every week.”
Wenatchee Wild: Graduating Players And Eligible Returnees:
The Wenatchee Wild are smarting after a first-round playoff defeat at the hands of the Vernon Vipers. However, Wild general manager Bliss Littler and interim head coach Chris Clark find themselves in a good situation with 12 players from the 2019-20 roster eligible to return. Of the dozen who are able to come back, four of them are committed to NCAA Division I schools for the fall of 2021, and six of them are on the blueline, which should be a position of strength for Wenatchee. In the forward group, Harrison Scott and Jack Bayless are the lone returning 20-year-olds, but Brett Chorske, who turns 19 on May 24, is the top scorer eligible to come back. The son of 1995 Stanley Cup champion Tom Chorske had 18 goals and 21 assists in his first season of junior hockey, one point behind Wild leader Nick Cafarelli, who’s moving on to the University of New Hampshire. As mentioned above, the defense is where the Wild are especially dealing from a position of strength. Tanner Main, Drew Bavaro, and Drake Usher are all overage players able to return, while 2001-born Trevor Griebel was second among Wenatchee defensemen in scoring with 21 points in 41 games. Sophomore Noah Altman is the lone returnee in goal, with Daniel Chenard playing out his junior hockey eligibility and moving on to RIT this fall. Altman turns 20 in August and had a 9-7-0 record with a 3.46 goals-against-average, a .877 save percentage, and one shutout as Chenard’s understudy in 2019-20. The depth chart below is based on coaches going with a 23-man roster of 13 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders. All college commitment years are collated from each player’s profile on the Wild roster on the BCHL website.
Ethan Wolthers (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Brian Adams (Air Force Academy)
Nick Cafarelli (University of New Hampshire)
Quinn Emerson (Bowling Green University)
Tyler Young (Providence College)
Sam Morton (Minnesota State University, Mankato)
Blake Emerson (Bowling Green University)
Daniel Chenard (Rochester Institute of Technology)
Matt Dorsey (aged out)
Luke Ormsby (aged out)
Noah Lugli (aged out)
(* indicates an open spot – assuming the team goes with 13 forwards and eight defencemen)
Harrison Scott (00)
Jack Bayless (00)
Brett Chorske (01)
Nicholas Chmelevski (02)
Hunter Hastings (02)
Tanner Main (00)
Drew Bavaro (00)
Drake Usher (00)
Trevor Griebel (01)
Jerrett Overland (01)
Dylan Herzog (01)
Noah Altman (00)
Salmon Arm-Bonnyville Trade:
The Salmon Arm Silverbacks have traded 2002-born forward Jarrod Semchuk to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Bonnyville Pontiacs, a move that completes a trade from the January 10 deadline that saw the Backs acquire defenceman Jeremy Gervais in exchange for future considerations. Semchuk, a Kamloops native, recorded three assists in 31 games for the Backs in the 2019-20 regular season and added an assist in the Backs opening-round playoff sweep of the Victoria Grizzlies. He also tallied two points in 10 games as an affiliate player in 2018-19, including his first career BCHL goal. The Salmon Arm Silverbacks would like to thank Jarrod for his hard work and dedication to the club and wish him the best of luck with the Pontiacs.
Surrey-Fort McMurray Trade:
The Surrey Eagles announce the team has sent forward Hassan Akl (’01) and defenceman Jordan Hendry (’02) to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League as the future considerations in the trade which saw the Eagles acquire goaltender Reece Klassen (’99). Akl, 19, played in both the AJHL and the BCHL last season split with 3 teams. Hassan started the year in the AJHL with the Drumheller Dragons before being traded to the Calgary Canucks. Akl was then acquired from the Canucks by the Eagles on November 10, 2019. Hassan put up 5 goals and 15 points in 17 games in the AJHL, before putting up 2 goals and 5 points in 28 games with the Eagles. Akl also played in 6 games in the playoffs for Surrey, failing to register a point. Hendry, 17, also saw himself moved quite a bit in his first season in the BCHL. Hendry started the season on the Trail Smoke Eaters, and was traded to the Powell River Kings before being acquired by the Eagles from the Kings on December 4, 2019. In his first BCHL season split between all 3 teams, Hendry played in 34 games and had 3 assists. Hendry played in 5 playoff games for Surrey, failing to register a point. We wish all the best for Hassan and Jordan moving forward with their junior hockey careers.