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:
Smoke Eaters Sign Disher:
The Trail Smoke Eaters are pleased to welcome forward Quinn Disher as the newest member to our roster for the 2020/21 season. Disher, a native of Fort St. John, BC, comes to the Smoke Eaters after multiple successful campaigns with the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA). Most recently he played with the OHA Red Prep team, the same team that Jaden Senkoe played on prior to making his BCHL debut this season with the Smoke Eaters. Disher put up an impressive 18 goals and 24 assists for 42 points in 36 games. “Quinn is a strong and skilled power forward that will compliment our current group of players up front. He has a heavy shot and a quick release, protects the puck well and puts himself into position to create quality scoring chances. After meeting with Quinn and his family we felt he would be a great addition to our team and look forward to having him play for us in the 2020/21 season.” – AGM Jeff Urekar The 16-year-old has continually produced at OHA, scoring 125 points over his three seasons at the academy. “I’m honoured to be part of such a great organization. The staff have been so helpful and welcoming. After viewing the rink and facilities as well as travelling through the town and seeing the history that Trail has and how tight the team is with the community I know that it will be a great place for me to continue my hockey career and develop as a player” – Quinn Disher The Trail Smoke Eaters are excited to welcome Quinn to Trail and look forward to seeing him don the historic Smoke Eaters crest in the fall.
June 1 is the official start of the junior hockey season in Canada, following the conclusion of national championship tournaments (except when they’re cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic). It’s when general managers around the country can begin to talk trade again. And Victoria Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon has been doing just that this week, hoping to re-tool a team that was swept from the first round of the B.C. Hockey League post-season in early March. On Wednesday, the Grizzlies’ hockey boss added another big piece to his forward group, swinging a deal with the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League for the rights to veteran forward Thomas Maia. Going the other way to Oakville is 19-year-old forward Brendan Bowie, who just finished his rookie season in Victoria after being signed out of St. Andrew’s College prep school in Ontario last summer. After an impressive season in Oakville two years ago, helping lead the Blades to the league title and a berth in the national championship tournament, Maia, who’ll turn 20 late next month, headed to NCAA Div. 1 hockey with the Rochester Institute of Technology. But before he could even get an official game in with R.I.T, a fluke on-ice accident last fall put him on the sidelines for the entire 2019-20 season. “Really early on, maybe the third game, I was out taking the morning skate and skating around strapping on my helmet when I caught a groove in the ice and fell awkwardly and hard to the ice,” Maia recalled Wednesday, over the phone from his home in Milton, Ont. “I just remember a real sharp pain and could barely move my leg.” Turns out Maia broke his fibula (small bone in the lower leg) and tore the muscles surrounding it. He hasn’t played a game of hockey since. “Was out five months and then just when I got back practising, this whole virus thing hit and everything got shut down. Was just a real bad year for me.” But last week, things started looking up again for the speedy five-foot-10, 165-pound winger who racked up 58 points in 53 regular season games for the Blades two seasons ago, and another 17 in 19 playoff games as he led Oakville to the 2019 RBC Cup (now Centennial Cup) tournament in Brooks, Alta. He has finally got a place to play hockey again and some lofty goals. “I’m super-excited about coming to Victoria. I’ve got a fresh start again, a great place to play, so it’s time to get back to winning again. Time to take another run at the national title.” And he’ll have a familiar face around to help him. Maia and Grizzlies veteran Alex DiPaolo went to high school together in Mississauga, playing hockey alongside one another along the way. “Alex is a big reason I’m going to Victoria,” said Maia. “When he heard I was taking a year off school and needed a place to play, he spoke highly of Victoria, how beautiful the city is and what a great organization it is, so my decision was easy. “And everyone knows the BCHL is the best Junior A league in Canada so it’s going to be a great challenge for me coming back from a long layoff.” Trying to get himself back in top shape during a pandemic hasn’t been easy, though. “It’s definitely been strange,” he added. “I’ve had to build a home gym and I’ve been out playing lots of roller hockey and working on jumping and stuff to get my leg back to where it was. “And just now the rinks are starting to open again here so hopefully I can get on the ice soon.” Maia is lucky that last season was considered a red-shirt year for him so doesn’t count as a year of NCAA eligible hockey and he’s now free to chase down another scholarship. “I liked it at R.I.T., but it’s just time for a fresh start somewhere and hopefully, if I have a strong season in Victoria, all the other stuff will take care of itself.” For Didmon, it was tough to trade away a prospect like Bowie, who is NCAA committed to St. Lawrence University in 2021, but it was hard to pass up a proven winner like Maia. “Thomas has had a real good junior career so far, leading his former team to the RBC Cup and getting the shot at college hockey before unfortunately suffering that injury,” Didmon said. “But he’s rejuvenated now and ready for a fresh start on the West Coast and he brings some more veteran offence to our hockey club. And more than just his talent, he brings three seasons of playoff experience including being a big part of that RBC Cup run, so he will be invaluable to our team’s quest for the national championship.” The Grizzlies also shipped out another 19-year-old forward on Wednesday, sending Bryce Anderson to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs for a player development fee. Anderson, who came to Victoria from the Trail Smoke Eaters last summer, had six goals and 18 assists in 51 games for the Grizzlies last season, but was a healthy scratch in the playoffs.
Alberni Valley-Coburg Trade:
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs announced on Monday that they have acquired the rights to defenceman Darren Beattie (02) in exchange for forward Isaac Pascoal. Beattie appeared in 46 games with the OJHL’s Coburg Cougars in 2019-2020. He posted 4 goals and 15 assists for 18 points. Pascoal, a native of Kingston Ontario appeared in 42 games for the Bulldogs in his rookie BCHL season and had 6 goals and 9 assists for 15 points. “Adding Darren to our defensive core is a good addition for us.” said Bulldogs Head Coach & General Manager Joe Martin. “Darren has had two years of experience in junior hockey and we feel he can be a strong contributor to our back end.” Beattie was excited to learn he had became a Bulldog. “I’m really excited to be joining the Bulldogs organization and I can’t wait to get to BC and get things started.” The Bulldogs would like to welcome Darren to the club, and wish Isaac all the best as he suits up a little closer to home with the Cougars.
Nanaimo Clippers have added veteran 2001 defenceman, Colton Kitchen, in a trade with the Victoria Grizzlies for future considerations. Kitchen started his BCHL career in 2018-2019 with the Chilliwack Chiefs accumulating 9 points in 43 games that season. He started the 2019-2020 season with the Clippers but was traded to Penticton Vees early in the season. He then was traded to Victoria Grizzlies mid-season as part of a blockbuster trade between the respective teams. He ended up playing 38 games in the BCHL that season. Colin Birkas, Associate Coach in charge of the defence core of the Clippers noted; “Colton was a D that I really liked last year but with our strong and deep D core, we moved him to the Vees for some much needed help upfront. I am excited to get him back to the squad this season. He will give us some added experience on the back end as we continue to add high end talent to our depth chart.” Darren Naylor, Head Coach and Vice-President of the Clippers added; “Colton was a player, whom when watching him play against us last season, really caught my eye. When he came available, I jumped on the opportunity as I believe he will be a key part of our defence core this year. He is a mobile defenceman and reads the layers well. He has a great attitude, is liked by his teammates and is easy to coach.”
Cowichan Valley Capitals: Graduating Players And Eligible Returnees:
After a year where the Cowichan Valley Capitals finished one point out of first place in the Island Division, there is a very solid base of players to build on heading into the 2020-21 season. The biggest change for the Caps is the departure of general manager and head coach Mike Vandekamp to Grande Prairie of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. However, the loss of Dimitri Mikrogiannakis on the blueline and Zach Borgiel in goal present big holes to fill for whoever takes over from Vandekamp. The Capitals have two of their top three scorers eligible to come back next season, including Luc Wilson, who led the team with 19 goals and 34 assists in 55 games. 25-goal man Matthew Crasa is also able to return to Cowichan Valley in 2020-21.
The depth chart is based on coaches going with a 23-man roster of 13 forwards, eight defencemen and two goaltenders.
Dimitri Mikrogiannakis (Rochester Institute of Technology)
Tyrell Boucher (University of Alaska-Anchorage)
Olivier Gauthier (University of Alaska-Anchorage)
Zach Borgiel (Merrimack College)
Cruz Cote (Red Deer College)
Brady Lynn (aged out)
Tanner Sidaway (aged out)
(* indicates an open spot – assuming the team goes with 13 forwards and eight defencemen)
Dan McIntyre (00)
Will Arquiett (00)
Primo Self (01)
John Lundy (01)
Luc Wilson (01)
Cole Broadhurst (01)
Matthew Crasa (01)
Zach Brooks (01)
David Wang (03)
Austin Chorney (00)
Clark Webster (00)
Nolan Barrett (00)
Cullen Ferguson (01)
Johnny Howie (01)
Ben Howard (00)
Top 10 Nanaimo Clippers Goals of 2019-20
They were known for their defence, but the Island Division-winning Nanaimo Clippers were no strangers to finding the back of the net - sometimes in highlight reel fashion.
Vincent Nardone’s stay in Victoria was a short one. Six months after coming to the Grizzlies from the Penticton Vees in a B.C. Hockey League trade, Nardone is on the move again. Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon made his third trade in as many days Friday, shipping the 19-year-old Nardone to the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for future considerations. “It was a tough decision to move Vinny, but we have a lot of left-wing depth and we wanted to make some room for our younger players like [Andrew] Amousse and [Connor] Eddy who are ready to log more offensive ice time next season,” said Didmon, who on Wednesday picked up 20-year-old forward Thomas Maia from the Oakville Blades in Ontario and then sent 19-year-old forward Bryce Anderson to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs for a player-development fee. Nardone, who’ll be 20 in October and is NCAA-committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha for the fall of 2021, had 21 points in 31 regular-season games for the Grizzlies this season, but was held pointless in four playoff games. The speedy winger from Rosemere, Que., will be making his second stint in the Prairies as he spent the 2018-19 season with the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League before Penticton acquired him in the summer of 2019. LOOSE PUCKS: Anderson wasn’t in Alberni Valley long. Hours after picking him up from Victoria, the Bulldogs shipped Anderson to the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for the rights to 20-year-old defenceman Loeden Schaufler. Schaufler played 39 games for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League this past season, before moving over to the Saints, where he played 16 games.
Western Financial Place Roof Replacement And Arena Upgrades On Schedule:
Contractors expect Western Financial Place’s arena roof to be 100% watertight by mid-June with the full replacement complete by early August. Work began on the project back on May 5th, 2020. Budgeted at $3.55-million, the City of Cranbrook’s consultant said most of the unknowns with the arena roof have been opened and explored, and no additional concerns are anticipated with the project. “The contractors have been hard at it and have been following enhanced safe work practices due to COVID-19. Even though the workplace challenges have increased with COVID-19, the project is proceeding on schedule and within budget,” said Stacy Paulsen, Facility Operations Manager. “We look forward to a watertight facility once the project is complete.” $1.26-million was provided from the federal Gas Tax program to the City of Cranbrook for the arena roof replacement at Western Financial Place. The start of hockey season is not expected to be impacted by the roof construction or interfere with any ice-making or other preparations. The City said any reopening time frames for Western Financial Place and the other arena venues will closely follow recommendations and guidelines from the B.C. Government, WorkSafeBC and Interior Health. Besides the arena roof, several other upgrades are being complete at Western Financial Place, include new arena boards and glass, a new refrigeration chiller and heat exchanger, and a new video scoreboard. All of the projects should be complete by the end of August in anticipation of the new hockey season and the Cranbrook Bucks inaugural season in the BCHL.
Clippers Announce ID Camps:
The Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL have announced they will be hosting two 2020 Identification Camps in August with the intent of finding the newest recruits for the team. Like any BCHL team, the Clippers Identification Camps is where it all starts for any player looking to join the team and compete in the league. Due to COVID-19 camps will be run differently this year with a limited number of players. The Vancouver Island Camp will be held at Shawnigan Lake School Arena and the Vancouver Camp will be held at Summit Ice Centre in Abbotsford both from August 7th to 9th. “Like last year we expect to hand out a dozen or so Main Camp invites to kids coming to camp.” says general manager Tali Campbell “These camps give every player who’s interested in playing with us the chance to shine. Due to COVID it’s been very tough for players to get identified, so here is the chance.” “The Nanaimo Clippers have a rich history for picking up great talent and helping them reach their goals as Junior Hockey Players. Just in the last few years we have seen dozens of players receive NCAA Scholarships.” Darren Naylor, vice-president and head coach said.
2020 CLIPPERS IDENTIFICATION CAMP SCHEDULE:
Friday, August 7th to Sunday, August 9th – Abbotsford, BC – Summit Ice Centre.
Friday, August 7th to Sunday, August 9th – Shawnigan Lake, BC – Shawnigan Lake School Arena.