Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bigos Now 26th Vernon Junior Player To Get Drafted:

I'd first off like to take the time to personally congratulate Vipers defenceman, Kyle Bigos on getting drafted over the weekend by the Edmonton Oilers. Great news when any BCHLer gets drafted into the NHL. Kyle has come a long way from his rookie season with the Vipers two seasons ago. Bigos has improved his overall game over two seasons with Vernon, & is now heading off to Merrimack University. Bigos still has one year left to play with the Vipers before going off to school, but has decided to make the jump to the NCAA. I think most of you can say that the strong play from Kyle during the long Vipers Playoff run & RBC Cup had huge impact on his drafting into the NHL. Kyle has great size and toughness, likes to carry the puck and has a rocket of a shot from the point, I for one wish he would shoot more, other then having to work on his skating I think Bigos has a great shot at making the Oilers one day. I would like to wish Kyle all the best at Merrimack and then making the big jump to the NHL. Viper fans are sure going to miss you big guy, while the rest of the League's fans arn't complaining. Bigos was a huge fan favorite here in Vernon and very disliked as a visitor on the road. Congrats as well to the other 4 BCHLers (Spencer Bennett, Curtis McKenzie, Cam Reid and Curtis Gedig) who also were drafted. Best of luck!

Here is a list of all former Vernon Junior Hockey players who have been drafted into the NHL over the year's. I may be missing some players, so please let me know, so I can update my blog.

1986 Murray Baron 167 Philadelphia
1986 Scott King 190 Detroit
1987 Dennis Holland 52 Detroit
1987 Kevin Scott 158 Detroit
1988 Dane Jackson 44 Vancouver
1988 Troy Mick 130 Pittsburgh
1989 Jason Marshall 9 St.Louis
1989 Dallas Drake 116 Detroit
1989 Mike Barkley 119 Buffalo
1989 Darcy Martini 162 Edmonton
1991 Bill Lindsay 103 Quebec
1991 Jamie Steer NHL Supplemental Draft Buffalo
1993 Todd Kelman 141 St.Louis
1994 Tyler Harlton 94 St.Louis
1996 Josh MacNevin 101 New Jersey
1996 Jeff Scissons 201 Vancouver
1999 Josh Reed 172 Vancouver
2000 Ryan Bayda 80 Carolina
2000 Kenny Magowan 198 New Jersey
2002 Ryan MacMurchy 284 St.Louis
2003 Tyson Strachan 137 Carolina
2003 Chad Brownlee 190 Vancouver
2003 Matt Zaba 231 Los Angeles
2005 Matt Watkins 160 Dallas
2006 Kevin Koopman 181 Ottawa
2009 Kyle Bigos 99 Edmonton

Vernon Tigers Lacrosse Playoff Schedule:

Vernon Vipers forward, Rob Short & the Vernon Tigers start the Quater Final "A" Playoff Series tomorrow night vs the Rutland Raiders. Here's a look at the Tigers Playoff Schedule,

Vernon Tigers (3) VS (6) Rutland Raiders

Game 1 Tuesday, June 30th Vernon @ Rutland 7:30pm
Game 2 Thursday, July 2nd Rutland @ Vernon 7:30pm
Game 3 Saturday, July 4th Vernon @ Rutland 7:30pm

Winner advances to 'Semi B' to face off against either the Kamloops Rattlers or the Kamloops Venom.

To View "Official" Schedule & Scores @ http://www.bclacrosse.com/

For more on the Vernon Tigers, check out the teams website,


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Edmonton Bags Bigos 99th:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Edmonton bags Bigos 99th

By Kevin Mitchell - Vernon Morning Star

Published: June 27, 2009

Kyle Bigos got an early wake-up call in California Saturday morning.
His dad, Walt, wanted to make sure his 20-year-old son was alert and ready for the call of his lifetime.
Then it came, just after nine. It was Stu McGregor of the Edmonton Oilers welcoming the Vernon Viper all-star defenceman to the NHL.
The Oilers chose the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder 99th overall, with the eighth pick in the fourth round of the NHL entry draft in Montreal.
“I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it, especially Edmonton,” Bigos told The Morning Star. “Playing in Notre Dame (Wilcox, Sask.) for three years, I watched them and Calgary on TV a lot. They were one of my favourite teams, and I’m a big fan of Sheldon Souray.”
Bigos, who planned to celebrate by going out for dinner with his parents, received congratulatory messages on Facebook from a number of Viper teammates Saturday morning.
“They (McGregor and another Oiler scout) asked me how I felt, and I said: ‘It’s a dream-come true pretty much.’ They asked me if I was going to Merrimack (NCAA in New York) next season and I told them yes, and they said that was a good thing.”
Bigos, who was projected as a middle-round choice, figured his MVP and Top Defenceman honours as the Vipers won the Royal Bank Cup in Victoria, helped move him up in the draft.
He can attend the Oilers’ camp in September, but because he is an NCAA player, he would have to pay for his own flights and expenses.
“I’m going to try and go to camp. I’ll have to discuss things with my parents first.”
Bigos, who is working out daily and playing some scrimmage hockey with buddies in Upland, pocketed 2-7-9 and 18 penalty minutes in six Royal Bank Cup games.
In his second regular season with the B.C. Hockey League Vipers, the fan-favourite garnered 8-25-33 and 126 PIM.
Viper centre Cory Kane, projected as a late-rounder, was not taken in the seven-round lottery.
Bigos was the first BCHLer selected. Surrey Eagles’ winger Spencer Bennett, of White Rock, went to the Calgary Flames in the fifth round, 141st overall.
Kelowna Rockets’ d-man Tyson Barrie, a Victoria product, was chosen in round three by the Colorado Avalanche.
Nelson’s Evan Bloodoff, a left winger with the Rockets, ended up a Phoenix Coyote, in the sixth round, 157th.
The Vancouver Canucks took University of Minnesota Gopher 5-foot-8, 175-pound centre Jordan Schroeder with their first-round pick, 22nd.
The Canucks went with 5-foot-11 Swedish forward Anton Rodin in the second round.
The Detroit Red Wings, with Vernon’s Marty Stein joining GM Ken Holland at the draft table, took Red Deer Rebel forward Landon Ferraro with their first pick, 32nd overall.
Detroit took Rockets’ winger Mitchell Callahan, a Californian, in round six, 180th overall.
Cam Reid, a Delta centre with the Westside Warriors, was picked 192nd by Nashville.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bigos Leads Quintet Of BCHLers Selected At 2009 NHL Draft:

Bigos leads quintet of BCHLers selected at 2009 NHL Draft

Saturday, June 27, 2009 - Submitted by BCHL Media

Vernon Vipers defenceman Kyle Bigos capped a dream season by being the first of four British Columbia Hockey League players selected at the 2009 NHL Draft in Montreal on Saturday. The Edmonton Oilers tabbed Bigos with the 8th pick of the fourth round, 99th overall.

Bigos enjoyed a stellar campaing in his second BCHL season, and ultimately raised his game when it mattered most. The Upland, California native was named the MVP and Top Defensive Player at the 2009 RBC Cup after dominating performances through the event's preliminary round. In the National Championship game against the Humboldt Broncos, Bigos scored a superb power-play goal to help lead the Vipers to a 2-0 win. He finished the tournament with two goals and seven assists in six games.The 20-year old is slated to begin his freshman season at Merrimack College this fall.

Surrey Eagles forward Spencer Bennett was the second BCHL player selected on Day 2 of the draft after the Calgary Flames selected the six-foot-three winger with the 20th pick of the fifth round, 141st overall.

Bennett enjoyed a breakout season as an 18-year old in 2008/09, topping the 20-goal mark and tallying 41 points in 60 games. He added six points in nine postseason games. The White Rock, B.C. native is slated to return to Surrey for his second season with the Eagles prior to joining the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves for the 2010/11 NCAA season.

Penticton Vees winger Curtis McKenzie was next off the board after his name was called by the Dallas Stars with the eighth pick of the 6th round, 159th overall.

McKenzie turned up his offensive game in his second full BCHL season, scoring 30 goals and adding 34 assists in 53 games while also representing Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge. The 18-year old's 64 points scored in the 2009/10 season were a huge upgrade from the 10 he tallied as a rookie. McKenzie is committed to the University of Miami-Ohio, who advanced to the NCAA National Championship game in 2009 before bowing out to Boston University.

Westside Warriors forward Cam Reid was the first of two BCHLers selected in the seventh round. Reid, who was acquired in a January trade from Victoria, got the call from the Nashville Predators with the 11th pick of the round, 192nd overall.

Reid was a point-per-game player for the Warriors down the stretch and added seven points in eight postseason contests. The Delta, B.C. native is committed to attend the University of New Hampshire when his junior career conludes.

Cowichan Valley Capitals blueliner Curtis Gedig rounded out the BCHL draft class after the New Jersey Devils tabbed him with the 23rd pick of round, 204th overall. The six-foot-three defenceman split the season between Merritt and Cowichan, picking up 16 points in 46 games during a head-turning rookie season.

Friday, June 26, 2009

2009 NHL Draft:

Six BCHL Players have landed on the NHL central scouting prospects list for the NHL Draft. Vipers d-man Kyle Bigos (169) & forward Cory Kane (117) are two of them.

Watch the First Round of the NHL Draft live from Montreal on TSN this afternoon at 4pm, catch Rounds 2-7 tomorrow morning on TSN live at 7am

Vipers Schedule Released:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers schedule released

Published: June 25, 2009

The national champion Vernon Vipers will begin their defence of the B.C. Hockey League Fred Page Cup title starting Friday, Sept. 11.
The BCHL announced a 60-game, full interlock schedule, meaning the Vipers will play every team home and away least once over the season. In 2008-09, the Snakes saw each of the Coastal Conference teams once, as the league opted to use a half-interlock system to develop local rivalries.
They start with a home-and-home series against the Salmon Arm SilverBacks, hosting the ‘Backs on the Friday at Wesbild Centre before visiting Sunwave Centre Saturday, Sept. 12.
The Vipers’ most difficult road stretch starts Oct. 15, as they spend 13 of 17 games on the road, including a pair of northern road swings and a tour of the Mainland teams.
One of their more favourable stints comes at the end of the season, where eight of their last 12 games are at home. The Vipers end the season with three straight games against Salmon Arm, Westside Warriors and Surrey Eagles respectively, Feb. 19-21.
Vernon will face the SilverBacks and Merritt Cententials seven times each, and will tangle with the remaining Southern Interior teams – Trail Smoke Eaters, Warriors and Penticton Vees – six times.
The Vipers play the remaining Interior teams – expansion Williams Lake TimberWolves, Quesnel Millionaires and Prince George Spruce Kings – four times apiece.
Coastal Conference teams will play the Vipers once at Wesbild and once at home.
There will be three Sunday matinee home games (Oct. 4, Oct. 11, and Feb. 21) and five during the week.
The Vipers get a decent Christmas break, as they get 10 days off after they host the Nanaimo Clippers, Saturday, Dec. 19. They return Tuesday, Dec. 29 against the Smokies.
There will be 510 regular-season games amongst the 17 BCHL teams as they compete for 14 postseason berths.
The Powell River Kings, who faced the Vipers, in last season’s Fred Page Cup final, host the defending national champions on Wednesday, Nov. 18 before visiting Wesbild Friday, Jan. 29.
The 2010 BCHL All-Star Game goes Wednesday, Jan. 13 at Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo. Fred Page Cup playoff action begins Friday, Feb. 26.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kamloops Blazers Going After Gill:

This is on Gregg Drinnan's Kamloops Blazers Blog:

The WHL Kamloops Blazers have been recruiting F Sahir Gill, 17, since acquiring his rights from the Vancouver Giants on Oct. 1 for a conditional 2010 second-round bantam draft pick. Gill, a seventh-round pick by Vancouver in the 2007 draft, played for the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers last season. Now it seems he spent June 8-14 at an invitational tryout camp for the USHL’s Chicago Steel. And his name now appears on the club’s roster for the 2009-10 season. The Blazers will continue to pursue Gill. However, it is believed he hasn’t yet made a decision on where he will play next season.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

BCHL Releases Regular Season Schedule For 2009/10

BCHL releases regular season schedule for 2009/10

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - Submitted by BCHL Media

The 2009/10 British Columbia Hockey League season will kick off on September 11th and wrap nearly six months later on February 21st. Sandwiched between those dates are 510 games involving 17 teams and competition for 14 postseason berths.

Schedule highlights include two meetings between the Powell River Kings and Vernon Vipers, who met in last season's Fred Page Cup Final. The Kings host the defending National Champions on Wednesday, November 18th before making the trip north on Friday, January 29th.

The Williams Lake Timberwolves' return to action officially begins on the season's opening weekend with visits from the Penticton Vees and Westside Warriors to the Cariboo Memorial Copmplex. Other opening night fixtures include rivalry games between Langley and Surrey, Nanaimo and Victoria, and Salmon Arm and Vernon.

The BCHL All-Star Game is set for the Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo on Wednesday, January 13th while the 2010 Fred Page Cup Playoffs begin on Friday, February 26th.

Check out the BCHL regular season schedule,


The Dancing Bear Goes To College:

This is on the Vipers website:

The dancing bear goes to college

by don klepp Added 2009-06-24

After his sensational playoff run with the Vipers this spring, it seemed inevitable that Kyle Bigos would leave a year early to accept his college scholarship. Still, the affable Californian found it very hard to leave Vernon.

“It’s been such a great two years here,” he says. “The level of hockey, the players and coaches, the fans, the city, everything. This is such a great situation, and I really felt at home here, especially because of my billet family.” In the end though, Kyle and his parents, Walt and Bev, felt that the big guy needed to take that next step.

One can see why Kyle, a native of urban California, would feel at home in small town Canada; he has spent the better part of the last five years in Canada. Before coming to Vernon, he spent three years at Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, where his parents bought a house and thoroughly enjoyed living on the prairies.

In fact, Kyle was all set to stay at Notre Dame where he would play for the Hounds’ Junior “A” team. But Braden Pimm came back from a fly out to Vernon raving about the Viper organization and the community, so Kyle says “I got real excited about Vernon, but it was just a dream at that point. But then at the Macs tournament in Calgary the Viper coaches and head scout Larry Black said the Vipers would commit to me and that was a dream come true.”

He adds, “That was a great decision. The coaches are so good to play for; you learn so much from Mark and Jason. You just want to go to war for them. And we’ve had a great bunch of guys here. We’d go through the wall for each other. It’s been everything Larry Black said it would be, and more.”

Clearly, Kyle Bigos has blossomed under the Ferner and Williamson’s tutelage, but it’s surprising that the 6’5” defenceman’s potential wasn’t recognized sooner. Larry Black agrees: “I’m sure that the Notre Dame coaches knew what they had, but I couldn’t believe that other Junior teams hadn’t pursued Kyle.”

What did Larry see in Kyle? He says, “for a big kid, he skated really well and handled the puck well, too. And that shot of his – when I saw him, he was shooting it low and hard from the point, and I thought this guy has it all; he just needed some polishing.”

He certainly received that fine tuning from Ferner and Williamson. As Kyle puts it, “I learned a lot about positioning and how to control the pace of play. Ferner really helped me and the other D-men with our footwork. He put us through footwork drills after practice, and that really helped a lot. As a pro player, he picked up a whole bunch of techniques that he passed on to us. He really stressed defence first, and that’s where I’ve improved the most.”

At the RBC Cup, Kyle wowed scouts with his ability to control the play each time he was on the ice. But, although his defensive play won him the top defenceman and MVP awards, one play sticks in peoples’ minds. Let’s call it THE GOAL, which came in the third period of the championship game, when the Vipers were nursing a 1-0 lead against defending champion Humboldt.

Here’s how Kyle remembers that play:” Kellen gave me a pass off the half wall, and the forward guarding me cheated down. All I wanted to do was fake a shot and get around him. It worked. I was looking to pass to Connor, but then a second forward came out to challenge, so I tried the same move and it worked again when he went down to block a shot. Now I was thinking shot, but Leedahl, the D-guy went down to block so I went around him, too. Then I was one-on-one on LaRochelle, who I know from Notre Dame. There’s a stuff move that I try against Andrew (Hammond) in practice. He always stops me, but LaRochelle tried a poke check and when the five-hole opened, I just put it in. It was all reaction, really, and then I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, that really happened’!”

This summer brings a high level of anticipation for Kyle. He’s just returned from a combine in New Jersey, where the NHL’s Devils tested Kyle and team mate Cory Kane, among others. The June 25 NHL draft will be an exciting day for both Kyle and Cory. Kyle wants a hockey career, if possible, but he’s realistic about the whole situation: “I’m kinda excited about maybe being chosen in the NHL draft, but I tell myself that I’m going to be a student athlete, so make sure the academic side is taken care of first. The hockey will fall into place, and I hope there’s a hockey life for me after college.”

Ever modest, Kyle sees the jump to NCAA hockey as “a big, big step. The big adjustment will be the speed of the game at the college level. If I’m successful, it will all stem from off-season workouts. I’m going to have to work harder and smarter than I’ve ever worked before, and I’m going to get a personal trainer.”

There’s a slim chance that the NHL team that selects Kyle on June 25 will want him to return for another year of junior. If so, the Vipers would be delighted and Kyle certainly wouldn’t mind another year in Vernon. Keep tuned for the next development in the career of the Vipers’ “Dancing Bear”!

This series is about the Vipers’ departing heroes. In subsequent weeks, look for stories about, Mike Leidl & Ryan Santana.

Chicago Courting Gill:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Chicago courting Gill

Published: June 23, 2009

Sahir Gill could be headed to play with the Chicago Steel of the U.S. Hockey League.
Gill, who was selected by the Steel in the fifth round (56th overall) in the 2009 USHL Entry Draft, is listed on Chicago’s online roster.
“I talked to him (Monday) night, and it was news to us,” said Vipers’ assistant coach Jason Williamson, adding Gill told him he hasn’t come to a solid decision yet on where he’ll play. “They (Steel) haven’t contacted us with a release, but we’ll see what happens.”
Gill (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) recorded 18 goals for 39 points and four penalty minutes in 54 BCHL games, and 8-9-17 in 17 playoff appearances. The 17-year-old developed good chemistry playing on a line with twins Connor and Kellen Jones.
The Kamloops Blazers, who own Gill’s Western Hockey League rights, are also reported to be keen on bringing the Terrace product into the fold.
Gill couldn’t be reached for comment.

Rob Short & The Cats Eye Pennant:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Cats eye pennant

By Nicole Berg - Vernon Morning Star
Published: June 23, 2009

It’s down to crunch time for the Vernon Tigers.
After rolling big victories against the first-place South Okanagan Flames 10-5 Saturday night at Wesbild Centre and thrashing the Kamloops Venom 11-4 Sunday night at Memorial Arena, the Cats (8-3-2) are in a good position to claim the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League pennant.
The Tigers play their last regular-season game Saturday night when they host the 6-3-3 Kelowna Warriors. With a tie or a victory, Vernon will clinch first place and receive a bye into the second round of the playoffs.
Recording a 5-5 tie with Summerland earlier in the season, the underdog Tigers played the Flames tough by holding the league’s top offence (108 total goals) to just five goals.
While the Tigers’ offence has been mediocre, their defence, however, has been red-hot with 80 goals against, good for second place.
“The boys played a great game at both ends of the floor,” said Vernon coach Rich Zecchel. “We had our lowest penalty-minute total of the season in just eight minutes, which helped us produce some goals.
“Overall, our goalie Josh Phillips, who made 40 saves, was solid. I think this was our best all-around team game.”
Jordan Jarvis and Robbie Short had big games for the Tigers, both potting hat-tricks.
Jarvis, a prairie product who has notched four goals and eight assists in his rookie season, scored his first two goals in the opening period.
“My first goal came on a sweet pass by Patrick Quigley, who ran up the floor alone with the ball, spotted me at the right side and passed the ball, and I scored on a straight shot,” said Jarvis, who took first-star honours. “I think in this game, we displayed an all-around better ball movement, which is something we’ve been working on in practice this week.”
Short (second star) pocketed his first two goals in the first frame as well. Tyler Berkholtz (2+2) supplied the lone marker for the Flames.
Both teams exchanged a pair of goals in the second, with Short and Miles Jespersen (1+2) sniping for Vernon and third star Darcy Ricard getting a deuce for the Flames.
The third period was more one-sided as Vernon outscored South Okanagan 4-2. Riley Soleway, Jarvis, and Ryan Landels (2) led the Tigers’ attack. Ricard rounded out his hat-trick and Berkholtz supplied one for the Flames.
The Cats’ Darren Kirby added three assists. Rory McDowell made 40 saves in the Flames’ cage.
Steven Clark returned after a two-game absence, while James Dobrowolski missed his third straight game due to an injury.
Russell MacLean made his Tiger debut Saturday night and also played in Kamloops.
“In order for a player to play for a team in the playoffs, he has to play at least three regular-season games,” explained Zecchel, of the 20-year-old Vernon product. “He played pretty good tonight and we hope to have his leadership shine through in our future games.”
The Cats only picked up one minor penalty as they brushed back the Venom.
Jarvis (2+3), Short (2+2), Riley Soleway (2) and Landels and Matt Kolb, with 1+2 apiece, led the Tigers. Braidy Webb, Nolan Fame and Jespersen also scored in front of Phillips.
Quigley was a standout on defence and Kolb also drew special praise from Zecchel. Vernon outshot the Venom 51-39.

For more on the Tigers check out there web site,

Canadian Prospects Like NCAA Option Better Than CHL:

This is on NHL.com

Canadian prospects like NCAA option better than CHL

Wednesday, 06.17.2009 / 9:00 AM / NHL Entry Draft

By John McGourty - NHL.com Staff Writer

There once was a time that nearly all NCAA Division I hockey players were Canadians. Very few of them had NHL aspirations or ability, but they used their hockey talent to secure a free college education that prepared them well for life after hockey.

Goalie Ken Dryden was one of, if not the, first Canadians to go the American college route to the NHL. Dryden led Cornell to the 1967 NCAA championship, played for the Canadian national team and then joined the Montreal Canadiens organization, who obtained Dryden's rights from Boston, the team that drafted him in 1964. After playing part-time for the Canadiens' AHL farm club while attending law school in Montreal, Dryden joined the Canadiens late in the 1970-71 season and led them to the Stanley Cup.

American-born Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke played at Providence College from 1973-77, and recalled, "When I was there, well over half the Division I players were Canadian. It's lower than that now, but then it was about 60-70 percent. When I went to Providence College, we were about 75-80 percent Canadian."

Things hadn't changed much a decade later, when Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk followed Dryden's route to Cornell.

"When I went to Cornell, my whole team was from Canada," Nieuwendyk said. "Except for one guy … almost everyone in Division I was from Canada then.

"There are a lot more talented American players filling up roster spots in American college hockey now so there aren't as many opportunities for Canadians as before."

With the rise in the number of American-born hockey players and a limited number of college scholarships, however, things have changed. While there still are a sizable number of Canadians playing NCAA hockey, the numbers are far fewer.

In recent seasons, Canadians like Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny (Denver, 2005), Carolina Hurricanes left wing Ryan Bayda (North Dakota, 2000), and Boston Bruins right wing Chuck Kobasew (Boston College, 2001), among others, have led their colleges to NCAA championships.

But the overwhelming majority of NHL-caliber Canadians choose to play in one of Canada's three major junior leagues -- the Ontario Hockey League, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League, which together are governed by the Canadian Hockey League. By NCAA rules, players who play in these leagues lose their college eligibility.

"The majority of (NHL) players still come out of major juniors," Burke said. "It's still the shortest and best and most certain way to get to our League. We're fortunate with the European and college option for players who were late bloomers or maybe smaller players who choose that route and turn into players.

"So we're fortunate, we have three pipelines -- the European pipeline, the CHL pipeline and the college pipeline. They all produce good players."

This year, four top players available for the 2009 Entry Draft have chosen the NCAA route -- Louis Leblanc, Alex Chiasson, Brandon Pirri and Corban Knight.

Leblanc led Montreal's Midget AAA league in scoring two straight seasons before playing this past season with the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League, where he led the team in scoring with 28 goals and 59 points. He moved from No. 18 to No. 13 among North American skaters in Central Scouting's final draft rankings, and will play at Harvard University in the fall.

"As a family, we embrace education," Leblanc said. "It has always been a big factor in my life. I like studying and learning new things so I thought the college route was better for me.

"My mom, Marie, is a piano teacher and my dad, Yves, is a chemist. They're both well educated and they take education seriously. It was up to me. If I didn't want to go to college I could have gone to the QMJHL and do what I could there with school."

While an Ivy League education is Leblanc's goal, it doesn't hurt that his future coach had a long NHL career.

"Ted Donato, the coach there played 14 years in the NHL and I think he can show me some things that other coaches can't," Leblanc said. "The name Harvard always helps. It's one of the greatest educations available in the world and I'm looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to the lifestyle and meeting new people."

Leblanc doesn't know how long he'll stay at Harvard before turning pro.

"Right now, I'm thinking of going year-by-year," he said. "Obviously finishing with a Harvard degree would be awesome. It would be a great thing for me, but if after finishing two or three years there an NHL team wants me and it's the best thing for me in terms of hockey development, I think I would go and finish my degree during the summers or when I'm finished playing hockey."

Alex Chiasson, Central Scouting's No. 34-ranked North American skater, opted for the USHL's Des Moines Buccaneers ahead of the Val d'Or Foreurs of the QMJHL. The Quebec City native, a tall, powerful right wing, led Des Moines with 50 points, and has committed to national-champion Boston University, where he expects to play significant minutes as a freshman.

"When I was younger, I was an A student. I chose U.S. college for studies and because I thought it was the best thing for me in hockey, at the same time," Chiasson said. "You never know what's going to happen after hockey, whether you're not good enough or something bad happens. It was the best decision for me."

"Boston University hockey, what can I say? What a great team they had this year, national champions. It's a great team with great coaching. It's an amazing atmosphere at the school. It's the best fit for me. I visited for three days in October, visited the rink and hung out with the guys. I fell in love with it. (Fitness trainer) Mike Boyle is there and he's known around the world for what he's done with hockey players. It was a big decision but at the end it's the best thing for me."

Chiasson is 6-foot-3 and 187 pounds but he'll probably mature to near 220. Boyle, who works with high-level pros like Mike Grier, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez, will help him add weight while maintaining flexibility.

Like Chiasson, center Brandon Pirri is tall and thin and likely will fill out more in the next few years. He chose RPI, rather than Sudbury of the OHL, after playing two seasons in the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

"I've been a smaller player since I was young," Pirri said. "My dream has always been to play in the NHL. When I get to the NHL, I want to stay there and not be bouncing around the minors. I feel that by going to college, it will give me the time that I need to develop as a hockey player and as a person.

"I'm a good student but I chose RPI more because I really believe in the coaching staff, that they're going to get me to the level I need to be to be a dominant hockey player. In college hockey, with the shorter schedule, it will work to my strengths. I'll have more time to work out, get bigger and stronger. When I go to play pro hockey, I'll be physically ready to play against men."

Pirri was measured at 6-feet, 160 pounds by Central Scouting when the season started, but Pirri says he's up to 180 now. The gain in weight matched a gain in stature -- after finishing third in the league with 94 points, he moved from No. 80 in Central Scouting's midterm rankings to No. 75 in the final release.

"I'm taking working out very seriously this summer and nutrition has also been an important part of that, too," said Pirri. "I have a personal trainer that works with (Edmonton Oilers center) Andrew Cogliano and we work out five times a week."

Pirri said he's sure he made the right choice.

"With an open schedule, not playing so many games, I'll be working out more and growing physically more," Pirri said. "I'll be playing against a lot of older guys, some 24 years old, which is the average age in pro hockey. I think I'll be better prepared when I do play pro hockey."

Knight also is headed for U.S. college -- in his case, the University of North Dakota -- but unlike Leblanc, Chiasson and Pirri, his route was written for him. Knight had to play for the Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League after being passed over in the WHL draft.

"I was pretty small when I was 14 years old, about 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9 -- a pretty small kid and I didn't weigh very much," said Knight, who went from unrated at midseason to No. 64 in Central Scouting's final North American skater rankings. "I had a good year in Bantam AA (but) I didn't even play AAA and a lot of the WHL bantam-draft players come out of AAA. It was a case of our family not being able to afford AAA and the program I was in was a very good one. Things turned out well, but, yeah, I got passed over in the WHL draft.

"I tried out as a 17-year-old for Okotoks and I had every intention of playing for them but it didn't work and I got sent back to AAA. I started out with Okotoks this year -- it was my rookie year and the only team I've been with."

Knight had 34 goals and 72 points in 61 games, and will play one more season with Okotoks before going to North Dakota.

Knight was sold after meeting with UND coach Dave Hakstol.

"The biggest thing is North Dakota is an unbelievable place," said Knight. "I had such a respect for the coaches when I met them and I trusted them. It will be something else to play in front of 12,000 people every night. Also, they've turned out a lot of players who turned pro -- Jonathan Toews and Zach Parise are pretty good NHL players. My dream is to play in the NHL so they've turned out some good hockey players there. That made it one of the best ways for me to go."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vipers Could Lose Two Key Players:

After winning the Royal Bank Cup in Victoria the Vipers said they had a possible 16 returning players coming back for this coming hockey season. Over the last week or so it now looks as if the Vipers may be losing two key players in forward, Sahir Gill & defenceman, Kyle Bigos. With the NHL Entry Draft going June 26-27 in Montreal, the question isn’t whether he’ll get selected, but how high? The Merrimack Warriors, who Bigos committed to for the 2010-11 season, want him now. Depending on which NHL team drafts him, Ferner believes they may want Bigos to stay in the B.C. Hockey League for another year of seasoning.

This will be a huge blow to the Vipers and their blueline. The Vernon Morning Star Newspaper mentioned a few weeks back, that if Kyle Bigos returned for his last season with Vernon, he would be named team Captain. If Bigos does make the jump to college, the Vipers are left with just four d-men returning from last years RBC Cup winning team. (Kevin Krause, 3rd year) Adam Thompson, 2nd year) Nick Amies, 2nd year) & Steven Weinstein, 2nd year) This meaning Mark Ferner and Jason Williamson would either have to have recruited a few defenceman or now will be forced to make a few off season trades to upgrade the backend. I for one have alot of confidence in both Mark Ferner and Jason Williamson, both have done an excellent job with the Vipers and will continue too in the future. Look at the three young prospects so far both coahces have brought in to play here in Vernon this coming season, Drew George, Dylan Walchuk & Blake Voth. I dont think this is the last of them either, remember it was last year when just after the Vipers fell in 7 games to Penticton that they announced a few new recruits before being quiet for the remainder of the summer, it wasnt until just before training camp that the Vipers announced the remaining recruits that signed on with the Vipers. The world isnt coming to an end just yet, dont forget about players like Cory Kane & Mike Collins who basically just showed up and asked to try out. After winning the Royal Bank Cup, I'am very sure that Mark & Willie have had many phone calls of young men that are dying to play here. I'am already looking forward to the hockey season.

Here's a look at the Vipers returning d-men,

Kevin Kraus


I'am a big fan of Mr Kraus. Mark Ferner aquired the veteran ex-WHLer at the BCHL's trade deadline two years ago. Kraus is a smooth strong skating d-man, who also handles the puck very well, and likes to get involved in the play any chance he can, making many end to end rushes. I think the Vipers and their fans saw the best from Kevin during this years Playoff run. Kraus was a warrior playing hurt-injured for most if not the Vipers entire run through to the Royal Bank Cup. Kraus is a fierce competitor, blocking many shots in the Playoffs and basically playing on one leg during the Vipers-Silverbacks series. I expect big things from this young man this coming season, if Bigos dosnt return, I expect to see a letter on this kids jersey. As of right now with no Bigos, Kraus is Vernon's best defenceman.

Adam Thompson


After Mark Ferner & Jason Williamson recruited this young man out of Calgary, I have nothing but good things to say about Mr. Thompson. Adam played very well in his rookie season with the Vipers last year, looking very solid on the powerplay. This kid can carry the puck, and is a very smooth skater. The thing I like the most from Adam is his quick shooting from the point, especially on the man advantage. Really likes waisting no time releasing and getting off that quick shot from the point. Wasnt afraid to get involved after the whistle and laid out some pretty big checks. I expect alot from this young man this coming season. Adam will add alot to the Vernon blueline this season.

Nick Amies


After making the Vipers and then leaving the team to go and try out for the WHL Kelowna Rockets (was cut) come back to Vernon and played in just 25 games as a rookie 16 yr old defenceman. Heres a very young kid who made the best out of his opportunity when given it. At times Amies looked and played well, but when it came down to big games or tougher opponents, the young 16 yr old boy come out in him. Amies needs some work on his skating and overall defensive coverage in and around the net. Can Amies challange for a spot on this years Vernon roster? Time will tell, will the Kelowna Rockets come knocking on his door again, asking for another shot? I think Nick could have used a year in Jr B last season, to get some playing time and experience, Im looking forward to this coming year and wish Nick all the best at cracking the Vipers roster. This kid has a great and bright future and will be a solid d-man, just needs some time and experience to develope.

Steven Weinstein


Here's one of those California kids that Mark Ferner and Jason Williamson really liked & recruited for last season. At 5'9 and 165 lbs everyone though Steven was too small to play in this league, especially being a d-man. I was one of those people. Weinstein didnt really show me much at the start of the season last year, his smaller size and statue made it easy for the more bigger-stronger players to knock or push him around. In his rookie season Weinstein played in 33 games seeing sometime on the powerplay. As the season went along, Steven really improved his overall game, a very strong skater needs to bulk up and improve defensively in and around the net. Here's a kid who can read the ice very well. With some off season training hopefully Weinstein can help the Vipers blueline this season.

First off I would like to take this time and wish and congradulate former Vernon Vipers defenceman, Patrick Raley on making the USHL's Chicago Steel roster. Raley is from the Chicago area and now has a chance at playing in front of friends and family, all the best Patrick!

The USHL's Chicago Steel have posted on their web site that after a weeklong selection camp The Chicago Steel has finalized its roster for the upcoming year; combining 14 new and 8 returning players to make the official team count stand at 22. Current Vernon Vipers forward, Sahir Gill is on the Steel roster. Gill was drafted in May of this year by the Steel, In the 5th round of the USHL Draft, with the 56th pick. Nothing has been mentioned on the Vipers web site nor in the local papers in town, so is this a done deal? Is Sahir Gill heading off to the Windy City? Only time will tell. I for one have to beleive that having this posted on the Chicago Steel teams web site that Gill wont be back in Vernon this coming August.

I have to ask this, why would a young 17 yr old kid from Terrace BC want to play in Chicago for the Steel? After a great rookie season with the Vipers, winning the RBC Cup and now having a 2nd chance at playing on the Vipers top line with twins Kellen & Connor Jones trying to repeat as National Champs, why jump to the USHL? Dont forget, Gill was also drafted by the WHL Vancouver Giants, who then traded his playing rights last year to the Kamloops Blazers. So here's a young man who can "A" either play for the defending RBC Cup Champions and play on a line with Connor & Kellen Jones & try and secure a NCAA scholarship or "B" give it a shot at the NHL and play for the Kamloops Blazers. Now I may be getting a little carried away here, for all we know Gill be have no intentions what so ever on playing for Chicago and is fully committed on returning to the Vipers this season? We dont really know for sure, until something is said. All we do know is Gill has made the Steel's roster for this coming season, the question is will he be playing in Chicago or Vernon?

So with just two months till Vipers training camp, you have to wonder now who all will be returning from last years team. Will someone like Mike Collins or Cory Kane leave? Maybe Collins will also get that itch to make the big jump to college hockey. Depending on who drafts Cory Kane, maybe Kane will be another US Born player who bolts? With nobody signed you just dont know who will be on this years roster until cards are signed. Just after winning the RBC Cup the Vipers said there was a possible 16 players returning from last years team, now with Kyle Bigos & Sahir Gill on the bubble, will their be any more players leaving or will we now see a possible 14 players returning from last years team. Only time will tell I guess. For now lets take a look at the Vipers roster for this coming hockey season, leaving out both Kyle Bigos and Sahir Gill.

An early version of the Vernon Vipers 2009-10 roster

Nick Amies
Mike Collins
Cole Ikkala
Connor Jones
Kellen Jones
Bryce Kakoske
Cory Kane
Kevin Kraus
Braden Pimm
Kory Roy
Rob Short
Adam Thompson
Steven Weinstein
Graeme Gordon
Drew George
Dylan Walchuk
Blake Voth

Vipers Schedule:

Now that the Vernon Vipers 2009-10 regular season schedule is now out, I have had the chance at looking over it. Gone are the four straight back to back to back to back games vs Salmon Arm like last year in and around the Christmas break. I wasnt a big fan of the four game mini series, no matter who they played. The Vipers first 25 games of the season are basically all vs Salmon Arm, Trail, Williams Lake, Prince George, Quesnel, Penticton & Merritt. Other then one game vs Westside, Cowichan Valley, Burnaby & Alberni Valley the Vipers play Salmon Arm (3 times) Trail (4 times) Williams Lake (3 times) Prince George (two times) Quesnel (4 times) Penticton (2 times) & Merritt (3 times) You think they could have mixed up the matchups-teams a little better then that, especially so early to start the season. Im happy about this, the Vipers only have 3 Sunday afternoon games (2pm) this season, not a big fan of coming to the rink and watching hockey Sunday afternoon. This season Vernon will have just 5 midweek games, keeping most of the games for the larger weekend crowds. (Good idea, not very good turn outs for the midweek games) Over the years I have noticed having back to back home games isnt the greatest idea, one of the nights always draws the smaller crowd. I really liked last years Vipers schedule when Vernon played just four back to back home games all season, this spreading the home games out a little more, giving the non-season ticket holders more of a chance to maybe come back and watch that second game the following weekend, rather then not going to that same game following a home game the night before. This season the Vipers play 9 back to back home games. (Not a big fan) I'am very thrilled and excited to see all BCHL teams visit the Wesbild Centre, unlike last year where only certain teams come to town.

Here are some of this years Viper games that you may want to see,

2009-09-11 vs Salmon Arm Silverbacks 7:00pm (Home Opener)(RBC Cup Banner raised to the rafters)

2009-09-26 vs Williams Lake Timberwolves 7:00pm (The Timberwolves first visit back since re-joining the league)

2009-10-03 vs Penticton Vees 7:00pm (Re-match of last years 2nd Round Playoff Matchup)

2009-10-04 vs Burnaby Express 2:00pm (Former Viper John Digness makes his first & only return to Vernon since being traded last year just days before the trade deadline)

2009-10-21 vs Merritt Centennials 7:00pm (Former Viper Steve Tresierra makes his first return of the season)

2010-01-29 vs Powell River Kings 7:00pm (Re-match of last years BCHL League Finals)

2010-01-30 vs Langley Chiefs 7:00pm (Langleys first visit to the Wesbild Centre since the 2007-08 season)

2010-02-21 vs Surrey Eagles 2:00pm (Surreys first visit to the Wesbild Centre since the 2007-08 season)

Hammond And Brodie Accept Award:

This is on the Vipers web site:

Hammond and Brodie accept award

by viper staff Added 2009-06-23

On Saturday night Andrew Hammond and Cam Brodie accepted the Canucks Silver Skate Award at BC Hockey's awards banquet. The Silver Skate Award is a tribute to the passion and dedication of hockey's parents, coaches, volunteers and players. The award is a Canucks Centre for BC Hockey initiative which recognizes the success and efforts of the Vernon Vipers.

Gill & Raley Make Chicago Steel Roster:

This is posted on the Chicago Steel web site:

Chicago Steel Hockey Team Selects Players for 2009-2010 Season

Story By: Amanda Schmidt

Bensenville (June 18th, 2009) -- After a weeklong selection camp The Chicago Steel has finalized its roster for the upcoming year; combining 14 new and 8 returning players to make the official team count stand at 22.

Over 100 players came out to the invitation-only selection camp June 8th-14th in hopes of securing a spot on the 2009-2010 Chicago Steel team. Although all attending players possessed talent and a clear love of the game, cuts were made throughout the weeklong camp on the basis of individual performance in drills, workouts and games.

Assistant Coach, Jon Waibel, found camp to be a success and is �looking forward to a new season, and working with a new team of guys.� This new team, listed below, mixes diversity, youth and experience as the roster includes players from parts of the Midwest, East Coast and Canada, ranging between the ages of 17-20.

Here is the Steel's 2009-10 Roster,

Former Vernon Viper & current Trail Smoke Eaters defenceman, Patrick Raley & Vernon Vipers forward, Sahir Gill have made the USHL's Chicago Steels 2009-10 roster. Raley played 39 games with the Vipers back in 2007-08 as a rookie before being traded at the BCHL's trade deadline to the Trail Smoke Eaters. Raley would play a season and a half with the Smokies. In 39 games with Vernon, Raley would collect 2 goals, & 7 assists good for 9 pts, before being traded to Trail. In the final 18 games of the regular season with Trail Raley would collect just 2 assists. In his first full season with the Smoke Eaters, Raley would play in 58 games, picking up 8 goals, 15 assists and 23 pts. In 6 career Playoff games, Raley would pick up just 1 assist. Patrick Raley will be heading home, well sort of. The 6'0 defenceman is from Inverness, IL

Patrick Raleys Profile,

Sahir Gill who's WHL rights were drafted by the Vancouver Giants and then later traded to the Kamloops Blazers played in 54 games last year as a rookie with the Vernon Vipers. Gill collected 18 goals & 21 assists for 39 pts playing on the Vipers top line with twins, Kellen & Connor Jones. In 17 BCHL Playoff games Gill picked up 8 goals & 9 assists good for 17 pts. In all 6 games at the Royal Bank Cup, Gill scored 2 goals, while collecting 3 assists, good for 5 pts. Gill was then drafted in May of this year by the USHL Chicago Steel, In the 5th round of the USHL Draft, with the 56th pick.

Sahir Gills Profile,

Here's a list of the USHL Draft,

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vernon Vipers 2009-10 Regular Season Schedule:

Vernon Vipers 2009-10 Regular Season Schedule:

2009-09-11 vs Salmon Arm Silverbacks 7:00pm

2009-09-12 at Salmon Arm Silverbacks 7:30pm

2009-09-18 at Trail Smoke Eaters 7:30pm

2009-09-19 vs Trail Smoke Eaters 7:00pm

2009-09-25 vs Quesnel Millionaires 7:00pm

2009-09-26 vs Williams Lake Timberwolves 7:00pm

2009-10-02 at Westside Warriors 7:00pm

2009-10-03 vs Penticton Vees 7:00pm

2009-10-04 vs Burnaby Express 2:00pm

2009-10-09 at Penticton Vees 7:00pm

2009-10-10 vs Cowichan Valley Capitals 7:00pm

2009-10-11 vs Alberni Valley Billdogs 2:00pm

2009-10-15 at Quesnel Millionaires 7:30pm

2009-10-16 at Williams Lake Timberwolves 7:30pm

2009-10-18 at Prince George Spruce Kings 3:00pm

2009-10-21 vs Merritt Centennials 7:00pm

2009-10-24 vs Quesnel Millionaires 7:00pm

2009-10-30 at Merritt Centennials 7:00pm

2009-11-03 at Salmon Arm Silverbacks 7:30pm

2009-11-06 at Prince George Spruce Kings 7:00pm

2009-11-07 at Quesnel Millionaires 7:30pm

2009-11-08 at Williams Lake Timberwolves 4:00pm

2009-11-10 at Merritt Centennials 7:00pm

2009-11-13 vs Trail Smoke Eaters 7:00pm

2009-11-14 vs Trail Smoke Eaters 7:00pm

2009-11-18 at Powell River Kings 7:30pm

2009-11-20 at Surrey Eagles 7:00pm

2009-11-21 at Langley Chiefs 7:00pm

2009-11-22 at Burnaby Express 2:30pm

2009-11-26 vs Prince George Spruce Kings 7:00pm

2009-11-27 vs Westside Warriors 7:00pm

2009-12-04 vs Penticton Vees 7:00pm

2009-12-05 at Trail Smoke Eaters 7:30pm

2009-12-08 vs Merritt Centennials 7:00pm

2009-12-11 vs Salmon Arm Silverbacks 7:00pm

2009-12-12 at Penticton Vees 7:00pm

2009-12-18 vs Victoria Grizzlies 7:00pm

2009-12-19 vs Nanaimo Clippers 7:00pm

2009-12-29 at Trail Smoke Eaters 7:00pm

2009-12-31 at Salmon Arm Silverbacks 7:30pm

2010-01-02 vs Salmon Arm Silverbacks 7:00pm

2010-01-05 vs Merritt Centennials 7:00pm

2010-01-08 at Westside Warriors 7:00pm

2010-01-09 vs Williams Lake Timberwolves 7:00pm

2010-01-15 at Nanaimo Clippers 7:30pm

2010-01-16 at Victoria Grizzlies 7:00pm

2010-01-17 at Cowichan Valley Capitals 2:00pm

2010-01-19 at Alberni Valley Billdogs 7:00pm

2010-01-22 vs Westside Warriors 7:00pm

2010-01-23 vs Westside Warriors 7:00pm

2010-01-29 vs Powell River Kings 7:00pm

2010-01-30 vs Langley Chiefs 7:00pm

2010-02-05 at Merritt Centennials 7:00pm

2010-02-09 vs Merritt Centennials 7:00pm

2010-02-12 vs Penticton Vees 7:00pm

2010-02-13 vs Prince George Spruce Kings 7:00pm

2010-02-17 at Penticton Vees 7:00pm

2010-02-19 at Salmon Arm Silverbacks 7:30pm

2010-02-20 at Westside Warriors 7:00pm

2010-02-21 vs Surrey Eagles 2:00pm

Genoway Gets Vote:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Genoway gets vote

Published: June 18, 2009

University of North Dakota defenceman Chay Genoway has been named to the 2009 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America men’s at-large team by a vote of the College Sports Information Directors of America. Genoway was a third-team selection.
Genoway, who pocketed 17 goals and 49 points with the Vernon Vipers in the 2005-06 season, is a management major with a 3.64 cumulative grade point average.
Earlier this spring, Genoway was selected to his second straight All-WCHA Academic team and was named a WCHA Scholar Athlete for the second year in a row.
A native of Morden, Man., Genoway was named 2008-09 WCHA Defensive Player-of-the-Year after recording a career-high 32 points and tying for the team lead with a career-high 29 assists. He was also named to the All-WCHA first team and was named a second team All-American by the American Hockey Coaches Association.
Genoway will enter his senior season as the leading scorer among active WCHA defensemen. In 123 career games, Genoway has 16 goals and 64 assists for 80 points, leaving him 20 points away from becoming only the ninth defenceman in Sioux history to reach the 100-point plateau.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nyjer Morgan: One Reason For The Pitsburgh Pirates' Success:

I come across a good article on former Vernon Vipers Defenceman, Nyjer Morgan. The article is from May, 25th 2009 but I thought I would post it anyways.

Nyjer Morgan: One Reason for the Pitsburgh Pirates' Success

Nyjer Morgan is one of the big reason the Pirates are enjoying some success this year.

He has added some real spark to the top of the lineup, and been pivotal in the field.

In preparing this story, I was reading a lot of fan comments on the blogs, so many of them blasting Morgan.

Some said things like, “We are half way through ST (spring training) and Nyjer Morgan has not shown one single reason to deserve a starting job, to be frank, if it wasn't for the fact that we do not have anyone else to play CF, he doesn't deserve a spot in the bench.”

In fact, at the start of the season most described the former hockey player as nothing more than a placeholder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, until somebody better could get some minor league at bats and be called up. These comments seem sorely empty at this point in the season.

Now with a tight hamstring and a couple days off, John Russell and the Pirates were hoping that his absence would not slow the team down.

The funny thing is you don’t usually hear these folks apologizing for their comments. Morgan has impacted the team in all facets of the game—including hitting and fielding, to add to his base-running. If Morgan could hit for power, some might suggest that he is on track for an All-Star bid.

Morgan started the season off well and has not let up. His batting average just recently dipped down to .290, but there is no reason to believe it will not come back. He has 23 runs, 17 RBIs and 10 stolen bases on the young season. He has four three-hit games on the season. He also has five doubles and three triples.

If he has a weakness at the plate, it is that he does not walk enough for a lead-off hitter. But even his walks are up from last year, and it is making him a better hitter overall as he grows more patient.

“I’m a lot more comfortable," he said recently. "I’ve tried to slow the game down.”

In April he had just eight walks. There is evidence he is improving. He has 11 in May with six games left to play.

Perhaps very notable is that Morgan has added Gold Glove-type performances to left field as well. He has made so many over-the-shoulder catches taking away what are normal extra-base-hits, that they have come to be routine.

It is hard to think of another Pirate beyond Nate McLouth that can field like Morgan does. The Pirates have been playing Morgan well forward, and in from the left field line, because they know Morgan has the legs to get to balls that are hit over his head and can prevent doubles on hits up the line.

Morgan is actually taking hits away from Pirate opponents on a regular basis because of where they can place the speedster in the field—however, this does not always show up in the box scores.

Nyjer Morgan's Bio,


BCHL Trade's For The Month's Of April & May:

With the off season apon us, most of us will be on vacation, sitting by a pool or lake enjoying the summer months. While most if not all BCHL teams are already getting ready for this coming BCHL season reloading their rosters, as new recruits & off season trades have already started. I will be adding a new feature to my blog this season, as I will be updating all the trades across the league so all fans can keep up to date with whats going on with the other BCHL teams. I will be posting all trades at the end of each month, here's a look at trades that have happened in April & May, these have been posted on the BCHL League web site.

29-Apr-09 The Penticton Vees Hockey Club transfers the playing rights of Brodie Reid (F)(89) to the Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Club in exchange for the playing rights of Eric Filiou (F)(89).

30-Apr-09 The Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Club transfers the playing rights of Brodie Reid (F)(89) to the Brooks Bandits Hockey Club of the AJHL in exchange for the playing rights of John Stimson (F)(89).

30-Apr-09 The Powell River Kings Hockey Club transfers the playing rights of Taylor Pears (91)(G) to the Cowichan Valley Capitals Hockey Club as part of a future consideration transfer in Jan 2009.

04-May-09 The Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Club transfers the playing rights of Ryan Anseley (F)(90) to the Merritt Centennials Hockey Club for future considerations.

10-May-09 The Merritt Centennials Hockey Club of the BCHL acquire the playing rights of Chad Carder (G)(89) from the Grande Prairie Storm Hockey Club of the AJHL for the 2009-10 season resulting from a future consideration transaction between Merritt and Grande Prairie during the 2008-09 season.

14-May-09 The Victoria Grizzlies Hockey Club transfers the playing rights of Tyler Gubb (F)(89) to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Hockey Club for the 2009-10 season in order to complete a future transaction between Salmon Arm and Victoria that send the Jr A playing rights of Evan Pighin (F)(88) to Victoria for the 2008-09 season.

15-May-09 The Quesnel Millionaires Hockey transfers the playing rights of Jordan Principalli (D)(89) to the Cowichan Valley Capitals Hockey Club for the 2009-10 season to complete the 2008-09 transfer of Keifer Smiley (G)(90) from Cowichan to Quesnel.

15-May-09 The Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Club of the BCHL acquire the playing rights of Chad Carder (G)(89) from the Merritt Centennials Hockey Club.

19-May-09 The Victoria Grizzlies Hockey Club transfers the playing rights of Sam Higgins (D)(90) to the Quesnel Millionaires Hockey Club for the 2009-10 season in order to complete a Jan 2009 futures transaction that would send Sam Higgins to Quesnel.

19-May-09 The Victoria Grizzlies Hockey Club transfers the playing rights of Trevor Hertz (F)(89) to the Quesnel Millionaires Hockey Club for the 2009-10 season in order to complete a Jan 2009 futures transaction that would send Trevor Hertz back to Quesnel.

19-May-09 The Trail Smoke Eaters Hockey Club transfers the playing rights of Jeff Zmurchyk (D)(90) to the Merritt Centennials Hockey Club for the 2009-10 season to complete the Jan 2009 transfer of Chad Gehon to Merritt for Scott Jacklin and future considerations.

19-May-09 The Cowichan Valley Capitals Hockey Club acquire the playing rights of Ryan Green from the New Market Hurricanes Hockey Club of the OJHL in exchange for future considerations.

20-May-09 The Westside Warriors Hockey Club transfers the playing rights of Craig Eisenhut (F)(90) to the Victoria Grizzlies Hockey Club to complete the Jan 2009 transfer of Cam Reid from Victoria to Westside.

22-May-09 The Penticton Vees Hockey Club transfers the playing rights of Matt Ridley (D)(90) and future considerations to the Burnaby Express Hockey Club for the playing rights of Johnny Mahovolich (D)(89) and future considerations.

25-May-09 The Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Club of the BCHL transfers the playing rights of Zac Ashdown (F)(91) to the LaRonge Ice Dogs of the SJHL in order to complete a Dec 29, 2008 transaction that sent Mark Trousdell and future considerations from Nanaimo to LaRonge for Jonathan Jobin.

25-May-09 The Quesnel Millionaires Hockey Club acquire the playing rights of Brad Ryan (90) from the Calgary Canucks Hockey Club of the AJHL as the future consideration part of the Jan 2009 transfer that saw Mitchell Smith (F)(88) go to the Canucks.

28-May-09 The Trail Smoke Eaters Hockey Club transfer the playing rights of Jayson Reardon (D)(90) to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Hockey Club in exchange for the playing rights of Colin Lidster (F)(89).

28-May-09 The Penticton Vees Hockey Club acquire the playing rights of Ben Sexton (F)(91) from the Nepean Raiders of the CJHL in exchange for future considerations.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bruiser Brodie Brought His “A” Game:

This is on the Vipers web site:

Bruiser Brodie brought his “a” game

by viper staff Added 2009-06-17

When Cameron Brodie first came to Vernon from Burnaby in a January deadline trade, people around the Wesbild Centre were speaking in hushed tones about the muscular defenceman who hails from White Rock. A typical reaction was, “Did you see that new guy? His shoulders are so wide, he has to walk sideways to get through door ways!”

Such statements were somewhat exaggerated of course, but Cameron soon was wowing fans with bruising body checks that left opposing players sprawled on the ice. Up in the radio booth, the oft-repeated refrain was, “when Brodie hits you, you stay hit.”

Vernon was his sixth BCHL team. As he puts it, “I was in Surrey for a bit, and then I spent a good year in Langley. Next, I was in Trail for two years, which I enjoyed. Finally, my 20-year old year was the rockiest. First, Trail traded me to Merritt and things weren’t going well there, so they traded me to Burnaby, a contender at the time. Burnaby’s season fell apart too, so I couldn’t have been happier to be shipped to Vernon. Looking back, though, I wouldn’t change a thing because I’ve met so many great people in each place.”

He fit in seamlessly with the Vipers: “The coaches told me my role was to be a rough, tough, but mobile defenceman who could put some pucks on net, and I was more than comfortable with that role. The Viper system was easy to fit into, especially because the players were so warm and welcoming.”

Despite playing for three different teams this year, Cameron had his best season offensively, as he chipped in with 6 goals and 18 assists. He also had some big goals in the post-season, including a game winner in game 2 of the Doyle Cup and two goals in the Vipers’ RBC Cup semi-final win over Kingston. Here’s how he describes the first of those two goals: “It was pretty exciting to score at the national championship. I didn’t expect much from that point shot, just a quick one-timer that I tried to put on net. Luckily, their D-man skated past and tipped it up, top corner. I was ecstatic, actually.”

He was reluctant to leave the ice after winning the RBC Cup. Just as he had done after the Vipers’ other playoff series wins, he joined his mates for on-ice and dressing room celebrations. Then, with his cell phone he circled the ice and finally settled on the players’ bench, sharing the moment with friends and family. Perhaps, too, he wanted to milk a few more moments from his junior hockey career. After all, not many players get to close their junior days with a national title.

A nationally ranked rugby player, Cameron chose hockey because it promised a chance of a subsidized education. That choice paid off when his successes with the Vipers drew the attention of Colgate University. This fall, he will head to Colgate’s campus in upstate New York to play for the Raiders. He’ll go up against James Kerr’s Princeton Tigers and Scott Zurevinski’s Quinnipiac Bobcats, among others. At Colgate, says Cameron, “they want me to step right into their lineup in pretty much the same role as in the BCHL, to play physically and move the puck well. They say I’ll get some power play time.”

When pressed, Cameron agreed to provide the following advice for players who’ve been plugging away without team success or without getting a scholarship offer: “ just never give up, no matter what kind of situation you’re in, no matter where you play. Just play your hardest and as well as you can; just give everything you’ve got, because you never know who might be watching that game.”

Cameron has the size (6’1”, 215 lbs.) and the skill set to play pro hockey if he wishes. And he’s tough, too, as shown by his gutsy performances during the last six weeks of the season. A blocked shot in the fourth game of the Salmon Arm series led to a cracked bone in his foot. He was unable to play for two games, but then came back for the remainder of the playoffs, broken foot and all. Team doctor Gavin Smart found a way to anaesthetize Cameron’s foot so that the hard-hitting defenceman could skate. After the final game in the Salmon Arm series, the players stood and cheered him in the dressing room.

Cameron Brodie had a relatively brief career with the Vipers, but he made a huge impact. He will be hard to replace.

This series is about the Vipers’ departing heroes. In subsequent weeks, look for stories about, Mike Leidl, Ryan Santana, and Kyle Bigos.

Bigos Makes College Leap:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Bigos makes college leap

Published: June 16, 2009

No one’s stock rose more at the Royal Bank Cup National Junior A Hockey Championships than the Vernon Vipers’ Kyle Bigos.
The towering blueliner was the second leading scorer behind teammate Mike Collins in Victoria. He posted 2-7-9 and 18 penalty minutes in six games, earning tournament MVP and Top Defenceman.
The end result – the Upland, Calif. product’s services are in demand.
With the NHL Entry Draft going June 26-27 in Montreal, the question isn’t whether he’ll get selected, but how high?
The Merrimack Warriors, who Bigos committed to for the 2010-11 season, want him now. Vipers’ head coach/GM Mark Ferner would dearly love to keep him in Vernon.
But after much deliberation, Bigos has decided he is ready to play NCAA hockey next season.
“It was a tough decision for myself and my family, but I think I’m ready to play college hockey,” said Bigos, who recently attended a New Jersey Devils combine with the Vipers’ Cory Kane. “To end (last season) on a note like that – we were undefeated at the RBC.”
Ferner admits the chances are slim Bigos will stay in Vernon, but thinks he still has a chance of retaining the gentle giant’s services. Depending on which NHL team drafts him, Ferner believes they may want Bigos to stay in the B.C. Hockey League for another year of seasoning.
“If he does get drafted, which we feel he will... it depends on what team drafts him and what they want him to do,” said Ferner.
Added Bigos: “It’s pretty much my future, so if they wanted me to do that, then I’d do it. You can’t really worry because it’s out of your hands right now.”
If Bigos, 20, does move on to the NCAA, Ferner says it’s a credit to the Vipers’ organization.
“His scholarship wasn’t until next year, but he’s obviously improved to the point where they (Merrimack) think he’s ready. If he doesn’t stay, it means we’ve done our job. We’ve helped him develop ahead of schedule.”
The Vipers already have three veteran d-men graduating – Cameron Brodie (Colgate), Cody Ikkala (Army) and Mike Leidl. Losing Bigos, would mean another significant hole to fill on the back end.
“He’s 6-foot-5, 230 pounds – it’s tough to replace a player like that,” said Ferner. “If we lose him, it’s a big hole, but everyone loses their 20-year-olds.”

BCHL Changes Schedule:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

BCHL changes schedule

Published: June 16, 2009

After a season spent cultivating local rivalries, the B.C. Hockey League will return to a double-interlock schedule with all 17 teams making an appearance in each opposing arena in the 2009-10 season.
As a result, the Vernon Vipers will both host and visit every team in the upcoming BCHL season.
“It’s good for the fans because they get to see every team at least once,” said Vipers’ head coach/GM Mark Ferner.
Ferner noted the expansion Williams Lake Timberwolves have caused the league to tweak the regular-season schedule, and he’s not convinced the resulting changes are all that balanced.
The Vipers will play four of the five Southern Interior teams – Penticton Vees, Westside Warriors, Merritt Centenials and Trail Smoke Eaters – six times each in the regular season.
They will face the Salmon Arm SilverBacks seven times, as chosen via lottery, with the extra game being played at the Sunwave Centre.
That leaves the Vipers facing the three Northern Interior teams – Quesnel Millionaires, Prince George Spruce Kings and Timberwolves – four times each.
However, the northern teams get to play one another 10 times, which is the part that concerns Ferner.
“I’m not a big fan of it. We’re (southern teams) down here slugging it out, and Prince George gets to play 10 times against an expansion team,” said Ferner, noting expansion franchises have traditionally been weaker than established teams when they first enter the league.
Ferner admitted a more balanced schedule would likely mean more road trips up north.
“The travel would have been a pain, but we would have been fine with it.”
In other changes around the league, the Mainland and Island Divisions have been dissolved, leaving a total of eight teams competing in the Coastal Conference, and nine in the Interior.
The playoff structure for next season has also been adjusted, with two additional teams set to make postseason appearances. A total of seven representatives from each conference will qualify for the playoffs, with the top seeds in each receiving a first-round bye.
The remaining six teams in each conference will face off for the remaining three conference semifinals berths.
BCHL governors also adopted an NHL rule that states defending players will no longer be able to make a line change following an icing call.
The league also approved the addition of a clipping penalty, which penalizes certain hits made below the waist.

Rob Short & The Tigers On Playoff Prowl:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Tigers on playoff prowl

By Nicole Berg - Vernon Morning Star

Published: June 16, 2009

The Vernon Re/Max Tigers are in familiar territory once again.
With three games left in the Thompson-Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League regular season, the Cats (6-3-2) are second in the seven-team league, just two points behind the first-place South Okanagan Flames (7-2-2).
The Tigers pounced to second place after clipping the Rutland Raiders 7-5 Saturday night at the Wesbild Centre.
Vernon’s next game is against the Flames Saturday night at Wesbild. The teams tied 5-5 earlier in the season. The Flames grounded the Armstrong Shamrocks 9-6 Saturday night.
“I’m impressed with how the boys have rolled together a two-game win streak after our two big losses against the Kamloops teams,” said Tigers’ coach Rich Zecchel. “We’re in a good position in the standings now to make lots of noise come playoff time. In tonight’s game, our defence was very solid. Josh Phillips played a good game in making 37 saves. There also were only 12 minutes in penalties dished out to both teams, so that was really good to not be sitting in the penalty box for half the game, as we sometimes tend to do.”
The Tigers held a 3-0 lead after the first 20 minutes on singles by Miles Jespersen (2G), Ryan Landels (2+1), and Jordan Jarvis.
Rutland and Vernon played an even second period, with both teams cashing in two goals apiece. Sheldon McDonald and Kris Needham notched the Raiders’ goals, while Landels and Matt Kolb tallied for the Cats.
Rutland got their game together in the final period, stringing together three goals by Trevor Odegard shorthanded, Jared MacLennan, and Dillan MacLennan. Brennan Plante (1+2) and Jespersen responded for Vernon.
Veteran forward Patrick Quigley, who supplied an assist, and has three goals and eight assists on the year, played a great defensive game for the Tigers.
“Patrick played on defence today to fill in for a couple of injured players in Steven Clark and James Dobrowolski, who might be back for the next game,” said Zecchel. “He’s played a great year so far this season and is definitely one of our best leaders.”
“Coming off those three losses, we knew what to work on for the upcoming games,” said Quigley, who wears the ‘A’ on his chest. “The boys all realized we need to have a little more faith in ourselves and not be so hard on ourselves after we lose a game. We learned that we need to bounce back even harder after a loss to get the momentum going again and give us the confidence to win future games. Ultimately, we need to stop playing as individuals and more as a team, and that’s what will win you the games all the time, and that’s something we’ve definitely incorporated into our game plans.”
The Kamloops Rattlers and Kamloops Venom battled to a 4-4 tie Sunday night. The Rattlers are one point back of Vernon, while the Venom are three behind, with a game in hand.

For more on the Tigers check out there web site,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tragedy Strikes The Hockey World:

Former Chilliwack Chief goaltender dies after truck collides with deer

The Hamilton Spectator SMITHVILLE (Jun 10, 2009)

A one-time draft choice of the Los Angeles Kings was killed Monday night when a deer crashed through the windshield of his truck on former highway 20. Nathan Marsters, 29, of Smithville, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred just after 9 near Kimbo Road. The Kings selected Marsters, a goaltender, in the fifth round of the 2000 National Hockey League draft. Yesterday, Niagara police said Marsters died after the deer came through the windshield and struck him. "It was truly a tragic set of circumstances," said Constable Jacquie Forgeron. Marsters' truck ended up in a field where passersby tried to help him. He was alone in the truck. Police found that another car driven by a 71-year-old Wainfleet man had hit the same deer moments before the fatal collision. Police said the older man was eastbound on what is now called Regional Road 20, approaching Kimbo Road, when his car struck the deer crossing from south to north. Kimbo Road is just west of Smithville. The deer continued across the road and was struck by Marsters' westbound truck. After the collision, the pickup crossed through a ditch and stopped in a field on the north side of the road. Funeral arrangements for Marsters are being handled by the Stonehouse-Whitcomb Funeral Home
, 11 Mountain St., Grimsby. Niagara police ask that any witnesses to the accident call 905-688-4111, extension 5500.

This is on the Langley Chiefs web site:

Marsters, former Chilliwack Chiefs-RPI goalie, killed in car accident

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 - Submitted by Ken Schott

Nathan Marsters, a goalie with the RPI hockey team from 2000-04, was killed late Monday night when a deer crashed through the windshield of his pickup truck in Smithville, Ontario. Marsters was 29.

The 6-foot-4 Marsters played in 115 games with RPI. He posted a 57-50-6 record with a 2.55 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage and 10 shutouts. Marsters also played in the BCHL with the Chilliwack Chiefs during the 1999-2000 season.

"He was one of those guys everybody loved," said former teammate Ben Barr, who is now an assistant coach with Union. "He always had a smile on his face no matter how good or bad the day was going. It's tough. Obviously, on top of being a great goalie, he was a great person to be around. He's probably the nicest person I've ever met."
Kevin Broad was a freshman forward during Marsters' senior season.

"Nate was one of those guys that has this contagious laugh that I'll probably never forget," said Broad, who served as a volunteer assistant coach with the Engineers last season. "He was always laughing, always smiling. No matter what the situation, he could always make light of it. I was always impressed with how calming and relaxing a presence in the locker room as one of my leaders, yet how competitive how he was on the ice. You always knew what you were going to get with Nate on the ice."

The 2002-03 season was a struggle for Marsters. His GAA ballooned to a 3.41, and his save percentage dropped to .891. He split time in goal with Kevin Kurk. The Engineers finished 11th that season, and faced sixth-seeded and Capital Region-rival Union in the first round of the ECACH tournament.

The Engineers stunned the Dutchmen, sweeping the two-game series.While the series is best remembered for the two short-handed goals Barr scored 50 seconds apart in the third period in the series-clinching 3-2 win, Marsters' play in the two games was a major factor in RPI beating Union. He stopped 66 of the 69 shots he faced, helping RPI advance to the quarterfinals against Cornell.

"Nate was the type of person that when he knew that he was the guy and you were relying on him, that brought his game to a whole new level," former RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. "Before going into theplayoffs, I had a meeting with him, and told him he was going to be the guy. It was pretty obvious what happened during that series. He was incredible."