Monday, May 31, 2010

Kaner Takes The Next Step:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Kaner takes the next step

by viper staff Added 2010-05-31

He’s the kind of player you’d like to see stay one more year, but Cory Kane will spend his 20-year old campaign with the Ferris State Bulldogs in Michigan.

Known variously as “Kaner” and “Danger Man”, the 6’3, 190 lb. speedster from Irvine, California has thrilled Viper fans with his rushes and powerful shot in his two years with the local club. Observers fully expected him to be drafted by the NHL last year, and were surprised when Cory’s name wasn’t called.

In a recent conversation, he had a sense of wonder in his voice when he said, “I came up here to play a little hockey, and we win two national championships. Amazing!”

To some extent, his arrival in Vernon was the product of a happy accident. As he describes it, “Ferns and Willie saw me at a showcase in Anaheim. They were actually there to scout Chewy (Steve Weinstein). I asked them for a tryout … I wasn’t promised anything, but I made the team, which I really wanted to do when I saw how the Vipers do things.”

He adds, “It’s been a blast. It’s not just living here, or playing for the Vipers. It’s everything; I mean, this is a real hockey town. Everyone seems to love the game, so I feel right at home. Back in L.A., it’s baseball, it’s football. Those sports are O.K., but I love hockey.”

He got hooked on hockey in the Los Angeles area when he was just “5 or 6.” He watched his older brother Chris play and said, “Get me out there!” (By the way, Chris played college hockey at Merrimac College in Boston, where Mike Collins will be re-united with Kyle Bigos this fall. Chris made the trip to Dauphin to see Cory play in the RBC Cup this May.)

Cory played most of his minor hockey in L.A., for the L.A. Wave and the L.A. Selects. Then he spent a year and half in the Boston area playing Jr. “B” and Jr. “A” for the Boston Jr. Bruins.

Since coming to Vernon, Cory has worked hard at becoming a complete player. He became one of the Vipers’ fiercest body checkers, a part of the game that he really enjoys. His size, strength, and shot prompted the Viper coaches to play him at left wing, including a lengthy stint with the Jones brothers earlier this past season. He had some success at that position, most notably against Trail. He notched 6 goals and 3 assists in four games playing on the wing against the Smoke Eaters in the early going.

However, his natural position is centre, where he can wheel and deal coming out of his zone. “Yeah, I loved playing with Connor and Kellen. Who wouldn’t? But I have to admit that I have more fun at centre, playing the full length of the rink, and having more room to move.” A classic example of the Danger Man’s ability to create plays from his zone came in this year’s RBC final game, when he opened the scoring. He picked up a loose puck in his zone, wheeled around, out- skated his check to the Dauphin zone and unleashed a shot from the right faceoff circle to beat the goalie on the stick side.

He collected 28 goals and 43 assists in the regular season and playoffs this year. He had expected more goals, but he says that his shot had lost some velocity compared to last year, when he had 26 goals. This year he went to a shorter stick in order to improve puck control, but he “switched back to a longer stick in the Powell River series and started to shoot the puck better. I had some goals down the stretch, so I think it worked.”

He admits to having mixed feelings about leaving Vernon. “I guess I have to move on, but this was a great place to be. We were treated so well.”

When asked about the opinion, expressed by many, that he has all the tools to make it to the NHL, he replies, “We’ll see. Of course, that’s what you want, but there have been a lot of good players here in Vernon. I hope we all make it. In the meantime, I have to work on a lot of things, like my shot and my hockey smarts.”

Former Viper Pierce Signs Extension Through 2013:

Merritt head coach Pierce signs extension through 2013

Thursday, May 27, 2010 - Submitted by BCHL Media

The British Columbia Hockey League's Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce that Head Coach and General Manager Luke Pierce has agreed to terms of a three-year contract extension through the 2012/13 season.

"This signing is a significant step in achieving our goal of becoming a strong contender in the BCHL," said Centennials President Jerry Canuel. "This provides our organization with the stability and long-term focus necessary for success. Luke is well respected in our community and despite his relatively short time in the BCHL, he is also very well respected by other teams and coaches. He has a passion for the game and he embraces the 'team' attitude and philosophy."

Pierce took over head coaching duties in November following the departure of Dylan Forsythe and led the Centennials to their first playoff appearance since the 2006/07 season.

"The Centennials Board of Directors felt that with the team's improvement in the latter part of last season along with the enthusiasm and passion Luke has for hockey and our community, it was essential for him to be involved in the future and overall direction of our organization," said Cents Governor and Director of Hockey Operations Brian Barrett.

With the extension announced, Pierce turns his attention to building on a successful season with a core of talent that includes leading scorer Dustin Johnson, rookie stand-out Jeff Jones and 2010 BCHL All-Star Steve Tresierra.

"I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to continue my young coaching career here in Merritt," said Pierce. "The Centennials and this community have a very special meaning to me not only as a hockey coach, but also as a proud resident of the Nicola Valley."

"My goal for the next three years is to create a culture here with our players that our fans can directly relate to," continues Pierce. "Along with the Board of Directors, my aim is to establish the Centennials as the pride of this city and in time, I believe we will accomplish that."

Former Viper Morgan Moved From Leadoff Hitter:

This is posted on the Nationals website:

Morgan to hit second vs. Astros

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman has decided to hit Nyjer Morgan second in the batting order against the Astros on Monday afternoon.

Normally the leadoff hitter, Morgan is moving down a notch because he is in a slump, going 20-for-99 [.202] with a .262 on-base percentage during the month of May.

"The only place I can move him is second," Riggleman said after Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Padres. "Nyjer is not going to play for you if he doesn't hit first or second. It doesn't make sense to put him anywhere else. I may take a little pressure off him to hit second for a little while. Whether you are hitting first or second, you still have to get on base."

When told of Riggleman's decision, Morgan said he could deal with hitting lower in the order.

"It doesn't bother me," Morgan said. "You have to be there for the squad. Things are not happening. I'm in a funk right now."

Asked if he was healthy, Morgan said, "Everything is fine. I'm having a tough time right now, I just have to battle through it. I just have a little adversity."

Who will be Washington's leadof hitter on Monday? It will be either Cristian Guzman or Adam Kennedy. Guzman has been the team's best hitter thus far. He leads the Nationals in batting average [.321] and hits [51]. Kennedy is hitting .250, but has a .352 on-base percentage.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Humboldt Gets 2012 Royal Bank Cup:

This is posted on the SJHL website:


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hockey Canada has awarded the 2012 RBC Cup to Humboldt and the SJHL's Broncos.

While nothing official has been forthcoming as of Sunday afternoon, several reliable sources have indicated that each of the four finalists to host the 2012 event have been notified as to the decision. Humboldt was competing with Alberni Valley (BC), Fort MacMurray (AB), and Kingston (ON).

Humboldt won the RBC Cup in 2008 and finished as the runner-up in 2009. They also won three straight SJHL championships from 2007-2009.

The club is already in full rebuild mode in advance of having a highly competitive team in 2012.

Defenseman Tanner Clark, who played this year as a 16-year-old, will be a 3-year veteran with two eligible seasons remaining by the time May 2012 rolls around. Other players on the current roster that may still be around come May 2012 include defenseman Josh Roach (92), and forwards Neil Landry (92) and Troy Gasper (92). Other players from this year's club that could still be eligible include defenseman Garrett Leedahl (91), forward Spencer Baht (91), forward Taylor Johnson (91), defenseman Cade Kimery (91), and forward Brendan Kotyk (91).

More details from Hockey Canada are expected later today or Monday.

Vipers Land Thunder Bay Scoring Leader:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers land Thunder Bay scoring leader

By Graeme Corbett - Vernon Morning Star

Published: May 29, 2010

He has gone from one of the Vernon Vipers’ biggest fans to one of their most highly-prized prospects.

Thunder Bay’s Todd Skirving was glued to his computer monitor this spring, making use of the B.C. Hockey League’s Pay Per View feature to witness the Snakes’ impressive run to a second straight Royal Bank Cup crown.

A standout with the Thunder Bay AAA Midget Kings last season, Skirving has committed to play with the Vipers for the 2010-11 season. As excited as the Vipers are to have him, Skirving is equally thrilled to be coming to the Okanagan.

“If you wanted a kid that was more excited to play here, I don’t think you could find one,” said Vipers’ assistant coach Jason Williamson. “He had lots of schools on him, but this was his first choice.”

In 76 games as the Kings’ captain, Skirving collected 46 goals and 63 assists to lead Northern Lakes Hockey League scoring with 109 points, earning league MVP in the process.

The 18-year-old centreman says the BCHL brand of hockey, and the Vipers’ winning credentials are what drew him to the club.

“They’ve got a winning tradition and great coaching in Mark Ferner and Jason Williamson,” said Skirving. “It’s good hockey out there, probably the best Junior A hockey in Canada by far.”

While he has yet to visit Vernon, Skirving has twice played with the Kings at the Kelowna International Major Midget Tournament. He collected 2-5-7 in five games at the most recent tourney, held over the Christmas holiday.

“He was one of the best players at the tournament, and one of the best we’ve scouted all year,” said Williamson.

Describing the 6-foot-2, 175 pounder as a solid all-around player, Williamson says Skirving skates well for a big player and offers sound offensive instincts and leadership skills.

Skirving was sought after by numerous USHL, OHL and other Junior A organizations across North America, and is already being courted by NCAA schools.

Noonan Banks Beantown Scholly:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Noonan banks Beantown scholly

By Graeme Corbett - Vernon Morning Star

Published: May 29, 2010

It took Garrett Noonan just one season to accomplish what many B.C. Hockey Leaguers struggle for years to uncover – an NCAA scholarship.

Noonan, a no-nonsense, stay-at-home defenceman last year with the Vernon Vipers, will play this season with the Boston University Terriers.

It is probably a year sooner than the Snakes were expecting. They were looking for Noonan to fill the role of top shutdown defenceman, on a blueline that has already lost veterans Dan Nycholat, Curtis Gedig and Kevin Kraus to graduation or college commitments.

“Garrett was going to be a huge part of our defence this year, but any time you get a chance to play for Boston, especially if you’re from there, you gotta take it,” said Vipers’ assistant coach Jason Williamson. “It was a pretty tough decision for him, but in the end I think he made the right one.”

For the 19-year-old Norkfolk, Mass., playing for a team he grew up watching is a dream come true.

“Growing up I’ve always wanted to play for BU, and in the Beanpot (tournament with the four Boston-area college teams – Harvard Crimson, Northeastern Huskies, Boston College Eagles and Terriers),” said Noonan, a long-suffering Toronto Maple Leafs fan who lists Los Angeles Kings’ defencemen Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty as his favourite players.

“It was a great feeling (signing), but I’m definitely going to miss Vernon. Ferns and Willy (coaches Mark Ferner and Williamson) were the best coaches I ever had. I also want to thank my billets, Rick and Lynne Chisholm.”

Noonan was looking forward to another season with the Vipers, but when some spots on the Terrier blueline opened up, he says their scouts came calling.

“They were probably watching Sahir (Gill, BU prospect)... a few of their guys signed in the NHL so they were looking for d-men. It was a lucky situation to jump in with all these other guys leaving,” he said.

From the time Noonan came to the Vipers’ main camp last September, Williamson says he stood out.

“He just really competed hard. He came in as a bit of an unknown, but right away we could see he could play.”

Noonan posted a pair of goals, 16 helpers and 60 penalty minutes in 58 regular-season games with Vernon. He added nine points in 32 post-season games, helping the Vipers earn a Royal Bank Cup title earlier this month in Dauphin, Man.

Competition in the Hockey East conference should be interesting this season, as Noonan will have the task of shutting down former roommate and Boston-area native, Mike Collins, who is joining former Viper d-man Kyle Bigos on the Merrimack Warriors. He will also have to contend with forward Braden Pimm (Northeastern Huskies).

Fortunately, Noonan will have a few Viper connections on the Terriers as he and Gill will join sophomore forward Ryan Santana.

And all three of Noonan’s coaches attended his high school – Catholic Memorial. Head coach Jack Parker played there in the 1960s, assistant Buddy Powers in the early ‘70s, and associate head coach Mike Bavis in the late ‘80s.

“When I went there on a visit, they made me feel right at home,” said Noonan, who plans to study communications with the hope of entering sports broadcasting.

Said Parker: “We’re excited to have him in our fold. The kid has figured out the game in all three zones, and not only does he understand his position, but he understands every position out there.

“He has a solid sense of what’s going on out there.”

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Vipers Recruit MVP Skirving:

Yesterday the Vipers announced on their website the team has added 18 yr old forward, Todd Skirving who has committed to the Vipers for this coming year. I have done some research and by the sounds of things it sounds like Skirving is the real deal. Last season, Todd put up some extremely impressive numbers while playing for the Thunder Bay Midget AAA Kings. In 76 games, he scored 46 goals and 63 assists for 109 points. He was also named MVP of the NLHL (Northern Lakes AAA Midget Hockey League) which he led in scoring. The 6’2” and 175lb Skirving was sought after by several USHL, OHL and many other Junior A teams across Canada. He is also being recruited by many NCAA schools already. Welcome to Vernon Todd! All the best this coming season as a Viper!

Here is what one scout said on the scouting news website about Todd Skirving,

A rebuilding Junior A team would be smart to focus their spring recruiting efforts on signing Thunder Bay AAA (1992 DOB) prospect Todd Skirving.

Here's a good article I found on the NLHL website,

Skirving wins NLHL MVP with league lead in points

FARIBAULT, Minn. – Todd Skirving had a point in 18 of the 20 games the Thunder Bay Kings played, including multiple points in eight of those games. Skirving’s nine goals and 33 points in those 18 games were good enough to lead the league, and also earn him MVP honors.

“Todd brings leadership and tremendous hockey skill and knowledge to our team, which makes the players around him better,” Thunder Bay coach Steve Bailot said in November when Skirving was awarded NLHL Player of the Month. “He loves the game of hockey so much that he competes at such a high level on and off the ice, which is very contagious to the rest of the team.”

Perhaps Skirving’s biggest game of the season was on December 29 with the Capital Centre Pride in town. Skirving earned assists in each of the first two periods, then another early in the third, but the Kings were still down 5-3.

On the power play Skirving earned his fourth assist on a goal to bring it within one, then scored 30 seconds later to tie the game at 5. Finally, with 19 seconds left in the game Skirving found the back of the net again, giving the Kings the win and setting a single-game NLHL record with six points in a game.

Skirving was also named to the NLHL First Team where he joined fellow top scorers Nicholas Weberg from Shattuck St. Mary’s and the Pride’s Brandon Flood.

NLHL 1st Team, as voted by NLHL coaches
F-Todd Skirving #10, Thunder Bay Kings
F - Brandon Flood #26, Capital Centre Pride
F-Nicholas Weberg #18, Shattuck St. Mary's
D - Brandon Carney #4, Capital Centre Pride
D-Jeremy Gravedoni #6, Soo Indians
G-Marcus Zelzer #1, Shattuck St. Mary's

Todd Skirving, Thunder Bay Kings

League Regular Season Champion
Shattuck AAA

NLHL League Top Scorer
Todd Skirving, Thunder Bay – 9G-24A=33 Pts

So far on paper it sounds as if the Vipers have landed them selfs a goal scorer and play maker. After losing most of this years team this is just what the Vipers need. It will be interesting to find out who their other new recruits are.

The Vipers will be in a rebuilding year this year with just eight returning players from this years coming back. (David Robinson, Adam Thompson, Bryce Kakoske, Dylan Walchuk, Steve Weinstein, Patrick McGillis, Darrin Robak & Blake Voth) The Vipers have now three players committed for this coming season (Trevor Fitzgerald (AP), Aaron Hadley & now Todd Skirving)

I sure hope the Vipers have recruited well because their are some tough spots to replace and some kid's that have been a part of this Vipers team for a good three or four years. Some of these kids dont come around too often and will be missed. Gone are (Connor Jones, Kellen Jones, Sahir Gill, Jonathan Milhouse, Rob Short, Dan Nycholat, Cory Kane, Cole Ikkala, Braden Pimm, Mike Collins, Garrett Noonan, Curtis Gedig, Kevin Kraus and Graeme Gordon)

Going into training camp last year Mark Ferner and the coaching staff basically had their roster picked with 14 veterans returning. A few trades and new recruits and the team was ready for another run at the RBC Cup. This year is going to be a little different. With just eight players returning and three new recruits committed the Vipers have some big holes to fill. This coming year the Vipers do have two twenty yr old roster spots open, as where last season all six twenty yr old roster spots were filled before training camp. Will Mark Ferner pull off a few trades over the summer and fill these spots? Or will he wait until the season gets going. It will be interesting to see if Mark makes any trades over the summer.

It's going to be very hard if not impossible to try and fill the holes of Connor & Kellen Jones. What can you say about these two kids. If it wasnt for their scholarship both would be back for another season in Vernon, something thats very hard to be believe. These two kids were the heart and soul of the Vipers, two of the hardest working kids I have ever seen. Two of the deadliest penalty killers in the league, how many times did we see these two find the back of the net shorthanded over the past four seasons? Also two of the most exciting players I have watched in all my years following Junior hockey here in Vernon. Then you have local boy Robbie Short, Short was another player who was here for four seasons and was always a fan favorite. Many picked Short to be named Captain this yr and were very dissapointed when he wasnt. One of the quickest kids in the league, played physical, worked hard, played hard and competed game in, game out, Short gave it his all each and every shift. Cole Ikkala & Braden Pimm are two kids that the Vipers will miss this coming season. Another two hard working kids that gave it their all each and every shift. Pimm was so key on the penalty kill and draw for Vernon over his three seasons, worked hard at both ends of the rink, battled and competed hard every game. With Ikkala it wasnt the points but the work he did to create or setup the goals or big plays. This kid did all the work down low, in the corners etc that made for the big play or big goal. Two great kids that will be missed. Mike Collins, I dont think I have seen anyone score more game winners, late goals or key goals in his two seasons here in Vernon. Collins was clutch late in games and score I dont know how many overtime winners or game winners late in a hockey game. I will never forget Collins breakaway goal in Westside late in the season scoring with just two seconds remaining on the clock to give the Vipers the huge comeback victory. Who can forget last year when the Vipers & Silverbacks were battling it out for 1st place late in the season and Collins scored the OT winner to give Vernon the lead in the Interior Conference Standings. Collins wasnt the biggest kid, but was in my mind Mr Clutch. Of course all of the departing players played key roles on this years & last years team, these were just a few that really stood out in my mind. These are the kids that will be missed and be hard to replace. Your not only losing experienced players from a RBC Cup winning team but players that have been here the past three-four years. Kids that know how to win, know what it takes to win and know what its like to be a Vernon Viper. These are the kids that will be hard to replace.

This is Junior Hockey, coaches, gm's and kids come and go, new faces, new team mates, new names and numbers, & new challenges. Can the Vipers win the Interior Conference again? Can the Vipers repeat for the third year in a row as Fred Page Cup Champions? Will the Vipers be the first team to win three straight National Titles? I have no idea, this is all part of Junior Hockey and why I love it so much. Each year is a new year with new kids and new challenges. Knowing the Vipers scouting team, Mark Ferner and Jason Williamson and Duncan Wray I know all these men will do their best to put the best team possible on the ice. It also helps winning back to back National Championships, you can bet the Vipers phone is ringing off the hook with kids wanting to come play here. Back in 1991 the Vernon Lakers had just four returning players back from the 1990 Centennial Cup team and still won back to back National Championships, so anything can happen. I look forward to watching this years version of the Vernon Vipers, watching them build and grow as a team and seeing what this team can do come playoff time.

You can never complain when us Vernon fans dont know how lucky we really are. Some teams go five or ten years before winning a division title, or winning the Fred Page Cup. Some teams go once or twice all the way, heck some teams have yet to win a league title, the RBC Cup even a division title. & here we are coming off back to back National Championships.

Congrats Garrett!

Id like to take this time to congratulate Vipers defenceman, Garrett Noonan on his scholarship with Boston University. Noonan improved as the season went along and seemed to get better and better game in and game out, I thought Garrett was the most improved player for the Vipers over the course of the season and was looking forward to having the Boston native return to Vernon for another season. Thanks for a great season Garrett and congrats on winning the RBC Cup! I wish you all the best at Boston University and the rest of your hockey career.

Noonan will now join former Vipers Ryan Santana & Sahir Gill in Boston this coming hockey season. This is a great addition for the Terriers but a big loss for the Vipers. Vernon was excpecting to have Noonan return next season for his second year with the Vipers but instead now lose a solid d-man. With Noonan heading off to Boston University, the Vipers have just three d-men returning from this years RBC Cup team. Adam Thompson, Steve Weinstein and Darrin Robak. Thompson and Weinstein will be back for their third season's with Robak coming back for his 2nd season. Thompson and Weinstein will be the two leaders on the Vernon blueline with Robak seeing very limited icetime this past season, the rookie d-man from Alberta will get his first year of full time duties on the Vipers backend. In the games I did see Robak play I was very impressed. With a little work from Mark Ferner and Jason Williamson Robak looks like a good future d-man. Dont forget Robak can also play up front, as he was forced into the forward position several times through out the season this year. Some ice time and getting into the lineup on a constant basis and Robak will be just fine.

It will be interesting to see if the Vipers have recruited any other defencemen, or will they try and pull off a trade or two to upgrade the blueline. With just three d-men back from this year the Vipers defence looks like it has a few holes to fill. With four twenty year olds returning next season (David Robinson, Adam Thompson, Bryce Kakoske, & Steve Weinstein) will Mark Ferner try and aquire another veteran 20 yr old d-man to add to the backend?

Here's a write up on Noonan signing with Boston University,

Friday, May 28, 2010

Skirving Committs To Vipers:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Skirving committs to Vipers!

by viper staff Added 2010-05-28

The Vernon Vipers hockey club is excited the announce that Todd Skirving, an 18 year old centre from Thunder Bay, has committed to play for the Vipers for the 2010/2011 season.

Last season, Todd put up some extremely impressive numbers while playing for the Thunder Bay Midget AAA Kings. In 76 games, he scored 46 goals and 63 assists for 109 points. He was also named MVP of the NLHL (Northern Lakes AAA Midget Hockey League) which he led in scoring.

The 6’2” and 175lb Skirving was sought after by several USHL, OHL and many other Junior A teams across Canada. He is also being recruited by many NCAA schools already.

Todd is a very good all around player. He skates well for a big player and has good offensive skills. Todd was the Captain of the Kings and will bring a good heart working attitude to Vernon.

The Vipers coaching staff is very excited to have the opportunity to be working with Todd and would like to welcome him to the team.

Nicol Wants Vipers Recognized:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Nicol wants team recognized

By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star

Published: May 27, 2010

A veteran politician doesn’t believe Canada’s six-time junior A hockey champions get the respect they deserve.

Coun. Patrick Nicol insists the Vernon Vipers are never fully acknowledged for contributing to tourism or the economy.

“They generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in meals and hotels and they are under-recognized in tourism,” he said.

“They have a long schedule and there’s the publicity they bring to the community. They never get the recognition about what they bring to economic development over the winter. It’s a significant business.”

As part of that, Nicol wants Vernon to bid for a future RBC Royal Bank Cup, the national championship. He has support from Coun. Jack Gilroy.

“It’s a great economic development thing with people coming to the city,” said Gilroy.

However, Gilroy admits there are challenges with hosting such a large event, including the up-front costs.

He would like city staff to contact Dauphin, Man., which hosted this year’s Royal Bank Cup.

“We should find out how they did,” he said.

In July 2009, Vernon council voted not to bid for the 2011 RBC Royal Bank Cup because hosting rights had just become available and the deadline for submissions was just two weeks away.

At the time, council was told that about $350,000 would be required for hosting such an event.

Michelle Jefferson, the city’s tourism manager, says generating revenue for such an event could be difficult because of exclusive sponsorship deals Hockey Canada has signed with national corporations.

“So many of our locals (businesses) would not be able to provide sponsorships,” she said.

Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe believes sports tournaments are just one aspect of tourism that Vernon needs to consider.

“Sports tourism needs some focus. It’s been largely ignored but it’s a matter of finding the funds and the focus,” she said.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pimmer – Mr. Jokester And Dr. Hustle:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Pimmer – mr. jokester and dr. hustle

by viper staff Added 2010-05-27

If you didn’t have the opportunity to see Braden Pimm play hockey, if you saw him only off the ice, you might be surprised by his intense passion for his chosen sport.

Away from the rink, or even relaxing in the team room, Braden Pimm is a younger version (he would say “much younger version”) of Bill Murray. His studied insouciance and devilish grin, together with his tendency to be “Brazen” Pimm, ready to do anything for a bit of fun, certainly have endeared him to his team mates.

Ask any Viper whom they will most miss on the bus trips and the informal team gatherings and “Pimmer” will immediately be named. Of course, the entertainment gene is treasured not just for its ability to relieve boredom; guys like Braden contribute a great deal to team morale. And his ability to selectively “goof around” is not forced behaviour; it is absolutely spontaneous.

Take for example, the May 11 celebration at City Hall. While the team stood on the stage with Mayor Lippert, Braden was up in a tree behind the stage. And last fall when the 2009 RBC rings were handed out, the players all enthusiastically shook the team owner’s hand, but Braden hugged Dr. Wray and proffered a friendly kiss.

On the ice, Dr. Hustle takes over. The wiry 6-footer not only skates well; he works hard in all areas of the ice. That’s one of the reasons he’s killed penalties all three years with the Vipers. His anticipation and ability to read the play have helped him score 7 short handed goals in his Viper career, including that important opening goal against Spruce Grove in the deciding game of this year’s Doyle Cup.

The secret to killing penalties, says Braden, “is having a really good partner. My first year, I paired with Bish (Hunter Bishop). It was all offence with him – block a shot, get the puck out, and he’d go get it! The last two years, Mike (Collins) and I have had good chemistry. I guess when it comes down to it, PK is mostly hard work, though.”

At 175 pounds, Braden’s not considered “big” by hockey standards, but he plays big, especially when playing defence deep in his zone and in laying forecheck hits on opposing defencemen. Despite this physical side to his game, he has been amazingly durable. He has missed only one game in three years of regular season and playoff hockey.

He started playing the game in his hometown of Fort St. John, but went to Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Saskatchewan to hone his game while in high school. There, he played with Kyle Bigos, among others.

He says his decision to come to Vernon was “the best decision [he] ever made. A really well-run franchise, great players and coaches, and a super place to live. Can’t go wrong there, Klepper!” He has especially fond words for owner Duncan Wray: “Nobody has more passion for the game and for winning, and nobody comes closer to a heart attack in the close games. He’s been really good to us, and I’m glad we could snag two RBC Cups for him.”

Braden attributes much of the success in the past two seasons to an especially tight-knit group of players. “Yeah, we called ourselves a band of brothers last year because that’s what we were and it just carried over to this year. We had so many guys back, and the new guys just fit in. I think we believed in each other. Going into the final game against Dauphin, we had a quiet confidence.”

He will carry that championship feeling with him to Northeastern University this fall. Actually, he’s going early. He will leave on July 7 for Boston, so that he can take a summer school class and prepare for his new role as a full-time student athlete.

He leaves with this piece of philosophy: “I like to have fun, but the most fun is winning and I’ll do just about anything for that feeling.”

Noonan Commits To Boston University:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Noonan goes to bu!

by viper staff Added 2010-05-27 Back

May 27, 2010

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club is pleased to announce that Garrett Noonan has accepted an athletic scholarship to attend Boston University for the 2010/2011 season.

Noonan, a Boston Mass. Native, spent just one season playing for the Vipers but was an integral part of the teams National Championship run. He improved immensely throughout the season and this did not go unnoticed by NCAA scouts. He will now be joining one of the most prestigious and storied programs in all of the NCAA.

Garrett becomes the 3rd Viper in the last two seasons to commit to Boston University. He will be joining Ryan Santana and Sahir Gill who are also members of the Terriers hockey team.

The Vipers staff and team are very proud of Garrett’s recent achievement and wish him the best of luck in the future. If you have any further questions please contact the Vipers office at 250 542 6022

Tourism Plans Could Include RBC Bid:

This is posted on the Kiss FM website:

Tourism Plans Could Include RBC Bid

Written by Peter McIntyre

Wednesday, 26 May 2010 17:05

Hosting a future Royal Bank Cup could be a way of boosting tourism in Vernon.
The city's tourism manager Michelle Jefferson, will take a look at the costs and support for making a bid for the national Junior A hockey championship.

Councillor Jack Gilroy is surprised a small city like Dauphin, Manitoba, with 8,000 residents, was able to host it this year.

"It was a $300,000 bill for the city to put that on up front, so I'd like to see how Dauphin did it because I know that we could support this.There's a lot of people in this town who want it to come here. It's a great economic development thing with people coming to the city, and it's a national event."

Councillor Patrick Nicol, who raised the idea of hosting the tournament, says bidding for the event would be a way to show appreciation for the Vernon Vipers franchise ---who he feels are under recognized for their economic impact to the city.

"It's huge, and if you didn't have them it would be interesting to see the number of (restaurant) meals lost, hotel rooms lost."

Jefferson told council the tournament can carry a hefty cost, making it a risky endeavour to put on as past hosts like Prince George and Victoria found out.

She says they would need community support for the idea, before moving forward with a bid.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Former Viper Bishop & The Bulldogs Fall In Game 7:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Hunter Bishop & the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs season come to an end tonight with a 4-2 loss in Game 7 to the Texas Stars. In 12 playoff games Bishop recorded a single assist.

For more on tonight's Game 7,

Former Viper & Senior Captain Chay Genoway Will Return To Sioux In '10-11

This is posted on North Dakota's website:

Senior captain Chay Genoway will return to Sioux in '10-11

Thursday 05/06/2010 14:34:04 (ET) by Jayson Hajdu, UND Athletic Media Relations

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - University of North Dakota senior captain Chay Genoway announced today that he will return to the Fighting Sioux for the 2010-11 season. The announcement was made at a press conference at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Genoway missed most of the 2009-10 season after suffering from post concussion syndrome caused by an illegal hit in a Nov. 13 game against St. Cloud State. The Morden, Manitoba, native has applied for and received from the NCAA a medical hardship, granting him a fifth year of eligibility.

In nine games prior to the injury, Genoway was leading all WCHA defensemen in points (10) and goals (four), with each of his goals coming on the power play. UND was 7-1-1 with Genoway in the lineup. Despite having his season cut short, Genoway was named to the 2009-10 All-WCHA Third Team.

Genoway entered the 2009-10 season as the WCHA's leading scorer among active defensemen. With 90 points in 132 career games, Genoway is on the verge of becoming only the ninth Sioux defenseman to reach the 100-point plateau.

A three-time All-WCHA selection, Genoway was a second-team AHCA All-American in 2008-09, when he recorded a career-high 32 points in 42 games. He was also named WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and was selected to the All-WCHA First Team. That season Genoway was also named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American third team and received his second straight WCHA Scholar-Athlete Award.

The Fighting Sioux went 25-13-5 last season and won the Broadmoor Trophy as Red Baron WCHA Final Five champions. UND also secured its eighth consecutive berth in the NCAA postseason tournament, the longest active streak in the WCHA.

Watch Chay Genoway's live press conference on his return,

Watch North Dakota head coach, Dave Hakstol on his thoughts on Chay Genoway's return,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vernon Will Miss The Jones Twins:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vernon will miss the Jones twins

by Don Klepp Added 2010-05-25

At roughly 5’9 and 165 pounds each, Kellen and Connor Jones are usually among the smaller players on the ice, but they will leave a huge hole to fill when they depart for Quinnipiac this fall.

“They’re just special,” says Coach Mark Ferner, “they have all this speed and skill, but they work like demons and go to all the hard areas. The other Vipers and we coaches have been better because they’ve been on the team. We’ll get other good players here, other exciting players, but I doubt that we’ll ever see anything quite like them again.”

One of the question marks about the twins is how well each would play without the other. That issue was raised, for example, when Kellen’s cracked collar bone forced him to miss 10 games early in the 2008-09 season and Connor had just 7 points in that span.

However, that issue was surely laid to rest this year. When Kellen missed 10 games in the middle of the season with a broken jaw, Connor registered 22 points while playing with a variety of wingers. Kellen says, “When I was out of action, I was looking at Connor and thinking ‘who is this guy? Why are we playing together? He should be playing in a higher league or something.”

Then, Connor was injured for the most of this year’s RBC tournament. All Kellen did was lead his team in goals (5) and tie for the tournament lead in scoring (9 points).

The incident when Kellen’s jaw was broken illustrated how tough these guys are. Instead of lying on the ice squirming and crying out (like Spruce Grove’s Tyler Hart when hit in the jaw by a Kevin Kraus shot in game 2 in Spruce Grove), Kellen quickly picked himself up and roared to the bench, shedding equipment as he went.

Connor took pain tolerance to a new level as well. He suffered a severe ankle sprain early in the Spruce Grove series, but kept on playing. He played a large role in the Vipers’ 7-3 win in the 7th game of that series, scoring twice and setting up Kellen’s winner. He admits that “yeah, I was basically playing on one leg for the last few games, but Kellen and Giller played phenomenal.”

They were fortunate to not hurt each other in an incident in the final game of the RBC. They crashed into one another, both players going hard to the ice. As they picked themselves up and made their way to the bench, the competitive chirping started, as it often does when they don’t meet their own high standards.

And that’s when it started to get funny, as the Vipers on the bench took sides. Connor says, “On the bench everybody started chirping too, and even the Dauphin guys got into it. I said, ‘come on guys, I’m just trying to walk here!”

Here’s how Connor describes the actual collision: “Kel made a good move, but I was watching him, so he could’ve made another move and gone around me. Then he got mad at me because he didn’t make that extra move.”

Kellen’s version is a little different: “I guess I should have known that he had a bad ankle and he was just standing there. All I know is that I rocked him!”

As their minor hockey careers have progressed, the twins have taken turns in the sniper and passer roles. With the Vipers, however, Connor has scored more (119 goals and 167 assists in 244 games) and Kellen has set up more goals (72 goals and 185 assists in 239 games).

Kellen explains that “when we started playing with Hunter Bishop in our first year, that guy could shoot the puck so I just fed him and Connor.” Connor concurs. “Kellen is a playmaker. If you get open, he gets you the puck, no matter what. Boy, I’ve been lucky; he’s my brother, my best friend, and the best passer.”

Role reversals were evident during the crucial semi-final win over Brockville in this year’s RBC tournament. With the score deadlocked at 0-0 halfway through the third period, Kellen fed Connor at centre. Seeing that Kellen was boxed out by two defenders, Connor took the puck through the remaining Braves, and scored a beauty for the go-ahead goal. Six minutes later, they engineered a sensational insurance goal on a two-on-one rush. At high speed, Connor veered to the left and zipped a perfect feed to Kellen in the high slot. Kellen didn’t break stride as he fired a one-timer off the inside of the right goal post.

This truly sensational goal resulted from constant practice, says Kellen. “You don’t know how many times we’ve messed up that play in practice. We try it all the time. I got my first BCHL goal that way, against Penticton when I was 16, and it’s worked only a couple of times since.” Connor adds, “That’s because I usually make a poor pass. But in the Brockville game, I had no choice. I couldn’t pivot on my bad ankle, so I passed it and Kellen sniped!”

Kellen says that he’s been trying to shoot the puck more during the last couple of years, but “it’s hard to get out of the passing habit.” His shot was working during the RBC, as his 5 goals came from a variety of angles and situations.

Both players are ferocious fore checkers, with Kellen perhaps holding an edge in that department. He has an uncanny knack of stripping the puck from defencemen when they think they’re about to clear the zone. Connor believes that “sometimes guys underestimate Kellen. He either lifts their stick or he runs them over. He’s a tricky little guy.”

Their competitive nature stems from their parents and their grandfathers. Gordon Casey, their mother’s father, played for the Notre Dame Hounds in his day. Both Terry Jones Sr. and Terry Jones Jr. also have played hockey at a very high level. In 1963, Terry Sr. was a high draft choice of the New York Rangers and he played several years of pro hockey. His son won a Memorial Cup with Portland in 1983 before going on to the University of Calgary, to the Canadian National team, and to Germany as a player-coach. He has coached the Beaver Valley Nitehawks for the past several years.

The twins’ mother Loretta may be the most competitive person in the family. Her athleticism was put to the test when her sons were home for Christmas this year. After recently learning how to skate, she donned the goal pads and challenged Connor and Kellen to score on her. Each participant has a slightly different view of what happened:
Mom: “I put the pressure on them, with money on the line, and I did stop some pucks.”
Connor: “Well, we love her very much and I scored on the first five shots and then felt
really bad.”
Kellen: “My mom out-battled me out there and I have to be honest. I wasn’t ready to go.”

Let’s give Connor the last word: “The important thing is that we get that competitive fire from our parents and our grandparents. They’re special people … we owe everything to them.”

Former Viper Bishop & The Bulldogs Head To Game 7:

Former Vernon Viper forward, Hunter Bishop collected his first career playoff point with a single assist in the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-2 overtime loss to the Texas Stars in Game 6 of the AHL playoffs. Game 7 goes Wednesday night in Hamilton.

For more on last night's Game 6,

Champions Again:

This letter was in last weekends Morning Star Newspaper:

Champions Again

Congratulations once again to the Vernon Vipers and the city of Vernon on repeating as national champions. I watched the game on TSN and was very impressed with the overall play, both offensively and defensively by the Vipers. Congratulations to Mark Ferner and the Vernon coaching staff.

Paul Maclean, member of the Vernon Lakers 1990 Centennial Cup Champions

Monday, May 24, 2010

Former Viper Christianson Leaves Anchorage For ECHL:

This may be old news to some, but I just come across this yesterday. Former Vernon Vipers goaltender, Bryce Christianson (2007-2008) has decided to leave the UAA a year early to join the ECHL.

This was posted on a College Hockey Blog back In April:

Christianson Leaves Anchorage

Alaska-Anchorage junior goaltender Bryce Christianson has given up his final year of eligibility to sign with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL. Christianson was signed as an emergency back-up goaltender, which seems like an odd coincidence given that he came to Anchorage mid-season in 2007-2008 as an emergency replacement for Matthew Gordon, who suffered a career-ending eye injury that helped bring about the rule in college hockey that goalies on the bench must wear helmets.

With senior goalie Jon Olthuis graduating, Christianson would have appeared to be the front-runner for the starting gig in Anchorage next season. The only other returning goalie is third-string walk-on Dusan Sidor, whose only collegiate experience is 40 minutes of mop-up duty in one game last season.(It's never a good sign when you're talking about 2/3s of a game being mop-up duty, but such is life in Anchorage) The Seawolves have incoming freshman Rob Gunderson lined up to come in next, and they'll likely pick someone else up to compete with him for the starting job.

Despite being in line for some fairly regular ice time, it's not a huge surprise to see Christianson look for somewhere else to go. He got 9 starts in the first half of the season, but spent much of the second half of the year in the doghouse while Jon Olthuis received 12 straight starts in the second half of the year, and 16 out of 18 starts. Christianson didn't even travel with the team for 3 out of the 4 WCHA road series in the second half of the season. When he did get back into action late in the year, he helped justify his coach's lack of faith with two awful 7-goal performances against Alaska and Wisconsin.

His departure leaves Anchorage with a big unknown in goal, but a fresh start was maybe the best decision for both parties.

A 6-foot-2, 195-pounder from Anchorage, Christianson wrapped up his college career after suiting up for the Green & Gold in 36 games over three seasons. Christianson registered a career .876 save percentage, 3.25 goals-against average and a 11-20-4 record.

Christianson was later released by the Thunder.

Read more on this story on the UAA blog,

Former Viper Olthuis Added & Released By Aces:

This may be old news to some of you, but I just come across this yesterday so thought I would post it for the fans that didnt know.

Former Vernon Vipers goaltender, Jon Olthuis (2004-2006) finished his four years with the University of Anchorage of Alaska this year. On March 30th the ECHL Alaska Aces added the former UAA goaltender as a third string emergency backup goaltender for the playoffs. Veteran Aces goaltender, Scott Reid went down with an injury leaving rookie backup Billy Sauer as the team's starting goaltender. Reid's injury didnt last very long as shortly after being added to the Aces playoff roster, Reird returned to the lineup wich ment Olthuis was then released on April 4th. Former Vernon Vipers forward, Curtis Fraser also plays on the Alaska Aces.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mick & Ferster's Name's Come Up In WHL Coaching Job's:

Former Vernon Vipers head coach-gm Troy Mick & former Vernon Lakers forward Rylan Ferster's name's have come up in rumors on some of the head coaching jobs that have recently come up in the WHL.

This is posted on Gregg Drinnan's Blog:

THE COACHING GAME: While we are going to hear a lot of names over the next while — Steve Hamilton, Perry Pearn, Eric Thurston et al — there are a few that may fly under the radar for a bit. . . . Someone may want to take another look at Troy Mick, for example. Mick last coached in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers, but cut it short for health reasons. He is hale and hearty these days and led the Revelstoke Grizzlies to the Western Canadian junior B title. . . . There is noise the Rylan Ferster, the GM and head coach of the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, may be a candidate for a position or two. . . . And someone has whispered to me that Terry Ballard, out as head coach of the Edmonton-based NAIT Ooks after something like 12 seasons, may be worth a look. . . . Kris Knoblauch, the assistant coach with the Kootenay Ice, was one of the applicants for the Edmonton Oil Kings’ head-coaching spot and may get an interview. He almost certainly will be interviewed by Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth, who is looking to replace Mark Holick, now the head coach of the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. With the high level of coaching in the WHL these days, though, Knoblauch and other young assistants may be a season or two away from getting to the top of the ladder. However, it won’t hurt the portfolio to go through an interview process or two.

Vipers Forward Short Banks Breakaway Winner:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Short banks breakaway winner

Published: May 22, 2010

The Vernon Re/Max Tigers looked to veteran Rob Short when they needed a big play Thursday night at Kelowna Memorial Arena.

After allowing the host Warriors to score four unanswered goals and equalize at 7-7, Short connected on a breakaway with two minutes left to give the Tigers an 8-7 victory. It was Short's second goal of the night.

The Tigers moved to 6-1 and five points up on the second-place Kamloops Venom in the seven-team Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League.

"It was a good back and forth game and when they scored with 30 seconds left in the second period, I was a little concerned," said Tigers' co-coach Rich Zecchel.

"Ryan Landels had a really strong game. He scored twice and had three goals called back for having a foot in the crease. Some referees call that really closely."

Landels leads the Tigers in scoring with eight goals (12 points). Brooks Christensen also scored twice for Re/Max and is third in league points with 6-12-18.

Craig Bigsby and Bayne Bosquet rounded out the Vernon scoring. Braidy Webb supplied two assists.

The Tigers held league points king Brad DeShane (12-9-21) without a point. Tyler French, with 3+1, and Luke Bailey, with two goals, led Kelowna (3-2).

Josh Phillips went the distance in the Vernon net, registering 41 saves. The Tigers led 4-1 after one period.

Vernon visits the 2-4-1 Rutland Raiders Saturday night.

Meanwhile, the Venom improved to 4-2 by brushing back the host Armstrong Shamrocks 7-4 Wednesday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre.

Dyllion Billanchuk, Cullen Rowan, Braydon Bridge and Logan Strohm scored for the 'Rocks (1-6), who host the Kamloops Rattlers (3-2) Friday night.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

2010 Royal Bank Cup Final: Vernon @ Dauphin:

If you didnt get a chance to watch the 2010 Royal Bank Cup final, TSN has posted the 2010 RBC Cup final between the Vipers & Kings on the internet.

Walchuk's Stick Heading To Hockey Hall Of Fame:

This was in the Prince George Citizen Newspaper:

RBC winner scored by McBride's Walchuk

21 May 2010

The Prince George Citizen

Ted Clarke Citizen staff

He’s only 17 and already there’s a piece of Dylan Walchuk in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

How many hockey players from McBride have that claim to fame?

It’s the stick Walchuk used to score the game-winning goal for the Vernon Vipers a couple weeks ago at the RBC Royal Bank Cup championship in Dauphin, Man., and it’s destined for a display case at the hallowed hall in Toronto.

“Me and (Patrick) McGillis went on a 2-on-1 and I looked to pass but he wasn’t open so I just took it in and shot and beat (Kings goalie Joe Caligiuri, a former Prince George Cougar) low blocker,” Walchuk said. “I kept the puck and the Hall of Fame took my stick.”

Walchuk’s goal came 6:28 into the second period and the Vipers backed it up with six more goals in an 8-1 rout over the host Kings to wrap up their second straight national championship and a record sixth Canadian junior A title in the history of the franchise.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Walchuk, from his billet home in Vernon. “Having it all sink in and realizing what you did is pretty cool.”

How Walchuk ended up in Vernon is an example of the extraordinary lengths a B.C. boy is willing to go to pursue a hockey career. He and his family knew early on that staying in tiny McBride (pop. 660) was not an option. As soon as he was old enough to play peewee he was off to Kamloops.

As a tyke and atom playing for McBride he was a fixture in Prince George rinks, but that hockey connection ended when he failed to catch on with a spring hockey team in the city. He did find an alternate spring team in Kamloops which eventually led to a move there, and his statistics from those years on Kamloops rep teams are staggering. He totalled 172 goals and 292 points in 46 games as a second-year peewee. As a secondyear triple-A bantam he had 140 points in 43 games. It seemed wherever he went, even if he was at the bottom of his age group, Walchuk was a game-breaker.
“I kind of liked being the youngest guy, besides doing all the rookie duties,” he said. “If you do good, everybody notices you because you’re a rookie.”

At 16, he made the jump to the Nelson Leafs of Kootenay International Junior (B) Hockey League and that paid off in a big way when Walchuk topped the team scoring list in the playoffs with 10 goals and 16 assists in 16 playoff games. In 65 games that season, playing against 19-and 20-yearolds, he totaled 39 goals and 52 assists for a team-leading 91 points and was the KIJHL rookie of the year. Northern Michigan University took notice and signed the centreman to a full-ride scholarship, which begins in 2011.

“It was a good offer by them and I didn’t want to turn them down, I’m pretty happy about it,” said Walchuk.

Walchuk played six games in the BCHL for Trail as an affiliated player in 2008-09. Trail wanted him back, but the Vipers latched on after seeing him play for the Thompson-Okanagan team at the B.C. Cup. At that under-16 tournament he finished one point behind Brett Connolly for the scoring title.

As a 17-year-old, Walchuk came to powerful Viper team with 13 returning players.

“We were a skilled team and didn’t have much adversity and almost coasted through the regular season,” Walchuk said. “When the playoffs came we seemed to do pretty good and overcame the adversity. The Quesnel series was probably one of the toughest series we played.”

Walchuk is looking forward to his second full BCHL season and returning to Vernon to get his championship ring. It will be the first time he can remember coming back to a team as a veteran.

They told me I’d be one of the top guys next year and a leader,” he said.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Former Viper Kisio Falls One Game Short Of Memorial Cup Final:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Brent Kisio (Now an assistant coach with the WHL Calgary Hitmen) fell 5-4 in overtime to the Brandon Wheat Kings Friday night at the Mastercard Memorial Cup semi-final. The Wheat Kings will now play Windsor in the Memorial Cup Final Sunday.

For more on tonight's game,

Former Vipers Coach Mark Holick Named Syracuse Crunch Head Coach:

Mark Holick Named Head Coach Of Syracuse Crunch

May 21, 2010 - American Hockey League (AHL) Syracuse Crunch

Syracuse, NY (May 21, 2010) - The Syracuse Crunch announced today that the Anaheim Ducks have named Mark Holick the Crunch's head coach.

"With 16 years of coaching experience, Mark Holick has the proven track record we were looking for," said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. "He had three great seasons in the WHL, including earning Coach of the Year honors in 2009-10, and is certainly qualified to take the next step."

Holick, 41, comes to the Crunch after leading the Western Hockey League's (WHL) Kootenay Ice for the last three seasons, compiling a cumulative 120-75-10-11 (W-L-OTL-SOL) record while leading the club to the WHL playoffs in each of his years at the helm.

Most recently, Holick guided Kootenay to a 43-24-3-2 record during the 2009-10 season, earning the prestigious Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as the WHL's Coach of the Year, joining past winners such as current NHL head coaches Cory Clouston (Ottawa), Todd McLellan (San Jose) and Brent Sutter (Calgary) and former NHL bench bosses Kevin Constantine, Don Hay, Ken Hitchcock and Tom Renney. He also served as an assistant coach on Canada's 2009-10 National Men's Under-18 team.

Prior to his time in Kootenay, Holick spent 13 years as either a head or assistant coach in both the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) with Vernon (BCHL, 2006-07), St. Albert/Spruce Grove (AJHL, 2003-06), South Surrey (BCHL, 1996-2002), Langley (BCHL, 1995-96) and Penticton (BCHL, 1994-95). Holick was the head coach of the 1997-98 South Surrey squad that won the coveted Royal Bank Cup as the Canadian 'Junior A' Champions.

In addition to his coaching career, Holick played professionally in parts of four seasons from 1989-94, appearing in 142 total games with Adirondack (AHL), Louisville (ECHL) and Dallas (CHL), recording 30 goals, 43 assists and 635 penalty minutes.

A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the former right wing appeared in 165 combined WHL games with Saskatoon and New Westminster from 1984-88, compiling 10 goals, 20 assists and 287 penalty minutes. Holick was selected by Toronto in the 11th round, 216th overall, in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft.

Holick becomes the fifth head coach in Crunch history (Jack McIlhargey, 1994-99, Stan Smyl, 1999-00, Gary Agnew, 2000-06 and Ross Yates, 2006-10).

On March 25, 2010, the Crunch announced a multi-year affiliation with the Anaheim Ducks starting with the 2010-11 season. Anaheim is the third primary affiliate in the Crunch's 16-year history.

More Info On The Suspended Williams Lake Timberwolves:

Thanks to Trail Smoke Eaters play by play man, Shawn Mullin we have a little more info on the regarding of the suspended Williams Lake Timberwolves. Check out Shawn Mullins Smoke Eaters blog for more on the T-Wolves situation.

T-Bird Tandem Take Honours:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

T-Bird tandem take honours

By Graeme Corbett - Vernon Morning Star

Published: May 20, 2010

Vernon’s Ryan Kakoske and Matt Schneider were two bright spots in an otherwise gloomy year for the UBC Thunderbirds men’s hockey team.

After a successful CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) playoff run in 2008-09 – the T-Birds surprised the Lethbridge Pronhorns in the first round before falling to the Saskatchewan Huskies in the second – Kakoske, a Vernon Viper grad who earned Most Improved Player with the T-Birds, said UBC was looking forward to riding that momentum into this season.

But after racing out to a 3-1 start that saw UBC reach No. 9 in the national rankings, they plummeted, finishing last in Canada West at 8-20-1.

“On a personal level, I was happy with my performance. As a team, it was a little bit of a letdown. We just ran into trouble and never really recovered,” said Kakoske, a stay-at-home blueliner whose younger brother, Bryce, recently helped the Vipers win back-to-back Royal Bank Cup titles.

On his award, Kakoske, a second-year commerce student added: “I guess the Most Improved award stems from us struggling earlier in the season and I tried to modify my game to be a little more offensive.”

Schneider, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound pivot in his fourth year with the T-Birds, earned both the MVP and Most Inspirational Player awards. On a personal level, he says it was a bit of a turnaround season that reinvigorated his passion for the game.

“I started off not playing much and then a guy got injured and I got bumped up to the second line and I just kind of ran with it,” said Schneider, 24. “It gave me some enthusiasm back for hockey.”

Kakoske wasn’t surprised to see Schneider, who posted 18 points in 28 games while serving as an alternate captain, haul in those awards.

“He put up some good numbers in the Western League (52 goals for 91 points in 199 career games with the Tri-City Americans), and the boys just really respect him.

“He’s a big body and he uses his size well up the middle. And he’s probably our best student athlete,” said Kakoske, who recorded 1-3-4 and 34 penalty minutes in 28 games.

In 151 games with Vernon, Kakoske had 27 points and 136 penalty minutes.

Schneider, who will graduate with a biology degree next spring, is hoping to land a summer internship doing infrared spectroscopy at PNNL (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) in Richland, Wash. Schneider’s former billet dad in Tri-City works there and is helping him set it up.

“Just to get a degree is a step in the right direction for later on. If I didn’t play hockey, I don’t think I would have got into UBC with my high school grades. Since I’ve been there I’ve been doing fine though,” said Schneider.

The Thunderbirds had their sights set on landing Schneider’s little brother, Stefan, but an amateur tryout with the Vancouver Canucks put an end to that. After he bowed out of the WHL playoffs with the Portland Winter Hawks, the Canucks assigned Stefan to the AHL Manitoba Moose, where he practised with the team but did not play.

“It kind of came out of nowhere,” said Schneider, adding Stefan had interest from the San Jose Sharks earlier in the season, but heard nothing from the Canucks until they approached him in March. “Within a week he got signed.”

Schneider went to Pacific Coliseum to watch Stefan, a two-way centreman, play in the Western Conference semifinals against the Vancouver Giants (Vancouver won the series 4-2). He hadn’t seen his brother play for three years.

“He played a big role on that team. It’s weird seeing your little brother all grown up. I’m very proud of him,” said Schneider, who played in the Western semis with the Americans in 2004.

n Former Viper defenceman Cameron Brodie, who won an RBC title with the Snakes last May, joined the Thunderbirds partway through the season. The White Rock native posted 2-1-3 and 22 PIM in 12 games.

Former Viper Fratkin Commits To Elmira College:

This is posted on the AJHL website:

Dragons Press Release: Fratkin Commits to Elmira College

May 20, 2010

Fratkin Commits to Elmira College

The Drumheller Dragons would like to congratulate Casey Fratkin on his recent commitment to the Elmira College Soaring Eagles (NCAA D-III, ECAC West) for the 2010-11 season.

Fratkin, a 1989-born, 5’11”, 185 pound defenceman from Burnaby, BC, recorded 1 goal and 9 assists along with 50 penalty minutes in 31 games played for the Dragons this year.

“I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to play and study at a school of Elmira’s calibre,” comments Fratkin. “Throughout the recruiting process, I was very impressed by their athletic and academic programs, and I can’t wait to begin my college career with the Soaring Eagles. I would like to thank my Teammates and the Dragons organization for their support and guidance, specifically Educational Director Dave Wood. Dave was an invaluable resource both during and after the season, and played an important role in this accomplishment.”

Dragons’ Assistant Coach and Assistant Director of Player Development, David Ferrari, adds, “We are extremely proud of Casey and look forward to following his career in the NCAA. Casey immediately had an impact on our Team when we acquired him, and we are grateful for the hard work and professionalism that he displayed every day.”

Elmira College Head Coach, Aaron Saul, notes, “Casey really fits the mold of a Soaring Eagles defenceman. He is poised and mobile, and is a great competitor. We expect his contribution to our Program to be substantial.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vipers’ Ironman Graduates:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vipers’ ironman graduates

by Don Klepp Added 2010-05-19

Rob Short has played 309 regular season and playoff games, the most by any Viper, past and present. If he had his way he’d suit up for another 300, but his Jr. hockey eligibility has expired.

When asked about some memorable moments in his Viper career, mentions the RBC Championship games, but one memory really sticks in his mind. He was just 16, an AP called up by the Vipers.

Here’s how he describes the event. “It was my first game in the BCHL. Late in the game, I hadn’t played yet, and they throw me out on left wing. I go up against this bearded, 6’5 monster from Chilliwack, and he says, ‘let’s go.’ I say, ‘Come on, I’m just an AP. Why do you want to fight me? But it was right in front of our bench and he didn’t really give me a choice, so I took him on, and did O.K. too.”

He continues, “His name was Chris Blackmon, I think, from Texas. In fact, my first four hockey fights were all against guys from Texas.”

“In my first full year, playing for Mark Holick who liked fights, I had a lot of 17-minute penalties. I didn’t mind fighting that much, but it cut down on my ice time a lot, so I was happy when Mark Ferner took over. Ferns is not interested in fighting for the sake of fighting. He puts a lot more emphasis on beating people by scoring and reducing the other team’s scoring chances. So I haven’t had a fight in the last two years.”

Rob Short has, however, remained one of the team’s most punishing body checkers because of his size, strength, and speed. In that respect, he is much like his playoff linemates, Cory Kane and David Robinson.

For four years, Viper fans have been treated to Rob’s speed and big shot, factors in his ability to score important goals late in games. Those attributes have also helped him net four short handed goals this year.

According to Rob, his playing style has evolved very little over the four years: “I came in as an energy guy, and that’s what I’ve tried to maintain. I think I have more finish now, more confidence with the puck, which my improved stats this year sort of prove.”

Jason Williamson believes that Rob Short has the speed, size, and skills to play pro hockey, and that’s one option for Rob, although he says that “school is not out of the question, either.”

His future may be undecided at the moment, but he’s very clear about the future of the Viper franchise: “With coaches like Ferns and Willie, when the new players buy into the system, the team will be really good again. I know that people have said that this year’s Viper team is as skilled as any they’ve ever seen, and I guess there’s some truth in that. But that’s not what won us another RBC; it was the systems we played. You could see it in that last game. Dauphin couldn’t handle our forecheck or breakouts or quick passing plays. That’s one of the reasons we were so confident in that game.”

Voted the most popular Viper by the fans the past two years, Rob Short will be missed. But look on the bright side – Viper fans got to see him play four years in Vernon. That’s rare these days.

Former Viper Bishop Pointless In AHL Playoffs:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Hunter Bishop & the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs dropped Game 3 last night 5-4 in overtime to the Texas Stars but still lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 going in Texas Friday night.

For more on the game,

In 9 playoff games Bishop has yet to record a point.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Former Viper Kisio & The Hitmen Advance To Semi-Finals:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Brent Kisio (Now an assistant coach with the WHL Calgary Hitmen) defeated the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-1 Wednesday night at the Mastercard Memorial Cup. The Hitmen move to 2-1 and now will play Brandon in the semi-final Friday night.

For more on tonight's game,

Former Vipers Coach Mark Holick Leaves Ice For AHL:

This is in yesterdays Kamloops Daily News:

Holick leaves Ice for AHL

May 18,2010


Daily News Sports Editor

BRANDON — And now there are three . . .

Three WHL teams looking for head coaches, that is.

Sources at the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup told The Daily News on Monday that the Kootenay Ice is losing head coach Mark Holick to the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.

Holick will be the head coach of the Ducks’ new AHL affiliate, the Syracuse, N.Y., Crunch.

When contacted by The Daily News, Holick chose not to comment. Jeff Chynoweth, the Ice’s owner and general manager, said he would prefer that an announcement come from Anaheim general manager Bob Murray.

Holick told Chynoweth of the move on Sunday.

The Syracuse franchise had been affiliated with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the last 10 seasons. Columbus surrendered that agreement after this season and the Ducks, who didn’t have an AHL affiliate this season after working with the now-defunct Iowa Chops last season, took over.

Holick, who signed with the Ice in the summer of 2007, was under contract to the Ice through 2010-11.

Holick replaced Cory Clouston, who left to take over as head coach of the AHL’s Binghamton Senators and now is head coach of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. Former Ice assistant coach Brad Lauer is on Clouston’s staff in Ottawa, while Ryan McGill, a former Ice head coach, is an assistant with the Calgary Flames.

In what turned into Holick’s last season, the Ice finished 43-24-3-2, good for fourth-place in the 12-team Eastern Conference. The Ice, which has 19 players eligible to return, lost a first-round playoff series to the Medicine Hat Tigers in six games.

The Ice is the third WHL team to be looking for a head coach.

The Edmonton Oil Kings have yet to replace the fired Steve Pleau, while the Spokane Chiefs are looking to replace Hardy Sauter, who also was dumped.

BCHL's Board Of Governors Suspend Williams Lk T-Wolves Franchise:

BCHL's Board of Governors suspend Williams Lk T-Wolves franchise

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - Submitted by BCHL Media

The British Columbia Hockey League has announced that the membership of the Williams Lake Timberwolves franchise has been suspended following a vote from the league’s Board of Governors.

The vote came as a result of the Timberwolves being a Member Not in Good Standing within the BCHL. With its membership suspended, the Timberwolves will not take part in the BCHL’s 2010/11 season.

"It is always disappointing when a decision of this nature must be made," says BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale. "However, our Board of Governors felt that it was in the best interests of the league that the Williams Lake franchise be suspended at this time."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


This was in the letters section of Sundays Morning Star Newspaper:


Published: May 15, 2010

On behalf of the Spruce Grove Saints Hockey Club we would like to congratulate the Vernon Vipers on capturing their second consecutive RBC Championship and sixth overall.

The Vipers are truly a great organization and deserve the acknowledgments you have received over the years.

Organizations like yours do not just happen - they start from the top and with the professionalism and class shown to us by Dr. Duncan Wray and his staff during our visit in Vernon, it is to no surprise the success this organization has had on the ice.

We would also like to thank the fans of the Vernon Vipers.

You were very hospitable to our fans and parents that were in the crowd during the Doyle Cup and made us all feel at home.

Congratulations to all and we hope to see you again next year in the Doyle Cup final.

Darren Myshak


Spruce Grove Saints

Jr. A Hockey Club

Former Viper Kisio & The Hitmen Fall To 1-1:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Brent Kisio (Now an assistant coach with the WHL Calgary Hitmen fell 6-2 to the defending Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires at the Mastercard Memorial Cup Monday night. The Hitmen drop to 1-1 and now will play Brandon Wednesday.


Calgary Hitmen 2 At Windsor Spitfires 6

May 17, 2010 - Westman Place

Calgary 0 2 0 - 2
Windsor 2 1 3 - 6

1st Period-1, Windsor, Mitchell 2 (Wellwood), 2:38. 2, Windsor, Hall 3 (Fowler), 3:55 (pp). Penalties-Sylvester Cal (slashing), 3:03; Henrique Wnd (tripping), 16:51.

2nd Period-3, Windsor, Shugg 1 (Hall, Fowler), 8:15. 4, Calgary, Bubnick 1 (Foucault, Shattock), 11:43. 5, Calgary, Bubnick 2 (Schultz), 14:56. Penalties-Nemisz Wnd (slashing), 5:02; Stebner Cal (holding), 12:45.

3rd Period-6, Windsor, Hall 4 0:12. 7, Windsor, Ryan 2 (Nemisz, Kassian), 16:56. 8, Windsor, Wallace 1 (Johnston), 19:19 (en). Penalties-served by Foucault Cal (too many men), 3:08; Burgart Cal (major-fighting), 19:21; Wallace Wnd (major-fighting), 19:21.

Shots on Goal-Calgary 10-11-6-27. Windsor 14-12-11-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Calgary 0 of 2; Windsor 1 of 3.
Goalies-Calgary, Jones 1-1-0-0 (36 shots-31 saves). Windsor, Grubauer 2-0-0-0 (27 shots-25 saves).


Referees-Darcy Burchell (17), Matt Kirk (4).
Linesmen-Kiel Murchison (46), Trent Knorr (102).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Captain Kraus: Making His Mark:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Captain Kraus: making his mark

by viper staff Added 2010-05-17

Kevin Kraus admits that replacing Chris Crowell as captain was not an easy task – “yep, big shoes to fill,” says the amiable Kraus. Chris had imposed his will upon the team in his two-year tenure. The big winger’s forceful style kept every one in line and contributed to a culture of accountability that contributed to a national title.

So how did Kraus the player become Kraus the captain? He says that a big part of it was paying attention to his own play: “I realized that I had to try to show up every night with my best effort.” He also says that making sure that everyone is involved in the group is important. He adds, “luckily, the vets here welcome new players with open arms. You gotta remember that we had 13 vets this year. We all made sure that newcomers understood the team culture and expectations; it wasn’t all on me.”

Kevin’s adaptability to his new role is not surprising when you know that he started skating at age 14 and within three years had made the Kamloops Blazers WHL team. Yes, he had learned the rudiments of hockey by playing roller hockey in California, but that’s a remarkable achievement!

Kevin calls it “a miracle,” but he thinks he got to that level too quickly. “I should have spent another year in Junior B because I sat in the stands a lot. Mind you, I did learn quite a lot by watching the good WHL players. At age 16, he played a year in the PIJHL, for a Seattle-area team), after Kamloops coach Mark Ferner had cut him at training camp. (Yes, our Mark Ferner!)

Kevin was subsequently traded to Tri Cities where he played 21 games in 2007-08 before asking Mark whether there might be a spot for him with the Vipers. He has subsequently suited up for 196 regular season and playoff games for Vernon. “Coming here was the best decision I ever made,” he says.

A big part of his decision to come in the first place was Mark Ferner, “the best coach I’ve ever seen,” says Kevin. “I owe my career and two championship rings to him. You learn so much from him and Willie (Jason Williamson).”

Captain Kraus describes his playing style as “controlled – in our end, I try to dictate where the play goes, into areas where I can check and control their forwards. My skating is fairly smooth now, but I’m not the quickest guy so I have to slow the play down and keep the play in front of me.”

He’s tried to use his big body as much as possible this year – we didn’t have huge guys like Brodie and Bigos this year, so I had to take up some of the slack.”

Kevin agrees with the assessment that he’s had the habit of stepping up his play in the playoffs. “I love the feeling you get with the guys when you go deep in the playoffs. To be honest, it still burns that we lost to Penticton three years ago, but we haven’t lost a playoff series since then! We surprised a lot of people this year I think, and we surprised ourselves at times, playing our best in game sevens and in the RBC final.”

With his NCAA eligibility shot, Kevin is considering a pro career this fall. “My older brother Tim is playing pro, so I’ll talk to him, and Ferns (Coach Ferner) has lots of contacts, so we’ll see what happens. I’ll tell you one thing – I don’t want to leave Vernon unless I absolutely have to.”

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Former Viper Kisio & The Calgary Hitmen Pick Up Opening Win At Memorial Cup:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Brent Kisio (Now an assistant coach with the WHL Calgary Hitmen come up with a 5-4 win over the Moncton Wildcats in the opening game of the Mastercard Memorial Cup Saturday night.

The Wildcats staked themselves to 3-0 and 4-2 leads during the game but the Hitmen kept coming and, with just 1:18 remaining in the game, Tyler Shattock buried the game-winner.

The Hitmen face off against the defending Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires Monday night.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Former Viper St. Denis's Future In Limbo:

This is posted on Gregg Drinnan's Blog:

The Kelowna Rockets have told F Kyle St. Denis, 20, that they would like to know about his immediate future by July 1. St. Denis played just 26 games this season after suffering another in a series of concussions. St. Denis will have to get medical clearance before making a decision. Because he’s a 20-year-old, the Rockets need to know what his plans are in order to begin working towards finalizing their three 20s for next season. . . . Right now, assuming the Trail, B.C., native returns, the Rockets would have him, F Evan Bloodoff, F Tyler Matheson and F Geordie Wudrick vying for the three spots.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Vernon Vipers Royal Bank Cup Celebration Video:

Kiss FM's Rob Abramenko has once again made one of his great Vernon Vipers video's, Abro just finished his final video of the season. David Greene was at City Hall with the 2010 RBC Cup Champion Vernon Vipers as the City of Vernon put on a final fairwell to the team, with a chance for all fans to come out and say good bye to this years Vernon Vipers. Greene interviews several Viper players on there thoughts and stories on the season & RBC Cup. Check it out,