Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Former Vernon Viper Roy Commits To University Of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Kory Roy has committed to play for the University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves next season. Roy will join former Vernon Vipers captain and ex-teammate, Chris Crowell who will be entering his third season with the Seawolves. Roy played just a single season in Vernon (2008-09) winning the 2009 Royal Bank Cup Championship before being traded that summer to the AJHL Canmore Eagles.

This is posted on the Eagles website:

Kory Roy commits to the University of Alaska-Anchorage

2011 May 19th

Twenty year-old graduate Kory Roy has committed to play for the University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves next season. A native of Anchorage, Kory will be suiting up for his hometown team. The Seawolves compete in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Kory won a national championship with the Vernon Vipers in the 2008-2009 season before coming to Canmore. This season, he put up 30 goals and 33 assists for 63 points which put him in the AJHL's top ten.

"I really want to say thanks to everyone in the Eagles organization, especially Andrew Milne, Kurtis Jones, Darryl Lockwood, Dave and Jenny Palmer, and Jack and Dorothy Hetter. My time in Canmore was amazing, and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to play there. I'm looking forward to the next chapter with the Seawolves but will always remember my time as an Eagle," said Kory.

"The entire organization is very happy for Kory and his accomplishments. Kory was very passionate about his goal of playing Division 1 hockey, and we are pleased to see such a fine young man achieve this. Kory has an excellent shot and ability to score goals and has proven that he understands the game very well. I am convinced that with his skill set and leadership, he will excel with Anchorage and grow into a big part of their success. The Eagles organization would like to congratulate Kory and his family; we wish him all the success with the Seawolves," said head coach Andrew Milne.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Vipers Lose Two Veterans From 2010 RBC Cup Championship Team:

On Wednesday the Vernon Vipers made two pretty big off season trades both resulting in giving back the future considerations in two seperate trades that were made back on the BCHL trade deadline in January.

The first trade saw the Vipers send Vernon product and first year Viper, Trevor Fitzgerald to the Prince George Spruce Kings. Back on the BCHL trade deadline the Vipers sent forward, Todd Skirving along with future considerations to PG for d-man, Ryan Renz. Fitzgerald who played in three games as an "AP" with Vernon during the 2009-2010 season played his first full season with his hometown Vipers this past season playing in fifty eight games. In two years with the Vipers Fitzgerald collected (8-11-19). Fitzgerald played on the Vipers fourth line with Colton Sparrow and Zach McPhee most of the year on a solid fourth line checking unit that played very well together and gave the other team troubles. I really liked Trevor Fitzgerald and was expecting big things from the local kid in his second full season in Vernon this coming September. It's always sad to see a local kid go. Fitzgerald will join former Vernon Vipers forward, Todd Skirving who was part of this deal back in January. When Renz was aquired from PG he was only coming to Vernon for the remainder of the season before heading off to school, but near the end of the regular season rumors were circling the Wesbild Centre that the Vipers defenceman, may return to Vernon for a second season. I guess will have to wait and see what happens over the summer. Trevor has the ability to be a leader and character veteran on a Spruce Kings team that will need his grit, toughness and leadership to compete with the top teams in the Interior Conference. Watch for Fitzgerald to be one of the Spruce Kings top players this coming season. All the best In PG Trevor and thanks for some great memories and being a Vernon Viper.

Trevor Fitzgerald's Player Profile:


In the second trade of the day saw the Vipers send second year 20 yr old goaltender, Blake Voth to the SJHL Battlefords North Stars. Back on the BCHL trade deadline the Vipers aquired the playing rights to forward, Dane Muench for future considerations, this being Voth. Word out of Battlefords is that the North Stars are now looking at sending the former Viper goaltender to another team in the SJHL before the season starts come September. In 2009-2010 Voth 21-2 with three shutouts as well as breaking the BCHL record for the lowest goals against average with a 1.79 GAA as the Vipers backup goaltender behind veteran 20 yr old, Graeme Gordon. This past season, Voth went 25-11-3 with four shutouts and a 2.12 GAA.  Voth was given the team's #1 job to start the season with 18 yr old rookie goaltender, Bryton Udy as the Vipers backup. Voth just didnt seem to have the confidence and struggled early and often as the season went on. The Vipers who outshot most teams by wide margins were losing games as Voth or Udy were unable to come up with the big save when needed. Several games through out the season Voth would allow atleast one soft goal wich seemed to deflate the hockey club. On December, 1st (BCHL card deadline) the Vipers aquired veteran 19 yr old goaltender, Kirby Halcrow from the Quesnel Millionaires as both Halcrow and Voth split the remainder of the games through out the BCHL regular season. Voth once again struggled in the BCHL playoffs before Halcrow took over as the teams #1 man between the pipes and would lead the Vipers to the RBC Cup Final. You knew that Voth's days were numbered before the upcoming season as the Vipers wernt going to go with two 20 yr old goaltenders. Im a little surprised that the Voth was the future considerations in the Dane Muench deal. Voth a #1 goaltender could have easily been used in another trade to aquire a veteran defenceman or a goal scorer but instead was delt to Battlefords for Muench who hasnt really lived up to his potential.  This is a steal of a deal for the North Stars, sending a kid like Muench who wasnt even on the teams roster at the time of the trade back In January.   Blake needs to regain his confidence and get his game back that he had as a rookie with the Vipers.  It will be interesting to see where Blake ends up before the 2011-12 season.  Id like to thank Blake for his time as a Viper and wish him all the best where ever he lands over the summer.

Blake Voth's Player Profile:


With now both Fitzgerald and Voth traded, the Vipers have a possible 14 players that could return for the 2011-12 season.

Patrick McGillis
Marcus Basara
Mike Zalewski
Darren Nowick
John Knisley
Aaron Hadley
Colton Sparrow
Brett Corkey
Ryan Renz
Dane Muench
Max Mowat
Zach McPhee
Phillip Patenaude
Kirby Halcrow

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Road Trippin' With Former Vernon Viper Rod Pelley:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Rod Pelley drove across Canada going from Montreal to Vancouver on a little road trip and some very interesting stories to share. Pelley started the 2001-02 season with the BCHL Prince George Spruce Kings before being traded to the Vernon Vipers in his final season of junior hockey (2001-02). Pelley was signed as an NHL free agent by the New Jersey Devils on July, 17th 2006.  Pelley has played four seasons with the Devils.

Rod Pelley's Player Profile:


This is posted on the New Jersey Devils website:

After four days and nearly 3,000 miles, Rod Pelley's journey across Canada ended. He left Montreal at 5:33 a.m. and hit the greater Vancouver area at 7:31 p.m. ET.

To read the full article check out the link below,


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Former Viper Morgan Returns To Brewers Lineup:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman, Nyjer Morgan returned to the Brewers' starting lineup Friday after missing three weeks with a fractured left middle finger. Morgan was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 33rd round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft. Morgan played with the Vipers as an "AP" during the 1996-97 season.

This is posted on the Brewers website:

Morgan, Wilson give Brewers standard roster

By Adam McCalvy and Audrey Snider / MLB.com | 05/28/11

MILWAUKEE -- Outfielder Nyjer Morgan returned to the Brewers' starting lineup Friday after missing three weeks with a fractured left middle finger.

Morgan's return from the 15-day disabled list, coupled with the addition of 30-year-old infielder Josh Wilson via waivers from the D-backs, gave the Brewers something they've lacked -- a standard 25-man roster of five starting pitchers, seven relievers, two catchers, six infielders and five outfielders.

"As I was writing them down there I was saying, 'You know, this is really a nice lineup,'" manager Ron Roenicke said. "Then I looked at the bench and I said, 'You know, this is really a nice bench.' It's versatile, and I like what I saw today."

Including Friday's start, Morgan has played only 16 of the Brewers' first 51 games. Before breaking his finger, which was heavily taped on Friday, he had a previous stint on the DL with a right thigh bruise.

"The key is somebody needs to put away that little voodoo doll so the fans can see 'Plush,'" Morgan said, referring to his on-field alter ego, Tony Plush. "And the organization, the organization hasn't seen Plush."

Just a few lockers away, Wilson wasn't sure what Roenicke wanted from him on Day 1.

"Maybe a right-handed bat off the bench a little bit, maybe give those guys a breather, Casey [McGehee] or Rickie [Weeks] or Yuni [Betancourt], if they need a break or something," Wilson said. "My role is just going to be to show up and do what I can when I can."

Wilson played 302 Major League games with the Marlins, Nationals, Padres, Mariners and D-backs, and Roenicke said he's comfortable playing him at shortstop, second, or third.

Wilson was 2-for-10 with the D-backs this season and hit .351 with a home run and 12 RBIs for Arizona's Triple-A Reno affiliate.

To make room for Morgan and Wilson on the roster, the Brewers outrighted outfielder Brandon Boggs and catcher Mike Rivera to Triple-A Nashville. Both Boggs and Rivera had been outrighted before, and had the right to refuse the assignment. But Boggs accepted Friday, and Rivera is expected to accept Saturday or Sunday.

North Stars Looking At Trading Former Viper Voth:

This is posted on the Battlefords North Stars Blog:


Friday, May 27, 2011

Pearson Gives Hildebrand Some Good News.

If all goes according to plan, Graham Hildebrand will be the number one goaltender for the Battlefords North Stars in 2011-2012.

24-hours after the Stars acquired goaltender Blake Voth from the Vernon Vipers, Ken Pearson made his stance clear on CJNB/CJNS radio this afternoon.

"Graham Hildebrand is going to be our number one goaltender, and Blake is probably going to be moved so we can strengthen our club in other areas," said Pearson earlier today. "I've talked to Blake, and he understands what we're trying to do, and he's going to sit patiently to see what happens as things play out over the summer months and into the fall."

Pearson added, "With Blake being a Saskatchewan boy, going into his 20-year-old season. We thought that maybe he'd be looking to come back to Saskatchewan to play. We felt we had a better chance moving him in Saskatchewan. That's part of our reasoning for going about things the way that we did."

Graham Hildebrand will be a guest on Monday's edition of the CO-OP Leisure Time Sports Fix.

Vipers Skinny On The Blueline:

The Vernon Vipers will be looking at filling in some key spots on the backend over the summer before the start of the 2011-12 season. With the losses to veteran defencemen, Adam Thompson (Assistant Captain), Steve Weinstein (Assistant Captain), Malcolm Lyles & maybe Ryan Renz (depending if he goes to school or returns for another season) the Vipers only have three returning d-men from this past season's club. Max Mowat, Phillip Patenaude and Brett Corkey. Will both Mowat and Patenaude be back in Vernon? Mowat who tried out for the WHL Kamloops Blazers last year, may give the WHL another shot this coming season. Is Patenaude worth keeping as a twenty year old this coming season? The Vipers with four twenty year olds this coming season... still have room for two more. Will they keep Patenaude who didnt see alot of icetime this past season as a 19 yr old.

On Tuesday it was announced that Catholic Memorial Senior Defenseman Marc Hetnik has committed to play in Vernon this coming season before heading off to Boston University the following year. Hetnik, who was CM’s captain and tallied four goals and 16 assists this season, earned Boston Globe All Scholastic, Boston Herald Dream Team and ESPN Boston First Team All Star honors. Hetnik sounds like a real good pick-up for the Vipers and will hopefully bolster the Vernon blueline.

It will be interesting to see if Mark Ferner tried to aquire a veteran defenceman or two over the off season to help fill in the backend.

Welcome to Vernon Marc and all the best this coming season with the Vipers!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Former Viper Morgan Homers In First Rehab Start:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman, Nyjer Morgan played the first of two scheduled games on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Tuesday, leading off every inning of an exhibition game at extended Spring Training in Phoenix. Morgan was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 33rd round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft. Morgan played with the Vipers as an "AP" during the 1996-97 season.

This is posted on the Brewers website:

Morgan homers in first rehab start

By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com | 05/24/11

MILWAUKEE -- Whether he went 1-for-3 or 1-for-4, Nyjer Morgan was enthusiastic about his return to action, as he nears the end of his latest stint on the disabled list.

Morgan played the first of two scheduled games on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Tuesday, leading off every inning of an exhibition game at extended Spring Training in Phoenix. He took his excitement to Twitter, where Morgan posts as @TheRealTPlush, and reported going 1-for-3 with a two-run home run, a stolen base and four walks. The report Brewers manager Ron Roenicke saw had Morgan going 1-for-4.

Either way, Morgan was fired-up.

"I was feeling like [Corey] Hart with dat bomb I hit!" Morgan wrote, a nod to teammate Hart's three-homer effort on Monday night in Milwaukee.

Morgan, on the 15-day DL since fracturing his left middle finger on May 5, is expected to play one more game on Wednesday and could be back with the Brewers for Friday's series opener against Tim Lincecum and the Giants.

Fitzgerald Sent To Spruce Kings:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Fitzgerald sent to Spruce Kings

By Kevin Mitchell - Vernon Morning Star

Published: May 27, 2011

There was much doom and gloom around the B.C. Hockey League championship Vernon Vipers coaching office Wednesday morning.

The Vipers, like a father being asked to pick his No. 1 son, traded popular forward Trevor Fitzgerald to the Prince George Spruce Kings, completing a deal which saw defenceman Ryan Renz join the Snakes at the Jan. 10 trading deadline.

Fitzgerald, an 18-year-old Vernon product, compiled seven goals and 18 points in his rookie season after playing for the Vipers at the 2010 Royal Bank Cup in Dauphin, Man.

“Did we want to do this deal? No,” said Vipers’ head coach/GM Mark Ferner. “We kind of got handcuffed because we didn’t have enough defencemen (at the time of the trade). Obviously, Fitzy’s a very good player, a very good teammate and he’s going to be missed.

“It’s unfortunate that we paid a premium price. This is the real lousy part of the business. He was a good player for us. The deeper we got, the steeper the price got.”

Prince George dealt Renz, a 17-year-old Castlegar product who is rated as a late-rounder in next month’s NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota, in exchange for future considerations. The terms were based on how far Vernon went in the playoffs.

“There were a number of players they could have had, but they really wanted Fitzy,” said Ferner.

Fitzgerald will be reunited with his North Okanagan Knights junior B coach – Dave Dupas – in Prince George. Fitzgerald was a 40-goal man with the Knights.

Renz, who will likely put off his scholarship with the NCAA Northeastern Huskies for a year, compiled 4-10-14 in 35 games with Vernon.

Fitzgerald, whose feisty, no-fear attitude made him a fan favourite, says he learned loads under Ferner and Williamson.

“I improved overall with the knowledge given me. I know what it takes to get to a national championship. I learned a lot from the coaches here.”

In another move, the Vipers traded 20-year-old goalie Blake Voth to the North Battleford North Stars of the Saskatchewan Junior League, completing a deal which saw forward Dane Muench land in Vernon at the trading deadline.

The Vipers will return 20-year-old all-star net detective Kirby Halcrow next season.

Meanwhile, former Viper d-man Steve Tresierra of the Merritt Centennials has accepted an offer to play for the Queen’s University Golden Gaels in Kingston, Ont. starting this fall.

Tresierra played all 60 regular-season games in each of the past two seasons for the Cents and established a new personal best this year with nine goals. He amassed 27 points for the second year in a row and finished his BCHL career with 21 goals and 64 assists in 206 games.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Golden, B.C. product played four seasons in the league after beginning his career with the Vipers.

“I think he’ll carry the same thing over to Queen’s as he did for us,” said Merritt head coach Luke Pierce, a Viper grad, on the BCHL website. “He’ll be a leader and someone you can build a program around.

Quesnel Millionaires Relocating To Chilliwack:

Former Vernon Vipers goaltender, Bryton Udy and the Quesnel Millionaires are relocating to Chilliwack. The Chilliwack Chiefs who left the BCHL and moved to Langley for the start of the 2006-07 season will be joining the Interior Conference. Udy who started the season as a rookie with the Vipers this past season (2010-11) was traded to Quesnel at the December, 1st BCHL card deadline for veteran goaltender, Kirby Halcrow.

This was in the Chilliwack Times Newspaper:

Smyl to coach Chilliwack BCHL team; Keith promises cheaper, offensive hockey

By Tyler Olsen, Chilliwack Times May 24, 2011

The British Columbia Hockey League is back in Chilliwack.

The BCHL board of governors has unanimously approved the sale of the Quesnel Millionaires and the franchise's relocation to Chilliwack.

The new ownership group includes Chiefs Development Group principals Moray Keith and Jim Bond, along with Harvey Smyl, who will serve as the team's coach and general manager.

"We're thrilled," Keith told the Times. "We've always been big fans of the BCHL. We wanted to have hockey in Chilliwack. We think the BCHL is a wonderful alternative. It's respectful hockey."

With the Langley Chiefs having been renamed the Rivermen, the franchise will likely be called the Chiefs. "Chiefs hockey represented great hockey in Chilliwack and the fan support we had behind the Chiefs was just wonderful," he said. "Chiefs hockey was a fun time for Chilliwack. With Harvey it's always been winning hockey and it's also growing young men and . . . I think that's something the community bought into big time with the old Chiefs teams."

But Keith told the Times that, while he favours the old name, the franchise plans to ask fans for their two cents.

"We're going to take a little look at that over the next week or two," said Keith.

Jersey and logo decisions will also involve community input, Keith promised, but he stressed that any Chiefs logo must be respectful.

"I think we need to do something that's very respectful when we're doing the Chiefs," he said. "I think we've had some great jerseys in the past and we've also had some that were a little bit comical, and I think we'll stay away from those and head to just a real classy jersey."

As for a mascot, Keith doesn't rule out the return of an old standby.

"I always thought the name Chief Wannawin is pretty cool," he said, when asked specifically about the former Chiefs standard-bearer.

CDG owns and operates Prospera Centre and owned a minority share of the now-departed Chilliwack Bruins of the Western Hockey League.

Keith doesn't think it will be difficult to attract fans to watch a BCHL team in an arena which, with a seating capacity of around 5,000, will be one of the largest buildings in the league.

"What we're finding is tremendous support from the folks in the community who are anxious to have the BCHL back in town."

He pointed out that the Chiefs averaged more than 3,000 fans their first year in Prospera Centre, before the team left for Langley.

"We think we've got an opportunity to drive that," he told the Times. "Number one, we've got a more affordable ticket. We're going to be making it very approachable and very easy for families to attend. We think that hockey in Chilliwack should be a family outing. It should be something you want to take your kids to and there will be zero-tolerance for misbehaviour in the stands."

He said there are no plans to tarp over sections of seats. The franchise also plans to replace the videoboard that departed with the Bruins.

"We believe we have to step it up a bit," said Keith. "There's no doubt that the WHL was a higher-profile league and we need to make sure we're doing the same thing for the BCHL and we will."

He said the lower costs associated with operating a BCHL team will make it easier for the franchise to afford to bring a top-notch experience to fans.

"Our intention is to fill the building. There's no ifs ands or buts."

Keith clearly believes that Smyl—who coached the Langley Chiefs last year but who still lives in Chilliwack—will be a vital part of the on- and off-ice success of the team.

The Millionaires won just 13 games last year and were swiftly dispatched in four games in the playoffs. With the BCHL ushering in a new playoff format that will see only four teams from each division qualify for the post-season, Chilliwack will be in tough. But Keith has confidence in Smyl's ability to work wonders with young players and promote an entertaining style of play.

"Harvey seems to lose five or six games at the start of the year, by Christmas time he's playing .500 hockey, and by the time he hits the end of the year, he's in the second round of the playoffs," said Keith. "What fans, I believe, want is guys who go out every shift and give it everything they've got and we can promise we're going to have exciting offensive hockey.

"Yeah, it'll take a few minutes to get a team sorted around but Harvey's used to rebuilding teams because we've always incentivized Harvey based on sending . . . young men [to college] rather than holding them from 16 to 20 on the team."

The Western Hockey League had previously expressed an interest in returning to Chilliwack, but Keith said he and his partners are fully committed to the BCHL.

"Judging by the way we were treated by the WHL, we're not very anxious to be involved with those folks again," he said.

Keith says the franchise has put in place a 10-year lease for the Prospera Centre.

He also emphasized the need for community involvement in the team and hopes to recruit an army of volunteer ushers, ticket-takers, billeters and security personnel.

"We're going to look for a lot of people to be involved," said Keith. "We believe that rather than commercializing some of those positions, we should be trying to look for people who want to be involved in the community and involve some of the clubs and also some of the students."

He said the team plans to begin hiring within two weeks, with a business manager and marketer at the top of the list.

Chilliwack will play in the BCHL's Interior Conference next year. Realignment will take place the following, according to the league.

BC Hockey must still rubber-stamp the move, but that approval is expected at a conference call scheduled for June 7. The new Chilliwack owners, meanwhile, are planning a summer of announcements tied to the new team and are begging for input from local hockey fans and residents.

"We firmly believe the team belongs to the community," said Keith. "We get to be caretakers of the team."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Former Viper Morgan Set For Rehab Stint:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman, Nyjer Morgan has been on the 15-day DL since May 6 with a fractured left middle finger, and is expected to go to extended spring training in Phoenix. Morgan played two games with the Vipers as an "AP" during the 1996-97 season.

This is posted on the Brewers website:

Morgan and Braddock set for rehab stints

By Audrey Snyder and Adam McCalvy / MLB.com | 05/22/11

MILWAUKEE -- Outfielder Nyjer Morgan and left-handed reliever Zach Braddock are tentatively scheduled to take the next step in their rehabilitation processes.

Braddock (0-1, 2.79 ERA) is expected to throw a maximum of 35 pitches on Monday for Class A Wisconsin. Weather could impact whether Braddock makes an appearance. The lefty hasn't played with the Brewers since being placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 3 due to a sleep disorder.

Morgan has been on the 15-day DL since May 6 with a fractured left middle finger, and is expected to go to extended spring training in Phoenix on Tuesday. Morgan appeared in just 15 games this season after a previous stint on the DL with a right thigh bruise limited him early on.

The player and manager Ron Roenicke met to discuss the move, and the plan is for Morgan to play two games in Arizona where he will see a lot of action. Morgan could lead off every inning in the extended program if desired.

"In my eyes it's healed, it's healed enough," Morgan said. "But it's all about basically just looking after my future and what's better for the team. Ron wants 100-percent 'Nyj Morgan' out there and I can't blame him, even though I want to get out there now."

Roenicke said Morgan needs six or seven at-bats, and though the outfielder originally wanted to stay close by, the predicted weather forecast for the Timber Rattlers, who head to Peoria, Ill., made Arizona the best option.

"He doesn't have to just play his position, he can lead off the innings, play seven innings and get six at-bats, which makes a lot more sense for me," Roenicke said.

Former Viper Zurevinski Planning On Returning To School:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Scott Zurevinski is planning on returning to school for his senior season after turning down a contract offer last spring from the NHL Vancouver Canucks. Zurevinski played two years in Vernon (2006-08).

This was in the New Haven Register Newspaper:

Signs pointing to return for Quinnipiac captain Scott Zurevinski

Published: Monday, May 09, 2011

HAMDEN — Quinnipiac men’s hockey captain Scott Zurevinski is planning on returning to school for his senior season. At least for the time being.

Last spring, Zurevinski turned down an NHL contract offer from the Vancouver Canucks and returned to school. Most, including Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold, figured Zurevinski would decide to turn professional after the season.

But Zurevinski said all along he wouldn’t leave until the time was right, and that he could remain at Quinnipiac through his senior year. Pecknold said Monday that Zurevinski is leaning toward returning to school, but the right offer could change his mind.

“As of now, he’s coming back,” Pecknold said. “That’s his plan for now, but things can still change. Guys have signed in June and July in the past, so we won’t know for sure until Aug. 25 (when classes at Quinnipiac begin). But I think he’ll be back here.”

Zurevinski, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound wing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, led the Bobcats with 25 points last season. He is scheduled to serve as captain again this winter.

Quinnipiac came within an overtime loss at Cornell of reaching the ECAC semifinals last March, and returns the bulk of the roster. It will also be aided by another solid recruiting class. Among those expected to contribute are Matthew Peca, a forward for Pembroke of the Central Canada Junior Hockey League. Peca led his team to the prestigious Royal Crown Cup as national Junior ‘A’ champions on Sunday, and was named the tournament’s outstanding forward.

Also scheduled to arrive in Hamden this fall are defensemen Jack Callahan (Springfield, Eastern Junior Hockey League) and Dan Federico (Boston, EJHL), forward Bryce Van Brabant (Spruce Grove, Alberta) and goalie Michael Gartieg (Powell River, British Columbia).

The most intriguing recruit is 6-foot-7, 244-pound goalie John Nauta, who was named the EJHL goaltender of the year after going 23-2-2 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .937 save percentage for New Jersey last winter. Nauta spent some time in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, which cost him a year of college eligibility. He will take classes at Quinnipiac next year, but won’t take the ice until the fall of 2012.

Former Viper Brownlee Releases New Song "Carried Away"

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman, Chad Brownlee (2001-03) who helped Vernon win the 2003 BCHL Championship has hung up his skates and now is a country music artist. Brownlee was drafted in 2003 in the 6th round, by the NHL Vancouver Canucks. Brownlee's new single (Carried Away) will be going to radio May 2011.

Chad Brownlee performs the new "Carried Away" song live in the KICX 106 studios, check out the video


For more on Chad Brownlee visit his website,


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vipers Deal Fitzgerald To Prince George & Trade Voth:

This is posted on the Morning Star Website:

Vipers deal Fitzgerald to Prince George

By Kevin Mitchell - Vernon Morning Star

Published: May 25, 2011

The B.C. Hockey League champion Vernon Vipers have traded forward Trevor Fitzgerald to the Prince George Spruce Kings, completing a deal which saw defenceman Ryan Renz join the Snakes at the Jan. 10 trading deadline.

Fitzgerald, an 18-year-old Vernon product, compiled seven goals and 18 points in his rookie season after playing for the Vipers at the 2010 Royal Bank Cup in Dauphin, Man.

“Did we want to do this deal? No,” said Vipers’ head coach/GM Mark Ferner. “We kind of got handcuffed because we didn’t have enough defencemen (at the time of the trade). Obviously, Fitzy’s a very good player, a very good teammate and he’s going to be missed.

“It’s unfortunate that we paid a premium price. This is the real lousy part of the business. He was a good player for us. The deeper we got, the steeper the price got.”

Prince George dealt Renz, a 17-year-old Castlegar product who is rated as a late-rounder in next month’s NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota, in exchange for future considerations. The terms were based on how far Vernon went in the playoffs.

“There were a number of players they could have had, but they really wanted Fitzy,” said Ferner.

Fitzgerald, who will graduate from high school next month, was distraught after meeting with Ferner and assistant coach Jason Williamson.

"I'm a little bit numb right now," said Fitzgerald. "That's the way it goes. It was a good experience with the Vipers. We had a great year and it was a lot of fun."

Fitzgerald will be reunited with his North Okanagan Knights junior B coach – Dave Dupas – in Prince George.

In another move, the Vipers traded 20-year-old goalie Blake Voth to the North Battleford North Stars of the Saskatchewan Junior League, completing a deal which saw forward Dane Muench land in Vernon at the trading deadline.

The Vipers will return 20-year-old all-star net detective Kirby Halcrow next season.

More on the trade, visit the Spruce Kings website:


Pembroke Overdoes RBC Celebration:

This was in Sundays Morning Star Newspaper:

Pembroke overdoes RBC celebration

Pembroke is a pretty forestry city of 23,000 nestled on the shores of the Ottawa River in the heart of the Ottawa Valley.

Their junior A hockey team, known as the Lumber Kings, shut out the Vipers 2-0 in the Royal Bank Cup two weeks ago, and all of a sudden they’re calling themselves Hockey Town Canada.

Hmm, let’s see. The Vipers have been to nine national championships and won six, yet Vernon doesn’t claim to be anything except a winning hockey town.

Pembroke has played in five national tournaments and this was their first title. Hardly reason enough for their mayor, Ed Jacyno, to change his voicemail to say callers had reached “The mayor of Hockey Town Canada and the proud mayor of the RBC Cup champion Pembroke Lumber Kings , the best in Canada.”

Perhaps they should wait until they win two or three, or at least a Kraft Hockeyville smorg before boasting of such a thing.

Former Viper Bishop & The Bulldogs Fall Short In Game 7 Of Conference Finals:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Hunter Bishop and the Hamilton Bulldogs lost 4-3 in Game 7 of the AHL Western Conference Finals last night to the Houston Aeros. Houston now advances to the Calder Cup Finals. In 34 regular season games, Bishop collected (4-4-8) but never played a game during the Bulldogs playoff run. Bishop played three seasons in Vernon (2005-2008) before signing as a free agent with the NHL Montreal Canadiens in March of 2010.

This is posted on the Bulldogs website:


The loss eliminates the ‘Dogs from the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs while the Aeros will now advance to the Calder Cup Finals.

May 25, 2011

Houston, TX – The Hamilton Bulldogs were defeated by the Houston Aeros 4-3 in Game 7 of their Western Conference Finals series. The loss eliminates the ‘Dogs from the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs while the Aeros will now advance to the Calder Cup Finals.

The Aeros opened the game’s scoring at 7:03 of the first frame. Patrick O’Sullivan collected the puck behind the Bulldogs net before flipping a pass to the front of the net. Chad Rau whacked at the puck, sending it past Hamilton starting goaltender Drew MacIntyre. Casey Wellman gave Houston a 2-0 lead nine seconds after their first goal. Wellman carried the puck into the Bulldogs zone before rifling a shot towards the net. The puck bounced off the stick of a Hamilton defender and over the left shoulder of MacIntyre.

The Bulldogs made the game 2-1 at 9:13 of the opening period. Dustin Boyd received the puck from Mathieu Carle and skated into the Houston zone. Boyd fired a shot towards the net that redirected off the stick of an Aeros player and over the glove of Houston starting goaltender Matt Hackett. The ‘Dogs tied the game 2-2 at 13:21 while on the power play. Nigel Dawes sent the puck to the right point, where Carle was stationed. Carle released a wrist shot that sailed through traffic and past Hackett.

Houston regained the lead at 2:42 of the second stanza. Jean-Michel Daoust gave the puck to Wellman, who skated to the top of the right faceoff circle. Wellman blasted a slap shot that beat MacIntyre under the blocker.

Hamilton tied the game 3-3 at 9:57 of the middle frame with a power-play goal. Boyd fired a shot towards the net which bounced off players in front and trickled to the right side of the goal. Aaron Palushaj grabbed the loose puck before snapping a shot past the glove of Hackett.

The Aeros earned the game-winning goal at 18:47 of the final frame. O’Sullivan carried the puck down the left side of Hamilton’s zone before sending the puck to the front of Hamilton’s net. Jon DiSalvatore jammed at the puck, shoving it underneath MacIntyre and across the goal line.

Highlights of tonight’s game can be found on http://www.sendtonews.com/

Scoring Summary:
1st Period:
1. HOU – Chad Rau – 6 (Patrick O’Sullivan) – 7:03
2. HOU – Casey Wellman – 4 (Unassisted) – 7:12
3. HAM – Dustin Boyd – 5 (Mathieu Carle, Drew MacIntyre) – 9:13
4. HAM – Mathieu Carle – 3 (Nigel Dawes) – 13:21 (PP)

2nd Period:
5. HOU – Casey Wellman – 5 (Jean-Michel Daoust, Justin Falk) – 2:42
6. HAM – Aaron Palushaj – 7 (Dustin Boyd, Nigel Dawes) – 9:57 (PP)

3rd Period:
7. HOU – Jon DiSalvatore – 5 (Patrick O’Sullivan, Chad Rau) – 18:47

Houston: 2-1-1—4
Hamilton: 2-1-0--3

Houston: 12-8-14—34
Hamilton: 7-8-12—27

Houston: Matt Hackett (27 shots, 24 saves)
Hamilton: Drew MacIntyre (34 shots, 30 saves)

Power Play:
Houston: 0-for-1
Hamilton: 2-for-3

Attendance: 6,117

Three Stars:

1. HOU – Jon DiSalvatore (1 goal, +2, 3 shots)
2. HOU – Casey Wellman (2 goals, +2, 3 shots)
3. HAM – Dustin Boyd (1 goal, 1 assist, 6 shots)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Catholic Memorial Senior Defenseman Marc Hetnik Commits To Vernon:

This is posted on the Boston Terriers Blog:

2012 recruit will "prep" with BCHL powerhouse

2012 recruit Marc Hetnik, Jr., who is completing his senior year at Catholic Memorial High School, will follow the same path to BU as former Knights blueliner Garrett Noonan did, spending a season in the junior ranks with the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL.

Hetnik, who was CM’s captain and tallied four goals and 16 assists this season, earned Boston Globe All Scholastic, http://www.boston.com/sports/special/schools/201011_winter_all-scholastics/boys_hockey.html   Boston Herald Dream Team and ESPN Boston First Team All Star honors. When he arrives on Commonwealth Avenue, Hetnik will join former Vipers Noonan, Sahir Gill and Ryan Santana.

Vernon, winner of two of the past three RBC Cup championships in Canada’s Junior A ranks, is rebuilding its defense. At least three starting blueliners from the past season’s team are departing.

Hetnik’s father Marc Hetnik, was a forward on BU’s 1978 national championship team and scored 92 points in four varsity seasons.

Mr. Excitement Goes Back To College:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Mr. Excitement goes back to college

by Viper staff | Added 2011-05-17

Mission accomplished – Malcolm Lyles has regained his confidence and has earned another NCAA athletic scholarship.

After languishing at the bottom end of the depth chart at Boston College for two years, the athletically gifted native of Miami Gardens, Florida left that university to play Junior “A” hockey in his last year of eligibility.

“Things weren’t working out for me at Boston College, and I was losing my edge, my self-belief. Basically, I had just one chance and that was to come to Vernon. My hockey career would have ended quietly at Boston College if I hadn’t come here. I didn’t even have a full set of equipment!”

Malcolm says that he has “learned a lot about hockey and about life in Vernon.” He adds that he feels “revitalized. I feel optimistic again, like maybe I can be a decent player.” A big part of that rebirth, he says, is “enjoying being around a great bunch of guys on this team.”

The 21-year-old says that “Playing and living in Vernon has been a real eye-opener. There’s a good atmosphere here, a positive vibe. It definitely starts with the owner and coaches and it flows into the dressing room.”

Indeed, he is staying around until early June, when his university classes will wrap up. Malcolm has been taking a full load of courses in order to satisfy requirements that will allow him to play NCAA hockey next year.

He has committed to the University of Massachusetts (Lowell) where he will play for the River Hawks during his Junior and Senior years. He feels that he will have a much better chance of being a regular on that squad because he’s “learned some of the finer points of playing defence from Willy and Ferns.”

This summer he will again train with Mike Boyle and Paul Vincent, who have previously helped develop Malcolm’s legendary strength and quickness. He says, “They are two of the best, and I’d be nowhere without them.”

He has worked hard this year, on and off the ice. He says that he has worked as hard before, but “Now I’m working smarter. Brains over brawn, you know?”

His speed, strength, and mobility have earned him several nicknames. Some refer to Malcolm’s own favourite moniker, Malcolm “Styles” Lyles. He has also been known as “Mr. Excitement,” “Action Jackson,” and “The Chocolate Rocket.”

Whatever the nickname, Malcolm Lyles has left a strong impression on Vernon hockey fans. He will not soon be forgotten.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Former Viper Tryout Musico Commits To Penn State:

20 year old goaltender PJ Musico has committed to Penn State University for 2011-12. Musico attended the Vernon Vipers 2008 training camp before being cut. Musico played last year with the NAHL Wichita Falls Wildcats before attending the Penticton Vees training camp in August. The Vees then traded Musico to the Flin Flon Bombers for future considerations in early September of this year.

This is posted on the Bombers website:

Musico Commits to Penn State

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Flin Flon Bombers are pleased to announce that 1990 born goaltender P.J. Musico has committed to the Penn State Men’s Hockey program for the 2011-12 season.

Musico (Orange, CA) was a workhorse for the Bombers this past season, leading the league in minutes played, (2791), saves (1590), shutouts (3), and was in the top five in wins (23) and save percentage (0.913).

Penn State announced late last year that they will be participating in Division I hockey starting in the 2012-13 season as an independent, but will be playing in the WCHA starting in 2013-14, which boasts teams like the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin and University of Nebraska-Omaha, where former Bomber defenceman Michael Young attends. Penn State has been a powerhouse on the club team circuit since 1971 where the team known as the Icers have won seven American Collegiate Hockey Association national titles.

The Penn State coaching staff is well aware of what type of players comes out of Flin Flon. Head Coach Guy Gadowsky was head of the Princeton hockey program for seven seasons where former goalie Zane Kalemba and forward Tyler Beachell suited up for the Tigers. Reagan commented that Gadowsky had no hesitation because of this.

Musico is the first goaltender to commit to a NCAA program this year and first NCAA scholarship for Flin Flon. Humboldt goalie Andrew Bodnarchuk is playing this fall at Sacred Heart but he committed last season. Two other players from the 2010-11 team, Tyler Mah (Simon Fraser) and Corey Tyrell (SAIT) committed to Canadian Colleges.

Musico also joins a long line of Flin Flon Bomber goalies to play NCAA hockey where in the past 20 seasons 12 netminders have gone on to play in either Division I or Division III schools.

Rich Nagy – Ferris State (Div I)
Dan Dennis – Providence College (Div I)
Rodney McLeod – U of Nebraska-Omaha (Div I)
Morgan Cey – Notre Dame (Div I)
Zane Kalemba – Princeton (Div I)
Ryan Kerpan – AIC (Div I)
Matt Weninger – St. Lawrence (Div I)
PJ Musico – Penn State (Div I)
Paul Reimer – Manhattanville (Div III)
Travis Crickard – Potsdam (Div III)
Calvin Bartel – Hamilton (Div III)
Carsen Chubak – Niagara (Div 1)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Former Viper Fraser Wins Second Straight Kelly Cup:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Curtis Fraser and the ECHL Alaska Aces won their second straight Kelly Cup with a 5-3 win over former Vernon Vipers forward, Dean Strong and the Kalamazoo Wings Saturday night. Fraser is in his second season with the Aces collecting (6-4-10) in 13 playoff games. Fraser played a single season in Vernon (2002-03) before playing four years at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Strong is in his second year with the Wings collecting (7-7-14) in 15 playoff games. Strong played just one season with the Vipers (2004-05) before playing four years with the University of Vermont.

This is posted on the Aces website:


May 21st, 2011

The Aces won their second ever Kelly Cup Championship with a 5-3 win over the Kalamazoo Wings to win the ECHL Final four games to one. Scott Howes was named the Most Valuable Player of the ECHL Playoffs. For more information, and the latest promotional news and updates, fans can visit the Aces at their Facebook page for more information, or call the Aces at 907.258.ACES.

The game began with an evenly played opening period. The Aces outshot the K-Wings 11-10 in the period, but Kalamazoo hit two posts in the frame. The game went to the second period scoreless.

The offense broke through in the second. Kalamazoo got on the board first when Brian McGuirk scored on a deflection at 2:58. The Aces responded immediately. 32 seconds after the goal, Steve Ward’s sharp-angle shot caromed off of Sam Ftorek’s skate and into the net to make it 1-1. Alaska then took their first lead on a power play. Chris Langkow scored on a rebound at 13:54. The K-Wings then answered when A.J. Thelen scored off an offensive zone faceoff at 15:51. The Aces took the lead before the intermission when Chad Anderson scored at 18:53. The Aces outshot the K-Wings 13-8 in the frame.

The third period was a game of cat and mouse with the Aces pulling away and the K-Wings inching back. Goals from Langkow and Curtis Fraser were enough to propel Alaska to victory.

Gerald Coleman (11-1) earned the win, making 27 saves on 30 shots. Ryan Nie (12-6) suffered the loss, and made 29 saves on 34 shots. The Aces went 1-3 on the power play, while the K-Wings went 0-2. The Aces outshot the Wings 34-30 in the game.

All fans are invited to join the Aces at a Kelly Cup Finals victory party on Monday night at Sullivan Arena. The party begins at 7:15pm, and doors open at 6:45pm.

#1 Alaska Aces vs. #3 Kalamazoo Wings

Game 1 – Alaska, 5 Kalamazoo, 0
Game 2 – Alaska, 3 Kalamazoo, 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Kalamazoo, 4 Alaska, 1
Game 4 – Alaska, 7 Kalamazoo, 5
Game 5 – Alaska, 5 Kalamazoo, 3

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kyle Murphy Gave Everything He Had:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Kyle Murphy gave everything he had

by Viper staff | Added 2011-05-16

Let’s start this article with a short question-and-answer.

Q: How do you pack a 200-pound heart into a 170 pound body?
A: I don’t know; you’ll have to ask Kyle Murphy.

An example of Kyle’s work ethic and determination came in the final two games of this year’s RBC Cup, held recently in Camrose, Alberta. He played the entire tournament on a wonky left knee. Then, in the semi-final against Wellington, he laid himself full out to block a shot.

The puck sliced his right knee open, but he finished the game and then played the final game with both knees heavily bandaged. As Mark Ferner put it, “Some guys in the playoffs will play on one leg because it’s the playoffs. Murph played that final game on no legs.”

“We brought him in to be a veteran leader because of what we heard about his character. That’s exactly what he brought to the team. He was great in the [faceoff] circle, he checked like crazy, and he just played the game right.”

Kyle often showed his gutsy style in the faceoff circle, where he would get down low and work to tie up opposing centres. He especially excelled late in games. Case in point: in the seventh game against Spruce Grove, Kyle won his last five draws, all in the Viper zone, with the Vipers clinging to a one-goal lead.

His tenacious play led the Viper broadcast crew to refer to the New Jersey native as a “bulldog, ”a “pit bull,” and a “terrier.” (The Viper broadcasters’ grasp of canine terminology is somewhat inconsistent, but they recognize tenacity when they see it.)

Kyle also put up some decent scoring numbers, 20 goals and 28 assists in 78 games, good for fourth place on the team. His biggest goal was the neat deflection that knotted the score at 3-3 in the Vipers’ sensational comeback win over the Powell River Kings in the deciding game of the Fred Page Cup.

He certainly had the pedigree to be successful. He played at a high level in Boston minor hockey and then at the Shattuck St. Mary’s prep school before accepting a scholarship to the fabled Notre Dame university.

At Notre Dame, he didn’t get the ice time that he expected. So, even though the experience of studying and living at Notre Dame “was first class,” he opted to leave that school to “play the game I love at a level I could accept.”

The study skills he developed at Shattuck St. Mary’s and Notre Dame have certainly helped him navigate a challenging year in Vernon. In order to retain his remaining two years of NCAA eligibility, this year he had to take a full load of university classes and graduate with an associate degree.

This year he took 10 business classes through the extensive online program at Central Texas College. He completed six of those courses after Christmas. How did he manage it? He says, “I still can’t believe it, to be honest. It’s all a blur. It got really hectic, especially during the playoffs when the assignments and exams came thick and fast. But I got some help from the team’s academic advisors and I tried to plan ahead.”

His work has paid off – he has earned an “A” in every one of the 10 classes, an amazing achievement for someone involved in a lengthy playoff run.

One of his business classes was a business internship. He chose to work in the Viper office, with Marketing Manager Heidi Haas and Business Operations Manager Todd Miller. Kyle helped with publicity, promotions, sponsorship sales, and ticket sales, in what he calls “a really good experience for someone who’s interested in sports and business. I learned a lot about the business side of a sports organization from Heidi and Todd.”

As he reclined in a bed at Vernon Jubilee hospital, recovering from the second of two operations to deal with a staph infection that has ravaged his cut right knee, Kyle spoke of the Viper coaches. “I’ve been lucky to have good coaches over the years, but Ferns and Willy are one of the best, if not the best coaching staffs I’ve played for. Their knowledge and communications make them exactly the kind of coaches a player wants.”

He’s looking forward to getting rid of the IV drip line, which he’ll have for a couple of weeks after he leaves hospital: “once the antibiotics kick in, I’ll get back to training and I’ll get ready for this fall.”

He is mulling offers from three universities, all in the Northeastern United States. “All three are good schools for academics and hockey. I’m looking forward to next year, but I’ll never forget the great year I had in Vernon.”

Friday, May 20, 2011

Catholic Memorial Senior Defenseman Marc Hetnik Coming To Vernon?

This is posted on ESPN's website:

Apr 1 2011

By Scott Barboza

Catholic Memorial senior defenseman Marc Hetnik will be playing hockey at Boston University, joining its 2012 recruiting class, Knights head coach Bill Hanson has confirmed.

Hetnik, along with Hanson, met with Terriers head coach Jack Parker on Thursday morning. The Chestnut Hill resident will play a year of juniors before heading to Commonwealth Ave., with the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League and the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League emerging as top targets. Former CM stars Mike Collins (Merrimack) and Garrett Noonan (BU) both spent time with Vernon before heading to Hockey East.

The Knights blue liner was also considering Boston College, Merrimack and Holy Cross among other schools.

More on this story to come.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Former North Star & Current Viper Nearly National Champion:

This is posted on the North Stars website:

Former North Star nearly National Champion

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When Battlefords North Stars fans heard Dane Muench could be returning to the SJHL in January at the trade deadline, the buzz excited the Battlefords.
After all, he was one of the best rookies in the SJHL during the 2008-09 season, notching 24 goals and 10 assists in 50 games while also being named a league all-star.

After being released from the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats, where Muench had two goals and five assists in 23 games, North Stars head coach and general manager Ken Pearson made the decision to trade Muench to the BCHL and acquire future considerations for the talented offensive forward.

Muench joined the Vernon Vipers and played with the team for 15 regular season games earning a goal and five assists in 15 games.

Muench also played two playoff games and scored once. The Vipers continued their season after winning the BCHL and later qualifying for the RBC Cup that was played in Camrose, Alta. April 30 to May 8.

Vernon went undefeated in the preliminary round, beating the host Camrose Kodiaks 4-2, the Western representatives Portage Terriers 5-2 and the Eastern reps, the Pembroke Lumber Kings, 5-3.

In the semi final, Vernon beat the Wellington Dukes 4-1, giving them four wins against the other four teams in the tournament and an undefeated record heading into the final.

The championship game was a rematch between Vernon and Pembroke and it was the Lumber Kings skating to a 2-0 win on national TV.

Muench’s second chance at the 2010-11 season ended a game short of a national championship, but he did notch two assists while playing four games at the RBC Cup.

If healthy, the 1992-born forward from Martensville could become one of the most offensive and creative players in any league he plays in. Getting to that point will take a summer of hard work and dedication to potentially build his young talent into an elite junior hockey player.

As for the North Stars, it is expected in the coming weeks an announcement will be made on what those future considerations will be to complete the Muench trade.

By Trent Cey

Battlefords News-Optimist Reporter

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

60 Seconds With Former Vipers All-Star Forward Hunter Bishop:

The American Hockey League's Hamilton Bulldogs have made a video featuring, 60 seconds with former Vernon Vipers forward, Hunter Bishop. Bishop played three seasons in Vernon (2005-2008). Bishop and the Bulldogs are down 3-0 in the AHL Western Conference Finals to the Houston Areos. Game four goes tonight in Hamilton.

This video was posted on the Bulldogs website today.


Kak Closes His Viper Career:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Kak closes his Viper career

by Don Klepp | Added 2011-05-12

Bryce Kakoske can’t believe it’s all over – he’s had 5+ years of Junior hockey and it seems to have gone in a flash.

The big redhead has had a stellar career – 344 BCHL regular season and playoff games and another 33 games in Doyle Cup and RBC Cup action. He finished with a flourish, scoring two superb goals to lead the Vipers to a 4-1 win over the Wellington Dukes in a semi-final showdown on May 7.

Riding the bus on the way to the Edmonton airport on May 9, Bryce was hurting from losing in the RBC final this year, but he was philosophical: “The sun came up this morning, and we gave it a really good shot, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are lots of teams who would have loved a chance to play in an RBC final, so let’s look on the bright side.”

Bryce had his best year in the 2010-11 season, reaching the 50-point plateau in the regular season for the first time and adding 16 playoff points. “A lot of that had to do with getting lots of ice time, and I loved being on a line with Dave and Murph.”

Bryce started his career as a 15-year-old affiliated player with the Vipers. “I got to play with my brother Ryan, which was special. Then, the next two years I played in Westside against Ryan, and that was pretty cool, too.”

After the RBC final game on Saturday, the brothers had a long talk: “He told me that he was proud of me and we went over some of the things that have happened over the past five years.”

Bryce appreciated the chance to play for two years in Westside, but his heart was in Vernon. When he compares the two teams, he says that “There’s a lot more tradition here. Vipers take winning pretty seriously and a lot of that has to do with Mark and Jason. They set the precedent and then expect the vets to make sure that the new guys know what our culture is. Definitely, it was a breath of fresh air, coming here.”

He says that playing in Vernon has been “an incredible experience, especially because of the success we’ve had over the past three years. The fans here are just the best. To come out on the ice and see 1700 or more fans in the seats on a week night is really special for a player. These fans support us no matter what. In the final two games in Camrose, over 200 fans were chanting, ‘Go Vipers Go.’ What more could you ask for?”

When asked about his future plans, Bryce replies “That’s a scary thought. I’m not sure at this point. I’d love to play hockey for a few more years, preferably at the college level, because getting an education is important.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Canucks Recall Former Viper Forward Volpatti:

The Vancouver Canucks announced Friday the team has recalled five players from the AHL Manitoba Moose, including former Vernon Vipers forward, Aaron Volpatti. Volpatti who played three years with the Vipers (2003-2006) signed as a free agent with the Canucks back on March, 22nd 2010. In 15 regular season games with Vancouver Volpatti collected one goal and one assist with sixteen penalty minutes.

Aaron Volpatti's Player Profile:


This is posted on the Canucks website:

Canucks recall five from Moose

Tanev, Lack, Shirokov, Volpatti & Bolduc recalled

Friday, 13.05.2011

Vancouver, B.C. - Vancouver Canucks President & General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that defenceman Chris Tanev, goaltender Eddie Lack and forwards Sergei Shirokov, Aaron Volpatti and Alex Bolduc have been recalled from the Manitoba Moose of the AHL.

Tanev, 21, recorded one assist and zero penalty minutes in 29 games during his first year in the NHL with the Canucks. The Toronto, Ontario native posted nine points (1-8-9) in 39 games with the Moose. He also appeared in 14 playoff games with Manitoba, recording three points (1-2-3) and was +7.

Lack, 23, posted a 28-21-4 record with Manitoba and 2.26 GAA in the regular season. He also appeared in 12 playoff games with the Moose, recording six wins, five losses and a 1.99 GAA.

Shirokov, 25, led the Moose in scoring during the regular season, posting 58 points (22-36-58) in 76 games played. The 5’10”, 195-pound right recorded his first NHL goal and played in two games for the Canucks in 2010.11. He appeared in 14 playoff games for Manitoba, ranking second on the team in postseason scoring (7-3-10).

Volpatti, 25, registered 11 points (2-9-11) in 53 games with the Moose and two points (1-1-2) in 15 games with the Canucks in the 2010.11 regular season. He recorded three points (1-2-3) and 36 penalty minutes in 12 playoff games with Manitoba.

Bolduc, 25, split the season between Vancouver and Manitoba, recording four points (2-2-4) in 24 games with the Canucks and 15 points (6-9-15) in 26 games with the Moose. He appeared in 14 playoff games, notching four goals and 20 penalty minutes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Q And A With Vernon Vipers Playmaker Michael Zalewski:

Dan Sallows sit's down with Vernon Vipers forward, Mike Zalewski and asks a few questions with the Vipers rookie. I found these questions the other day on Dan's website, http://dansallows.com/  I know how old this is but I thought I would post it anyways.

Q and A with Vernon Vipers Playmaker Michael Zalewski

Posted by Dan in Interviews

The Vernon Vipers may be hard pressed to win their third straight Royal Bank Cup, especially after losing all but 6 players from last seasons roster, though it wouldn’t be out of the question as their scouting staff continues to find talent that puts the team in a position to compete year after year. One of those good finds is New Hartford, NY native Michael Zalewski, who is just getting his feet wet so far in the BCHL, but once he does, has all the talent and potential to breakout into a very reliable scoring threat. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward spent the 2009-10 season with the EJHL’s Syracuse Stars, a club that has produced the likes of Brian Gionta, Tim Connolly and Rob Schremp. In 43 games, the talented Zalewski registered 16 goals and 48 points, which sat him 4th overall on the club in scoring. His 11 power play assists were a team best, and good for 9th overall in the league. His playmaking ability is outstanding, but he also has a knack for scoring goals, which he proved back in high school. Zalewski racked up 44 goals and 87 points in 30 games for his New Hartford Spartans in 2008-09, en route to winning the state’s Division II Player of the Year, the Meyer Memorial Award (which is awarded to a junior hockey player who demonstrates strong skills, good citizenship and is highly committed to the sport), and a State Championship. His older brother Steven is a slick centre that plays for the San Jose Sharks affiliate in Worcester, and the two mirror each other with their offensive ability, good work ethic, and strong two-way play. I had the chance to catch up with the budding young star, for a quick Q and A.

Who has been your biggest influence on your hockey career, and helped you the most in developing into the player you are?

Michael: My dad has definitley been the biggest influence on my hockey career. He coached me for more than half of my life and still continues to help me develop into the player I want to be.
Hockey isn’t the most popular sport in the US, when did you start, and what got you into playing the game?

Michael: I started skating when I was three I believe. I would guess I started playing at four or five. My dad I helped me get started, but I have three siblings older than me, and they all play hockey so I guess their wasn’t any question as to what I was going to play.
You are a big guy, who has a knack for scoring goals, but can also dish the puck as well. What do you believe to be your best attributes as a player?

Michael: I would probably say that my vision is my best attribute. I like setting guys up, and I think I see the ice well.
Is there an NHler you mold your game after?

Michael: I don’t think their is one NHLer that I mold my game after, but I suppose I try to play like a mixture of Joe Thornton and Pavel Datsyuk.
You were selected by the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms in the 2010 Futures Draft, but have opted to play with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers instead. What was the reasoning, and how did it come about?

Michael: At the end of last season I was looking into the BCHL, and as I looked into it, my family advisor Steve Bartlett said that he was good friends with Mark Ferner and Steve put in a good word for me, and after that I was set on Vernon. I was pretty much already set on Vernon before the USHL draft even happened.
The Vipers are in a rebuild mode after their championship run last season, where do you see the strengths of this club in 2010-11?

I see our strengths in our speed and skill. We have a lot of new faces that are still trying to gel so it may take a little more time than it did in years past, but I believe when we all get on the same page and start working hard in the same direction that we’ll be a real strong hockey club.
What has been your ‘welcome moment’ to the BCHL?

Michael: Uh, to be honest I can’t really think of any moment, maybe scoring two goals in the exhibition I played against Salmon Arm, I’m not sure if that counts as a welcome to the league moment though.
How do you like hockey life in Canada, and the town of Vernon, BC so far?

Michael: So far, I love it out here. I come from a town that is similar in size to Vernon so it wasn’t a difficult adjustment, but I don’t think their are very many junior teams, if any, that are better to play for than Vernon. We get great support from the town, and it seems like a great place to live.
You’ve scored a ton of goals through high school hockey with New Hartford, and last year as a rookie with the EJHL’s Syracuse Stars. Do you have one that stands out as your biggest?

Michael: No one goal really stands out in my mind as being the biggest, I guess I can’t really think of just one.
You led New Hartford to a Division II state championship in 2009, and were named tourney MVP. where does that rank on your hockey accomplishments so far?

Michael: That is definitley up there in my accomplishments thus far in my career. I’ve won states twice in youth hockey, but it didn’t compare to winning it in high school.
You were listed among the top 200 North American Skaters in the NHL’s mid-term draft rankings last season. Is the NHL your ulitimate goal, or right now are you concentrating on an NCAA scholarship opportunity?

Michael: My immediate goal right now is a NCAA scholarship, but ultimately I want to play in the NHL. Obviously that’s everybody’s dream and not many players get there, but I think as I’ve gotten older it’s become a more realistic goal to me. I was honored to be on the top 200 list last year, but it only made me want to work harder to get drafted this year.
You have yet to commit to any schools, but have you got a short-list of places you’d like to play?

Michael: I have a couple schools in mind but ultimately I want to find a school that wants me, and a school that I can come into and contribute right away.
Who, in your opinion, is the best player your’ve played with or against in your hockey career so far?

Michael: I would have to say goaltender Andy Iles is the best player I’ve ever played with. He’s going to Cornell this year as a true freshman, and he’s unbelievable.
Do you have a nickname?

Michael: Most guys call me just ‘Z’ or maybe ‘Zeus’.
Most embarrassing hockey moment?

Michael: One time when I was younger I forgot my hockey pants and had to wear my khaki shorts on the ice instead. That was pretty embarassing.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thompson Takes Time Out To Appreciate Where His BCHL Career Has Taken Him:

This was in last weeks BCHL Newsletter:

Thompson takes time out to appreciate where his BCHL career has taken him

The three days since the RBC Cup final have been a time of reflection for Vernon Vipers veteran and Yale-bound defenceman Adam Thompson and while he learned how to win in his time, he has also handled losing with equal ease.

Originally from Calgary, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound blueliner won two RBC Cups with Vernon and came within a whisker of a third as the Vipers were defeated 2-0 by the Pembroke Lumber Kings on Sunday.

It's been a remarkable BCHL career for Thompson, who finished tied for fourth in scoring at the RBC Cup with five assists. As he looks back, he says his time in Vernon has taken him beyond where he ever thought it would.

"My first year here, I wasn't expecting anything," said Thompson. "The first time we won, it was surreal almost; I almost couldn't comprehend how much we did. One of the best moments was seeing (then Vipers captain) Chris Crowell raise the Cup after all he had done."

Thompson would have liked to have done the same this year and lifted a third RBC Cup in a row. It would have been a record he'd have shared with Bryce Kakoske and Steven Weinstein, the other two players who were in the hunt for their third national title. It was not to be, but Thompson isn't lingering on the pain of defeat.

"It was a really good run and... there's the bitterness of coming up just short but I realized it was a great year," he says. "I don't think anybody thought we'd make it that far; in the Salmon Arm series, people were ready to write us off but in the end we believed in ourselves."

Giving credit where credit is due is also part of Thompson's mindset in looking back at Sunday's loss.

"It's hard but you can't take anything away from Pembroke. I think we were 23-12 in goals for and against; the numbers show we were the best team there but that's the beauty of the tournament format. It comes down to one game and they had a good system and played us well."

Thompson says being shut out in the only nationally televised game of the year is hard to swallow but the loss makes him appreciate his first two titles all the more. Being an older player and leader on this year's team, Thompson says his role changed but it was one he embraced after having been shown the way by his coaches and the players that came before him.

"I was a leader this year and I was happy to undertake it; it's been three years of lots of great teammates, the best coaches I've ever had and owner Duncan Wray is one of the classiest people I know. I've learned a lot and it's been awesome."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Former Vipers Strong & Fraser Meet In Kelly Cup Finals:

Two former Vernon Vipers will battle it out in the 2011 Kelly Cup wich begins with Game 1 of the finals tonight in Alaska. Former Vernon Viper forward, Dean Strong is in his second season with the ECHL Kalamazoo Wings. Strong played just one season with the Vipers (2004-05) before playing four years with the University of Vermont. Former Vernon Vipers forward, Curtis Fraser also is in his second season with the ECHL Alaska Aces. Fraser played a single season in Vernon (2002-03) before playing four years at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Dean Strong's Player Profile:


Curtis Fraser's Player Profile:


This is posted on the ECHL website:

ECHL Press Releases May 13, 2011

Alaska, Kalamazoo open Kelly Cup Finals Saturday

PRINCETON, N.J. – The battle to determine the national “AA” hockey champion begins Saturday when the Western Conference champion Alaska Aces host the Eastern Conference champion Kalamazoo Wings in Game 1 of the Kelly Cup Finals at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska.

Celebrating its 23rd season in 2010-11, the ECHL is the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.

The Kelly Cup trophy is named for Patrick J. Kelly, who presents it each year to the postseason champion. Kelly was one of the founding fathers of the ECHL and the second inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2008. Kelly served as Commissioner for the league’s first eight seasons and was named Commissioner Emeritus in 1996, a title that he continues to hold. Kelly, who celebrated his 58th season in professional hockey in 2010-11, coached 1,900 career games and had 935 wins. Kelly coached in the Eastern Hockey League, the Southern Hockey League and the National Hockey League where he was the only coach to ever lead the Colorado Rockies to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Game 2 will be Sunday at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Sullivan Arena before the series shifts to Kalamazoo where the K-Wings will host Game 3 on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET and Game 4 on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET at Wings Stadium. Game 5, if necessary, would be at 7:30 p.m. ET at Wings Stadium on May 21. The series would return to Anchorage for Game 6, if necessary, on May 25 at 7:15 p.m. AKT and Game 7, if necessary, at 7:15 p.m. AKT on May 27.

The ECHL is the primary development league for the AHL and the NHL. The ECHL and the AHL are the only two minor professional hockey leagues that are recognized in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the National Hockey League Players' Association. The CBA states that any player on an NHL entry-level contract designated for assignment to a minor league must report if assigned to a team in the ECHL or the AHL. A player on an NHL entry-level contract assigned to a minor professional league other than the ECHL or the AHL is not required to report and can request reassignment to a team in the ECHL or the AHL.

How they got here

Alaska won its second Brabham Cup as the ECHL’s regular season champion by posting a league-best record of 47-22-3 for 97 points. As the number one seed in the Western Conference, the Aces received a bye in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Alaska has won all eight of its postseason games, defeating Idaho 4 games to 0 in the Western Conference Semifinals and defeating Victoria 4 games to 0 in the Western Conference Finals.

Kalamazoo defeated Florida 3 games to 1 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals before defeating Reading 4 games to 0 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The K-Wings advanced to their first-ever Kelly Cup Finals with a 4 games to 2 win over Wheeling in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Aces look for second Kelly Cup, K-Wings seek first

Alaska won the Kelly Cup in 2006, becoming just the second team at the time to win both the Brabham Cup and Kelly Cup in the same season. The Aces advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2009 where they fell to South Carolina in seven games. Alaska’s three appearances in the Finals ties the ECHL record, shared by five other teams, for most appearances in the Riley/Kelly Cup Finals. Kalamazoo is making its first appearance in the Kelly Cup Finals in just its second season in the ECHL. The K-Wings have won the North Division title in each of their two seasons in the league.

Finals feature top offense going against top defense

The Kelly Cup Finals features the top-scoring offense in the postseason matching up against the stingiest defense. Kalamazoo has scored a league-best 59 goals in its 14 postseason games for an average of 4.21 goals per game while Alaska has allowed just 10 goals in its eight postseason games for an average of 1.25 goals-against per game. Both teams also had success in those categories during the regular season as the K-Wings ranked second in the ECHL with an average of 3.54 goals per game while the Aces led the league with 2.42 goals-against per game.

Regular season win leaders match up in goal

The Kelly Cup Finals features a pair of 30-win goaltenders. Alaska’s Gerald Coleman, who was named ECHL Goaltender of the Year, and Kalamazoo’s Ryan Nie tied for the league lead in the regular season with 30 wins, becoming the 45th and 46th goaltenders in ECHL history to record at least 30 wins in a single season. Coleman led the league with a 2.19 goals-against average and tied for the lead with four shutouts while Nie led the league with 1,549 saves and was second with 3,111 minutes played. Both goaltenders have carried their success over to the postseason as Coleman sports playoff-bests with two shutouts, a 1.14 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage while Nie leads the postseason with 11 wins, 420 saves and 840 minutes played.

Scoring leaders on both sides

Alaska is led in the playoffs by Scott Howes, who has tallied at least one point in all eight of the Aces’ games, and has totaled 15 points (7g-8a). ECHL Most Valuable Player Wes Goldie ranks second on the club with 10 points (1g-9a).

Kalamazoo features the top three point producers in the playoffs entering the Kelly Cup Finals. Trent Daavettila leads the way with 21 points (5g-16a) followed by Sam Ftorek with 17 points (6g-11a) and Andrew Fournier with 16 points (3g-13a). Justin Taylor leads all players in the postseason with nine goals and ranks first among rookies with 12 points (9g-3a). A.J. Thelen is first among defensemen in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with nine points (3g-6a).

Name already on Kelly Cup

Alaska’s Scott Burt looks to join Jared Bednar as the only individuals to have their names engraved on the Kelly Cup three times. Burt, who is making his fourth appearance in the Kelly Cup Finals, captured championships with Idaho in 2004 and 2007. Entering the series, Burt has played in 99 career ECHL postseason games which ranks second in league history, and is just three shy of the league record held by ECHL Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Valicevic who appeared in 102 games with Greensboro and Louisiana from 1994-2002. Burt is seeking to become the first individual to win three Kelly Cups as a player. Bednar won championships as a player with South Carolina in 1997 and 2001 and was the Stingrays’ head coach for their 2009 championship.

Players returning to Finals

In addition to Burt, the only other player who has previous experience in the Kelly Cup Finals is Alaska defenseman Bryan Miller who was a member of the Aces during the 2009 visit to the Finals.

America One broadcasts Kelly Cup Finals

For the eighth year in a row every game of the Kelly Cup Finals will be broadcast by America One, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster of the ECHL”.

America One has broadcast more than 2,500 regular season ECHL games and over 450 Kelly Cup Playoff games around the globe the last six years including the ECHL All-Star Game. The first hockey game broadcast by America One was the Las Vegas Wranglers in February 2004 and the first hockey championship carried by America One was the 2004 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

2011 Kelly Cup Finals Schedule

Game 1 – Saturday, May 14 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska

Game 2 – Sunday, May 15 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska

Game 3 – Wednesday, May 18 at 7 p.m. ET at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Game 4 – Friday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Game 5 – Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan *

Game 6 – Wednesday, May 25 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan *

Game 7 – Friday, May 27 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan *

* If Necessary

Kelly Cup Champions

2010 – Cincinnati defeated Idaho, 4 games to 1
2009 – South Carolina defeated Alaska, 4 games to 3
2008 – Cincinnati defeated Las Vegas, 4 games to 2

2007 – Idaho defeated Dayton, 4 games to 1
2006 – Alaska defeated Gwinnett, 4 games to 1
2005 – Trenton defeated Florida, 4 games to 2
2004 – Idaho defeated Florida, 4 games to 1
2003 – Atlantic City defeated Columbia, 4 games to 1
2002 – Greenville defeated Dayton, 4 games to 0
2001 – South Carolina defeated Trenton, 4 games to 1
2000 – Peoria defeated Louisiana, 4 games to 2
1999 – Mississippi defeated Richmond, 4 games to 3
1998 – Hampton Roads defeated Pensacola, 4 games to 2
1997 – South Carolina defeated Louisiana, 4 games to 1

Riley Cup Champions

1996 – Charlotte defeated Jacksonville, 4 games to 0
1995 – Richmond defeated Greensboro, 4 games to 1
1994 – Toledo defeated Raleigh, 4 games to 1
1993 – Toledo defeated Wheeling, 4 games to 2
1992 – Hampton Roads defeated Louisville, 4 games to 0
1991 – Hampton Roads defeated Greensboro, 4 games to 1
1990 – Greensboro defeated Winston-Salem, 4 games to 1
1989 – Carolina defeated Johnstown, 4 games to 3