Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Several BCHL Teams Looking To Rise From Depths And Make Waves:

This is posted on the BC Hockeynow website:

Several BCHL teams looking to rise from depths and make waves

By Andrew Chong, Editor on August 29, 2013

The upcoming BCHL season is upon us, with the long road to the RBC Cup national championship set to begin  at the Bauer BCHL Showcase, Sept. 6 to 8 in Chilliwack.

After that, the first post-Showcase games will begin on Friday, Sept. 13, with the regular season running until March 1, 2014.

HockeyNow caught-up with BCHL communications director, Brent Mutis, to discuss the season ahead.

HN: What's got you excited about the 2013/14 BCHL season?

BM: Every season, I’m interested to see if last year’s stragglers can turn it around. The Cowichan Valley Capitals have new ownership and a new coach in SJHL veteran Bob Beatty. The Coquitlam Express have a new coach in Barry Wolff, formerly an assistant with Harvey Smyl and the Langley Chiefs. The Caps have Cooper Steen and Jarrett Brown back, both NCAA committed already, while Coquitlam picked-up Garrett Forster, Shay Laurent and Ben Israel last year at the Jan. 10 deadline.

HN: What has been the buzz around serious RBC Cup contenders, from your vantage point?

BM: The Vernon Vipers are two years removed from their last playoff appearance, very un-Viper like. But they stocked the shelves well in the offseason and appear poised for a run at the national title in their home rink. They picked up Michael McNicholas from Nanaimo and Demico Hannoun from Surrey as part of futures deals for Aaron Hadley and Adam Tambellini respectively. The Brooks Bandits are the defending champs and ranked No. 1 in this morning’s CJHL Top-20 so they’re the team to beat, for now.

HN: Who are some specific players to follow, for less familiar BCHL fans?

BM: NHL draft picks returning to the league this season are Merritt Centennials defenceman and Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Dane Birks along with West Kelowna Warriors forward and Detroit Red Wings prospect David Pope. A pair of Team Canada West players from last year’s WJAC have entered the league in Powell River Kings forward Kurt Keats and Penticton Vees D-man Paul Stoykewych. Both players spent last season with the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. Vees forward Jack Ramsey, son of longtime NHLer Mike Ramsey, will attend USA Hockey’s All-American prospects game Sept. 26 in Pittsburgh. Vees sophomore forward Ryan Gropp was the Interior’s Top Rookie last season and is on the radar for the 2016 NHL Draft. Many players in the league are returning, having already locked-up an NCAA scholarship.

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