Monday, August 10, 2015

BCHL News & Trades:

Here's a look around the league on what some of the other teams have been up to this off season regarding trades, player announcements and other team news.

I found these press releases off team websites, other hockey blogs or online.

BCHL News & Trades:

Prince George-Wenatchee Trade:

The Prince George Spruce Kings would like to announce that they have traded 20 year old forward Daniel Nachbaur to the BCHL’s newest team, The Wenatchee Wild, in exchange for future considerations. Nachbaur was acquired by the Spruce Kings on November 29th of last season from the Merritt Centennials. He tallied 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points plus 12 penalty minutes in only 17 games played, after missing significant time with an injury after being acquired. “Daniel was acquired last season to provide some energy and much needed depth to our forward group. He was able to do that although he was slowed by an unfortunate injury that limited his games played. He is a veteran BCHL player that Wenatchee is excited to add to their lineup” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes. Daniel and his new Wenatchee Wild teammates will be in Prince George to start the BCHL regular season with a double header at the Prince George coliseum on Friday September 11th and Saturday September 12th.

Nanaimo-Kingston Trade:

The Nanaimo Clippers have acquired 19 year old defenceman Jaylon Gorman from the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League in exchange for future considerations. The 5’11” 185lb defenceman had 6 points in 49 games for the Voyageurs during the 2014-2015 regular season. Gorman, a San Jose California native, also added 4 points in 20 playoff games, helping the Voyageurs make it to the OJHL Championship Finals. Coach Vandekamp: We are very excited to add Jaylon to our roster for the upcoming season. We expect him to be a steady, physical defenceman, who will bring a competitive edge to our defence corps every night. His playoff experience and excellent attitude will be a welcome addition to our dressing room.

Perry Returns To Wild:

The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the British Columbia Hockey League, have announced that Chase Perry has signed to return in goal for the Wild, as the team prepares for its first season in the BCHL. Perry is a 19-year old goaltender from Andover, Minnesota and is 6’3”, 189lbs. He played for the Wild during the 2013-14 season, compiling 15 wins, a 2.34 goals against average and 2 shutouts. Perry, a Detroit Red Wings draft pick who attended their recent development camp, played last season for Colorado College. “Chase brings a veteran presence to the ice with an unbelievable attitude” said Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler. “We look forward to having Chase back in Wenatchee. We know what Chase is capable of doing in the net.” Perry said “I chose to return to Wenatchee because of the high quality coaching, the strength of the Wild organization and the support of the entire Wenatchee community. I know with Coach Bliss we will have a team of high intensity players looking to reach the next level and an opportunity to play for a BCHL championship.” Perry continued, saying “I have a great relationship with the coaching staff and players new to the Wild organization will soon learn how special it is to be a part of the Wild family. I can’t wait to play in the Town Toyota Center again in front of the best fans in junior hockey!” The Wenatchee Wild open the BCHL regular season with a pair of games at the Prince George Spruce Kings on September 11th and 12th.

Lindblad Commits To Surrey:

The Surrey Eagles are excited to announce the commitment to Power Forward Gunnar Lindblad for the 2015-16 BCHL season. Lindblad, 18, is an elite two-way player who has a great ability to contribute offensively but always takes care of his defensive zone first. These are all things Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, Blaine Neufeld, likes, “Gunnar is a solid two-way player who we feel we can trust in all aspects of the game. He’s a very important piece of what we are trying to accomplish this year in Surrey.” Gunnar was born in Winnetka, IL, and played his minor hockey in Chicago. “I'm really excited about the new experience the BCHL has to offer. I've never played outside of Chicago, so I'm looking forward to something new,” expressed the enthusiastic Eagles recruit. “The Eagles are a very elite program. They have a tradition like no other. I'm looking forward to playing for a great fan base and a great city.” Being from Chicago, Gunnar explains that his team of choice is, of course, the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. Lindblad explained, “Being from Chicago and watching the Blackhawks, I've always admired the way Jonathan Toews plays. He's someone that I try to model my game after.” Lindblad put up 19 points in 25 games with the Chicago Mission U18 program, which has produced many great players over the past number of years, and which carries a number of NCAA Division 1 recruits, something that Gunnar hopes to achieve in his time in Surrey. The ambition to play a high level of hockey is nothing new to the Lindblad family. Gunnar’s older brother, Matt, is currently playing with the New York Rangers organization of the NHL. Matt, who was drafted by the Boston Bruins, has had a huge impact on Gunnar. Through Matt’s experiences, Gunnar learned what it takes to get to the next level. Gunnar explains how important his brother has been in his life, “Matthew is someone who has always been there for me. His dedication and drive to be a better player are amazing. I admire his work ethic and character, and he has really taught me what it takes to get to the next level.” If Gunnar were not playing hockey, he would most likely be playing lacrosse. Outside the rink, he enjoys spending time with his family or being on the golf course with his friends. “I have to admit that I'm going to miss the snow, but I'm definitely looking forward to living in a new climate,” Lindblad stated. The Eagles will continue their tradition as they open their exhibition season for their 25th Season against the Chilliwack Chiefs at the Nest, South Surrey Arena, at 8 p.m. on Friday, August 28th.

Milliken Commits To Wenatchee Wild:

The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the British Columbia Hockey League, have announced that Logan Milliken has committed, as the team prepares for its first season in the BCHL. Milliken is an 18-year old defenseman from Canmore, Alberta and stands 5’11” and 180lbs. He played Canadian High School hockey this past season and also saw time with the Canmore Eagles of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. According to Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler, “Logan is a skilled defenseman that should play in all situations.” Said Milliken, “I’m extremely excited to be joining the Wild for this upcoming season. Wenatchee looks like a great hockey town with great fans and an unreal facility. Can’t wait to get started!

Vees Land Ontario Sniper Brooks:

The Penticton Vees continue to solidify their depth up front this week, as they've added 20-year-old forward Mitch Brooks from the Stratford Cullitons of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL). Brooks follows in the footsteps of former Vees' Captain Brad McClure, who played for his hometown Cullitons before playing two seasons with the Vees, including a 41-goal campaign in 2013-14. Vees' President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson told the Penticton Herald Brooks is more like a recent graduate, "He's an outstanding two-way player with a lot of grit...a lot like Steen Cooper." "We needed to add that element and veteran presence to our team." Brooks is a versatile 5'10 forward who can play both right-wing and centre. He led the Cullitons in scoring this past season, tallying 24 goals and 62 points in 46 games. He comes with plenty of post-season experience as well, as he had 6 goals and 18 points in 15 playoff games, as Stratford lost out in the GOJHL Final. He's made it to the Cherry Cup in all three seasons in Stratford. Harbinson says Brooks' addition continues to strengthen the club down the middle, "Last year, we had to move some of our wingers to play centre, but this year we have some centres we'll probably have to shift to the wing. It gives you a lot more versatility with face-offs." After this season Brooks hopes to secure a scholarship to a CIS program near his hometown of Dorchester, Ontario.

West Kelowna-Spruce Grove Trade:

The West Kelowna Warriors have acquired Forward Paul Lovsin (96) from the Spruce Grove Saints of the AJHL in exchange for Future Considerations. Lovsin, who played 2 seasons in Spruce Grove, finished last year with 19 goals and 31 assists for 50 points in 51 games. He also added 7 points in 14 playoff games. The Saints won the AJHL championship last season, but went 0-4 at the Western Canada Cup. Lovsin was held without a point in 2 games at the WCC. He will bring a winning pedigree to the Warriors, as Spruce Grove is back to back AJHL Gas Drive Cup Champs. West Kelowna would like to welcome Paul to the organization, and look forward to seeing him on the ice when Main Camp opens up August 24th.

Wild Sign Yoon:

The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the British Columbia Hockey League, have announced that Bryan Yoon has signed, as the team prepares for its first season in the BCHL. Yoon is a 17 year old, right-handed shooting defenseman from Parker, Colorado, who stands 5’11” and weighs 170lbs. He played for the Omaha AAA U-18 team last season. Yoon is also a recruit of D-1 Colorado College. “We are very excited to have Bryan.” says Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler. “Bryan has the potential to be a high-end offensive defenseman for us.” Yoon says “I’m very excited to be a part of the Wild organization and to get the chance to work with some great coaches.” The Wenatchee Wild open the BCHL regular season with a pair of games at the Prince George Spruce Kings on September 11th and 12th.

Huitema Commits To Eagles:

The Surrey Eagles are proud to announce the commitment of 6’7” defenseman Trent Huitema for the 2015-16 BCHL season. Huitema, 17, joins the Eagles from the Abbotsford Pilots and hails from Chilliwack, BC. He is looking forward to having the opportunity to play close to home, saying, “I am very close to my family and friends and it will be incredible to play in front of them at such a competitive level.” Trent has been on the Eagles radar since he came to skate with them last year and they can see that Huitema is going to be a player of high interest to Colleges, NHL Scouts and opponents this season. The Eagles wanted to make sure they had the opportunity to continue to develop him. The opportunity for future progression is also not lost on Huitema as he acknowledges how “Surrey moves people on to the NCAA so effectively,” saying “that assures me that I made the right decision in playing for the Eagles next season.” Unwavering work ethic and determination are keys to how Huitema conducts himself on and off the ice. He is keen to make a positive impact on the ice and on the community as a player for the Surrey Eagles. When it comes to impact on the ice, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Blaine Neufeld states, "Trent reminds us of Zdeno Chara. His reach is incredible and we believe he will be a tough player to beat coming into our zone.“ At 6’7” and 225 lbs Huitema, will be a formidable and relentless asset on the ice. For Huitema, playing in the BCHL has been a goal of his for as long as he can remember. The most exciting part for him is the realization that “all of my hard work has paid off and I'm about to play in one of the top Junior A leagues in Canada.” The Eagles are excited to see how his passion for playing in this league will transition into his impact on the team as a whole. If Trent was not playing hockey he would be playing basketball, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise at 6’7”. Huitema will be joining his Eagles teammates as they open Main Camp on August 24th and we are thrilled for Trent to join us on his journey as an Eagle. Welcome, Trent, to the Eagles family! The Eagles continue their tradition as they open their 25th exhibition season against the Chilliwack Chiefs at the Nest, South Surrey Arena, on Friday, August 28th at 8pm.

Dodero Commits To Nanaimo:

The Nanaimo Clippers are very pleased to announce that Christopher Dodero will be joining the Team for the 2015-2016 season. The 19 year old forward joins the Clippers from the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League. The 5’9” 180lb native of Bloomingdale Illinois is a veteran of 140 games in the USHL tallying 16 goals and 24 assists for 40 points. Christopher will add speed, skill, and a veteran presence to the Clippers forward group.

Deyell Signs With Wenatchee Wild:

The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the British Columbia Hockey League, have announced that Nathan Deyell has signed, as the team prepares for its first season in the BCHL. Deyell is a 6’3”, 200 pound defenseman from Vancouver, British Columbia, who played for the Drayton Valley Thunder of the Alberta Junior Hockey League the past two seasons, netting 3 goals, 10 assists and 46 penalty minutes in 81 games. He has also spent time with Dauphin of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and has BCHL experience with Nanaimo, Penticton and Cowichan Valley. According to Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler, “Nathan has a lot of experience to go with a 6’3” frame. He skates well for a big guy and will be looked at for some veteran leadership on the point.” “I’m excited for the opportunity to be part of the Wild for their inaugural BCHL season” said Deyell. “Wenatchee is going to become the place to play Junior A Hockey and I am happy to be able to spend my final year of junior eligibility here.”

Wilson Commits To Surrey Eagles:

The Surrey Eagles are proud to announce the commitment of defenseman Mark Wilson for the 2015-16 BCHL season. Wilson 18, joins the Eagles from Winnipeg Wild of the Manitoba Midget AAA league where he amassed 44 pts in 44 games making him the top scoring defenceman in the league last year. Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, Blaine Neufeld sees a lot of potential in Wilson here with the Surrey Eagles. “He is a player that we think can develop into a top dman in the BCHL and be one that can be trusted in all areas of the ice.” The Winnipeg Wild program has also given Wilson an insight into “the great players who have played for the wild in the past along with the current players (who) have created a winning culture and mindset which rubs off on each player who goes through the program.” In terms of what Wilson feels that he can bring to the team. “I would describe myself as a good skating puck-moving defencemen who can play both sides of the ice.” Transitioning to living in a new province, while adapting to a new team is something that Wilson looks forward to taking in his stride. “I’m looking forward to having no snow and wearing a sweater rather than a parka in the winter months. The climate in BC is a lot different from that in Winnipeg but I’m ready for the change.” He is also excited to move to the beautiful City of Surrey and being able to “play in front of (the) fans.” If Mark was not playing Hockey he states that he would be playing Soccer but feels that choosing Hockey was the best decision. Wilson will be joining his Eagles teammates as they open Main Camp August 24th we are thrilled to be joining Mark on his Journey as an Eagle. Welcome, Mark, to the Eagles family! The Eagles continue their tradition as they open their 25th exhibition season against the Chilliwack Chiefs at the Nest, South Surrey Arena, on Friday, August 28th at 7pm

Miska Leaves Vees For USHL:

One of junior hockey’s top goaltenders is coming to Dubuque. The Dubuque Fighting Saints announced today that they have obtained veteran goaltender Hunter Miska, and that the Minnesota native will play for Dubuque for the upcoming 2015-2016 season. Miska, a former member of Team USA, is coming off a sensational championship season with Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League where he was named the league’s top goaltender.  "We are thrilled to announce the addition of Hunter Miska," said Jason Lammers, Head Coach and General Manager of the Dubuque Fighting Saints. "The most exciting thing about Hunter is his work ethic and his ability to be not just a guy that plays hockey, but a guy that is a big-time hockey player. His work ethic and abilities are elite, and that will rub off on his teammates. He will help our team, and between him and his goaltending partner, they will make each other better."  Dubuque acquired Miska, a 1995-born netminder who stands at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, from the Fargo Force for a 2016 Phase One 6th Round Draft pick and a 2016 Phase Two 5th Round Draft pick. The Force owned Miska’s rights after previously adding him as a free agent. With the trade, Miska will now join Dubuque this year before advancing to play NCAA Hockey at Minnesota-Duluth. “I think Dubuque is a great fit, and will really help my development in preparing for college hockey," said Miska. "It's a great organization that has always had strong teams. I know I will be part of a successful team, and help be the backbone of that team, as we push to win a Clark Cup Championship. I loved my time in Penticton, but I was up for a new challenge to push me to be ready to go to college and be a number one goalie at Minnesota-Duluth." The highly decorated goaltender will join the Fighting Saints after a sensational two seasons with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. In 2014-2015, Miska went 34-9-3 in 46 appearances, posting a 1.88 goals against average and .923 save percentage, both league bests. He registered five shutouts and was awarded the BCHL’s Top Goaltender Trophy. He and goaltender partner Brendan Barry shared the BCHL’s Wally Forslund Memorial Trophy as the league’s top goaltending duo. This was the second straight year Miska captured the award, sharing the honor with Oliver Mantha in 2014. He was named the Vees team MVP was a BCHL First Team All-Star.  Miska’s success continued into the postseason as he helped lead the Vees to a Fred Page Cup Championship. Miska went 15-6 in the playoffs with a 2.28 goals against average and a .923 save percentage to lead the Vees to the postseason title.  Last season, Miska helped the Vees to another championship win at Western Canada Cup tournament. He was named tournament’s most valuable player and the top goaltender. He allowed just 10 goals in five games and posted one shutout.  He was also strong for the Vees at the RBC Cup, which is held annually to determine the Canadian Junior A National Champion. The Vees fell in the semifinals, but Miska posted a 3-2 record with a 1.85 goals against average and .922 save percentage with one shutout. In Miska’s first season in Penticton in 2013-2014, the netminder went 19-11-2 in 34 games. His goals against average checked in at 2.26 and he posted a .915 save percentage. He was a BCHL Second Team All-Star.  No stranger to the USHL, Miska skated for Team USA from 2011-2013, appearing in 38 USHL games for the National Team Development Program, going 13-20-2. He played two games for Team USA against Dubuque in the 2012 Clark Cup Playoffs. He also recorded one of the more notable goaltending efforts at the Mystique Community Ice Center in recent years, stopping 47 shots against the eventual Clark Cup Champion Fighting Saints in a 4-3 loss on March 23, 2013.  Miska and the Fighting Saints coaching staff both believe that the goaltender will only continue to improve during his time in Dubuque and that Matt Millar, the club’s Goalie Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, will play a large part.  “I believe Matt Millar is one of the best young goalie mentors in North America,” said Lammers. “I’m excited to watch him work with Hunter and our group.”  “The ability to have a full-time goalie coach will be great and help take me to next level,” Miska said. “Matt Millar is going to make a great impact on my career and I’m excited to work with new Head Coach Jason Lammers and Oliver David."  Miska, who played in the 2012 All-American Prospects Game, comes from a hockey family. His father, Todd, runs Miska Designs, and has painted goalie masks for some of the world’s best goalies, including NHL greats Ed Belfour, Miikka Kiprusoff and Evgeni Nabokov.  Miska and the Fighting Saints open the 2015-2016 season presented by American Trust with preseason action against Cedar Rapids on September 4.

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