Wednesday, August 19, 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:

Logan Commits To Prince George:

The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce the commitment of 19 year old forward Connor Logan to the team for the 2015/2016 season.  The 6’0” 175lb Logan is from Victoria, B.C. and played last season for the Cyclone Taylor Cup and Keystone Cup championship team, The Campbell River Storm of The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). The Cyclone Taylor Cup is awarded to the British Columbia Junior B champion and the Keystone Cup is awarded at the Western Canadian Junior B Championships. Last season Connor Logan tallied 25 goals and 39 assists for 64 points in 40 games played split between The Peninsula Panthers and The Campbell River Storm after an early season trade to Campbell River. In 2013/2014 with Peninsula Connor tallied 28 goals and 47 assists for 75 points in 48 games played.  “Connor is a gifted offensive player who prides himself on hard work. His skills and work ethic will allow him to transition well into our league. He’s also a top notch individual who will fit in well with our group. It’s a good thing anytime you can add a player with Connor’s attributes to your lineup” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes.  Connor will join the rest of his Spruce Kings team mates in mid August as they prepare for the team’s main training camp which will begin August 24th.

Centennials Sign Jermain:

The Merritt Centennials continue their reload for the 2015-16 BCHL season. The club announced this week that they have signed 19-year-old forward Nick Jermain from Norwalk, Connecticut.  Jermain played this past year for the Junior A Connecticut Oilers of the Eastern Hockey League. In 49 games with the Oilers, the gifted playmaker scored 14 goals and added 35 assists for 49 points.  Prior to his one full season with the Oilers, Jermain played his final two years of high school hockey with the Brunswick Bruins of the USHS, based out of Greenwich, Conn.  “I watched [Nick] online play the last two games of the EHL playoffs,” Cents head coach and GM Joe Martin said. “His team won the finals. He scored a couple of nice goals. His work ethic, his compete and his desire to win shone through. That’s what intrigued me.”  Martin contacted Jermain, discussed the BCHL option with him, and invited him out to the Centennials’ second spring tryout camp in Abbotsford in May.  “I’d never been out to western Canada before,” Jermain said over the phone from his home on the U.S. east coast. “It was nice to see Vancouver and B.C. and get a feel for what it would be like.  “I loved the hockey at the camp. It was very open and offensive, which I really like. I got to play on a line with (current Centennial) Gavin Gould. He was easy to get the puck to.”  “He’s crafty, he possesses a good shot, and I think he can score goals,” Martin said. “At times, he reminds me of (former Centennial) Derek Huisman with his vision. Just a very smart player. A very good package.”  For his part, Jermain is quite knowledgeable about the BCHL, its level of play and overall reputation. His teammates at Brunswick Prep School included forward Stephan Seegar (a trade-deadline acquisition of the Centennials this past January) and defenceman Michael Faulkner (whom the Centennials signed earlier this month for the 2015-16 season).  The Bruins’ captain during one of Jermain’s years with the Brunswick team was Luke Esposito, who went on to have a standout year with the Chilliwack Chiefs in 2012-13, recording 18 goals and 60 assists in 62 games en route to earning a scholarship to prestigious Harvard University.  “I’ve been close with the Espositos for a while,” Jermain said. “They’ve helped me a lot with my hockey. Since Luke, there’s been a lot of guys going out to B.C. and enjoying success. I knew that it would be a good league to go to.”  Similarly, Martin has been impressed with what he’s been seeing come out of the Eastern Hockey League.  “Last year’s BCHL scoring champion, Corey Mackin of the Coquitlam Express, came from the EHL,” the coach said.  “I researched the players in the league, and found a couple in the age group that I was targeting. The one I really liked was Nick. I had good conversations with his former coaches and with college coaches that had seen him play. They all spoke highly of him.”  Asked how his summer was going, and how he was preparing for his first BCHL season, Jermain said, “I’m working out with strength and conditioning coach Ben Prentiss at BodyTuning in Darian, Conn. He has probably 20 NHL guys working out there, including Marty St. Louis (just retired), Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings), Matt Moulsen (Buffalo Sabres) and Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens). It’s cool working out there. You kind of get pushed a little harder.”  Jermain is also managing to find ice time at his former Oilers’ facility.  “They’ve been really nice to me. Even though I’m not returning next year, they’ve allowed me to continue skating there. I’ve been lucky.”  Jermain plans to fly out to San Francisco in mid-August and visit a couple of his older sisters prior to making his way up the west coast to B.C. in time for the start of the Centennials’ main camp on August 22.  “I’m really excited for the upcoming year and the challenge of a new league,” he said.

Meure Commits To Wenatchee:

The Wenatchee Wild, preparing for their first season as members of the British Columbia Hockey League, are pleased to announce the commitment of Ryan Meure to the team.  Meure, from Fremont, California, is 18 years old, 5’9” and 161lbs and is a right-handed shooting forward. He played last season for the San Jose Junior Sharks, appearing in 49 games, with 29 goals and 20 assists, plus 18 penalty minutes.  Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler says of Meure: “Ryan is one of the quicker, more agile players we have. I look for Ryan to be able to score in the BCHL.”  “I’m very thankful for the opportunity that Coach Littler has provided me.” said Meure . “I’ve visited Wenatchee when I was with the Kenai River Brown Bears and I loved the town and their devoted fan base. I’m looking forward to a new experience in the BCHL with a great organization like the Wild.”

Alberni Valley-Lloydminster Trade:

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs announce that the team has acquired 20- year-old veteran goaltender Chris Tai from the Lloydminster Bobcats (AJHL) for future considerations.  Tai is entering his fourth season at the Junior A/WHL level, including 79 games of experience between the WHL, BCHL, and AJHL – 14 of which were in the playoffs.  Tai, born in Delta, BC, is a product of the North Delta Minor Hockey Association before he moved on to major midget with the Greater Vancouver Canadians in 2011/12, the same program that produced Bulldogs’ new recruit Jordan Sandhu.  Last season, Tai played for the Coquitlam Express where he posted a record of 19-14-1 over 36 games along with a .899 save percentage.  The Bulldogs would like to welcome Chris to the Bulldogs family.  Bulldogs fans’ first chance to meet the newly-acquired goaltender will be at the 4th Annual Alberni Valley Bulldogs Season Kick-off golf tournament on Sunday, August 23rd. Golf, dinner-only, and sponsorship packages are available on the team’s website at  Fans’ first chance to see Tai in action will be on Monday, August 24th when the Alberni Valley Bulldogs hit the ice for the 2015/16 main camp.

Cowichan-Prince George Trade:

The Cowichan Capitals have acquired veteran defenceman Mitch Meek from the Prince George Spruce Kings in exchange for 20 year-old blue liner Rylan Bechtel.  It's a bit of a homecoming of sorts for the soon to be 19 year-old Meek who hails from nearby Victoria.  Traded from the Grizzlies to the Vernon Vipers early last season, Meek put up a combined seven goals and 11 assists in 56 games with 38 penalty minutes.  He was sent to Prince George earlier this off-season as part of a three-way deal also involving the West Kelowna Warriors.  "Mitch is an experienced, solid, puck-moving defenceman that we expect will help solidify our back-end as well as contribute on the power play," said Capitals Head Coach and General Manager Bob Beatty.  "He's excited to make his return to Vancouver Island and we are equally excited to have him with the Capitals."  Meek actually played his first three BCHL games with the Capitals as an affiliate back in the 2011-12 season.  The 6', 200 pound defenceman comes to Cowichan with an NCAA Division I scholarship in hand to Clarkson University starting next season.  Entering his fourth BCHL campaign, Meek has a total of ten goals and 31 assists in 145 regular season games with an additional eight points in 34 playoff games.  Bechtel leaves Cowichan having played all three of his full BCHL seasons with the Capitals amassing seven goals and 62 assists in 167 games.  The Capitals thank Rylan for all he's done for the Capitals and wish him well in Prince George.  The team also wishes Mitch a warm welcome to the Cowichan Valley!  Fans can see Mitch at Capitals' training camp which begins on Saturday, August 22nd at the Island Savings Centre.

Alden Commits To Wild:

The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the British Columbia Hockey League, have announced that Hunter Alden has committed, as the team prepares for its first season in the BCHL.  Alden, a 16-year old left-handed shooting forward from Walla Walla, Washington, stands 5’8” and weighs 160lbs. He spent last season with the Wenatchee Wolves of the Northern Pacific Hockey League, with 27 goals, 55 assists and 34 penalty minutes in 42 games. He also appeared in 4 games with the Wild last season, recording 2 penalty minutes.  “Hunter, after having an outstanding season with the Wenatchee Wild’s development team, the Wenatchee Wolves U18 finished the year and got some valuable experience at the end of the year.” said Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler. “Hunter loves to play the game and is a rink rat. I would think as his playing time increases, he will become a fan favorite with his work ethic.”  “I’ve been watching the Wild games since I was 11.” said Alden. “The opportunity for me to actually be on the ice wearing a Wild sweater in indescribable. It’s going to be exciting to see how we fit in in the new league and with the new league; I think a bunch of guys will get opportunities to move on to college hockey. I can’t wait for the season to start. ”

Penticton-Langley Trade:

The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club has acquired defenseman Tyler Niven (96) from the Langley Rivermen in exchange for forward Mitch Newsome (97), the team announced Tuesday.  Niven, 19, played three seasons at Governor’s Academy prep school in Byfield, Massachusetts, and was the team’s Captain in his senior season, picking up four points in 25 games. The Brunswick, Maine, product is known as an excellent skater, who plays a well-rounded game and with a noticeable edge. The 6’0, 190 pound rear-guard has already attracted considerable NCAA interest and will be looking to secure a commitment as the 2015-16 season unfolds.  Newsome, 18, just completed his rookie season in the BCHL with the Vees, tallying six goals and 23 points in 49 regular season games. In the Vees’ post-season run, Newsome chipped in with a pair of goals and three points in 24 games. The Surrey, BC, native will be playing closer to home this year and is slated to head off to Michigan Tech University in the fall of 2016.  The Vees organization is excited to welcome Tyler to Penticton and the South Okanagan, and would also like to wish all the best to Mitch in his future with the Rivermen organization.

Finnegan Commits To Merritt:

For the second time in a week, the Merritt Centennials have dipped south of the 49th Parallel in search of offense for the 2015-16 BCHL season.  The Cents an-nounced on Monday that they have committed to 18-year-old forward Ryan Finnegan from Tecumseh, Kansas.  The signing of Finnegan comes on the heels of last week’s acquisition of 17-year-old scoring threat Nick Jermain out of Norfolk, Connecticut.  The diminutive Finnegan, who measures five feet six inches tall and tips the scales at just 135 lbs., played the last two seasons with the Baltimore Skipjacks of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL), the same league that produced two Cents’ standouts last year, forward John Schiavo and netminder Anthony Pupplo.  In his rookie year with the U16 Skipjacks, Finnegan scored 28 goals and added 52 assists for 80 points in just 31 games, tops in the USPHL.  Last season, with Baltimore’s U18 squad, the native of the American Midwest tallied 45 points (21 goals, 24 assists) in 31 games –— good enough to be chosen to play in the league’s all-star game.  The two stellar seasons with the Skipjacks have earned Finnegan an NCAA Division 1 scholarship to Quinnipiac University, a member of the elite East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) that includes Ivy League schools Harvard, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth and Princeton.  “I watched Ryan play online in his league’s all-star game last year, and in four of the five USHL games that he got called up to play in,” Centennials head coach and GM Joe Martin said. “I’m very comfortable with his level of play, and in his ability to step into our lineup and perform capably. He’s small, but he’ll be fine.  “I talked with the Quinnipiac coaching staff. They want Ryan to play there in two years, and are happy to have him here in the BCHL in the interim,” the Cents’ coach added.  For his part, Finnegan can’t wait to begin his Canadian experience.  “I’ve never been up to Canada at all, but I’ve heard the West is really beautiful,” Finnegan said over the phone from Kansas City, where he’s been helping out coaching at a hockey school. “And I’ve heard nothing but great things about the BCHL.”  Finnegan was drafted by Green Bay of the United States Hockey League and could have played with the Gamblers this coming season. He opted for the British Columbia Hockey League instead.  “I just think the BCHL is a better fit for me and the type of player I am. I’ve heard that the focus is on skill and there’s a lot of offence. I’m a smaller player and more of an offensive threat. I’d say I’m a playmaker, an always-looking-for-the-pass type player who can put the puck in the net when I need to.”  Unlike fellow American Jermain, who has numerous ties and connections to the BCHL, Finnegan doesn’t know anyone personally who has played or is playing in North America’s number one Junior A league. In fact, he’s not sure there’s ever been another player out of Kansas that has competed in the BCHL.  “There’s not a whole lot of hockey going on here, but it’s getting better as the years progress,” he said. “The youth programs are really coming along.”  Finnegan played his final bantam year with an elite AAA squad that was an all-star team of sorts from across the state of Kansas. His first year of midget was spent at Achiever Academy in Vadnais, Minnesota. He recorded 21 goals and 39 assists in just 23 games at the prep school.  It was from Achiever that Finnegan was recruited by the Skipjacks.  “I didn’t know really what to expect in Baltimore,” he said. “It was a phenomenal experience. The coaches showed a lot of confidence in me, which helped a lot with my development. And I got to play with some exceptional players.”  As for his scholarship with the Bobcats of Quinnipiac, Finnegan said that was equally a shock.  “It happened my first year in Maryland. We were playing in a big showcase, and I had a couple of good games. My coach contacted me and let me know that Quinnipiac was interested. It was an unreal experience to realize that Division 1 schools were scouting me. They offered me a scholarship, and in January of 2014, I accepted.  “They have an excellent hockey program and are known as a very good education-based university,” Finnegan said. “It seemed like the perfect fit.”  Quinnipiac has a lot of history with the BCHL. Nine players on last season’s roster graduated from the league, and Finnegan believes all six incoming freshman are also from the British Columbia Hockey League.  The close connection even extends to the Merritt Centennials, as former Cents Jamie Holden, Wade Winkler, Bryan Leitch and Brandon Wong all played for the Bobcats.  In addition to helping at a hockey school in his home state, Finnegan is spending considerable time in Baltimore preparing for the upcoming season.  “I’ve been skating with some Div. 1 college players, which has been great,” Finnegan said. “I’m just doing lots of training — trying to get stronger, faster and quicker.”  Martin is very much looking forward to meeting and seeing his team’s latest acquisition.  “He’s a kid that’s working really hard for his future,” the coach said.

Chamberlain Commits To Wenatchee Wild:

The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the British Columbia Hockey League, have announced that Josh Chamberlain has committed, as the team prepares for its first season in the BCHL.  Chamberlain, a 17-year old, left-handed shooting forward from Spokane, Washington, stands 6’5” and weighs 160lbs. He spent last season with the Wenatchee Wolves of the Northern Pacific Hockey League, with 27 goals, 26 assists and 48 penalty minutes in 36 games. In the playoffs, he had 2 goals and an assist with 8 penalty minutes in 5 games. Chamberlain also appeared in 2 games with the Wild last season.  “Josh also had a great season with our development team, the Wenatchee Wolves.” said Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler. “When the Wolves season was over, Josh finished the year with the Wild and did see some playing time. Josh is a very big kid that has a scorer’s touch.”  “I’m unbelievably blessed to have the chance to be part of such an amazing organization.” said Chamberlain. “I’m very much looking forward to getting into Wenatchee and starting preparations for this exciting season coming up.”  The Wenatchee Wild opens the BCHL regular season with a pair of games at the Prince George Spruce Kings on September 11th and 12th. 

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