Sunday, August 30, 2015

BCHL News & Trades:

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

BCHL News & Trades:

Spruce King Alumni Howse Joins PG Scouting Staff:

The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce the addition of former Spruce Kings player, Calgary Flames draft pick and local rep hockey coach Ryan Howse to their scouting staff.  Ryan played for the Spruce Kings as a 15 year old during the 2006/2007 season and was a member of the team that hosted the Royal Bank Cup. He then went on to a stellar Western Hockey League career which included a 51 goal, 32 assist season in 2010/2011. He was drafted in the 3rd round, 74th overall by the Calgary Flames in 2009.  Last season Ryan won Prince George Minor Hockey Rep Coach of the year after overseeing the Bantam Tier 2 Cougars. This season Ryan will be the head coach for the Midget Tier 1 Cougars.  “Ryan was a tremendous player who’s hockey sense and skill set was through the roof. He has been able to translate that hockey ability to the coaching side of the game and has also developed a keen eye when it comes to identifying talent. It’s always good when you can add a tremendous, young and talented hockey mind to your staff. In his role as head coach of the midget tier 1 team this season he will get a chance to see a lot of good midget teams and players in North America. That will be very beneficial for us” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes.  “I’m very excited to be coming on board with the Spruce Kings. They’ve always been a big part of my life on and off the ice” said Ryan Howse.  Ryan is currently working alongside Spruce Kings head coach Chad van Diemen for the next three weeks during the Spruce Kings Hockey School.

Nieto Commits To Wenatchee:

The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the British Columbia Hockey League, have announced that Garrett Nieto has committed, as the team prepares for its first season in the BCHL.  Nieto, a 17-year old, left-handed catching goaltender from Yorba Linda, California, stands 6’3” and weighs 233lbs. He spent last season with the Los Angeles Junior Kings, playing 14 games, with a 2.64 goals against average and .905 saves percentage.  “Garrett has very good athletic ability to go with a huge frame.” said Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler. “We like Garrett’s compete level and feel he will develop into a big time college goalie in the future with pro potential.”  “I am really excited to come up to Wenatchee and start my junior career there.” said Nieto. “I’m getting an opportunity to play in a great city and in front of great fans. I’m really excited to start the season playing for the Wenatchee Wild.”

Surrey-Olds Trade:

The Surrey Eagles announce the acquisition of AJHL Rookie of the Year, Kodi Schwarz from the Olds Grizzlys. The Aldergrove native had a very successful campaign in 2014/15 and looks to do the same as he joins the Surrey Eagles. "I am really excited about playing in Surrey this year and spend my 20 year closer to home while trying to get a NCAA scholarship." said the ethusiastic newest Eagle.  Schwarz put up 7 goals, 31 assists, good for 38 points in 56 games last year.  "We filled a big spot on our backend today, it was a very difficult to acquire such a high end d-man and feel fortunate that we have done son. We think Kodi is a very special player and can be a cornerstone in what we will do this year." said Head Coach & Dir of Hockey Operations Blaine Neufeld.  The Eagles had to move Cole Plotnikoff & Future Considerations to complete the trade.  "Cole is a great boy and hockey player, we wish him the best this coming year and know he will be a Division 1 player."  Kodi and the Eagles will start the 25th season as camp opens on the 25th of August at the South Surrey Arena.

Meekhof Commits To Wild:

The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the British Columbia Hockey League, have announced that Colton Meekhof has committed, as the team prepares for its first season in the BCHL.  Meekhof, a 19-year old right-handed shooting defenseman from Puyallup, Washington, stands 6’1” and weighs 230lbs. He spent last season with the Cleveland Barons U18 team, scoring 7 goals and adding 14 assists in 24 games.  “Colton has worked hard this past year to put himself into a position to win a spot on the Wild in camp.” said Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler. “He is a big kid that gets a lot of space on the ice.”  “I am really excited to come up to Wenatchee and start my junior career there.” said Meekhof. “I’m getting an opportunity to play in a great city and in front of great fans. I’m really excited to start the season playing for the Wenatchee Wild. ”  The Wenatchee Wild opens the BCHL regular season with a pair of games at the Prince George Spruce Kings on September 11th and 12th.

Dhaliwal Commits To Surrey:

The Surrey Eagles are very excited to announce their most recent commitment to one of last year’s top Major Midget players, Gary Dhaliwal. The Greater Vancouver Canadians’ top forward scored 22 goals and 29 assists which was good for 58 points in just 36 games. Dhaliwal, a resident of Richmond, joins the Eagles with great enthusiasm. “My family is going to be very excited!” said the newly acquired Eagles Forward.  “Gary is a player we’ve been watching all of last year and through the summer. I’ve been able to create a great relationship with Phil Alalouf," Greater Vancouver Canadien's Head Coach, "Phil has Gary as a impact player to be at the Junior A leagues,” explained Blaine Neufeld, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations. “Gary is a player that we know can fit on any of the four lines. That is a big asset to have on your team and we’re looking forward to a great season.”  Gary and his teammates will be opening camp on August 24th at South Surrey Arena. Everyone welcome to come out and watch tryouts which are open to the public and will be held from 2:30pm to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, August 24-28..  The tryouts lead up to our first home exhibition game on Friday, August 28 at 8pm.  Come on out and cheer on the Eagles!

Spruce Kings Name LeBrun Captain:

In advance of the start of the team’s training camp, The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce that 20 year old local Prince George player Jake LeBrun will be team Captain for the upcoming 2015/2016 season.  LeBrun is entering his fourth season as a Spruce King and is a veteran of over 160 regular season and playoff games. Last season LeBrun tallied 17 goals and 20 assists for 37 points in 42 regular season games and played an integral part of the Spruce Kings’ round one playoff series victory over The Langley Rivermen.  “Jake has all the leadership qualities that you look for in a Captain. He also knows what the expectations of the team are and understands what it takes for the team to be successful. He’s very deserving of this honour and will do a tremendous job as a leader” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes.  “It’s an honour and a dream come true to be named Captain of my home town team. Something I’ve been working towards for the last few years. To be rewarded for all my hard work is really satisfying” said Jake LeBrun.  “In getting to know our returning players we feel Jake is a great choice to be our captain for this season.  He is entering his fourth season with our team and has a lot of experience.  He leads by example both on and off the ice and has a lot of respect from his teammates and our coaching staff. We have a lot of confidence in Jake and believe he will be a great captain for us” said Spruce Kings Head Coach Chad van Diemen.  Jake LeBrun will join the rest of his Spruce Kings teammates at training camp from Monday August 24th to Thursday Aug 28th. All ice times of training camp will be in the evenings and will include full intra-squad games at 7:00pm on Tuesday Aug 25th, Wednesday Aug 26th and Thursday Aug 27th. All training camp games are open to the public and free of charge. The Spruce Kings will welcome the Merritt Centennials to town for the team’s first exhibition game on Friday August 28th at 7:00pm. We look forward to having our loyal Spruce Kings fans at the coliseum to see what this year’s version of the squad will look like.

Makowski Commits To Wenatchee Wild:

The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the British Columbia Hockey League, have announced that Jeff Makowski has committed, as the team prepares for its first season in the BCHL.  Makowski, a 19 year old left-handed shooting forward from St. Louis, Missouri, stands 6’1” and weighs 200lbs. He played last season for the St. Louis Junior Blues U18 team, scoring 13 goals and adding 19 assists in 28 games.  “Big strong kid that is very tough on the puck.” said Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler. “Jeff has the ability to come into the BCHL and have an impact immediately.”  “As this is my first year of junior hockey,” said Makowski, “I could not be more excited to experience it here in Wenatchee. I got a taste of how talented the coaches and players are and got a feel for the support from the community during the tryout camp this past July. I’m excited to play in this passionate hockey town and for the season to start.”

Prince George-Ancaster Trade:

The Prince George Spruce Kings are pleased to announce the acquisition of 19 year old defenseman Adam Burnett from The Ancaster Avalanche of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) in exchange for future considerations.  The 6’3” 205lb Burnett is from Waterdown, Ontario and played 35 games last in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) split between the Stouffville Spirit and Milton Icehawks. He tallied 3 goals and 14 assists for 17 points plus 62 minutes in penalties in those 35 games. He finished the season with the Ancaster Avalanche where he tallied 2 goals and 11 assists for 13 points plus 14 penalty minutes in 13 games played.  “Adam is a big strong veteran defenseman with great leadership abilities. He has played over 130 Junior A games in Ontario. He will play in all situations for us and make an already deep defense group even deeper. A lot of the success we have this season will start with our defensemen and Adam will be a big part of that” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes.  Adam will join the rest of his Spruce Kings teammates when the team commences their Main Training Camp on August 24th at the coliseum.

Vees Loaded For Another National Championship Run:

A player’s character is often judged based on how they respond to adversity, so evaluating a coaching staff using the same metric is probably fair. After losing a heartbreaking national championship semi-final in which the referee incorrectly blew the whistle on a winning goal in the first overtime period, how would recruiting be affected?  With so much distraction then subsequently materializing for Harbinson (offers to coach at NCAA powers Wisconsin, North Dakota and surely others), would time constraints and uncertainty affect the ability to convince young stars, Tyson Jost & Dante Fabbro to return? With only five other players potentially returning from the 2014-15 season, a lot of recruiting work and negotiation was going to be needed to bring the Vees back to BCHL championship caliber.  “Recruiting is an all-year activity for our staff. Every year, we graduate well over 50% of our team to NCAA Division I hockey, so we can never take a day off of recruiting”, explains Harbinson. “I think our first big recruiting win took place during the early rounds of the playoffs, when Minnesota pals Dixon Bowen and Colton Poolman visited us and decided to commit to our program, rather than return to the USHL. The two University of North Dakota committed players will bring character and toughness to our program.”  “Having OHA as our neighbor is a massive advantage to our program”, continued Harbinson. “We have a great partnership, and from them, over the course of the year, we were able to draw Okanagan locals Taylor Ward, Griffin Mendel and Sam Jones to the Vees. Along with CSSHL rival, Ben Brar (Yale Academy), we are leaning more and more on the prep school league to re-stock our lineup with quality people.”  Added Harbinson, “our import cards are critical (each BCHL team is allowed six American players ) and we believe we added three other quality American players to our roster in Seamus Donohue, Tyler Niven and Easton Brodzinski. Again this season, we have benefitted from our Minnesota-based relationships and strong brand reputation. Donohue was considered the top defenseman in Minnesota high school hockey, mobile Dman Niven is being closely watched by several NCAA hockey programs and big Brodzinski is a power forward with deep family roots in Minnesota hockey.”  From other Canadian provinces, the Vees recruited Jason Lavallee from Quebec (transferred from Sorel, RESQ) and Owen Sillinger from Saskatchewan. Through trades, Harbinson added Mitch Brooks from Ontario (signed from Stratford, GOJHL) and Albertan Chris Gerrie  (from Olds, AJHL in exchange for former Vee Jarod Hilderman). “Each of these four players are highly regarded and played very key roles for their teams last season. They will all bring considerable experience and talent to the Vees”, said Harbinson.  The most important recruiting challenge this off-season for Harbinson was bringing back Jost & Fabbro. Both players are regarded as high 2016 NHL Draft Picks, and the pressure from the WHL to play there must be high.  Responded Harbinson, “I believe we demonstrated to both players last season what we have to offer in terms of being a top Canadian developmental junior program. We are adding to that framework this year to give them even more tools to help in their progression. Both players believe that they can fulfill their professional hockey objectives by playing two years in Penticton then going to the NCAA program of their choice. We are very proud to have them back, and expect each to play key leadership roles for us.”  Continued Harbinson, “Scott Conway recognizes the NHL exposure that the Vees will attract this year, and I think that played a big part in the former Penn State player deciding to play for us. I expect him to have a massive impact this season. He was named to the Big 10 all rookie team and was one of the top players in the USHL the year before. In total, I believe that we have the potential to have more offensive firepower than we had last season.”  With 20 year old veteran goalie Anthony Brodeur and Brendan Barry returning in nets, the Vees have an excellent chance to repeat as the BCHL team with the lowest goals against average. Add in returning Vees and former Team Canada West players Demico Hannoun and Gabe Bast, and the Vees roster certainly looks intimidating on paper.  “We do not shy away from publicly stating that our goal is to win the National Championship, emphasized Harbinson. We look great on paper, but our ability to fight together through adversity will determine just how successful we will be.” “I believe our high talent level will make Penticton fans proud and excited to come to the SOEC. I expect this team could field upwards of 6 future NHL draft picks. There’s no question that I believe we will again be a leading contender to deliver a National Championship, back to Penticton, and end the season not feeling cheated, but elated.”

Wild Name Tienda New Trainer:

The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the BCHL, would like to welcome Jose Tienda to the Wild family. Mr. Tienda has accepted the trainer’s position with the Wild and will relocate to Wenatchee Washington at the end of this week.  Jose, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of the Pacific and a Master’s degree from California University of Pennsylvania.  Jose has spent the last three springs and summers working with the Oakland Raiders of the NFL. He was also the Head Athletic Trainer for the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, professional hockey for the 2014-2015 season.  Before going to school to become a trainer Mr. Tienda was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps from 1999 to 2004. Jose also owns a cross fit athletic training center in Stockton California.  “I am excited to work for an organization that puts athlete safety above all else. As the Head Athletic Trainer for the Wild, my goal is to provide the highest quality of medicine and care. I am looking forward to a great season and excitement of Wild Hockey.”  “We look forward to having Jose come on board with us for this season. His references spoke very highly of him as well as the coaches he has worked with. I feel our athletes are in good hands again.” said Wild GM Bliss Littler.

Warriors Name Marino Captain:

The West Kelowna Warriors have named their captain for the upcoming season, as Kyle Marino will don the 'C' for the 2015/2016 campaign.  Marino, who is returning to West Kelowna for his 2nd season as a Warrior, had 3 goals and 15 assists in his rookie season, which saw him move to a forward role after playing most of the first half on defence.  The 20-year-old Niagara Falls, ON native already knows his leadership plan.  "It's a big honour being named captain for this year. Being my final season as an older guy on the team I'm just going to lead by example, be vocal in the room like I am and make guys feel comfortable being here."  Head coach and General Manager Rylan Ferster says that Marino has everything you look for in a leader.  "I think what you want in your captain, is if you take the logo off your jersey and put someones picture there, that's what you want your captain to be," said Ferster on Day 1 of Main Camp.  "It's one thing to be a leader in the dressing room, but you want that person to represent your program. Kyle is what a West Kelowna Warrior is all about."

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