Monday, December 5, 2016
BCHL News & Trades:
BCHL News & Trades:
The Penticton Vees Jr. A Hockey Club has traded defenceman David Eccles (96) to the Nanaimo Clippers for future considerations, the team announced Wednesday. The Vees were forced to make the move with fellow 20-year-old defenceman Gabe Bast coming off the Injured Reserve; the team was sitting at seven 20-year-olds on their roster, one over the BCHL maximum. President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson says it was a hard move to make, “This was an extremely difficult decision, but it ultimately came down to a numbers game. David is a tremendous young man, who will be missed but we’re happy we can send him to a great organization in the Clippers. I know Mike Vandekamp is thrilled to have a player of his quality and character, and I know he’ll be a key piece for them moving forward.” Eccles, 20, played parts of two seasons in Penticton, appearing in 73 career regular season games, picking up a pair of goals and 13 points, to go along with 23 penalty-minutes, playing in a primary shutdown role; he also played in all 11 of the Vees’ playoff games last spring. The Ancaster, Ontario, product came to Penticton in September of last season, after playing with the Carleton Place Canadians in the Central Canadian Hockey League (CCHL). Eccles helped the Canadians to berth in the Final of the 2015 RBC Cup in Portage, Manitoba. The Vees organization would like to thank David for his contributions to the team on and off the ice in the past two seasons, and wish him all the best in his future with the Clippers.
Grizzlies Pleased With Start To Season:
One third of the way through the 2016-17 B.C. Hockey League season, the Victoria Grizzlies are occupying prime realty. With just three regulation losses in 19 outings, the Grizzlies have proven to be a tough out. They boast the second-lowest number of defeats so far over 60 minutes of play. Tied for third overall in the 17-team league, the 11-3-2-3 Grizzlies also have the third-highest winning percentage in the league at .711, behind Wenatchee’s .844 and Penticton’s .833. But the Grizzlies still need to be careful when the Alberni Valley Bulldogs visit tonight at 7 at The Q Centre. The Bulldogs sit at the opposite end of the spectrum, second-last in the league with a 4-11-3-0 record. But the Grizzlies know full well that the ’Dawgs can pack a mean bite. “We have to make sure we don’t get complacent and realize that every game in this league is a tough one, no matter who you’re playing,” captain Cody Van Lierop said. “We’ve definitely had a better start than last season. We’re getting better every game and every practice. We just have to keep improving every game.” One of those three regulation-time losses came Sunday in a 4-3 setback in Trail that concluded a three-games-in-three-days scenario. After a scoreless first period, the Grizzlies fell behind 3-0 in the opening 7:45 of the second before clawing back to trail 4-3 after 40 minutes. They outshot the Smoke Eaters 11-6 in the final frame and 36-27 overall, but couldn’t find the equalizer. “It’s a nice feeling looking at our record — with just three losses — and to know we’ve battled in every game,” Van Lierop said. “It shows that we’re willing to battle, no matter what the score and that showed in our last game.” The current record is not lost on general manager and head coach Craig Didmon, who likes to break down the year into five-game segments. “We’re happy with our first third. One of the things we talked about through the first quarter, or even fifth of the season, was to try to get better every sequence of five games — and we’ve been doing that,” he said. “The guys are continuing to get better, and with the addition of T.J. Friedmann last week, we think we have four strong lines we can throw out every night.” “It was a good road trip. In Trail, we had a good chance to win,” Didmon said. “It’s hard to come down on the guys when you know you had the opportunities. We outshot them in the third period. After three games in three days and tough travel, we showed a lot of integrity as a group. I was certainly happy with the effort.”
Warriors Sign Stevenson:
The West Kelowna Warriors Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce the addition of forward Chase Stevenson (’99) from the Okanagan Rockets of the BC Major Midget League (BCMML). Stevenson, 17, was in the midst of his second season with the Okanagan Rockets of the BCMML, scoring four times and compiling nine points in just five games to start the year. Last season, the West Kelowna product amassed 15 goals and 29 points in just 20 games last season with the Rockets and 9 points in 5 playoffs games. In 2014/15, Stevenson was selected to compete for Team BC at the Canada Winter Games held in Prince George, BC where he played in six games and collected two goals and three points. “Adding a local player that provides skill and work ethic is a good combination.” commented Warriors general manager and head coach Rylan Ferster.
The Trail Smoke Eaters have signed 19 year old, 5′ 11″, 183 lbs. defenceman Jonas Gordon. The Smokies acquired Jonas in a trade with the Canmore Eagles for future considerations. Jonas was born in Canmore Alberta and played for the Kimberley Dynamiters in 2014/15 season where in 34 games had 2 goals and 11 assists for 13 points. In 56 games with Canmore of the AJHL he played 56 games in 2015/16 and had 3 goals and 8 assists for 11 points. In 13 games with Canmore this season he had 1 goal and 2 assists. Smokie coaching staff are pleased to sign Jonas as they were in need of an experienced defenceman with good mobility and being steady behind their blueline. Eagles coaching staff commented, “Gordon’s leadership and physical presence on the backend has been an asset to the Eagles organization.” Jonas is a mature hockey player and his leadership qualities are outstanding,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager, Andrew Milne. “We are going to miss his demeanor in our dressing room.” “The 20 year old situation has been a double edged sword all season for us.” “This is not an easy move for us to make but allows Jonas the opportunity that he was looking for out of his junior experience.” The Smoke Eater organization welcomes Jonas to the team and our city and wish him good luck for the remainder of the season.
Johnny Tychonick is back in action with the Penticton Vees after a two-week stint playing for Team Canada in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, in another edition of Vees' View with Coach Harbinson. Tychonick has yet to play a game with the team yet, but Vees head coach Fred Harbinson says he's brought some new enthusiasm back to practice. On top of that, two new players are proving to be a solid addition for the team, scoring big last week. The Vees took the Prince George Spruce Kings 3-2 at home on Saturday, and the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 4-1 in an away game on Friday, putting the team at 17 wins and three losses. That keeps the team firmly at the top, with 34 points – three points ahead of the three-way tie for second place, held by the Wenatchee Wild, the Powell River Kings and the Victoria Grizzlies.
West Kelowna Warriors Losing Money:
The owner of the West Kelowna Warriors says negotiating a new lease with the city on Royal Lepage Place was a smooth process. Mark Cheyne says he's pleased with the roughly $11,000 annual savings in rent, as well as the city's commitment to take over the snack bar. With the concession, he says past plans of big ticket events that never came to be, made the snack bar unprofitable. "Why it was so intriguing to have the concession in the first place is that I was told there was going to be multiple functions in there every year, whether it was bands or a curling event, or a wrestling evernt, or something," he said. "They were supposed to have a whole bunch of events in there, and that's just never materialized." Despite last year's national championship-winning season, Cheyne says the Warriors lost about $300,000. He says it really comes down to escalating operating costs with limited ways for the team to bring in extra revenue, and that the news is a shock to many people. "Oh yeah, it blows people away. And then when you start throwing the numbers around, they're just like, 'are you kidding?'" he said. "People don't understand how much it costs to run that thing. They can physically see what you drag in for revenue on any given night, but they just don't understand the budget side of it." Last week, city staff said they were optimistic about Cheyne's desire to be a long-term partner, though the owner confirmed he's been entertaining offers on the team since last year. However, he says that wasn't a decision that was made because of the financial situation. "I've had the team up for sale for a year now. And I've been doing this for 30 years," he said. "I started in '86 in Saskatchewan with it, and me and my wife want to do things in the winter on the weekends. I've drug her there long enough, it's time for us to do some .other things." Cheyne says he's had a few interested parties contact him, but that if they don't want to keep the team in West Kelowna, he's not interested in selling.
SilverBacks President –GM Mick On The Firing Of Head Coach Brandon West:
The Salmon Arm SilverBacks announced November 9th parting ways with Head Coach Brandon West. SilverBacks President and GM Troy Mick talks about the move.
Harbinson Collects 400th Win:
The Penticton Vees cruised to a 5-2 win at the South Okanagan Events Centre Wednesday in front of just over three thousand fans. It was a milestone win for Head Coach-GM Fred Harbinson, as he won his 400th career BCHL game behind the Vees’ bench. Harbinson took over the Vees’ bench starting with the 2007-08 season, where he guided Penticton to a Fred Page Cup BCHL title. He’s since won two more BCHL titles, in 2012 and 2015 and won the RBC Cup national championship in 2012. The Calgary native is a three-time winner of the Joe Tennant Memorial Trophy as BCHL coach of the year.
West Kelowna-Wellington Trade:
The West Kelowna Warriors Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club have traded forward Mitchell Martan (’98) to the Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). Martan, 18, played in 18 games with the Warriors this season, registering a goal and three points with the club to start the year. The Warriors committed to the Boston College commit out of prep in the offseason, spending his 2015/16 season with St. Andrew’s college of the CAHS. The Whitby, Ontario native will find his way closer to home as he moves on to play with Wellington. The Warriors would like to wish Mitch all the best in his future endeavors.
Eagles Add Westgard & Bruce To Roster:
The Surrey Eagles Hockey Club has announced the addition of two players on Wednesday afternoon. Forwards Ty Westgard and Josh Bruce have been added to the team’s active roster, and both are expected to make their season debuts on Thursday night against Salmon Arm. Westgard, 18, has played in a total of 44 BCHL games with the Eagles, dating back to the 2013-14 season. He has 12 goals and 21 assists in those games. The native of White Rock, BC returns to the club after a stint with the Victoria Royals, where he began the season. Bruce, 18, played for the Valley West Hawks of the BC Major Midget League last season, amassing 28 points, and 101 penalty minutes in 39 games. He started the season playing with the Saskatoon Blades and Vancouver Giants, and will be making his BCHL debut on Thursday night. “We are very excited to be welcoming Westgard back to the organization,” head coach and general manager Blaine Neufeld said about the transactions. “We know what we’re getting, which is a player with game-breaking ability that can step into a major role immediately.” The acquisition of Bruce is expected to be for a bit of a different role. “Bruce plays with a lot of jam in his game,” Neufeld explained. “That’s what we really like about him. At this point in the season, a lot of the roster changes are just fine-tuning. We think Bruce can be the type of piece that really puts this team over the top.” To make room for the two new players, forward Rob Johnson and defenceman Ryan Markovic were traded to Whitecourt of the AJHL in exchange for future considerations. Defenceman Trent Huitema was also moved to the Prince George Spruce Kings in a separate deal, also in exchange for futures. The Surrey Eagles Hockey Club thank Rob, Ryan, and Trent for their time in Surrey, and wish them luck on their new teams.
Martin Leaves Warriors For QMJHL:
G Trevor Martin, who played in the WHL with the Saskatoon Blades and Red Deer Rebels, has joined the QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Martin, from Ardrossan, Alta., cleared WHL waivers after being released by the Red Deer Rebels as they got down to three 20-year-olds. Martin then joined the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors but now has signed with Baie-Comeau. . . . Martin was a ninth-round pick by the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL’s 2011 bantam draft. However, he never played for the Chiefs. . . . Last season, he was 18-8-2, 2.63, .911 with the Rebels, who played host to the Memorial Cup. . . . This season, he got into only three games with Red Deer, going 0-1-1, 4.14, .888. . . . He was 2-1-0, 2.35, .936 in three appearances with West Kelowna.
Penticton Named One Of North America's 'Must-Visit' Hockey Towns:
With the Western Canada Cup coming to Penticton in 2017, it's fitting the city has been named one of North America's must-visit hockey towns. The list of 22 hockey towns, in no particular order, by Expedia includes Edmonton, Vancouver and Penticton. The article states: "Prepare to hear a lot more about Penticton, British Columbia, in 2017. This town is playing host to the 2017 Western Canada Cup in late April through early May. Taking place at the South Okanagan Events Centre, the 13-game tournament pits the best junior “A” teams against each other for sweet, sweet glory. Be sure to look out for Penticton Vees, the local club. And if you’re wondering why this town has so many great players, look to one of Okanagan Hockey Group’s world-renowned summer hockey camps that have been in operation since 1963 or the Okanagan Hockey Academy. This centre taught the great Mark MacMillan. “Whether you are a hockey player or a fan, Penticton is hard to beat. Whether it’s exciting Junior A hockey with the Penticton Vees, world class summer hockey camps with Okanagan Hockey Group, watching future NHL stars at the annual Canuck Young Stars tournament, or just a visit to the BC Hockey Hall of Fame, Penticton has something for every hockey family.” – Blair Noel, Vice President, Okanagan Hockey Group.
West Kelowna-Prince George Trade:
The West Kelowna Warriors Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club has acquired forward Cavin Tilsley (’98) from the Prince George Spruce Kings in exchange for future considerations. Tilsley, 18, is a veteran of 78 BCHL games, spending the last two seasons up north with the Spruce Kings. This season, Tilsley has compiled two goals and nine points in 22 games with Prince George, coming off of a productive 2015/16 season that saw him tally 10 goals and 21 points in 56 games to go along with 83 penalty minutes. The Delta, BC native is no stranger to the Okanagan as he spent the 2013/14 season with the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy before heading to the Fernie Ghostriders of the KIJHL in the 2014/15 season. “Tilsley is a young veteran player,” commented general manager and head coach Rylan Ferster, ”who is hard to play against and will be a nice addition for our hockey club.” In a related move, the Warriors are pleased to announce the addition of goaltender Nik Amundrud (’97) from the Western Hockey League (WHL). Amundrud, 19, split last season between the Saskatoon Blades and the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL, playing in 31 total games with a 13-12-0-1 record and a 3.17 GAA while amassing a .887 SV%. The Melfort, Saskatchewan native has ties to Junior ‘A’ hockey with his father, Trevor, spending the 1993/94 season with the Melfort Mustangs of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL). “Adding a goalie like Nik with a lot of WHL experience at 19 is an nice piece to have a this time of the year” continued Ferster. The Warriors would like to welcome both Cavin and Nik to the city of West Kelowna.
The Coquitlam Express have transferred the CJHL playing rights to Cal Walker(97)(D) to the Trenton Golden Hawks of the OJHL in exchange for future considerations.