Friday, March 31, 2017

Game Preview: Interior Division Finals: Game 1 Vernon @ Penticton:

Vernon (4-1) @ Penticton (4-3) 7pm

Tonight is the tenth meeting of the season between the Vernon Vipers & Penticton Vees (pre-season & regular season). The Vees & Vipers split the regular season series 3-3-0-1

Last Game:

Thursday, March 23rd Game 5 Vernon defeated Trail 6-2
Monday, March 27th Game 7 Penticton defeated Merritt 6-2

Next Game:

Saturday, April 1st Game 2 Vernon @ Penticton

Since the 2002-03 regular season Vernon is 42-43-3-8 vs Penticton

Since the 2002-03 regular season Penticton has outscored Vernon 284-268

Since the 2003-04 regular season Vernon is 21-18-1-2 at home vs. Penticton

Since the 2003-04 regular season Vernon is 18-21-2-3 in Penticton

The Vees are 8-2-0-0 in their last ten games in Vernon

The Vipers are 3-5-1-1 in their last ten games in Penticton

The Vipers last regular season win at home vs. Penticton was a 3-1 victory on Friday, January 27th 2017

The Vees last regular season win in Vernon was a 3-1 victory on Saturday, November 12th 2016

The Vipers last regular season win in Penticton was a 4-2 victory on Saturday, January 7th 2017

The Vees last regular season win at home vs. Vernon was a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, December 7th 2016

Here's a look at the season series vs Penticton

August 25th Exhibition Penticton @ Vernon: Vees won 4-1
August 30th Exhibition Vernon @ Penticton: Vees won 4-2
October 28th Penticton @ Vernon: Vees won 4-2
November 11th Vernon @ Penticton: Vipers won 3-2
November 12th Penticton @ Vernon: Vees won 3-1
December 7th Vernon @ Penticton: Vees won 3-1
January 7th Vernon @ Penticton: Vipers won 3-2
January 25th Vernon @ Penticton: Tie 3-3
January 27th Penticton @ Vernon: Vipers won 3-1

Here’s a look at the previous 23 playoff meetings between Vernon & Penticton:

1966-67 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 1 (Semifinal)
1967-68 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 0 (Semifinal)
1971-72 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 3 (BCJHL Final)
1973-74 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 0 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1974-75 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 2 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1975-76 Penticton defeated Vernon (No Stats) (Interior Division Semifinal)
1976-77 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 2 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1982-83 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1986-87 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1987-88 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1992-93 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 1 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1993-94 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1994-95 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Vernon blows 3-1 series lead)
2001-02 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 2 (Interior Conference Final)
2002-03 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Conference Quaterfinal)
2004-05 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Conference Semifinal)
2006-07 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 1 (Interior Conference Final)
2007-08 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Conference Semifinal)
2008-09 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 1 (Interior Conference Semifinal)
2009-2010 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 2 (Interior Conference Final)
2013-2014 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Final)
2014-15 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Final)
2015-16 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 1 (Interior Division Semifinal)

Let's take a look at the Vernon Vipers:

The 4-1 Vernon Vipers make their sixth visit of the season (exhibition & regular season) to the South Okanagan Events Centre. The last time the Vipers were in Penticton, Vernon tied 3-3 January 25th. The Vipers have struggled in Penticton in previous years. Since the 2011-12 regular season Vernon has just five wins at the South Okanagan Events Centre in their last 21 games going 5-13-3-1.The Vipers finished the regular season 2nd in the Interior Division with a 30-19-1-4 record finished seventeen points back of the Division Champion Penticton Vees. Vernon clinched a first round bye before eliminating the 3rd place Trail Smoke Eaters in five games in the BCHL Interior Semifinals. The Vipers are coming off a 6-2 victory over the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters March 23rd. Tonight marks the 24th time Vernon & Penticton have met in the playoffs with Vernon winning twelve of the previous twenty three series. These two teams have met ten times in the playoffs since 2002. This is the fourth straight year the Vipers & Vees have met come playoffs with Penticton winning two of the previous series.  The Vipers are 3-5-0-1 vs Penticton this season (exhibition & regular season). Going back going back to the 2014-15 regular season the Vipers have lost ten of their last fourteen games to the Vees. Vernon has won seven of their last ten games (regular season & playoffs). The Snakes have just one win in their last five road games (regular season & playoffs).

Vernon Vipers Roster:

Steven Jandric (27-24-51) lead the team during the regular season in goals with twenty seven & in points with fifty one.

Vernon Vipers 2016-17 Regular Season Stats:

Games Played: 58
Wins: 30
Losses: 19
Ties: 4
Overtime Wins: 1
Overtime Losses: 5
Home Record: 18-7-3-1
Road Record: 12-12-2-3
Overtime Record: 2-5-4
Record vs Interior Division: 18-9-3-4
Record vs Island & Mainland Divisions: 12-10-2-0
When the Vipers score first: 25-7-2-3
When the opponents score first: 5-12-3-1
Leading after the 1st period: 20-3-1-1
Tied after the 1st period: 7-8-3-1
Trailing after the 1st period: 3-8-1-2
Leading after the 2nd period: 25-2-2-1
Tied after the 2nd period: 3-1-3-2
Trailing after the 2nd period: 2-15-0-1
Out shooting opponents: 20-8-4-2
Out shot by opponents: 9-9-1-1
One goal games: 10-2-5-2
Goals for: 180
Goals against: 158
Standings: 2nd Place
Longest winning streak: Unbeaten in ten games (7 wins-3 ties)
Longest losing streak: Three game losing streak (Twice)

Vernon Vipers Returning Players:

Brett Stapley (99)
Hunter Zandee (96)
Jagger Williamson (98)
Jimmy Lambert (97)
Riley Brandt (96)

Vernon Vipers departed & traded players from last years team:

Charley Michalowski (96)
Christian Cakebread (97)
Nicholas Rasovic (96)
Odeen Tufto (97)
Mitchell Oliver (97)
Colton McCarthy (96)
Callum Volpe (98)
Liam Finlay (97)
Darren Rizzolo (98)
Joe Sacco (96)
Ben Butcher (95)
Brendan Barry (97)
Latrell Charleson (95)
Bo Pellah (95)
Mac Ferner (95)
Andrew Shortridge (95)

Vernon's home record vs Penticton this year:


Vernon's road record vs Penticton this year:


Vernon's scoring leaders vs Penticton this year:

Jagger Williamson (1-5-6)
Niko Karamanis (4-1-5)
Brett Stapley (2-3-5)
Steven Jandric (3-1-4)
Jesse Lansdell (1-3-4)
Cooper Watson (0-3-3)
Jimmy Lambert (1-2-3)
Ryan Brushett (1-2-3)
Shane Kelly (0-2-2)
Michael Ufberg (0-2-2)
Hunter Zandee (0-2-2)
Austin Adamson (2-0-2)
Sol Seibel (0-2-2)
Riley Brandt (0-1-1)
Connor Clouston (0-1-1)
Cameron Trott (0-1-1)
Luke Gingras (0-1-1)

Ty Taylor (2-2 Record)
Darion Hanson (1-1-1 Record)

Let's take a look at the Penticton Vees:

The 4-3 defending regular season champion and 2017 Western Canada Cup host Penticton Vees are in the Interior Division Finals for a sixth straight season. The Vees clinched top spot in the Interior Division for a record fifth straight regular season with a 41-13-3-1 record earning a first round bye come playoffs before eliminating the 5th place Merritt Centennials in seven games after a 6-2 victory at home Monday. Tonight is the tenth meeting of the season (exhibition & regular season) vs Vernon with the Vees winning five out of the ten games. Since the 2011-12 regular season the Vees have dominated the Vipers. Penticton has won thirty of the last fourty one regular season meetings vs Vernon going 30-10-0-1. The Vees have won fifteen of the last twenty regular season games vs the Vipers. The Vees eliminated the Vipers from last years playoffs in five games in the 2nd round. Penticton comes into tonight having won six of their last ten games (regular season & playoffs). The Vees have won seven of their last ten home games (regular season & playoffs).

Fraser Rogers Penticton Vees Blog,

Penticton Vees Roster:

Grant Cruikshank (32-21-53) leads the team in goals with thirty two, while Nicholas Jones (25-37-62) leads the team in points with sixty two.

Mitch Meek played 50 games with the 2014-15 Vernon Vipers

Penticton Vees 2016-17 regular season stats:

Games Played: 58
Wins: 41
Losses: 13
Ties: 1
Overtime Losses: 3
Home Record: 22-5-1-1
Road Record: 19-8-2-0
Goals for: 189
Goals against: 129
Standings: 1st Place

Penticton Vees Returning Players:

Nicholas Jones (96)
Owen Sillinger (97)
Taylor Ward (98)
Gabe Bast (96)
Griffin Mendel (99)

Penticton Vees departed and traded players from last years team:

Scott Conway (95)
Luke Voltin (95)
Mitchell Brooks (95)
Ben Brar (98)
David Eccles (96)
Desi Burgart (98)
Tyson Jost (98)
Easton Brodzinski (96)
Demico Hannoun (95)
Dixon Bowen (96)
Darius Davidson (96)
Chris Gerrie (96)
Jason Lavallee (96)
Colton Poolman (95)
Seamus Donohue (96)
Dante Fabbro (98)
Domenic Masellis (97)
Anthony Brodeur (95)
Zach Driscoll (97)

Penticton's home record vs Vernon this year:


Penticton's road record vs Vernon this year:


Penticton Vees scoring leaders vs Vernon this year:

Taylor Ward (3-3-6)
Grant Cruikshank (6-0-6)
Chris Klack (1-5-6)
Nicholas Jones (0-5-5)
Duncan Campbell (1-2-3)
Taylor Sanheim (2-1-3)
Owen Sillinger (0-2-2)
Matt Gosiewski (1-1-2)
James Miller (1-1-2)
Kenny Johnson (0-2-2)
Joseph Leahy (0-1-1)
Ty Amonte (1-0-1)
Jonny Tychonick (0-1-1)
Ryley Risling (1-0-1)
Jamie Armstrong (1-0-1)
Griffin Mendel (0-1-1)

Matthew Robson (3-3-1 Record)

Vipers-Vees Ready To Go:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers-Vees ready to go

Kevin Mitchell Fri March 31st, 2017

Call them the Canadians, Essos, Vikings, Lakers or Vipers. No matter the moniker used, Vernon has always loved playing Penticton in Junior A hockey.

Crests of Broncos, Knights, Panthers and Vees have adorned the Penticton jerseys since the Valley rivals started battling in 1967. The Vipers and Vees meet for a 22nd time in the B.C. Hockey League playoffs Friday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Game 2 in the Interior Division Ryan Hadfield Cup series goes Saturday, 6 p.m., in Penticton. The third and fourth games go Monday and Tuesday nights at Kal Tire Place. And while the rivalry is long and heated, Viper head coach/GM Mark Ferner is more focussed on the players involved.

“I think it’s great for Vernon and it’s great for Penticton, but I’m pretty sure the fans won’t be playing,” deadpanned Ferner, who scored three times with the NHL expansion Mighty Ducks of Anaheim back in the day. “This is about our group, our kids and our organization. It’s a good rivalry, but the reality is a lot of the kids don’t know the history behind it.”

Ferner is fine matching the Vees line for line, but knows the Snakes will pay special attention to the likes of Nicholas Jones and Grant Cruickshank up front.

Jones, 20, compiled five goals and a dozen points as Penticton disposed of the Merritt Centennials in seven games. The Edmonton product rang up 41 goals with the AJHL Sherwood Park Crusaders three years ago before spending parts of two seasons with the NCAA Ohio State Buckeyes. The North Dakota commit led the Vees with 62 points this year.

If the Vees need a clutch goal, they call on Cruikshank. The 18-year-old Wisconsin native and future University of Wisconsin Badger has 13 powerplay snipes and eight winning goals. He was tops in Penticton with 32 goals.

“He (Jones) takes a lot of draws and gets a lot of minutes,” said Ferner, on Jones. “He’s a good player. I know they like their match-ups, but we’re comfortable playing against whatever line they throw out there.”

Cruikshank landed in the Okanagan after recording 52 goals in two years with the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals.

“We kind of learn from the second you come here to Penticton that you don’t like Vernon and you play like it,” said Cruikshank. “There’s a lot of energy in the building, you have a lot of energy inside you. Playing with that energy, it’s pretty easy to get in the game early and feel great about your game. You know, play with how you are successful.”

Possessing a great shot isn’t the only thing that makes Cruikshank successful. So does his blazing speed, which he credits to his parents Dave Cruikshank and Bonnie Blair. Cruikshank’s father was a four-time member of the U.S. Olympic speed skating team, as was his mom, who won six medals (five gold) in four Winter Games.

“He really was the one that kind of just helped me with the rules of skating and how to go fast and how to train myself to be a great skater and how to play with pace,” said Cruikshank, whose father works with the L.A. Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars. “Just play fast and skate like the wind.”

Vees’ D Mitch Meek will add another layer to his experience in the rivalry. Meek played for the Vipers in 2014-15.

“It’s unique but I’m lookng forward to the challenge,” said Meek, who collected two assists in 11 playoffs games with the Vipers that season and has two goals and 13 points in 45 career post-season games. “We’re going to do everything we can to win.”

Meek and the Vipers lost Game 7 when Patrick Sexton scored the winner and the team advanced to the RBC Cup.

“Everything is kind of amped up in this type of series, this rivalry,” said Meek, a Victoria native, who is committed to Michigan Tech University. “We just have to tighten up details and play our game.”

This is the fourth straight year the Vipers and Vees have met in the playoffs. The season series was about as even as it gets with each team holding three wins and one draw. The Vees outscored the Vipers 18-17.

In the head to head matchups, the Vipers leaned on Jagger Williamson (1-5-6), Niko Karamanis (4-1-5) and Brett Stapley (2-3-5). Cruikshank, Taylor Ward and Chris Klack were the key contributors for the Vees.

“Every game was high intensity, high emotion, they are a good game,” said Ward, a University of Nebraska Omaha commit. “A lot of physical play. I’m not expecting anything else.”

Ward, Owen Sillinger and Ty Amonte are Vees with NHL fathers.

Captain Riley Brandt said the Vipers will ensure they are tough on the puck and make things difficult for talent like Jones to get creative.

“It’s obviously exciting, it’s been a big rivalry for a lot of years,” said the pride of Trail. “They’ve beat me out the last couple of seasons, and Jags too, and a couple other guys last year. It’s gonna be a real amped up series and the boys are prepared and ready to go.”

Said Vees’ head coach/GM Fred Harbinson on the rivalry: “It’s the fans, it’s the entire city, the community,” he said. “Everybody kind of gets into it. Nobody wants to lose to that other town down the street so to speak. That’s what the players get excited about as well.”

SNAKE BITES: The Vees asked Viper assistant coach Kevin Pedersen to leave their rink Wednesday. Pedersen was in Penticton working with some BC Hockey U15 and 16 players…Vees’ grad Tyson Jost signed with the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday. He was a first-round draft pick in 2016 and pocketed 16 goals and 35 points in 33 games with North Dakota this season…Los Angeles Junior U18 Kings’ F Wyatt Light and D Kade Street are special guests at Viper practices this week. Street is related to former American Olympic skier Picabo Street.

Pedersen Has Scouting Flair:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Pedersen has scouting flair

Kevin Mitchell Fri Mar 31, 2017

His ultimate goal is to be a full-time NHL scout, but Kevin Pedersen knows he has to pay his dues. For now, he’s quite happy being an assistant coach with the Vernon Vipers.

And his dedication and love of the game has not gone unnoticed. B.C. Hockey has named Pedersen video coach for the Male U16 team that will compete at the 2017 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup in Calgary and the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.

“I was born to scout hockey,” said Pedersen, 31, who loves following soccer power Manchester City. “It’s not easy, but I have the talent to identify and evaluate and project talent. It’s something that has always excited me.”

A three handicap on the golf course, Pedersen played Junior B hockey in Port Coquitlam and began teaching skating lessons to tykes at Moody Park Arena as a teen. He soon began working at hockey schools.

He has been involved in Vancouver Vipers spring hockey as a a head coach for several years, taking high NHL drafts like Noah Juulsen, Matt Barzal and Dante Fabbro to tournaments like the Brick in Edmonton. He also coached a 14-year-old Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins.

“You’re learning how to coach good players so you aren’t intimidated by any player. I’ve learned a lot from guys like (Viper head coach and ex-pro Ferner) Mark. Being close to the players, I can connect with players of all ages. I talk to them about things away from the game. You can’t become best friends but I can develop relationships. You get to know the kids so you know what buttons to push, know what they’re going through.

“Mark and Matt Erhart (former Surrey Eagles D and head coach, now an assistant with the WHL Vancouver Giants) have taught me to how to communicate with players and how to be a leader, know what kids listen to. With Mark, he’s always polite, he has time for everybody and he’s approachable. The respect he has for the game and people in the game, from a guy who has the experience he has, is huge.”

Pedersen was an assistant coach with Atom (9-10-year-olds) at the Hollyburn Club in West Vancouver and progressed to the Burnaby Winter Club, back to Hollyburn and then the Major Midget Greater Vancouver Canadians. He was an assistant with the North Shore Winter Club, Western Canadian champions for two of his three years there. Viper centre Brett Stapley was with North Shore one season and Pedersen recruited the dynamo for the Vipers.

At 23, Pedersen began scouting for Ferner and the Vipers before being hired by the Everett Silvertips where Ferner landed between 2011-2013. Pedersen spent four seasons working for the WHL Tips.

“He’s so passionate about it,” said Ferner. “He knows all the kids and he goes to every damn tournament in the summer. He’s a bit of an encyclopedia about the kids who are eligible and even the kids who are not eligible.”

Ferner leans on Pedersen to break down NHL videos on powerplay systems while also running skills day in practice.

Steve O’Rourke will serve as head coach of Team B.C. along with assistant coaches, Jason Becker and Brian Pellerin. Kim Penner and Vernon’s Craig Carter will join the team as trainer and equipment manager. Matthew Davey is Team B.C.’s strength, conditioning and nutrition coach.

“We are very confident in the selection of these individuals to lead Team B.C. to successful showings at the Western Canada Challenge Cup and the Canada Winter Games,” commented B.C. Hockey Chief Executive Officer Barry Petrachenko. “They all bring a great mix of hockey knowledge, enthusiasm and experience to our program.”

B.C. Hockey Program of Excellence Coordinator Fred Zweep added: “We feel that naming this group for both the Western Canada Challenge Cup and Canada Winter Games will bring continuity to the lead up and at both of these very prestigious events.”

O’Rourke is an assistant coach of the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Prince George Cougars and helped lead Prince George to their first-ever B.C. Division title this past season.

“These guys have a lot of experience and I’m going to be able to learn a lot,” said Pedersen, who has held numerous positions with B.C. Hockey regional and provincial teams in the last decade. “I put in an application and I think my interview went well. For me, it’s a volunteer work. I take pride in the time I put in.”

Becker is currently in his first season assistant coach with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees after two seasons as a head coach with the Okanagan Hockey Academy. Pellerin is the associate coach of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, a position he has held since 2014.

Penner is the Merritt Centennials (BCHL) trainer, and Carter serves as the equipment manager of the B.C. Major Midget League’s (MML) Okanagan Rockets.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

BCHL Interior Conference Lovefest Video:

This is posted on the website:

BCHL Interior Conference Lovefest

March 28, 2017 HockeyTube

BCHL Interior Conference Lovefest – Yep…we are being sarcastic! Anyone familiar with the BCHL Junior A Hockey league,  would know that one of the top rivalries that goe
s back decades is between the two cities located in the Okanagan Valley. Since the league’s inception in 1967, the two teams have met 22 times in the post season.

Even in the past 16 years Vernon and Penticton have combined to win 7 league titles. It’s safe to say the coaching staffs and the fans in each city are very aware of the rivalry…so we put this together as a bit of a loving tribute to the teams.

Vees-Vipers In Annual Rite Of Spring:

This was posted in the Penticton Herald Newspaper:

Vees-Vipers in annual rite of spring

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

David Crompton/Penticton Herald

After needing seven games to dispatch the scrappy Merritt Centennials, Fred Harbinson said the Vees will be ready to rock against the Vernon Vipers on Friday.

Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-7 Interior Division final for the Ryan Hatfield Memorial Trophy are set for Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m. at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

“We’ll be fine, we’re in great physical shape as a group and we will not be tired on Friday,” said the Vees president, GM and head coach. “If the atmosphere in our building is anything like it was in Game 7 (on Monday), we’ll get another shot of adrenaline. Hopefully we’ll see a couple more huge crowds this weekend.”

It’s the fourth straight year the bitter Okanagan rivals have met in the post-season, with the Vees having won the last two, including an easy 4-1 triumph in the first round last season.

“Obviously there is a lot of history between the two franchises,” said Harbinson. “This is going to be another great installment of the Penticton-Vernon rivalry.”

Vernon dispatched the Trail Smoke Eaters in five games, giving them a few days more rest and the opportunity to scout the Vees last two games against Merritt.

The Vees and Vipers split the season series right down the middle, with each team winning three games along with a rare 3-3 tie back on Jan. 23 at the SOEC.

Penticton (41-13-3-1) finished 17 points ahead of the second-place Vipers (30-19-5-4) in the Interior Division, though the teams had almost identical records after Christmas. Both teams won twice in the other team’s rink.

The Vipers are led by the high-octane line of Jimmy Lambert, Steven Jandric and Brett Stapley, who ran wild against a depleted Trail team. Darion Hanson was named the BCHL’s top goalie, though Vees’ Mat Robson led the league in most of the significant categories.

“(Vernon) has one of the top lines in the league, a strong defence and solid goaltending,” said Harbinson. “That’s why they’re here. They’re obviously a real good team.”

Harbinson is plenty pleased with how his own team responded in Game 7 against Merritt with a convincing 6-2 victory.

The special teams played a vital role in the win, with the power play scoring twice after going 1-for-22 in the prior six games, and the penalty kill was 6-for-6 including a lengthy 5-on-3 and a four-minute 5-on-4 situation with the game still on the line.

“We were really active and limited their shots on the power play,” said Harbinson, noting the Vees practised defending the 5-on-3 extensively prior to the playoffs.

Heart-and-soul captain Nicholas Jones tallied two goals and an assist to spark the offence, and finished with five goals and 11 points in the series.

“Jones just had that look in his eye… that this (losing Game 7) wasn’t going to happen on his watch,” said Harbinson. “I don’t know where he gets the energy but he had a second tank of gas strapped on his back on Monday. He was incredible.”

Forward Taylor Sanheim returned after a 51-day absence due to a facial injury and scored the power play goal that tied the game at 1-1 after Merritt scored just 75 seconds into the game to temporarily subdue a huge gathering at the SOEC.

“Sanheim is a goalscorer, a guy with a great release as we saw again on that tying goal,” said Harbinson. “We’ve missed the offence he brings to the table.”

The coach credited Ryley Risling for being the “ultimate team guy” in graciously stepping aside to make room for Sanheim.

“He’s going to get another opportunity at some point,” said Harbinson. “We keep reminding the guys to always be ready for the moment. We’ve got a long way to go here.”

The coach pinpointed two other key moments in the game, the first being a huge hit by Taylor Ward on Merritt’s Game 6 hero Tyrell Buckley behind the net shortly after the Cents took the 1-0 lead. Ward later scored the fifth Penticton goal.

“It sent a message to them that we’re not just going to roll over and die,” said Harbinson. “I think that rattled them, then we got on the power play, tied it up and never looked back.”

Harbinson also alluded to the two goals in a 56-second span in the late stages of the second period that put Penticton command at 4-1 after 40 minutes.

“We double-shifted the Jones, Campbell and Klack line there and they force some turnovers, make two big plays and suddenly it’s 4-1 instead of 2-1,” said Harbinson. “That was huge. We kill off another penalty early in the third and then score two more quick ones to finish it off.”

Harbinson said the Vees were able to roll and get contributions from all four forward lines, something they will need against a deep Vernon lineup.

“We’ve got balance there, but a big part of it comes from our back end,” he said. “The six guys back there are all really strong puck-movers and they only played three games together as a group all season with injuries and things.

“That’s why I throw some of those games the last few months of the regular season out the window. Last two times we played Vernon we only had three of those guys. We haven’t played Vernon in a while now and it looks like both teams are pretty healthy. To me, the past is the past. All that matters is what happens starting on Friday night.”

ICE CHIPS: The series shifts to Kal Tire Place in Vernon for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Tuesday (April 3-4). If necessary, Game 5 is Friday, April 7 at the SOEC, Game 6, Sat., April 8 in Vernon and Game 7 Monday, April 10 at the SOEC. All games except for this Saturday’s matchup are 7 p.m. puck-drops… Vees F Grant Cruikshank scored six goals in the seven games against Vernon this season… Victoria Grizzlies and Chilliwack Chiefs open the Coastal Conference final Friday at Prospera Centre in Chilliwack.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Vernon Vipers Interior Division Finals Schedule:

Vernon Vipers 2017 3rd round Playoff Schedule:

Interior Division Finals:

Penticton Vees (1st Place) 41-13-3-1 (Regular Season Record) vs Vernon Vipers (2nd Place) 30-19-5-4 (Regular Season Record)

Game 1 Friday, March 31st Vernon @ Penticton 7pm
Game 2 Saturday, April 1st Vernon @ Penticton 6pm
Game 3 Monday, April 3rd Penticton @ Vernon 7pm
Game 4 Tuesday, April 4th Penticton @ Vernon 7pm
Game 5 Friday, April 7th Vernon @ Penticton 7pm
Game 6 Saturday, April 8th Penticton @ Vernon 7pm
Game 7 Monday, April 10th Vernon @ Penticton 7pm

BCHL News & Trades:

I found these press releases off team websites, twitter accounts, blogs or online. All Vipers news-trades are posted on this blog as soon as released-announced.

BCHL News & Trades:

Rizzo Joins Vees For Playoff Run:

F Massimo Rizzo will be joining the BCHL’s Penticton Vees for the remainder of their playoff run that begins Friday against the Merritt Centennials. Rizzo was a first-round selection, 15th overall, by the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He played in three games with the Vees during the regular season. Last season, Rizzo put up 137 points, including 60 goals, in 61 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s Tier 1 bantam team. This season, with the BWC midget prep team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League, he had 78 points, including 59 assists, in 43 games. Rizzo’s club will conclude its season this weekend, after which he will join the Vees. Rizzo was pointless in his first three games with the Vees. Of course, F Tyson Jost didn’t get a point in his first three games with the Vees, either, when he was an AP in 2013-14 while playing for the major midget Okanagan Rockets. Jost went on to enjoy 45- and 104-point seasons with the Vees before being the 10th overall selection by the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL’s 2016 draft. Jost now is completing his freshman season at North Dakota. The Hockey News, in its Future Watch issue, wrote: “. . . college coaches are swooning for him. Some say he’s better than Tyson Jost at the same age.” Rizzo spent some time in mid-February on the U of Wisconsin campus in Madison. Maco Balkovec, his coach at BWC, was a Wisconsin defenceman for four seasons (1991-95).

Stagnant Lease Talks Leaves Clippers Future In Nanaimo Unclear:

NANAIMO — The Clippers won't be displaced by a Western Hockey League (WHL) team, but their future in Nanaimo depends on smooth contract negotiations with the City. The Clippers' lease at Frank Crane Arena and an advertising revenue agreement with the City both expired this year. With the events centre dominating focus for the last six months, only limited talks on a new deal have taken place. "It's been one of my highest priorities to get this lease renewed since I came aboard last summer," David LeNeveu, Clippers president, told NanaimoNewsNOW. LeNeveu said Clippers owner and governor Ken Wagner is headed to Nanaimo to take part in discussions, expected to get going this week. "We're waiting for them (City) to confirm the meeting. We have our idea how we'd like to proceed with it. They haven't come back to us with how they want to proceed so we're just waiting on that." He said the organization is "relieved" after the referendum result put an end to the WHL's potential move to Nanaimo, which would have ended the Clippers 45-year tenure. LeNeveu said some of their staff were "strained" not knowing what their future held beyond this season. "We were operating as normally as possible, but there was a lot of resistance on the corporate and season ticket sales because we didn't know how we were going to be operating moving forward," LeNeveu said. One of the biggest factors in the negotiations will surround advertising revenue for signage at Frank Crane Arena. Richard Harding, Nanaimo's director of parks and rec, said in the past the City took a percentage of the Clippers revenue. That hasn't been happening for the last seven years, in exchange for the team paying for upgrades to the arena. "It will be in the mix of course, it's very common in other junior 'A' agreements, that some of the advertising comes back," Harding said. "Prior to this agreement it was always a percentage." The City would not notice a financial shortfall or have unfilled ice without the Clippers as Frank Crane's major tenant, Harding said. However, he said there is a huge list of intangibles the team provides to the community. "They've been a key component to the hockey community...if I started with one, I'd probably miss 20." Harding said it's "difficult to comment" on how the events centre process has impacted the City's efforts to work on a new deal with the Clippers. "We always knew we would be discussing it at some point, regardless of the events centre." BCHL commissioner John Grisdale said it's been "difficult sitting on the sideline knowing one of our anchor franchises is going into a season without a contract, without discussion." Grisdale said he plans to meet with Clippers ownership this week to discuss their plans. "They have the ability to go dark, to not operate, to remain in Nanaimo or look at moving their club," Grisdale said. "It's a little disappointing if you get a feeling that their (team owners) efforts in those communities aren't respected. I hope these negotiations can get back on track and the Clippers continue to operate in the BCHL." The Clippers have scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon. LeNeveu described the event as a "major announcement" related to the future of the team.

Mumps Hits Penticton Vees:

It seems that the mumps outbreak also has touched the BCHL. Taking Note has been told that a player with the Penticton Vees was diagnosed with mumps two weeks ago. He was quickly isolated and the viral disease doesn’t appear to have spread within the organization. The player in question returned to practice this week.

Nanaimo Clippers Announce Potential Relocation:

The city and the sports community could lose Nanaimo Clippers hockey. The B.C. Hockey League club held a press conference Thursday at Frank Crane Arena to announce that the team will be relocated or shut down if new ownership can’t be found in the next two weeks. “We need some more local ownership here to make this work,” said Ken Wagner, the team’s owner. “I believe that if there’s more local ownership it will work. I don’t want to be the guy who moves this team after 45 years.” David LeNeveu, Clippers president and a minority owner, is leading an effort to try to keep the team in Nanaimo. “I need the support of the fans and the businesses in this community. I’m asking for that continued support,” he said. “The second thing I’m going to ask for is for a group of people or a single individual or a couple of people to step forward and come and buy the ownership of the Nanaimo Clippers from the current group. “Without somebody stepping forward or a group of individuals stepping forward, I fear that the club will be moved in very short order.” Wagner and his partners have been looking to sell the Clippers for the past two years, and the owner said the city’s recent sports and events centre referendum – which would have brought a major junior hockey team to Nanaimo, displacing the Clippers – was a contributor to potential relocation of the franchise. “We felt we were forced to go out and find another place to play hockey. Well, we did,” Wagner said. “We have a city that is willing to bend over backwards to have a junior A hockey team.” He wouldn’t identify the city in question, but BCHL commissioner John Grisdale mentioned Campbell River as a possible destination in an interview with the News Bulletin earlier this year. Grisdale said Thursday that a relocation process could be expedited in time for the team to take the ice in a different city by the 2017-18 season. He also confirmed that the 17-team league has been working on a 2017-18 schedule with only 16 teams in case the Clippers suspend operations. Wagner, who has owned the team for the past 11 years, said there are financial benefits to moving the club. “We’ve hit a wall in Nanaimo as an ownership. We’ve tried for a lot of years to make it work…” he said. “We are done writing cheques. We’re spent out … The business side of it is the numbers are the numbers. The emotional side is we don’t want to move the club.” Wagner said he thinks two weeks is long enough to find a new owner or owners. LeNeveu said time is of the essence. “This is not a ploy, this is not a threat, this is actual. I’ve been on conversations where there’s interest elsewhere and there is a timeline,” he said. “I really believe that the team will succeed here, but we do need local ownership. We do need local people that have a vested interest in this community and in this team and in these players.” Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said he understands that hockey is a business and the owners need to make business decisions. He called the Clippers part of the “cultural fabric” in Nanaimo. “So we have to do what we can do now to rally behind the team and to see if we can get some investors…” McKay said. “All is not lost, but we’ve got to get our community together to say we understand what happens when the Clippers play and they play well and what they contribute to the community and we’re behind them.”

Vees Alumni Kariya & Morrison To Be Inducted Into Ring Of Honour:

The Penticton Vees Jr. A Hockey Club is pleased to announce alumni and former NHLers Paul Kariya and Brendan Morrison will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honour at the 2017 Western Canada Cup, presented by Sun Life Financial. The two will be in Penticton to see their names join the original 13 members of the Ring of Honour on Thursday, May 4th, during a pre-game ceremony before the Penticton Vees final round-robin game at the WCC. WCC Chair, David Michaud, says they’re thrilled to be able to host two such prominent alumni, “The creation of the Ring of Honour was a huge part of our Western Canada Cup bid.  We felt it would add tremendous character to the SOEC, and the additions of Brendan Morrison and Paul Kariya were obvious choices for the WCC.  We thank them for coming back and celebrating this big night in person with us” Kariya enjoyed a star studded career, which started in Penticton with the Panthers in 1990. The North Vancouver native took the BC Hockey League (BCHL) by storm, racking up 92 goals and 244 points in just 94 career regular season games over two seasons. He was named the Interior Division Rookie of the Year and was twice named the BCHL MVP. After his time in Penticton, Kariya played parts of seasons at the University of Maine, winning the NCAA championship and Hobey Baker Award, as college hockey’s top player, in 1993. Kariya broke into the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks and went on to play 15 seasons between the Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues. In 989 career regular season games, Kariya amassed 402 goals and 989 points. He was named an NHL All-Star five times, and won the Lady Byng Trophy (most sportsmanlike) twice. He also won two Olympic medals, winning gold with Canada in 2002 and silver in 1994. Morrison played with the Panthers for one season, in 1992-93, compiling 35 goals and 94 points in 56 games and was named the Interior Division Rookie of the Year. After Penticton, Morrison spent four seasons at the University of Michigan, and won an NCAA national championship in 1996 and was the Hobey Baker award winner in 1997. In his four years at Michigan, Morrison amassed 102 goals and 284 points. Morrison made his NHL debut in the 1997-1998 season with the New Jersey Devils and went on to play 934 career regular season games over 14 seasons with the Devils, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, Washington Capitals, Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks and finished with 200 goals and 601 points.

BCHL To Host Summer Camp:

For the first time, the BCHL will be hosting an exposure camp for elite players to get seen by the league’s coaches and scouts from the college and professional ranks. The BCHL Exposure Camp is for players born from 1999 to 2002 and will be held July 1 to 3 at the Richmond Olympic Oval. “We think this camp can provide a huge benefit to young players, their families and offer value to our teams because they’ll be on the benches and running drills,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale. “Our league’s reputation for developing talented players for college and pro hockey is well established and we just want this camp to add to that.” In addition to the exposure players will receive to BCHL coaches and scouts from the college and pro ranks, there will be three practice sessions, three full games, three educational seminars for players and parents and coaches meetings for performance feedback. Each player will receive a BCHL Exposure Camp jersey as well.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

FROM BEHIND THE BENCH: The Italian Job With Ex Vipers Coach Mark Holick:

Here is an article on former Vernon Vipers Head Coach-GM Mark Holick.

Holick is in his first season with the HC Pustertal Wolfe. HC Pustertal Wölfe – Val Pusteria Wolves are an Italian professional ice hockey team from Bruneck, currently playing in the Alps Hockey League.

Holick spent the past three seasons in Western Hockey League with the Prince George Cougars, received a two-year extension (July, 16 2014) before mutually parting ways with the Cougars April 12th 2016.

Holick was Head Coach-GM of the Vipers for one season (2006-07) before leaving for the Western Hockey League Kootenay Ice.  Holick left the Vipers for the Ice a week before the Vipers Training Camp during the 2007-08 season. Holick posted a record of (37 wins-19 losses-1 tie-3 overtime losses) guided the Vipers to the BCHL League finals where Vernon fell in six games to the Nanaimo Clippers. 

Mark Holick's Player-Coaching Profile:

This was posted on the Coaches Site:

FROM BEHIND THE BENCH: The Italian Job by Mark Holick

December 18 2016

Mark Holick was very familiar with North American ice after leading the WHL’s Prince George Cougars and the Kootenay Ice, as well as the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. Not to mention coaching stints with the South Surrey Eagles (leading to a Royal Bank Cup victory), as well as multiple turns with the BCHL and AJHL.

These days, however, Mark finds himself in a quaint mountain town near Italy’s northeast border, close to Austria. It might seem like a big jump going from the intensity of western Canadian hockey to the AlpsHL, a brand new league resulting from the merger between Serie A and the Inter-National League, but Holick thinks otherwise. In this instalment of FROM BEHIND THE BENCH, Holick tells us what brought him to Bruneck, what it’s like coaching for the Pustertal Wölfe and just how pleasantly surprised he’s been since arriving.

The opportunity just kind of came up. I had some interviews in the Austrian League and talked to a couple of teams in Europe with Pustertal being one of them. The first time I spoke with anybody from here was towards the end of May and it evolved from there. Close to the end of July or early August, they called and made an offer. My wife and I had talked about Europe being an option one day and when this came up we just thought, why not? Let’s take a run at it and see what happens.

I didn’t really know a whole lot about the town, and it’s a brand new league — the Italian hockey played in their own league and the Austrians played in their league and they merged this season. There are 16 teams and it’s a new league for everyone. Bruneck is a ski town, the hill is a ten minute drive away. The rink is an open air rink — it’s got a roof but the ends are wide open — so if it’s cold outside, it’s really cold inside.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the team either, but I can tell you there’s a difference in effort. It’s different because almost every guy on our team has a day job. We have 21 guys on our roster, and maybe four or five don’t have day jobs. The rest work as farmers, or in the tax office, guys that are in all kinds of industries here. So, we practice in the evenings, and I was very pleasantly surprised at how these guys come to the rink to work every day.

Most of the guys get there as quickly as they can after work. We get our video work in and then we’re on the ice for an hour or an hour and fifteen minute practice. We have two games a week, Wednesday and Saturday nights. So, it’s not a busy schedule like I was used to in North America where sometimes you’re playing three or four nights a week, and there’s really not a whole lot for them during the day from me.

But I was very pleased with the way the guys embraced their team. They take ownership, they police each other, it’s been awesome with accountability — they are really proud to wear that jersey and be part of this team. There’s a lot of expectation from the community and the players make sure that everyone lives up to that. The really refreshing part of the experience for me is how much the players take ownership and pride in making sure that everybody is towing the line.

The reception has been unbelievable, and everyone’s helped me a great deal. If I’ve had any questions on how the day-to-day stuff runs, our captain, Armin Helfer, a veteran of European hockey, he and a couple of the other guys have made it a seamless adjustment for me.

You need that coming into an experience like this. I came in not really knowing what to expect and these guys have really taken it to the level I brought. I push our guys and try get them to be the best they can be. They bring their best and it’s been that way since day one. I got here August 19, and we started camp on the 21st and they just worked really hard right away. There’s been no complaining, it’s their job and they come to work hard and have a little fun. It’s been a real enjoyable atmosphere to be in.

I was concerned that the language barrier would be a problem. Even though I’m in Italy, the main language is German, but most of the players speak German, Italian and English. I can coach in English and communicate with them, 90 percent of the time it’s been really easy.

And the fans here have been second to none. We were on the road the other day, a four plus hour drive, and the local fan club rented a bus and followed us out there. It was a big game against a team we’re vying for for one of the top spots against, so the locals met us out there and were really loud and boisterous, and it really helped our guys. Usually on a road game, the fan club is there, and for them to show up every time is really powerful for our guys.

The community in town is really receptive, we’ve had 2,500 people at our home games, and it’s unbelievably loud in the rink. It was quite an eye opener for me early on when I saw that, I really love the way the fans embrace the team and the way the team embraces the fans.

You see things here that you don’t see back home. We had a “meet the fans” night after a game one night and before you knew it, there was a truck on the ice and the back was full of beer. All the fans were on the ice and the players stayed and everyone was having a real good time. I was looking around thinking, “what’s going on here?” in a good way though. It was a really neat thing to see — the fans take ownership of the team and they support each other so it adds a lot to the experience. Our record certainly doesn’t hurt, being where we are as far as the standings are concerned [the team is currently second in the league].

I have a contract for the season so that’s what I focus on, helping this team do as well as they can so the fans and community are proud of us. I really like it here, it’s a neat little town. The atmosphere is good and my manager, the board members and everyone in the organization has treated me really well, it’s really been a great experience.

I didn’t know what to expect coming here, but it actually really reminds me of the Okanagan Valley to be honest. I moved to Penticton was I was 15 and have spent a lot of time in the valley. But the mountains and the ski areas, you can compare it here to the Okanagan and to the Kooteneys. It’s very similar, and if you didn’t know it, you’d almost think you were in British Columbia anyways.

Jandric Recieves Honourable Mention For Player Of The Week:

This is posted on the BCHL website:

Olischefski earns BCHL POW honours

March 27, 2017

Chilliwack Chiefs forward Kohen Olischefski has been named the BCHL Player of the Week for the week ending March 26, the league announced Monday.

Olischefski scored the game- and series-winning goal as part of a two-goal Game 4 win over Wenatchee; he totaled three goals and two assists in his two games for the week. The Abbotsford, B.C. native had a goal and two helpers in Game 3 where he was named 3rd Star and notched both his goals in Game 4 in a space of 44 seconds to complete a Chiefs comeback win and series sweep. The 6-foot-2, 177-pound forward was named 1st Star in the series-clinching game and he now has 10 points in 10 playoff games.

Honourable Mentions this week:

Vernon Vipers F Steven Jandric: 3G, 1A, 2nd Star

Powell River Kings G Brian Wilson: 2W, SO, 146 saves/156 shots, .936 sv%, 2.51 GAA, two 1st Stars

Powell River Kings F Kyle Betts: 4G, GWG, two 2nd Stars, 3rd Star

Victoria Grizzlies F Nick Guiney: 4G, 1A, GWG, OT GWG, 1st Star

Chilliwack Chiefs F Jordan Kawaguchi: 3G, 2A, GWG, hat trick, 1st Star

Monday, March 27, 2017

Vees Advance To Division Finals-Face Vipers:

The Interior Division regular season champion & Western Canada Cup Host Penticton Vees eliminated the 4th place Merritt Centennials 6-2 tonight in Penticton to win the best of seven series 4-3.

Penticton Vees-Merritt Centennials Boxscore-Game Summary,

Game 7 Highlight's,

Fraser Rodgers Penticton Vees Blog,

The Vees will now advance to the Interior Division Finals for a sixth straight year. The Vees will face the 2nd place Vernon Vipers in the best of seven series starting March 31st in Penticton. These two teams will meet in the playoffs for a fourth straight season. The Vees and Vipers both earned a first round bye for finishing 1st & 2nd in the Interior Division. The Vipers eliminated the 3rd place Trail Smoke Eaters in the Interior Division Semifinals 4-1 in the best of seven series. The Vees & Vipers met last season in the opening round of the BCHL playoffs, with Penticton winning the best of seven series 4-1.

The last time the Vipers & Vees met was January 27th 2017 as the Vernon defeated Penticton 3-1 at Kal Tire Place in the final regular season meeting with the Vees. The two teams split the regular season series going 3-3-0-1

Here's a look at the season series vs Penticton

August 25th Exhibition Penticton @ Vernon: Vees won 4-1
August 30th Exhibition Vernon @ Penticton: Vees won 4-2
October 28th Penticton @ Vernon: Vees won 4-2
November 11th Vernon @ Penticton: Vipers won 3-2
November 12th Penticton @ Vernon: Vees won 3-1
December 7th Vernon @ Penticton: Vees won 3-1
January 7th Vernon @ Penticton: Vipers won 3-2
January 25th Vernon @ Penticton: Tie 3-3
January 27th Penticton @ Vernon: Vipers won 3-1

Since the 2002-03 regular season Vernon is 42-43-3-8 vs Penticton

Since the 2002-03 regular season Penticton has outscored Vernon 284-268

Since the 2003-04 regular season Vernon is 21-18-1-2 at home vs. Penticton

Since the 2003-04 regular season Vernon is 18-21-2-3 in Penticton

The Vees are 8-2-0-0 in their last ten games in Vernon

The Vipers are 3-5-1-1 in their last ten games in Penticton

The Vipers last regular season win at home vs. Penticton was a 3-1 victory on Friday, January 27th 2017

The Vees last regular season win in Vernon was a 3-1 victory on Saturday, November 12th 2016

The Vipers last regular season win in Penticton was a 4-2 victory on Saturday, January 7th 2017

The Vees last regular season win at home vs. Vernon was a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, December 7th 2016

Here’s a look at the previous 23 playoff meetings between Vernon & Penticton:

1966-67 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 1 (Semifinal)
1967-68 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 0 (Semifinal)
1971-72 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 3 (BCJHL Final)
1973-74 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 0 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1974-75 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 2 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1975-76 Penticton defeated Vernon (No Stats) (Interior Division Semifinal)
1976-77 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 2 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1982-83 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1986-87 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1987-88 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1992-93 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 1 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1993-94 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1994-95 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Vernon blows 3-1 series lead)
2001-02 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 2 (Interior Conference Final)
2002-03 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Conference Quaterfinal)
2004-05 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Conference Semifinal)
2006-07 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 1 (Interior Conference Final)
2007-08 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Conference Semifinal)
2008-09 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 1 (Interior Conference Semifinal)
2009-2010 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 2 (Interior Conference Final)
2013-2014 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Final)
2014-15 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Final)
2015-16 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 1 (Interior Division Semifinal)

Viper Alumni Bayda Finds New Career Off The Ice:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Ryan Bayda retired last year from professional hockey last season has opened his own tattoo removal service-business (Eliminare) in his hometown of Saskatoon.

Bayda joined the AAA Rosetown Redwings this season. The Redwings are a mens Senior B hockey team in Rosetown, Saskatchewan.

Bayda last played professional hockey last year with the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) Straubing Tigers before retiring. The Tigers are a professional men's ice hockey team, based in Straubing, Germany, which plays in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. After just one season with the Tigers Bayda collected (13-goals-13-assists-26-points) in 44 games that season.

After playing three years at the University of North Dakota Bayda played the following eight seasons splitting between the American Hockey League & NHL with five different teams (Lowell, Manitoba, Albany, Wilkes-Barrie & Carolina). Since the 2010-11 season Bayda has played the past six seasons in Germany with three different teams (Nurnberg, Augsburger & Staubing).

Bayda played one season in Vernon (1998-99) playing in 45 games with the Vipers collecting (24-goals-58-assists-82-points). Bayda was drafted 80th overall in Round 3 of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the Carolina Huricanes. Bayda played parts of five seasons with the Huricanes before signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bayda never played a game with the Penguins played the 2009-10 season with the Penguins farm club the AHL Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.

Ryan Bayda's Player Profile:

This was in the Star Phoenix Newspaper:

Former NHLer finds new career off the ice

Alex MacPherson, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Published on: October 15, 2016

Even when he was playing for the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, Ryan Bayda knew his time at hockey’s highest level wouldn’t last forever. Like the majority of professional athletes, he knew retiring from the sport he loved would be challenging.

“For guys like myself, who are kind of minor leaguers, we never made the millions and millions of dollars, where we could just walk away from the game and get a golf membership,” said Bayda, who scored 16 goals in 179 NHL games.

“And it’s difficult for all of us to kind of figure out what your path is going to be after, because pretty much all we know is playing hockey,” added the 35-year-old, who grew up in Saskatoon.

After bouncing around the AHL, Bayda spent six years playing in the German Deutsche Eishockey Liga. It was difficult for everyone in his family, especially his children. Last December, he decided to hang up his skates and try something new.

“I was talking with one of the other guys on our team, and we were talking about tattoos and ways of getting tattoos removed,” Bayda said. “Because in hockey you’d always make fun of guys with bad tattoos.”

After doing some research, Bayda connected with a Miami-based company called Tattoo Vanish, which offers an all-natural alternative to conventional laser tattoo removal. Last month, he became the first entrepreneur in Saskatoon to offer its services.

“The way this works is you go over your tattoo with a tattoo machine … Then it’s an all-natural serum that you put on that will lift the ink out of your body. It’s a healthier option for your body; everything is all-natural.”

Bayda said interest in his 21st Street business, called Eliminare, has been strong. He believes that’s because the surging popularity of tattoos and tattoo culture led to an increase in the number of people with bad or ill-conceived body art.

Learning how to run a small business isn’t without its challenges, but Bayda said he’s enjoying the experience.

“I have a direction right now — I wake up and I have a plan of what I want to get accomplished.”

He’s also finding new ways to enjoy hockey.

“I enjoy watching it, and I’m enjoying being a fan right now. I don’t miss going to the rink every day and riding the bus. It’s been helpful to have a direction and have a focus.”


Address: 219A 21st Street East

Phone: 306-241-2221


Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 a.m.; Call for appointments

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Former Vernon Viper Morgan, At 36 Years Old, Is Still Playing Baseball:

Here is an article on former Vernon Vipers defenceman Nyjer Morgan.

Morgan played this past fall-winter with the Caracas Lions (English: Caracas Lions) is a Venezuelan baseball team that currently plays in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.

Morgan was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 33rd round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft. On September 1st 2007 Morgan made his major league debut for the Pirates against the Milwaukee Brewers as a late-season call-up. On June 30 2009 Morgan was traded to the Washington Nationals along with pitcher Sean Burnett in exchange for outfielder Lastings Milledge and pitcher Joel Hanrahan. On March 27 2011 Morgan was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for prospect Cutter Dykstra (son of baseball player Lenny Dykstra). After playing for three MLB teams, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Washington Morgan elected free agency played the 2013 season in Japan with the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Yokohama DeNa BayStars. Morgan would return to the Majors in 2014 where he played with the Cleveland Indians.  After just playing in 15 games spending most of his time with the Tribe on the DL Morgan was released on August 5th 2014 before heading to South Korea in 2014. Morgan played last summer with the Puebla Pericos (English: Puebla Parakeets) a team from Mexico.

Morgan attended the Vernon Vipers Training camp in 1996. Morgan played as an affiliated player "AP" as a 16 year old with the Vipers during the (1996-1997) season while playing with the KIJHL North Okanagan Kings.

Nyjer Morgan's Player Profile:

This was posted on the OPSN website:

Nyjer Morgan, at 36 years old, is still playing baseball… and well

Jonathan Powell  November 7, 2016 

Over the last few decades, there were few Major League Baseball players as polarizing as Nyjer Morgan.

Many fans around the league remember Morgan for his outrageous antics, his unrestrained attitude and his frequent suspensions and fines. Most Milwaukee Brewers fans, however, regardless of where they stand on his eccentric personality or alter ego “Tony Plush,” still hold an eternal gratitude for his two-year tenure with the team all thanks to one powerful moment in 2011 – when he delivered a walk-off single in the 10th inning of Game Five of the National League Division Series, giving the Brewers their first playoff series win since 1982.

Morgan only lasted one more season in Milwaukee, batting .239/.302/.308 with three home runs, 16 RBI and 12 stolen bases over 322 plate appearances. After the regular season, he refused his assignment to Triple-A and shortly after hit the free agent market.

Although no major league club picked up him the following year (2013), he did take a job in Japan playing for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars and performed well, hitting .294/.361/.434 with 11 home runs, 50 RBI and three stolen bases in 108 games.

He got another shot in Major League Baseball in 2014, signing a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians after Michael Bourn‘s injury left him starting the season on the disabled list. Morgan earned himself a spot on the 25-man roster and got off to a hot start, hitting .348/.484/.348 with four RBI and seven walks in his first eight games but was demoted to Triple-A after Bourn returned.

He fared worse in the minors, hitting .200/.234/.317 but still managed a home run, seven RBI and stolen base in 15 games. He was again recalled in early May and resumed hitting well, slashing .333/.333/.556 with a home run and two RBI. Unfortunately, Morgan sprained his right knee less than two weeks after rejoining the team, an injury that landed him on the 60-day disabled list and effectively ended his season. In early August, the team activated him and promptly released him back into free agency. It would be his last major league appearance.

For most players, especially those at 34 years old, the injury would have been career ending. For Morgan, it was merely another setback in a career that had seen almost as many ups as downs.

In December of 2014, he signed a one-year $700,000 contract with Korean Baseball’s Hanwha Eagles but was dismissed from the team twice during preseason camp and lasted only 10 games before being released.

With as much resilience as attitude, Morgan again returned to baseball in 2016, this time signing with the Mexican League’s Pericos de Puebla. He enjoyed a considerable resurgence, batting a near-career-high .306/.402/.474 while tying a career-best 11 home runs, setting a career-best in RBI with 58 and leading the team in stolen bases with 22.

Even now, at 36 years old, Morgan is still not done. In early October, he joined the Leones de Caracas of the Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional (Venezuelan Winter League) and has since been playing well. So far through 15 games, he’s hitting .300/.333/.450 with five doubles, two triples, eight RBI and a stolen base.

Barring injury, Morgan may well take his dedication to baseball as far as he possibly can. If his past is any indicator, his body may be the only thing keeping him from taking the field every day, as long as he has a team that is willing to let him do so.

Jonathan Powell is the Managing Editor of Outside Pitch MLB and the Milwaukee Brewers writer. Follow him on Twitter @jonathannashhh.

Vipers Play Waiting Game:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers play waiting game

Kevin Mitchell Mar 26th, 2017

After 225 games in the B.C. Hockey League, Connor Brown-Maloski was in no hurry to shed his Trail Smoke Eater jersey Thursday night at Kal Tire Place.

Instead, the classy captain from Kamloops savoured the final moments of his final junior game with teammates who became brothers in a solid 58-point season.

Even after a 6-2 loss to the Vernon Vipers in Game 5 of the best-of-seven Interior Division semifinal series before 1,825 fans, the Smokies’ dressing room was quiet but proud.

“We’re a family in there and it sucks, but if you look at where we were at the start of the year and what we accomplished, you can’t look at it as a loss,” said Brown-Maloski, who turns 21 in May. “We’re celebrating the year and the time we had together. It was definitely one of the better years of my junior career with the guys in that room, and I’m going to miss them.”

The Vipers are now playing the waiting game since the Merritt Centennials upended the host Penticton Vees 5-4 before 2,856 fans Thursday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Penticton led that series 3-2 going into the sixth tilt Friday night in Merritt.

If the Vees prevail, they will host Vernon in Game 1 of the Interior final series Friday, March 31. If the Cents win, the Vipers host the series opener on the same date.

Vernon captain Riley Brandt, a Trail product who scored one of two Viper empty-netters, hugged his cousin, Spencer McLean, and several close friends as the teams exchanged handshakes. Brandt put on civvies, ran out the back door to bid goodbye to his folks and then walked down the hallway to console several Smokies.

“It’s always tough to see,” said Brandt, who began his career with the Smokies. “I’ve been lifelong buddies with a lot of guys on that team and I have tremendous respect for that group. They battled their bags off every night. They have us nothing really; we had to earn every single goal. Every game was a battle.”

Austin Adamson, d-man Michael Ufberg, Jagger Williamson (shorthanded), blueliner Cooper Watson and Jimmy Lambert (empty netter) completed the Vernon offence in front of Darion Hanson.

Mitchell Barker and Russ Armour replied for the Smoke Eaters, who had former North Okanagan Knight Zach Dyment in net.

The Smokies rang up 10 more points than they did a year ago and trimmed 47 goals against while recording 42 more snipes.

Trail pressured Vernon hard except for a 7-1 loss in Game 3. Armour just missed on a Grade A scoring chance in the opening seconds Thursday and the Smokies briefly led 2-1 in the second period.

“They’re a good hockey club,” said Brown-Maloski, of the Vipers. “They bring it every night. The energy they bring is through the roof. We can’t question what we did. They did everything they had to do. Kudos to them.”

D-man Michael Ufberg was chosen first star with 1+1 and some intelligent plays all over the ice for Vernon. He loved the series.

“It was a lot of fun. I think after we had the two-and-a-half weeks off, we had to get into it early and that first game, the boys really came together right away, (Hanson) Darion made a couple key saves early and that kind of showcased what the series was going to be.”

Ufberg gave props to the entire Viper roster for a gritty showing. The Snakes blocked shots in all zones with Ufberg stretching his right skate to stop a shot from the slot. And the fans even booed the officials which rarely happens in Vernon.

“It’s a totally different atmosphere,” added Ufberg. “It’s a totally different type of game. There was so much more passion and urgency shown by everyone on the ice; we were doing it for one another.”

Adamson deftly re-directed a pass by d-man Cameron Trott to open the scoring 2:06 into the middle stanza. D-man Cooper Watson drew the secondary helper.

Mitchell Barker levelled the score 3:40 later on a rebound in front of Hanson. The Smokies moved deep into Vernon territory after Brett Stapley was thwarted by Dyment.

Armour put Trail ahead 85 seconds later from the right side. Luke Santerno and blueliner Jeremy Lucchini garnered assists 56 seconds into a powerplay.

Ufberg equalized 45 seconds later on a low slapper from the left sidewall, assists going to Jesse Lansdell and Trott.

With the game apparently up for grabs, Trott sent a long shot off the end boards while killing a penalty. Jagger Williamson hustled to recover the puck, wait a second and beat Dyment with a low blast 60 seconds into the kill.

Watson’s wrister from the point somehow eluded Dyment at 7;03 of the third period. Brandt, with 3:04 to play, and Jimmy Lambert, with 1:51 remaining, counted empty-netters.

Junior B call-up Brady Berger enjoyed some strong shifts for the Smokies, but absorbed two open-ice heavy body blows from Brandt and Hunter Zandee.

Trail head coach/GM Cam Keith and assistants Barry Zanier and Curt Toneff gave props to their players for a stellar season after the playoff exit.

“We told them we were proud of their efforts this year,” said Keith. “Our 20-year-old group were just tremendous through the season. We were a team not expected to make the playoffs. A lot of kids stepped up and had great years. It’s hard to say after losing but that was a very good Vernon team.

“We were a little short (four regulars on IR) and it kind of hurt us trying to have that energy consistently. It was a good year, considering those factors.”

The Vipers finished sixth overall in the 17-team BCHL with 69 points. The Smokies were eighth.

Barker, Brown-Maloski, Josh Laframboise, who played hurt on the fourth line in Game 5, Carter Cochrane and Zyment all age out with Trail.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Former Vernon Viper Ciocco vs Former Penticton Panther Prpich:

Former Vernon Vipers forward-captain Josh Ciocco #15 takes on former Penticton Panthers forward Mike Prpich #20 during a Vipers-Panthers game in 2001-02 at the Penticton Memorial Arena.

Ciocco is an assistant coach in his first season at Brown University, Ciocco spent the previous three seasons as Assistant Coach with the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves. Prior to joining the Seawolves Ciocco was an Assistant Coach with the Milton Academy varsity hockey team and prime contributor to the U.S. Hockey Report.

Ciocco played parts of two years in Vernon from (2001-2002). The Vipers traded Mark Nelson & Tyler Scofield January 10th 2001 to Prince George for Josh Ciocco, Rod Pelley & Dan Rossi. On November 22nd 2002 the Vipers traded Ciocco to Cowichan Valley for Bryan McGregor. In 39 games with the Vipers Ciocco collected (21-goals-24-assists-45-points).

Josh Ciocco's Player-Coaches Profile:

BCHL News & Trades:

I found these press releases off team websites, twitter accounts, blogs or online. All Vipers news-trades are posted on this blog as soon as released-announced.

BCHL News & Trades:

WHL Vows To Bring Team To Nanaimo If New Arena Gets Nod:

The Western Hockey League has committed to opening a franchise in Nanaimo — if residents vote in favour of building a new events centre. League commissioner Ron Robison issued a statement Tuesday stating a franchise would be operational in Nanaimo next season if Saturday’s referendum on borrowing $80 million to build the facility is successful. “The WHL remains fully committed to delivering a WHL franchise to Nanaimo, either through relocation or expansion, and will move forward to obtain the necessary final approvals should the residents of the City of Nanaimo vote in favour of a new events centre,” he said. Robison said the WHL and the City of Nanaimo have entered a memorandum of understanding: If a new centre that meets WHL standards is approved, a franchise will enter a 20-year lease and begin playing out of the existing Frank Crane Arena next season. Frank Crane Arena is home to the Clippers hockey team, which plays in the B.C. Hockey League. The team’s lease with the City of Nanaimo and the arena ends following this season, and team officials have said a WHL team would likely displace them. Robison would not elaborate on the new team’s ownership, but said it would be of the “highest calibre” and include local investment. Nanaimo Coun. Bill Bestwick, who supports building the new events centre, said he has not been informed by the league who is in the potential ownership group. “But this is a clear indication by the league that it will come here,” he said. “And the WHL does not set itself up for failure within a market. It would be very sound ownership.” The referendum proposes borrowing $80 million for an events centre on derelict city-owned waterfront property on the downtown south side. It would have seating for 5,700 for hockey and 7,100 for concerts. Don Bonner, a spokesman for the No Committee, called the WHL promise a “desperate attempt to get more Yes votes out.” He said opponents of the project aren’t against a new arena or a WHL team in Nanaimo. “But this particular project is not in anybody’s interest because of the costs and this being our last bit of waterfront.” Bestwick said the waterfront site is ideal for a showpiece facility and what it can bring to the city. “I am going to see Elton John this weekend in Victoria,” Bestwick said, adding that performers of that calibre would not be in the capital if not for Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre. Advance voting on the referendum takes place today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Island Conference Centre.

Salmon Arm-Cowichan Trade:

Salmon Arm Silverbacks general manager Troy Mick today announced the team has announced the Future Considerations part of the Jan 10, 2017 trade with the Cowichan Valley Capitals that saw 96 forward Mitch Skapski & 97 forward Haydn Hopkins to the Cowichan Valley Capitals for 98 forward Trevor Ayre (Surrey, BC), Ryan Hogg (Duncan, BC) & Future considerations. The Silverbacks would like to welcome 97 Forward Jared Domin & 97 Forward Michael Montambault to Salmon Arm. Domin from Novi, MI had 21 goals and 23 assists in 49 games this past season for the Caps. His BCHL totals are 37 goals 46 assists for 83 points in 102 BCHL career games. The 6 ft 195 lbs forward also had 137 PIMs to go with his impressive point totals. Montambault from Ann Arbor, MI had 8 goals 19 assists for a total 27 points in 48 games played in his 1st BCHL season as he played last year in the USHL for the Omaha Lancers & Des Moines Buccaneers. He was the leading scorer for the Capitals in the 2016-2017 BCHL playoffs with 1 goal 4 assists for 5 points in 4 playoff games. “We are very excited to add these proven veterans to our line up for next season” stated Head Coach Misko Antisin. They make us better immediately and will add an offensive fire power to our team next year.

Bowes Joins Vees For Playoff Run:

F Cassidy Bowes (18) will be joining the BCHL’s Penticton Vees for the remainder of their playoff run that begins Friday against the Merritt Centennials. Bowes played 30 games this season with Okanagan Hockey Academy collecting 49 points. Bowes is listed at 5'11 180lbs.

Preliminary Results Show 80 Per Cent 'no' Vote For Nanaimo Events Centre:

With all polling stations in the City of Nanaimo reporting, 80.3 per cent of voters have rejected borrowing $80 million for the Nanaimo events centre. Polls closed at 8 p.m. in Nanaimo and preliminary results were released at City Hall. All 14 polling stations across the city have reported, with 80.3 per cent of voters rejecting the request to borrow up to $80 million for the proposed project on the waterfront. Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said he was not surprised at the result. “I expected that based on the conversations I’ve had with members in the community. I didn’t expect it was going to be this high,” said Mayor Bill McKay. “They’ve made their position very clear on this particular project at this time.” McKay said council has five other projects and two strategic initiatives it is working on, including affordable housing and the new field purchased from Nanaimo school district. “This was just one of them. It happened to be at the forefront,” McKay said. At a NoVote2017 event this evening, people were cheering and sharing a bottle of champagne after hearing the preliminary results. Don Bonner, spokesman for NoVote2017, said they're very happy with the percentage. "It was a resounding 'no' to a number of things. It was a resounding 'no' to borrowing $80 million; it was a 'no' to putting an event centre on our waterfront; it was also a 'no' on how the city governance has been happening in our city," said Bonner, who thanked the citizens who voted, volunteers and donors to NoVote2017 and congratulated the 'yes' committee and the work it did. "They put on a pretty good show, and it's just that in this particular case the people in Nanaimo have spoken and they definitely don't want this thing to go," he said. Wanda Thompson, a NoVote2017 member, said she was surprised to see it was such a resounding vote in terms of supporting the no side and is ecstatic there won't be a "huge hockey barn" on the waterfront. "I really hope this city council and mayor are listening to what the citizens of Nanaimo said, because they have very clearly sent a message to council about their poor governance," she said. The 80-per cent vote against borrowing surprised Tali Campbell, spokesman for Yes for Nanaimo Event Centre. "Obviously it's not the way that our team had hoped, but at the end of the day we're thankful that it's a majority because what would have been worse, as like the last referendum, is we're split right down the middle," he said. "We now know Nanaimo is not in favour of the plan, the place, location, the spending amount, whatever it might be, so our job now is to hopefully go into this upcoming week and find a plan that's going to better Nanaimo that everyone wants to see." As for what's next for the site at 1 Port Dr., McKay said there will be more discussion. “I think we're going to see our visioning come forward. I think we're going to see a very diverse type of development down there,” said McKay. “I want to make sure there's lots of people places and there's lots of places for people to live down there.” McKay said there will need to be more public consultation, particularly with chief and council of Snuneymuxw First Nation. “I think we need to finish our conversation with Snuneymuxw First Nation because we do have to remember, this entire area down here at one point was their village sites,” said McKay. Results of the referendum are expected to be finalized at Monday's city council meeting, said Sheila Gurrie, chief elections officer for the City of Nanaimo. She said there were slightly more than 66,000 eligible voters on the voters list with about 37 per cent turnout for Saturday's referendum. “We're just slightly are ahead of 2014 municipal election numbers, so there are slightly more votes than there was then,” said Gurrie. She said there were significantly fewer eligible voters during the conference centre referendum and estimated that there may have been 50-per cent voter turnout then. “I think [turnout] was good. I was expecting a little bit more, based on the advance poll numbers, but I think I was saying earlier that weather played a factor. The rain might've kept some people away,” Gurrie said.

Vees Vying For Royal Bank Cup:

A not-so-funny thing happened to the Penticton Vees last year en route to their anticipated appearance at the national championships. After posting one of their best regular seasons ever in the British Columbia Hockey League, the Vees were expected to move on and advance to the Canadian tourney, which was held in Lloydminster. But the heavily favoured Penticton squad, which featured 2016 NHL first round picks Tyson Jost (Colorado Avalanche) and Dante Fabbro (Nashville Predators), had their campaign come to an end after losing in the second round of the BCHL playoffs against the West Kelowna Warriors. “We ran into a team that had a hot goaltender,” Vees coach/GM Fred Harbinson said of the Warriors, who went on to not only capture the BCHL crown but the national RBC Cup as well. “And we ran into some injuries. Some of our key guys were playing injured.” As for this season, the Vees have reloaded and once again have their sights set on a league crown. They posted an impressive 41-13-3-1 regular season mark, good for top spot in the league’s six-team Interior Division. After an opening-round bye, Penticton is now waiting for first-round action to conclude before commencing its postseason. Harbinson, who is also the Vees’ president, now has 10 consecutive winning seasons as the club’s head coach. Since there is no BCHL draft, clubs have to find players on their own to stock their rosters every year. “We try to go out and recruit the best players year after year and to win championships,” Harbinson said. Regardless of how they fare in their own league playoffs this year, however, the Vees will still have a chance to qualify for the nationals. Penticton will host the five-team Western Canada Cup, which begins Apr. 29 and continues until May 7. The two finalists from that event will move on to the Canadian championship. This year’s national tournament will be staged May 13 to 21. As hosts, the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Cobourg Cougars are the only ones that already know they will be participating in the four-team event. The Vees last won the BCHL title in 2015. “Winning our league championship is a huge accomplishment,” Harbinson said. “There’s nobody left from our team that won it two years ago. It’s something everybody is wanting to do.” He’s also hoping his charges do not have a relaxed approach in their league playoffs, realizing they will still get to compete at the Western Canada Cup. “I hope not,” he said. “We’re trying to do everything possible to make sure our guys understand (the importance of winning the league title).” While last year’s Penticton lineup included a number of highly touted players, Harbinson said his current squad is much like the one that captured the BCHL title two years ago. “I think we shape up quite similar to that,” he said. “We were a four-line come-at-you kind of team. We’re very similar to that to be honest.”

Wenatchee Looking At The Western Hockey League?

Just because Wenatchee isn’t an option for the WHL at the moment, doesn’t mean it won’t re-enter the picture at a later date. Bliss Littler, the BCHL’s franchise’s general manager and head coach, told Taking Note on Monday evening: “We’re not there as an organization yet. We should catch up soon.” The Wild plays out of the 4,300-seat Toyota Town Center. The Wild had the BCHL’s best record (45-9-4) during the regular season and eliminated the Prince George Spruce Kings from a first-round series on Sunday. The Wild is preparing to face the Chilliwack Chiefs in the second round. According to announced attendances, the Wild drew 73,837 fans to 29 home regular-season games this season, an average of 2,546 per game.

Questions Linger About The Future Of The Nanaimo Clippers In Wake Of Referendum:

The Frank Crane arena is seeing a much slower pace today than when the Nanaimo Clippers take to the ice. The Clippers playoff run ended with a 3-2 loss to the Victoria Grizzlies Friday. Despite that Goalie Austin Roden has goals for his team’s future to “just keep getting better every year as a team and bring a championship back to Nanaimo.” A noble goal but one not possible if the Nanaimo Clippers are sold and moved. The team has been up for sale for nearly 2 years publicly, longer say insiders. And their future has been in the air with a Western Hockey League (WHL) team potentially coming to the City. “Probably for the last 8 weeks there’s been some, ‘Where are we going to end up?” says City Councillor Bill Bestwick. “Where will we be next year? Are we going to be here or are we going to be somewhere else?” The Clippers organization, declined an on camera interview today. They say they’ve talked with several potential buyers but no deal has been finalized. They’ve always maintained they would like to see the team stay in Nanaimo with Nanaimo owners. City Councillor Bill Bestwick knows the BCHL well, as a former coach and Clippers owner. He advocated for the Events Centre and a WHL team. He says he hasn’t heard of any potential buyers for the Clippers. “Somebody might come by tomorrow and say they’d like to buy the Clippers but they’ve been for sale for 5 or 6 years now that I’m aware of,” says Bestwick. “I’m not aware of anybody who wants to purchase the Junior A Nanaimo Clipper franchise.” The Clippers lease with the city has expired but Bestwick expects staff will now sit down and negotiate a new one with the team. “I totally hope that now that the citizens of Nanaimo that came out strongly in opposition to the Events Centre and are firmly in favour of our local junior A team now get out and support them.” That’s provided Nanaimo hasn’t lost the Clippers while it was securing a potential team from the WHL.