BCHL News & Trades:
Lewis Files Lawsuit Against Kings For Wrongful Dismissal:
Kent Lewis is suing the Powell River Kings. Lewis, who was fired as head coach of the hockey team earlier this year, filed the lawsuit for breach of contract and the manner in which he was fired, according to his lawyer, Lawrence Robinson of Vancouver. Robinson said that Lewis hadn’t wanted to lose his job, and had wanted to keep coaching the Kings. At the time of Lewis’s firing, the team was into the playoff season with 11 games left. The firing was done on Jan 29, and at the time, Powell River Kings Hockey Club Society president Rob Villiani said that the move was done in the best interest of the club. Robinson indicated that a response is due from the club in the next 21 days, and that Lewis did not enjoy filing the lawsuit. “Mr. Lewis is not intent on getting a pound of flesh, he just wants what’s fair,” said Robinson. “He needs an opportunity to address what he sees as a real injustice.” His lawyer described the move as a loss of identity for the now-former coach, the exact reasons for which remain unclear. “The timing of the dismissal, there is obviously never a good time to lose your job, but this is worse than others,” said Robinson. “The other point that has to be made here is that this is not just the loss of a job for someone, this was really the removal of Mr. Lewis’s identity. Above all else, he identified himself as being the coach of the Powell River Kings. That was taken away from him.” Chad van Diemen, who sits on the board of directors for the hockey team, said that there was “a lot they disagree with” when it comes to Lewis’s claims, though he couldn’t discuss much due to the lawsuit. However, he did confirm they had been served with notice, while a court date has yet to be set. “Until it moves forward, we’re just keeping things very quiet and listening to our council,” said van Diemen. He couldn’t describe the exact reason behind the former coach’s removal, but did express regret at how things have progressed. “We hoped it wouldn’t go down this path, but obviously it has,” said van Diemen. “We’ll deal with it accordingly.” However, he did express resolve in the board’s decision. “We feel that we made the right decision, and we stand by our decision moving forward,” said van Diemen. “Hopefully, everyone can move forward from this.”
Former Silverbacks Goaltender Dumba Joins Regina Pats:
G Kyle Dumba made his Regina Pats’ debut, serving as Kubic’s backup. The 19-year-old netminder was listed earlier this year by the Pats, who are his fourth WHL team. He spent most of this season playing junior A in B.C. The Pats are hosting the 2018 Memorial Cup in May.
Smoke Eaters Fire Head Coach-GM:
The Trail Smoke Eaters fired their head coach and GM, Cam Keith, on Monday. The Nelson native was conspicuously absent at the City of Trail ceremony that honoured the team Monday afternoon, and it was revealed later in a press release that Keith had been relieved of his duties that morning. The 37-year-old’s dismissal comes three days after the Smokies historic playoff run that saw the team fall in five games to the Wenatchee Wild in the Interior Division final on Friday. “It was a difficult decision, and a decision we didn’t take lightly,” said Director of Hockey Operations Craig Clare. “But it was a decision we needed to make. We need to get better and that’s our intention here.” The decision to let Keith go is surprising to many as Trail improved each of the two seasons the former professional hockey player and coach was behind the bench. When asked if Keith was fired for disciplinary or performance reasons, Clare could not comment, but said he was involved in the decision-making process that precipitated the move. “We’ve done a lot of great things here with wins and losses, but it was a difficult decision, and one that needed to be made.” Keith spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL before coming to Trail, and prior to that played 11 seasons in the CHL, ECHL, AHL, and Europe. He also played 55 games for the Smoke Eaters in the late ’90s, before moving on to the NCAA University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Trail signed Keith to a three-year contract as head coach and GM in June of 2016. On Dec. 1, 2016 Minnesota businessman Rich Murphy bought the team and began a significant transformation of the team and its facility. In his first season, Keith led the team to a third-place finish in the Interior with a 26-26-5-1 record and a berth into the playoffs, where they beat Salmon Arm in the first round before falling to the Vernon Vipers in the semifinal series. This season the Smoke Eaters placed fourth in the Interior Division but with a much improved 32-21-4-1 record. Trail was contending for first place in the league after 25 games, but a series of injuries and absences to their top players sent the team on a 10-game losing skid in December that dropped Trail out of contention. The team got back on track in January, and went on to sweep the West Kelowna Warriors in the first round, and then defeated the top-seeded Penticton Vees in Game 7 to give the Smokies a shot at the Interior Division title. Clare also confirmed that current assistant coach Jessie Leung will stay on as assistant coach, and that the search for the head coach-GM position is underway. “We’re working hard here to get someone in place,” added Clare. “The right person, and I’m confident that we’ll do that … and get someone with a great track record, who fits our program, and will make us better.” A release by the team Monday evening read: “As of this morning, the Trail Smoke Eaters have relieved Cam Keith of his head coaching and GM duties. The Trail Smoke Eaters organization would like to thank Cam for his work with the team these past two seasons and wish him success in future endeavours.”
Smoke Eaters Previous Coaches:
1995-96: Danny Bradford
1995-96: Hank Deadmarsh
1996-98: Kelvin McKay
1997-99: Dennis McKinnon
1999-01: Gary Davidson
2000-02: Bruno Campese
2002-03: Aldo Iaquinta
2003-04: Mike Mondin (interim)
2003-05: Gary VanHereweghe
2004-07: Tim Kehler
2007-11: Jim Ingram
2011-13: Bill Birks
2013-16: Nick Deschenes
2016-18: Cam Keith
Plett Commits To Langley Rivermen For 2018-19 Season:
The Langley Rivermen are pleased to announce the signing of 2000 born Forward Justin Plett. Plett, the Abbotsford native has spent the last 3 seasons in the BC MML Program with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds, but is having his best season to date right now. Plett currently has 28 goals in 28 games while adding 15 assists for 43 points so far on the year. “I like to shoot the puck, I feel I have good instincts and finish around the net and I’m being rewarded for it this season. I like to play on both sides of the puck, be physical and engage physically when I can. I have gotten a few good looks in the 5 games I’ve played so far this year with the Rivermen I just haven’t been able to capitalize.” Said the Fraser Valley Captain, Plett. “Justin came in with an open mind, wanted to earn an opportunity and you can really see his smarts not only in games but in also in practices. You can’t teach goal scoring, you can work on it to refine it but at the end of the day goal scorers are special players and a goal per game in any league is impressive let alone it be in the BC Major Midget League.’ Added Assistant Coach Stefano Ruscitti.
Chiefs Unveil New Third Jersey For Royal Bank Cup:
The RBC Cup 2018 hosted by the City of Chilliwack is truly a multicultural event. Drawing from the extensive First Nations heritage in the Upper Fraser Valley, the RBC Cup Host Committee is pleased to announce that the Chilliwack Chiefs will play in an official RBC Cup Third Jersey during their final round robin game to be played Thursday, May 17th at 7pm at the Prospera Centre. Following the game, all of the game worn jerseys will be auctioned by the players to fans in attendance. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the RBC Cup Legacy Fund to be created for the community of Chilliwack. The Third Jersey was designed by local artist Jason Roberts. Mr. Roberts traditional name is “Sxwoxil” and he is from Tzeachten First Nation within the Stó:lō territory. Jason is a self-taught artist from childhood in the west coast salish art style and using such mediums as acrylic, pencil, pen pointillism and computer graphics. Mr. Roberts states, “The centre crest is a version of a carved mask of a chief designed with our Stó:lō territory style of west coast salish art. When our people wear masks for traditional ceremonies they become the spirit of whatever version mask they wear. An eagle, sawbill, bear or sasquatch for example”. Mr. Roberts’ goal was to portray leadership and strength. He went on to say “In this case I wanted the mask to be represented of a chief. A chief carries many responsibilities and traits. Some important ones would be respect, strength and leadership. So as players use this mask and represent their community they can remember to carry themselves with respect, strength and leadership to name a few”. Mr. Roberts also designed the shoulder crest for the Third Jersey. The maple leaf shoulder crest was a design he created for Canada 150. Mr. Roberts says of the design “My thought process behind the collaboration between the maple leaf and our aboriginal art was remembrance and reconciliation. To have Canada remember the First Nation people that originated from the land before Canada became Canada 150 years ago. If the design was to be appreciated with this type of remembrance then the path to reconciliation could continue to grow for our future generations”. Chief David Jimmie, Co-Chair of the RBC Cup Chilliwack Host Committee, Chief of Squiala First Nation, President of the Stó:lō Nation Chiefs Council and the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe is pleased to see the Host Chilliwack Chiefs wearing the special third Jersey. “The third jersey is a wonderful example of what is possible when organizations are open minded and work together. To some, this may seem insignificant but to me, it speaks volumes of the Chilliwack Chiefs organization and their willingness to build stronger relationships in the community. I have a deep appreciation for Jason Roberts spending the time to develop a beautiful design that is meaningful to both our culture, and the Chilliwack Chiefs organization. My hands go up to Coach Jason Tatarnic for providing this wonderful opportunity to showcase a local artist and honor the traditional name Ts’elxwéyeqw which is where the name Chilliwack comes from.” The Chilliwack Chiefs third jersey is sponsored by Hampton Inn by Hilton. Rick Gabrielsen, Area Vice President / Hotel Operations says Hilton Management Services and Hampton Inn by Hilton are excited to be the lead sponsor on the Chilliwack Chiefs Third Jersey program: “On behalf of our eighty-three hotels and team members within the Hilton Management Services group of Focus Service hotels, we are honoured to support the dreams of young Canadian athletes through our participation in the 2018 RBC Cup National Championship.”
Sniher Commits To Prince George For 2018-19 Season:
The Prince George Spruce Kings have added some firepower to the 2018/2019 team, committing to the Alberta Midget Hockey League’s 5th leading scorer Layne Sniher of the Calgary Buffaloes. Sniher, a 2000 born forward from Calgary, AB, has 13 goals and 24 assists for 37 points in 28 games for the Buffaloes this season. They currently sit in 3rd in the AMHL’s Chrysler division. Layne was recently in Prince George skating with the team, and the coaching staff was impressed with what they saw. “We are excited to add an elite player in Layne for next season. Layne has shown on the ice his willingness to get to hard areas to be a very effective offensive contributor,” said Head Coach Adam Maglio, “Off the ice Layne exemplifies characteristics in what we value to be a Spruce King player in which he will fit well into our culture and dressing room. We look forward to working with Layne next season to achieve both his individual and team goals”
Gulka Leaves Rivermen For Western Hockey League:
The Spokane Chiefs announced on March 13 that forward Sean Gulka has signed a WHL Player Agreement and will join the Chiefs as an affiliated player for the remainder of the season. “We’re excited to officially welcome Sean to our organization,” said Chiefs’ General Manager Scott Carter. “He skates well for a big man, brings energy and will be a valuable addition to our team.” Gulka, 18, is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound forward from Langley, B.C. He played 50 regular season games with the Langley Rivermen of the BCHL this year, scoring 12 goals and adding 13 assists for 25 points. He added two goals in six playoff games as the Rivermen lost in the first round to the Surrey Eagles. The Chiefs acquired Gulka’s rights in a trade with Victoria in November 2017. He was originally a ninth round selection by the Royals in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. Gulka is expected to join the Chiefs this week and will wear jersey number 25.
Cowichan Capitals Name Vandekamp New Head Coach/GM:
The Cowichan Capitals are pleased to announce the hiring of Mike Vandekamp as the team’s new General Manager and Head Coach. Mike brings a wealth of experience to the Capitals, with 23 season of Junior Hockey in the BCHL, WHL and AJHL, having coached over 1475 games. Mike has taken his teams to the finals 8 times, and most recently spent 7 seasons as the head Coach of the Nanaimo Clippers. Mike has been married to his wife Lana for 17 years and they have two children, Carter who will soon be 15 and Katie who is turning 13. Lana volunteered many hours helping with Parents Weekend and social functions; she is looking forward to being part of the Capitals Family. Mikes goal is to improve the Capitals both on and off the ice, says owner Ray Zhang. Vandekamp says “I’ve always loved this rink” and “We are going to do everything we can to make it the toughest rink to play in as a visiting team and a place where the fans can come and be proud of their local team’s effort every night”. Mike will begin working immediately as the team’s General Manager of Hockey Operations and Head Coach. Former General Manager and Head Coach, Brian Passmore will remain with the Capitals in the position of Hockey Development. This position will have Brian involved with the Capitals U16 Program and other youth hockey initiatives. The Capitals would like to thank Brian for his hard work and dedication to the club.
Clippers Name Stuart Director Of Scouting:
Nanaimo Clippers’ Head Coach and GM Darren Naylor has announced the appointment of John Stuart as the Director of Scouting.
- 17 yrs off ice experience in various positions from minor hockey, CSSHL, Jr. B , Jr. A, and WHL.
- Head Coach Team Canada Men’s Softball 2014 – Current
- Assistant Coach Team Canada Men’s Softball 2010 – 2014
- 2015 World Champions
- 2015 Pan Am Games Champions
- 2012 Pan American Champions
- 2015 Petro Canada Coach of Year
- 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation Coach Of Year
- 2015 Manager Delta Wild Bantam Prep Team – Chilliwack, Calgary, KIBHT and St. Albert Tournament Champions
- Member of Professional Coaching Association of Canada
- Leadership Keynote Speaker Various Sport Associations