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:
Pearson Commits To Express:
Forward Danny Pearson (2000) has committed to play for the Coquitlam Express for the 2018-19 season. Spent the past two seasons with the Great Vancouver Canadians served as team captain last season lead the Canadians in scoring.
Castagna Commits To Bulldogs:
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are pleased to announce that 2001-born forward Stephen Castagna has committed to join the team for the 2018/19 British Columbia Hockey League season. Castagna is from North Vancouver and spent the 2017/18 season with with the Burnaby Winter Club Academy’s Midget Prep team in the CSSHL. He helped BWC to a league-best 34-1-1 record while recording 11 goals and 28 assists in 32 regular season games. He also suited up in five regular season games and four playoff contests with the Bulldogs as an affiliate player, scoring twice and totaling five points and eight minutes in penalties. “Stephen stepped into our line-up towards the end of last season and proved that he was more than capable of playing at the Junior A level,” says Bulldogs head coach Matt Hughes. “His speed and work ethic make him effective in all three zones and he’s a tenacious player who will just continue to get better. He’s had excellent coaching at the Burnaby Winter Club and we’re excited to see his progress as a member of our team next season.” Prior to making his BCHL debut last season, Castagna spent the 2016/17 campaign with BWC’s Elite-15s program, winning a CSSHL championship while contributing 21 points in 27 games. “I’m really looking forward to playing for the Bulldogs next season,” says Castagna, who describes himself as a hardworking, two-way forward who can contribute at both ends of the ice and isn’t afraid to play on the edge. “It was a fantastic experience being in Port Alberni for playoffs in March; the organization treated me amazing on and off the ice, from my billet and school to how Coach Matt and Jeff trusted me on the ice. The way the guys welcomed me to junior hockey was something I’ll remember forever. I love the team’s style of play and I think it suits me well.” Castagna will be on the ice when the Bulldogs when training camp opens in August.
BCHL Names Hebb New Commissioner:
The BCHL is pleased to announce Chris Hebb as the league’s new commissioner, effective immediately. Hebb is a former senior executive with two of the biggest sports and entertainment companies in Canada – Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment (OBSE) in Vancouver and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) in Toronto. From 2006 to 2013, Hebb was Senior Vice President of Content and Communications for MLSE. Hebb oversaw all broadcast and digital properties for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC of Major League Soccer and the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies. He was also responsible for running their three TV networks (NBATV Canada, GOLTV Canada and Leafs TV). Before joining MLSE, Hebb spent 11 years with OBSE, owners of the Vancouver Canucks, the Vancouver Grizzlies and General Motors Place. Hebb served as Vice President of Broadcast and led the organization into the digital age by launching the Canucks website and streaming the first NHL games to ever be viewed online. More recently, he has been President of Starting Five Media Consulting Ltd., a company advising sports organizations on business strategy and development. Clients there included Canada Soccer, Oilers Entertainment Group, USports, Vancouver Whitecaps, Hockey Canada, Curling Canada and BC Lotteries Corporation. “The BCHL has a tremendous reputation in hockey development,” said Hebb, a native of Prince Rupert, B.C. “I’m pleased to continue the good work that’s been done, to give young men a platform to grow as hockey players and a path to a great career. But, I also look forward to helping our 17 teams raise their profile, increase league revenues and solidify our position as the best Junior A hockey league in North America.” “Having known Chris for nearly 25 years, I am happy to see him take on this position and look forward to seeing the league grow under his stewardship,” said Rod Brind’Amour, head coach of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and a BCHL parent. The office of commissioner had been held by John Grisdale from 2003 to 2018, the longest tenure in league history. Grisdale’s time with the league saw unprecedented growth in numbers of players committed to college, including a league-record 152 players this year alone. Grisdale saw 67 players drafted into the NHL after having played in the BCHL, including the likes of Kyle Turris, Justin Schultz and Tyson Jost. Grisdale also led the way developing the league’s media and online presence and fostered an upward trend in franchise values. The BCHL’s board of governors had a chance to meet Hebb last week at the league’s annual general meeting in Richmond. “We are confident with Chris’s background and experience that he is the right person to take our league into a new era,” said Graham Fraser, the chairman of the BCHL board of governors. “During the search process, Chris separated himself from the group of applicants not only with his resume but also with his ideas for taking the BCHL to even greater heights. We are extremely happy to have him on board.” Hebb’s athletic background includes a national title as a member of the University of Victoria Vikings basketball team that was also inducted into the Basketball BC Hall of Fame. He graduated UVic with a Bachelor of Arts degree in linguistics. He began his professional career as a sports anchor and television producer with CKVU (now City TV) and BCTV (now Global BC).
10,000-Seat Indoor Stadium For Hockey And Concerts Envisioned For Surrey:
There is a new movement to build a large indoor stadium in Surrey that could host major sports events and concerts and compete with other similar venues in the region. Inde Sumal, the President & CEO of Lighthouse Capital, a Vancouver-based private equity firm, is leading a group that wants to build a new arena with about 10,000 seats in the municipality. It would be home to a hockey team and host concerts, festivals, and other community events, and its facilities would include restaurants and other entertainment amenities that such arenas are known for. He says Surrey’s population is not much smaller than Vancouver’s, yet it does not have a suitable indoor stadium. The latest statistics peg Vancouver’s population at over 630,000 while Surrey’s population is just under 520,000, albeit spread over a much larger geographical area. “I think the City of Surrey is definitely mature enough to keep an arena of that size busy,” Sumal told Daily Hive. “Right now if you’re looking at bringing in a concert or event of sorts, you’d need to travel to Langley or Vancouver, even though there is lots of transit available in the City of Surrey to move people from Vancouver into Surrey to watch a show or game.” Sumal notes his group is in preliminary discussions with the City of Surrey on a number of possible locations. Although he was not able to disclose the sites being evaluated, he noted that proximity to rapid transit is key and considerations are also being given to the amount of parking required for such a venue. “The feedback from the City of Surrey has been very good,” he continued. “In our preliminary discussions, they are a very good partner and very open to the idea in an accommodating way.” “We have not singled out where the arena will fit, where it will go, where it will be constructed, but these discussions just started a few months ago. The discussions have been very healthy and the City of Surrey has been very accommodating to the concept.” As for detailed cost estimates and funding, Sumal emphasized it is still “very difficult” to determine at this early stage of the process, but he believes it will range between $150 million and $250 million. However, the final cost entirely depends on the finalized location, size, scope, amenities, and other adjacent buildings and facilities – such as retail and a hotel – that could add value to the venue. But an indoor stadium of this size would likely be many years away. In the City of Surrey’s recently approved 2027 Parks, Recreation, and Culture Strategic Plan, which outlines $357 million in investments in parks, community, and recreational facilities, and new arts and culture destinations, there is no mention of a new indoor stadium. Surrey’s largest indoor arena is currently the 1,200-seat capacity South Surrey Arena at South Surrey Athletic Park, where a new rugby field and covered soccer field are planned. The municipal government is simultaneously exploring suitable sites for a new outdoor stadium – likely with a capacity of under 5,000 seats – that could host soccer matches for the new Canadian Premier League. As Sumal suggested, a new venue offering Surrey with this scale of events hosting capability could compete with venues located in other areas of the Lower Mainland. Smaller events that may be too large for Rogers Arena or even BC Place Stadium and the Vancouver Convention Centre could be located in the new Surrey arena. And Davis Cup tennis matches and concerts held at UBC’s Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and Cirque du Soleil’s arena-sized productions and Disney On Ice shows staged at the PNE’s Pacific Coliseum could be enticed to go to Surrey instead. Perhaps it could even become the new home of the WHL Vancouver Giants, which relocated from Pacific Coliseum to Langley Events Centre in 2016. It would also be large enough to host an AHL hockey team, as the 7,000-seat Abbotsford Centre did for five years. The Vancouver Canucks’ agreement with their AHL affiliate in Utica expires after next season. If Sumal’s capacity vision holds, the proposed Surrey venue would be the largest facility of its kind in the Lower Mainland after Rogers Arena and Pacific Coliseum. Here are the hockey mode capacities of existing large indoor arenas in BC:
1. Rogers Arena, Vancouver: 18,865 seats
2. Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver: 16,281 seats
3. Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, UBC: 7,500 seats
4. Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, Victoria: 7,006 seats
5. Abbotsford Centre, Abbotsford: 7,000 seats
6. Propsera Centre, Kelowna: 5,507 seats
7. Sandman Centre, Kamloops: 5,464 seats
8. Langley Events Centre, Langley: 5,276 seats
“My group feels that the City of Surrey is definitely a place we want to be. It is growing and has a very progressive municipal government, and we’re excited to do something there,” he added. “I’m born and raised there so I’m definitely biased to the City of Surrey.”
Walton Commits To Coquitlam Express:
Defenceman Pito Walton (2000) has committed to the Coquitlam Express for the upcoming season. The 18 yr old from New Jersey has committed to Princeton University for the 2019-20 season.
League Announces New Rule Changes:
Motions raised at the BCHL annual general meeting are now finalized and the league is unveiling some rules changes that will be in place for the 2018-19 season. There will be a new format for overtime in the coming season. If teams are tied at the conclusion of regulation, they will proceed directly into five minutes of three-on-three hockey. If a winner is still not determined, a three-player shootout will follow with more shooters as necessary to determine a winner. This overtime procedure follows exactly that of the NHL. The BCHL will incorporate hybrid icing for next season. Up to this point, the BCHL has used automatic icing for pucks shot in from beyond the centre line. The new system mimics the rule currently in place NHL, introducing a race for the puck to determine if icing will be whistled or not. The dates of the 2018 Bauer BCHL Showcase will be September 20, 21 and 22 which is a Thursday-Friday-Saturday on the calendar. Once again, Prospera Centre in Chilliwack will be the host location. Unlike last season however, both sheets of ice at the arena will be in use to allow the event to run over three days instead of five. All of these changes will take effect for the start of the 2018-19 season which commences on the second weekend of September this year.
Campoli Leaves Vees For QMJHL:
On a busy Draft Day, the Sea Dogs made a move to acquire overage defenseman Michael Campoli from the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. In exchange, the Sea Dogs sent the Armada a 2019 4th Round Selection and 2019 6th Round Selection. Campoli played last season for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL where he recorded 11 points in 19 games. In 2016-2017, the 6”3 defenseman played 12 games for Boston College of the NCAA. A native of Montreal with dual citizenship, Campoli spent two seasons in the US National Team Development Program winning a silver medal at the Under-17 Hockey Championships in 2014-15. He has also attended Buffalo Sabres prospects camp. “It has been a busy week for us and an important one for the future of our franchise” said Sea Dogs President and General Manager, Trevor Georgie. “We selected 3 of the top 4 defensemen on our list and want to ensure that they are insulated with leadership and experience. Michael has been to an NHL Camp, he has won on a national stage, he has lived the NCAA experience, and him bringing those life experiences to our room will be invaluable for our young team.” Campoli is represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and had previously worked with Head Coach Josh Dixon when Dixon was their Director of Player Development. “To be able to add a player of Michael’s pedigree, experience, and character to our lineup is tremendous” said Head Coach, Josh Dixon. “The experience of playing for the US national development program and at Boston College will be invaluable as Michael aids in the support and mentorship of our young D-core. We will look for Michael to have a big impact on our team both on and off the ice.” “I am honored to join such a prestigious organization with the Saint John Sea Dogs” said Michael Campoli. “I am also excited for the beginning of a new chapter in my hockey career. I think Saint John will be a great fit for me, both as a player and a person, and I am looking forward to joining the team for the season. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish this year.” It’s been a busy week for players choosing to play north of the border in Saint John. Earlier this week the Sea Dogs announced defenseman Charlie Desroches (previously a Northeastern University Commit) and Joshua Lawrence (previously a Boston University Commit) had both committed to the QMJHL for the 2018-2019 season.
Cooper Commits To Coquitlam:
Defenceman Drew Cooper (2000) has committed to the Coquitlam Express for this coming season. The 18 yr old Michigan native looks to make the jump from midget to Junior A.
Silverbacks Part Ways With Mick:
The Salmon Arm Silverbacks Hockey Club board of directors and President Troy Mick have agreed mutually to part ways effective immediately. “I have truly enjoyed my 5 years in Salmon Arm and I have met so many great people” Stated Troy Mick. I would like to thank the board of directors, Staff, Players, Parents, Volunteers, Fans and all of the corporate sponsors for allowing me to be a part of this amazing community. It has been an honor to wear the Silverbacks logo with pride and I wish nothing but success to the franchise in the future. I will be a Silverbacks Alumni forever and will miss the Shaw Centre! On behalf of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks & Ownership Group we would like to thank Troy for his dedication & passion to the organization. His involvement in the community has been a great asset to the team’s success over the past 5 years. We wish him all the best in future endeavors.
Prince George-Listowel Trade:
The Prince George Spruce Kings are pleased to announce the acquisition of defenseman Max Coyle (98) from the GOJHL’s Listowel Cyclones in Ontario. Coyle, from Tillsonburg, Ontario, is listed at 6’1”, 190 lbs and had 6 goals and 44 assists for 50 points in 49 games playing for the Cyclones in 2017/2018. He then added a goal and 18 assists in 25 games as Listowel captured the Sutherland Cup as GOJHL Champions. “We are excited to add Max to the Spruce Kings for the upcoming 2018/2019 season. Max brings strong leadership qualities that will translate well into our group. He will be a great addition to a strong defensive group who can play 200ft and be a contributor in all situations. We would like to welcome Max to the Spruce Kings family.” Said Spruce Kings Head Coach Adam Maglio. Coyle has played 3 seasons for the Cyclones, scoring 14 goals and adding 64 assists in 143 Junior Games.
Connell Commits To Express:
Forward Cooper Connell (2001) has committed to the Coquitlam Express for this season. Played last season with the North West Giants.
The Surrey Eagles have acquired goaltender Seth Eisele from the Wenatchee Wild. The Eagles are giving up future considerations on the other side. Eisele, 19, is a native of Lake Elmo, Minnesota and is coming off a Fred Page and Doyle Cup championship season in which he split duties with Austin Park throughout the regular season. At 6-foot-5, Eisele brings size and experience to the Eagles crease for the upcoming 2018-19 season. “We are excited to add Seth to our roster,” said head coach Brandon West. “He is fresh off a BCHL Championship and Royal Bank Cup appearance. Knowing he’s been through these experiences thrills us.”