Monday, June 25, 2018

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:

Jones Commits To Alberni Valley Bulldogs:

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are pleased to announce that 2001-born forward Ethan Jones has committed to join the team for the 2018/19 British Columbia Hockey League season. Jones is from Nanaimo and spent the 2017/18 season with the North Island Silvertips in the BC Major Midget Hockey League. He led the team in scoring with 28 goals and 56 points, good for fifth and ninth place respectively amongst all BCMML skaters. “Ethan is a very good skater and fierce competitor who is coming off a tremendous season with the Silvertips,” says Bulldogs head coach Matt Hughes. “On top of his high skill level, he also possesses the great character and strong work habits that we value in players who wear the Bulldogs sweater. We’re confident that Ethan will develop into an excellent Junior A player and we’re very pleased that he chose to take the next steps in his development in the Alberni Valley.” Jones has already played games in the BCHL as an affiliate player with the Powell River Kings last season, scoring once in six appearances. “I’m extremely excited to join the Bulldogs next season and for the opportunity to be part of this first class organization,” says Jones, who describes himself as a hardworking, quick, shifty player who likes to control the puck and set up plays for his teammates. “Port Alberni is a great town to play in as the community and fans are so supportive of the team. After meeting with the coaching staff I am definitely looking forward to being part of the Bulldogs. Affiliating in the BCHL last season has helped to prepare me for the quick decision-making and speed necessary to play in the league. Learning how fast the game is at the next level and getting a chance to play at that pace was extremely valuable and I’m looking forward to playing full time in the league this year.” Jones will join the Bulldogs when training camp opens in August.

Grizzlies Name Newhook Captain:

NHL eyes will be cast upon the Victoria Grizzlies next season. And they can thank their new captain. Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon got official word on Tuesday that reigning B.C. Hockey League rookie of the year Alex Newhook will definitely be returning to the club next season, and he’ll also be sporting the letter ‘C’ on his jersey. “Alex informed me he will definitely be back for another year and we’re naming him our captain,” Didmon said of his star 17-year-old, who had 66 points in 45 regular-season games and another nine in 12 playoff games this past season. He finished eighth in league scoring despite missing the last month of the season with a wrist injury. “Alex has all the attributes you look for in a captain: he works extremely hard off the ice and never takes a shift off on it, and is always striving to improve. We think he will help take this team to the next level.” Newhook, who hails from St. John’s, N.L., is expected to play at another level next season, at least NHL teams hope so. The flashy centre is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft, which just happens to be at Rogers Arena in Vancouver next June. That means NHL scouts will be at Grizzlies games in 2018-19, notebook in hand. “Alex could have played anywhere and he chose Victoria so that reflects on our organization, the players and the fans,” Didmon said. “And the sky is the limit for Alex now. We want him to be the best 200-foot player in the game and improve every night out and he’s got the capability to do that.” Newhook’s major-junior rights belong to the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and they had a massive carrot to dangle in front of him as Halifax will host the 2019 Memorial Cup tournament next spring. “The Memorial Cup would have been special so it was a very tough decision [to come back to Victoria],” said Newhook, who lives with his aunt when he’s in Victoria and attends Belmont Secondary in Langford. “But I love Victoria and the team and I really want to play [NCAA] college hockey so I made the decision that is right for me.” Newhook is committed to Boston College for the fall of 2019. “I’m looking forward to coming back to Victoria and having a great season and building off that.” His season will get started early as Newhook is expected to get an invitation to try out for Canada’s U-18 team that will compete in the annual Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August in Edmonton. “That’s my goal,” Newhook said. “The camp will likely be in July and it would be an honour to make that team and compete for Canada.” Newhook will likely also play in the 2018 World Junior A Challenge in December in Bonnyville, Alta. Last season, Grizzlies goaltender Zack Rose won gold with Canada West at the 2017 tournament in Fort St. John. Newhook is leaning toward staying in Victoria until the end of June, graduating from Belmont and then attending the draft in Vancouver. “That, and I hope to be playing hockey into May,” he added. “I think we’re going to have a great team.” Didmon said he’ll decided on his three assistant captains closer to training camp, which begins Aug. 20. He’ll choose between 20-year-olds Cam Thompson and Ryan Nolan and third-year players Marty Westhaver, Carter Berger and Nico Somerville. “We have a great core of leadership coming back so we’re all excited to get things started,” said Didmon.

Lazarowich Named CJHL’s Director Of Officiating:

The Canadian Junior Hockey League announced Monday that former long-time National Hockey League official Brad Lazarowich has been named to the newly created position of CJHL Director of Officiating. Lazarowich brings a wealth of experience to the role that featured a three-decade run working as a linesman in the NHL. With close to 2,000 games worked in regular season action, over 200 playoff contests, including three Stanley Cup Finals, World Cup of Hockey and NHL All-Star Games to his credit, Lazarowich offers a multitude of experiences to call upon in joining the CJHL. He also recently served in a similar director of officiating capacity with the BCHL, one of the 10 member leagues that comprise the CJHL. Among his duties as CJHL director of officiating will be to represent the league with Hockey Canada on playing rule advisement and differentiation; assisting with the selection of officials for CJHL events such as the National Jr. A Championship, its four regional championships (Fred Page Cup; Dudley-Hewitt Cup, ANAVET Cup & Doyle Cup) along with the World Junior A Challenge. Lazarowich will also be responsible for compiling a national depth chart on qualified officials working CJHL Leagues across Canada and pockets of the U.S. "We are extremely fortunate to be able to bring an individual of Brad’s experience to the position,” stated CJHL president Brent Ladds. “He shares our vision on developing young officials and ensuring our officials throughout the CJHL are versed on our player safety concerns and game management philosophies," added Ladds. For his part, Lazarowich looks forward to his newly minted role within the CJHL. "I would like thank the CJHL Executive and its commissioners for the opportunity to come on board and to assist in aiding and enhancing its officiating program across the country,” offered Lazarowich.   “The CJHL is an important step, not only for the players, coaches and staff members, but for the officials to develop and to excel to other levels of hockey. With the combined efforts within the CJHL and Hockey Canada, the officiating program will continue to grow and develop skilled and professional officials.”      

2018-19 Outlook With Penticton Vees New Recruit Henri Schreifels:

Penticton and Agoura Hills, California are over 2,000 kilometres apart. But if you ask someone who has been to both places, like Henri Schreifels has, they certainly have their fair share of similarities. “It was really surprising because it was very much just like California,” Schreifels said. “I guess Penticton has lakes and we have the ocean, but the weather was pretty much the same as it is down here.” Schreifels was able to visit Penticton with his Anaheim Jr. Ducks teammates during training camp last season to get a taste of what the BCHL is about. He was even able to get into game action, suiting up for a pre-season game in West Kelowna August 23.  While he was held off the scoresheet that night, the 6’, 194-pound forward was held off the scoresheet just seven times during the 2017-18 season with the Ducks U18 team, finishing first in the Tier 1 Midget Hockey League with 56 points in 36 games. It was a major coming out party for Schreifels as he more than doubled his point total from the previous year while playing in the U16 league. “I just felt really confident in my ability to produce,” he said. “I felt I was able to control and help lead the team, which helped give me confidence to put up points. I was expecting to put up a lot of points so by having good teammates to play with and being on a fun team, I think it was the most enjoyable year I’ve had of hockey.” After leading his league in scoring, people may think Schreifels is a purely skilled player. But according to his own scouting report that’s not completely accurate. “I would describe myself as a strong powerful forward that can play 200 feet,” he said. “I can create opportunities for my line mates and I’m pretty physical. I’ll finish my hits but I’m smart about when not to as well.” Hockey in California has grown exponentially in the past few decades, beginning with Wayne Gretzky’s arrival in Los Angeles. While that was years before Schreifels was born, the surge has continued with the success of the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings over the past 15 years. “California has been picking up a lot in hockey. I think the Kings winning the Stanley Cup played a big role in that,” Schreifels said. “I think that got a lot of people into hockey and excited about it. Now high schools are starting to have hockey teams. From when I started there’s been a steady increase in the amount of college commits and NHL draft picks. I think people are realizing California is a viable option and they can make it places by playing here.” While the level of competition may not be at the level of the Minnesota’s or Michigan’s, the progression over the last 25 years is an indication there is a bright future for hockey in California. Henri’s dad, Barry, has a long history as a swimming coach at both the club and college levels, so it should be no surprise athletics were a big part of Henri’s upbringing. He says he played nearly every sport except football and lacrosse while growing up, but gravitated toward hockey as it became clear his talent in it outweighed the other sports. With a season like the one he had, there were teams lined up trying to get Schreifels to commit to their program. But his visit to Penticton months before made it a clear choice for Schreifels. “I’ve always wanted to go play hockey in Canada,” Schreifels admitted. “I just feel the whole culture around the game is better. When I came up there I noticed the whole town was super excited about what was going on. They kind of live and die by the Vees so I just felt like that was a better environment for me than some other places where you aren’t the main attraction in the town.” When speaking to Schreifels, someone may detect a slight French accent. While his father was born and raised in Red Deer, Alberta, his mom was born in Switzerland and spent her entire life there before moving to the United States. Schreifels has travelled to visit family in Switzerland many times, and also travelled around the United States during the season. “In California we travel up to San Jose a couple times, and then we travelled six of seven times to different states,” Schreifels explained. “We travelled to Phoenix a couple times, the Mid West, out East. Nationals were held in Philadelphia this year. It’s a lot of travel, but it’s fun because we’re travelling as a team.” Travelling as a team is something Schreifels will get used to during the 2018-19 season; the Vees put roughly 13,000 kilometres on the team bus over the course of last season. Bus travel is just one of the many adjustments Schreifels will have to make coming to the BCHL, but the soon-to-be 18 year old is ready for the challenges. “I’m really looking forward to the schedule, having a ton of games,” Schreifels said. “Last year there wasn’t enough hockey. I want to play a lot of games and keep practising. That’s something Penticton and the BCHL does really well.” Another thing the Vees do well is send players on to the NCAA, which is one of Schreifels’ main goals coming to the South Okanagan as an uncommitted player.

Silverbacks Make Changes:

Some major changes taking place with the BCHL Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The most notable change took place a couple of weeks ago when the team parted ways with long time executive Troy Mick who spent several years in the Junior A league winning a pair of national championships with the Vernon Vipers and then taking over the reigns in Salmon Arm. Former assistant coach Brooks Christensen will now take over as Director of Operations for Salmon Arm Sports Inc. and will sit as one of BCHL governors. The team will be also adding a new play-by-play voice and marketing position along with some changes to come on the bench as well.

Cameron Commits To Coquitlam Express:

Defenceman Jack Cameron (1999) has committed to the Coquitlam Express for the 2018-19 season. The Halifax native returns back to Canada after playing hockey the past three seasons in Massachusetts.

Newest Chief Follows In Fathers Footsteps:

The first player commitment for the 2018-19 Chilliwack Chiefs has been revealed, with Clark Nelson signing on the dotted line. The 2000-born forward spent last season with the Revelstoke Grizzlies in the Kootenay International Junior B Hockey League. Clark posted 13 goals, 22 points and 145 penalty minutes in 34 regular season games for the Grizzlies, adding another four goals, six points and 49 PIMs in a 20 game playoff run that ended with a championship series loss to the Kimberley Dynamiters. Nelson is also notable for his bloodlines. Father Chad Nelson played 45 games for the Chiefs in 1994-95 and like his son, Chad spent lots of time in the sin bin. That season he logged 209 PIMs, a trend that carried on through a well-traveled eight year minor-pro career that included stints with the Charlotte Checkers (ECHL), Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), Louisiana IceGators (ECHL), San Diego Gulls (WCHL), Jacksonville Lizard Kings (ECHL), Pensacola Ice Pilots (ECHL), Arkansas RiverBlades (ECHL), Huntsville Tornado (CHL), Greenville Grrrowl (ECHL), Wichita Thunder (CHL) and Corups Christi Icerays (CHL). He had a two game stop with the Bracknell Bees, a team in Britain’s National Ice Hockey League, and in 1997 he played four games with Roller Hockey International’s Anaheim Bullfrogs.

Dipaolo Commits To Coquitlam:

Forward Alex Dipaolo (2000) has committed to the Coquitlam Express for this coming season. Played the last few seasons in the US.

Hurst Commits To Alberni Valley:

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are pleased to announce that 2001-born defenceman Hayden Hurst has committed to join the team for the 2018/19 British Columbia Hockey League season. Hurst is from Richmond, BC and spent the 2017/18 season with the Greater Vancouver Canadians in the BC Major Midget Hockey League, finishing fourth in team scoring with four goals and 31 points. His 27 assists were second highest by a defenceman in the 11-team BCMML, while his 31 points ranked fifth. "Hayden is an excellent skater and puck-mover who has all the tools to be a very good defenceman in the BCHL,” says Bulldogs head coach Matt Hughes. “His skating really jumped out at us in our viewings this season and he contributes in all three zones with the way he distributes the puck. We look forward to his continued development as a member of the Bulldogs.” Prior to his season with the Canadians, Hurst suited up for the Burnaby Winter Club Elite-15s squad that won the Canadian Sport School League Championship in 2017. “I’m very excited to be a part of the Bulldogs this season,” says Hurst, who describes himself as a mobile defencemen who can contribute offensively and defensively. “I think the Bulldogs are a great organization and it’s been my dream to play in the BCHL for many years. I’m also excited about the opportunity to be on a team that is improving and likes to play a fast-paced style of game. My goals for the upcoming season are mostly to develop into a strong player in the league and become a player who contributes and is known as a reliable teammate. In the future I would like to help the Bulldogs win a Fred Page Cup championship and earn an NCAA scholarship along the way.” Hurst will join the Bulldogs when training camp opens in August.

Express name Rockwood Director of Sales & Marketing & Alternate BCHL Governor:

The Express are happy to announce the appointment of Joel Rockwood as Director of Sales and Marketing and Alternate BCHL Governor. Born and raised in Port Coquitlam and a graduate of Terry Fox Secondary, Joel comes to us from Vernon where he held a sales and management position with a national firm. A graduate of Douglas College Joel was active in hockey and is the cousin of Express alumnus and current Northern Michigan University standout Adam Rockwood. Joel is excited to be back home and looks forward to getting involved in our community and with our supporters and partners. Joel can be reached by email at or on his personal cell phone at 604 329-1237 Welcome Joel!

Surrey-Coquitlam Trade:

The Surrey Eagles have acquired forward Jake Toor from the Coquitlam Express. The Eagles are giving up future considerations on the other side. Toor, 18, is a name that many Eagles fans will know well. He has spent the last two seasons with the divisional rival Coquitlam Express, although he only managed to appear in 19 regular season games last season. He scored 2 goals and 3 assists, while adding another assist in 4 games during a first round playoff exit against Penticton. “We are also excited to add Jake to our roster next season,” West commented. “He’s a BCHL veteran and very excited to be an Eagle. Jake has the speed and competitiveness that we need on our ice to make us tough to play against. We look forward to seeing both players at Main Camp in August.” Both players will be important parts of the makeup of the 2018-19 version of the Surrey Eagles on a roster that has plenty of turnover from the year before, and continues to take shape.

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