Friday, June 29, 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:

Alberni Valley-Listowel Trade:

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have added a key offensive piece for the 2018/19 season, acquiring 1999-born forward Mitch Deelstra from the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Listowel Cyclones. Deelstra hails from Wallace, ON and spent the past two seasons with the Cyclones, most recently scoring 20 goals and totaling 40 points in 44 regular season games. He went on to add six goals and five assists in 19 playoff contests as Listowel captured the Sutherland Cup as GOJHL champions in May. “Mitch is a skilled offensive player coming off an excellent season playing for the top team in the GOJHL,” says Bulldogs head coach Matt Hughes. “He has a real knack for finding the back of the net and making plays in transition and in the offensive zone. I had an opportunity to see Mitch up close during Listowel’s playoff run and I’m confident his game will translate well to the style of play in the BCHL. We’re excited to add a veteran player who we believe can make an immediate impact to our line-up.” Deelstra began his junior hockey career as a 16-year old with the Wingham Ironmen of the WOJHL, netting 22 goals and 42 points in 41 regular season and playoff games. He then joined the Cyclones, where he totaled 50 goals and 95 points in 131 games. “I’m excited to join the Bulldogs because I think this is a great next step in my junior hockey career,” says Deestra, who describes himself as a gritty, exciting player. “I believe I’m stepping into a great team and organization with a great staff. My personal goal for next season is to obtain an NCAA Division I scholarship, and as a team I’m hoping to help build on last season and ultimately win a championship.” Deelstra will join the Bulldogs when training camp opens in August.

Krall Commits To Penticton Vees:

The Penticton Vees are excited to announce 1999-born goaltender Derek Krall has committed to the Vees for the 2018-19 season. Krall, from Nanaimo, spent the majority of last season with the Nanaimo Buccaneers in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. In 27 games, Krall posted a record of 18-7-0 with a 2.76 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. For his efforts, he was awarded the VIJHL’s goalie of the year award. He also appeared in the BCHL as an affiliate player for the Powell River Kings. In four games, all starts, Krall had a 3-1-0 record with a 2.08 goals against and a sparkling .947 save percentage. His finest performance came February 16 when he made 46 saves in a 2-1 win against the Vernon Vipers in Powell River. Krall also had three playoff appearances for the Kings last season, starting games one and two of their opening round series against the Nanaimo Clippers along with a relief appearance in game two of the Mainland Division final against the Prince George Spruce Kings. He was 1-1 with a 2.21 GAA and .923 save percentage in those three appearances. Krall will join the rest of his Vees teammates for training camp in Penticton in August. Vees play-by-play broadcaster caught up with Derek Krall for this feature story Often times goaltenders have an origin story about transitioning from defence or forward to goalie when they were kids. While that holds true for Derek Krall, he also has a interesting story about how he became a hockey player. “When I was younger I only played baseball and soccer,” Krall recalled. “Every morning I’d get up super early and watch NHL highlights. It eventually caught my parents attention and they thought ‘maybe we should put this kid in hockey.’ I started out on defence in atom and saw my friends playing in net. I thought it was cool, you’re kind of in your own little world. I started playing goalie in peewee.” There’s no reason to doubt Krall would have become a successful defenceman as he grew older, but the switch to goaltender has proven to be a smart decision so far. After two seasons with the North Island Silvertips Major Midget team in his hometown of Nanaimo, Krall elected to head to Shawnigan Lake School for his final year of midget eligibility in the 2016-17 season. “I just thought it was a good opportunity for me, I couldn’t pass it up,” Krall said. “I wanted that school aspect of it, junior ‘B’ wasn’t really what I was leaning towards while I was still in high school, I wanted to make sure I had that taken care of.” After graduating, Krall then looked to Junior ‘B’ as he latched on his with hometown Nanaimo Buccaneers in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. While he split the net with Blake Wood, it was clear Krall was the number one goalie as the season progressed, culminating into being named the VIJHL’s top goalie. “I’m so fortunate I got to play alongside so many great 20 year olds,” Krall said of his season in Nanaimo. “It definitely exceeded my expectations, not only with what the team was able to do but with my own personal stats as well. I didn’t expect the award at all. I’m totally happy to get it but that wasn’t in my mind at all, it was definitely a team effort.” Krall finished the season with an 18-7-0 record, 2.76 goals against average and .921 save percentage in 27 games. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed, as he appeared in five games with the Powell River Kings as an affiliate player. “I backed up a bunch of games for them and unfortunately both of their goalies got hurt,” Krall said. “I knew I had to wait for my chance and knew that it was a chance to showcase myself. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity they gave me.” Krall’s first BCHL game didn’t quite go as expected, 5-1 loss in Victoria December 10. He had to wait two months before getting another start, and he hit the ground running. Krall made 25 saves in a 4-1 win over Alberni Valley February 12, and followed that up with a monstrous 46 save performance in a 2-1 win over the Vernon Vipers four days later. “You can mark that one down. That was a pretty cool feeling after the game to be able to say I beat the Vernon Vipers,” Krall said. “That’s something that I want to build off of but definitely was the pinnacle of my hockey career so far.” Two nights after that game Krall was at it again, turning away 39 Chilliwack shots in a 7-1 drubbing of the Chiefs. His efforts again didn’t go unnoticed, this time by the BCHL as he was named the league’s player of the week. “That week was pretty cool. I was just blown away with what was happening,” Krall admitted. “I didn’t feel like I was changing much in my game, things just kind of fell together. I felt great from there and want to keep working toward what’s next.” All told, he posted a 3-1-0 record with a 2.08 GAA and .947 save percentage with the Kings. Krall’s time in the BCHL didn’t end with the regular season coming to a close. With the Kings starting goalie still injured and given Krall’s recent performances, he was given the reigns to open the Fred Page Cup playoffs for Powell River, in his hometown. “That was the cherry on top,” Krall said. “In front of my home crowd was insane. It’s a night and day difference between the BCHL and VIJHL. I’m thankful for getting that kind of experience for coming to a team like Penticton that always showcases themselves in the playoffs.” Looking to make the jump to the BCHL for the 2018-19 season, Krall came to the Vees spring camp at the end of May hoping to make an impression. After having some discussions with Vees head coach and general manager Fred Harbinson leading up to the camp, Krall was given the good news during the camp that he would be a Penticton Vee next season. “I can’t ask for much more, it’s something that I’m taking in stride,” Krall said. “Having a chance with Penticton is something that I’ve kind of dreamt of. I got to see them win the Fred Page Cup in Nanaimo in 2015, so to see that and now to be able to throw on the jersey is pretty special to me. I just want to do everything I can for the team to help them win.”

Farrell Commits To Express:

Forward Dallas Farrell (1999) has committed to the Coquitlam Express for this season. A former Toronto Junior Canadian AAA played the past few seasons in the United States.

Cowichan-Kanata Trade:

The Cowichan Capitals have completed a trade with the Kanata Lasers of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL).  Going to the Lasers is 19 year old forward David Laroche.  The Capitals would like to wish David all the best in Kanata. Coming to the Capitals is Dan McIntyre.  The 6’0″ 170lb forward joins the Capitals after tallying 4 goals and 6 assists for 10 points in his rookie campaign with the Lasers.  Before joining the Lasers the 17 year old Almonte, Ontario native was a member of the Championship Team of the Hockey Eastern Ontario Midget AAA League as well as a draft pick of the OHL’s Ottawa 67s.   The Capitals would like to welcome Dan to the Capitals Family and look forward to seeing him on the ice at camp in late August.

Coquitlam-Bonnyville Trade:

The Coquitlam Express have acquired forward Regan Kimens (99) from the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the AJHL. The Vaughan, Ontario native split last season with the Langley Rivermen and Chilliwack Chiefs. The majority of his time was spent in Chilliwack. Regan played 6 games in Langley, then was acquired by the Chiefs in a trade. In 54 games in the 2017-18 season he had 10 goals and 9 assists for 19 points. He tallied all those numbers in 48 games with the Chiefs. On October 20th, he scored a hat-trick scoring all three goals shorthanded in a 6-1 win over Salmon Arm. In the playoffs Kimens had 1 assist in 5 games. Following the season, Kimens was included as future considerations to complete a trade between the Chiefs and Pontiacs during the 2017-18 campaign. Regan is listed at 6’1, 190 pounds. He’s entering his second full season in the BCHL. Coming into the season he’s looking forward to being a part of what GM and Head Coach Jason Fortier is building. “I was really happy when Jason picked me up. He came in and turned the program around. And it’s looking like a good team next year.” says Kimens. The Express can expect a forward that can contribute in all three zones. “I can play a 200 foot game. I like to play physical too. I love working below the goal line, that’s my office, I’m hoping to create a lot of offence this year.” says Kimens. “Regan is a player who brings energy each night. He has the speed and skill to be an impact player and we are hopeful he can have a breakout year. He will quickly be a fan favorite and we are excited to have him.” says Express GM and Head Coach Jason Fortier. Prior to the BCHL, Kimens spent two seasons at St. Andrews College. Welcome to the Express Regan.

Returning Netminders Figure Big In Chilliwack Chiefs Roster Reload:

Fresh off coaching his team to an unexpected RBC Cup championship, Chilliwack Chiefs hockey boss Brian Maloney turns his attention to building the 2018-19 roster. Maloney has nine players returning, including both of his goalies. Whether Daniel Chenard and Mathieu Caron remain with the team throughout next season is anyone’s guess, but for the moment Maloney is enjoying having two legit No. 1 stoppers on his depth chart “When the RBC Cup was coming up, a lot of people were on us to get an older goalie, but as a staff we made the decision to stick with these guys,” Maloney said. “It wasn’t fair to judge them, especially early in the season, because we weren’t playing well defensively. You kind of had to see them on a day to day basis to realize how good they were.” The goalies rewarded that faith. Chenard had an excellent playoffs in a hard-fought seven game loss to Prince George, then won Top Goalie honours at the RBC Cup. Caron posted a shutout in his lone RBC Cup appearance, a 2-0 win over the Wellington Dukes. “Their numbers got quite a bit better in the second half of the season, and you could have stuck either one of them in the net on the first day of the playoffs,” Maloney noted. “To have both of these guys back really helps us. They’ll be a big part of our team.” Complications arise if the teenagers are no longer OK with a job share. If either wants to be a clear cut number one, they’ll have to go elsewhere to do it. “You’re seeing the 1A-1B scenario more and more,” Maloney reasoned. “But it is a development league, and I believe it’s important to get goalies in the net facing shots. “Both of them are unbelievable people, the exact type of people we want to be bringing in, but if they feel they want to move on and be a starter somewhere else, then that’ll be a conversation we’ll have to have. “But we’ll have open arms, for sure.” Chilliwack returns three guys on defence in Marcus Tesink, Powell Connor and Sean McCloskey. Tesink may be the team’s only 20 year old and figures to be a ‘jack of all trades’ type of guy, logging big minutes five on five while playing an expanded role on special teams. “With me running the defensive corps last year, Marcus was kind of our Swiss army knife guy who could play offensively but also shut guys down,” Maloney said. “He’ll probably be used in more of an offensive role this year, but he’s also going to have to take on more of a leadership role with a young back end.” Connor, a 2000-born Michigan State commit will be playing his third full season with Chilliwack. “Powell is mature for his age and he knows he’s still got a lot to learn,” Maloney said. “He wants to do it the right way and be ready when he gets to Michigan State. “He has to improve his footspeed and he’s working on that this summer, but you have to love the compete side of his game and he brings that old-school type of game. If he’s hopefully going to be a pro one day, it’s going to be in a gritty shut-down role, and we’re working on his stick and body positioning too.” Up front, Maloney brings back four players. Skyler Brind’Amour is a quiet and steady defensive rock with untapped offensive upside. “What I love about Skyler is his hockey IQ,” Maloney said. “You bring him in, show him a video and right away he knows what you’re talking about.” Offensively, Brind’Amour’s 10 goals and 24 points seemed underwhelming. “There are things that he does at this level that are dominant, like faceoffs, and you see signs of other things from time to time when he uses his big body to hold onto pucks and create chances,” Maloney noted. “He’s like a Jordan Staal guy where he’s always in the right position doing the right thing, and it’s just a matter of putting it together every shift. “Guys think they need to be flashy and put up numbers, but I think every coach will take a reliable 200 foot center, and if Skyler can become that then he’s in good shape.” Maloney describes Blaisdell as “mature beyond his years” with a non-stop motor. The 17 year old posted nine goals and 21 points in 49 games. “He’s got leadership qualities already and a kid like that with a work ethic like that, he’s the type of kid who can go off and have a fantastic career,” Maloney said. “I think you’ll see more offensive output him him, but he’s going to be a kid who’s hard to play against who battles for every puck. Ethan Bowen kind of sort of qualifies as a returnee after playing in three regular season games and two RBC Cup matches. Maloney looks forward to seeing what the highly-touted 16 year old can do. “He’s a great kid with massive upside to become a great player, but I’m not expecting him to come in and be a franchise saviour,” Maloney said. “We’ll put him in positions to succeed and expect some growing pains as he learns to defend and become a complete player.”

New NCAA Rules Aim To Stop Early Recruiting... But Will They?

Earlier this month, the NCAA Division I Council passed legislation to the current recruiting model aimed at curbing early commitments to college athletics programs. Starting with the 2018-19 academic year, Division I prospects in all sports except football and basketball will follow a recruiting model designed to resemble the schedule non-student-athletes follow when choosing where to go to college. The bottom line is that college coaches will not be able to discuss recruiting with a prospect, in person, until Sept. 1 of a potential recruit's junior year. Lacrosse and softball passed additional legislation to further limit recruiting contact (more on that later). Specifically, official visits can now take place beginning Sept. 1 of a prospect's junior year in high school, essentially a year earlier than previously allowed. Also, athletics departments cannot participate in a prospect's unofficial visit until Sept. 1 of their junior year. Recruiting conversations during a school’s camp or clinic can also take place on that same date. The NCAA says the new recruiting model will allow potential student-athletes more time to make thoughtful decisions about their next steps after high school.  “These changes will improve the recruiting experience for prospective student-athletes and coaches and lead to better decision-making,” said Blake James, Council chair and Miami (Florida) director of athletics. “Ultimately, a better recruiting process will improve the college experience for Division I student-athletes.” It's a noble effort, to be sure, but will the legislation have the desired effect? Will we still see eighth-graders announcing their commitment to Division I programs? Or will Sept. 1 annually be a banner day for commitments? Although the new rules prevent college coaches from discussing recruiting until a prospect's junior year, younger student-athletes can and surely still will contact college coaches early and often. Similarly, and perhaps just as significantly, college coaches may still discuss a prospect - including the recruiting process - with the student-athlete's high school or club coach.  These caveats are important in that it may not change the landscape of recruiting as desired. College coaches can still evaluate prospects at camps, clinics and showcases prior to a potential recruit's junior year. The legislation also cannot prevent a prospect from essentially recruiting a college even if that college program cannot yet explicitly recruit them. And because college coaches can have recruiting conversations with high school coaches, early commitments may still be very much in play with a prospect's high school coach essentially able to act as a middleman between a recruit and a college. An important factor to keep in mind is that the NCAA does not recognize verbal commitments. The only commitment the NCAA is concerned with is when a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent. Although this new legislation looks to curb early commitments, the NCAA does not place rules on prospects announcing their commitments to colleges at any age. As mentioned earlier, additional legislation governing lacrosse and softball has recently passed to further limit contact with prospects prior to their junior year in high school. For lacrosse, college coaches cannot communicate in any way with a prospect until Sept. 1 of their junior year. Softball doesn't go quite as far, restricting incoming calls and off-campus visits for college coaches, but does not prohibit prospects from sending messages to coaches. For both sports, club and high school coaches are still allowed to communicate with colleges about student-athletes. The new legislation is a good first step to stem the tide of early recruiting - something that college hockey is currently experiencing at higher rates than ever. In the most recent edition of Let's Play Hockey, Josh Levine looked at commitments to men's and women's Division I hockey programs during the 2017-18 season. He found that 29 percent of men's commitments and 56 percent of women's commitments occur prior to a prospect's junior year in high school. For Minnesota natives, the percentages are even higher with 34 percent of men's commitments and 71 percent of women's commitments coming before a prospect's junior year. If they're as concerned as they say about stemming the tide of early commitments, college hockey coaches and administrators would be smart to follow the lead of their colleagues in lacrosse and softball, and pass additional legislation to delay the recruitment process. A move to older commitments would be a win-win for both coaches and student-athletes. Coaches would gain more time to evaluate prospects and better plan for graduation and early departures. Student-athletes, meanwhile, would inherit more time to mature, develop as an athlete, work on their grades, research colleges and enjoy their time in high school. The NCAA's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has said it will continue to examine the recruiting environment, with communications (telephone, email, text), verbal and written offers, and off-campus contacts on the agenda for the next phase.

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