Monday, April 29, 2019

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:

Sauvageau Commits To Alberni Valley Bulldogs:

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are pleased to announce that 2000-born defenseman Christophe Sauvageau has committed to join the team for the 2019/20 British Columbia Hockey League season. Sauvageau is from Mascouche, Quebec and has played the last two seasons at the Winchendon School in Massachusetts, competing in the New England Preparatory School League. (NEPSAC). “Christophe is a skilled, two-way defenceman whose mobility and hockey sense really distinguish him as a player,” says Bulldogs head coach Matt Hughes. “He’s a hard-working, defensively conscious blueliner who also has the ability to jump up in the rush and contribute offensively. His goal is to earn an NCAA scholarship and we’re very excited that he’s chosen to take the next steps in his development as a member of the Bulldogs.” Sauvageau has been a three-sport athlete at Winchendon, competing in soccer and lacrosse in addition to hockey. “I’m so thankful to the Bulldogs organization for giving me the opportunity to play in the BCHL,” says Sauvageau. “My two years at the Winchendon School have allowed me grow and mature away from home, and I know that the BCHL is the next step for me to achieve my dream of playing college hockey. I’m excited to be a part of this organization and I can’t wait to meet the fans and experience the Port Alberni community.” Sauvageau will complete the 2018/19 season at the Winchendon School and join the Bulldogs for training camp in August.

Angew, Henry & Valk Commit To Chiefs:

The Chilliwack Chiefs are thrilled to announce three of their newest additions to the blueline for the 2019-20 season. All three of these players possess high hockey IQ, size, and a great skating ability. Their character and willingness to improve and be a part of our program will fit seamlessly with the Championship Culture we are cultivating here in Chilliwack.

Jack Agnew

  • Born – October 22, 2001
  • Height/Weight – 6’0″ 201 lbs.
  • Hometown – Oakville, Ontario
  • 2018-19 Season – St. Andrews College
  • NCAA – St. Lawrence University
Jack Agnew is a smart, two-way right shot defenseman with a high end offensive ceiling. He is an assistant captain on the St. Andrews College first hockey team that skated to a 43-9-3 overall record and finished their season with their final of 3 championships won throughout the year. This past season Jack put up 6 goals, 32 assists for 38 points and 32 PIMS in 50 Games played. 

Brad Rihela, Chilliwack Chiefs Assistant Coach:“We are extremely excited to add Jack to our active roster for the 2019-20 season. He has an extremely high hockey IQ and his ability to process the game and make good decisions under pressure will serve him well during his rookie season in the BCHL.” 

Xavier Henry

  • Born – March 20, 2001
  • Height/Weight – 6’5″ 190 lbs.
  • Hometown – Scarborough, Ontario
  • 2018/19 Season – St. Andrews College
  • NCAA – University of Maine
Xavier Henry is a smooth skating defenseman that brings a physical edge and a great skill set to go along with his 6’5″ frame. Xavier is also an assistant captain of the St. Andrews College hockey team that skated to a fantastic 43-9-3 record this past season. The University of Maine commit is steadily improving and will add a distinct physical element to the Chiefs defense corps for the 2019-20 season. During the 2018-19 season Xavier posted 13 goals, 19 assists for 32 points to go along with 44 PIMS in 50 games played. 

Brad Rihela, Chilliwack Chiefs Assistant Coach:“Xavier is an exciting prospect that we are thrilled has chosen Chilliwack as the destination to further his development as a hockey player. He has a lot to offer on both sides of the puck and will flourish as a member of the Chilliwack Chiefs.” 

Garrett Valk
  • Born – October 20, 2002
  • Height/Weight – 6’3″ 198 lbs.
  • Hometown – North Vancouver, BC
  • 2018-19 Season – Vancouver North West Hawks (BCMML)
  • NCAA – TBD
Garrett Valk is a player that skated in 3 games this season with the Chilliwack Chiefs as an under-age affiliate player. He brings an incredible work ethic and a willingness to improve his game. The character and attitude that Garrett brings with him to the rink every day will suit him well as he becomes a full time BCHL player. This past season with the BC Major Midget League’s North West Hawks the 6’3″ defender put up 6 goals, 14 assists along with 77 PIMS in 37 Games played. 

Brad Rihela, Chilliwack Chiefs Assistant Coach:“Garrett is a player that we are very familiar with having been AP’d with us this past season. His work ethic and commitment to his game and to his team are attributes we are very excited to add to our locker room on a full-time basis next season.”

Early Playoff Exit Tough To Swallow For Vees Coach:

Fred Harbinson is having a tough time coming to grips with this. And why wouldn’t he be? For the first time after 14 years as a junior head coach – the last 12 with the B.C. Hockey League’s Penticton Vees – he was unable to navigate his team through the first round of the playoffs. It was something new, and it’s getting old rather quickly. “I can’t put into words how disappointed I am right now,” said the Vees president, GM and head coach, after conducting exit interviews with the players in the wake of a stunning six-game, first-round defeat to the upstart Cowichan Valley Capitals. “You get accustomed to a certain way of doing things, but sometimes these things happen, for whatever reason. It’s heartbreaking for more than just the obvious reasons – so many people rely on us, the fine people who work our games... It hurts for a lot of people. It hurts for the fans. For me, it’s hard to tell my seven-year-old daughter there’s no hockey anymore.” This was by no means a disastrous season. The Vees captured an eighth straight Interior pennant and got Harbinson his 500th regular season win in the last game of the regular season. No BCHL coach even come close to getting there that quickly. And while the Vees get to raise another banner before their 2019-20 home opener in September, Harbinson wonders if it came with a price tag this time for a team that was absolutely ravaged by injuries to key players. “We had to get a bit of blood out of a stone to get where we did,” said Harbinson. “Maybe fighting right to the end with Merritt for the division wore us down. Look what happened to Merritt – they turned around and lost to Trail (in five games).” Harbinson said a disappointing loss to Chilliwack in early-February with the chance still there to repeat as BCHL overall point champs was a turning point. The Vees were a .500 team the rest of the way. “Maybe we underachieved a bit after that, maybe got a bit worn down,” said Harbinson. “But we never really had any continuity with forward lines so it was hard to build chemistry. We rarely played with 12 forwards most of the season … heck, we rarely played with 11.” The injuries started before the season even started with key forwards Cassidy Bowes and newly-minted captain Massimo Rizzo going down. Both eventually returned; Bowes got hurt again and returned at less than 100 per cent in the playoffs, three players suffered season-ending injuries, and two others went down early in the Cowichan series and never returned. “Every team goes through it and we’ve sure had our share the last few seasons,” said Harbinson. “We’re not going to cry about it. We just have to roll up our sleeves and try to get back to where we were.” Harbinson said there were many reasons for the shocking loss to a Cowichan team the Vees finished 39 points ahead of in the regular season, but the Game 1 loss stands out as the biggest. “We came out flat at home and even though we did out-chance them and outshot them - as we did the whole series - we made some costly mistakes because we just weren’t engaged enough mentally or physically,” said Harbinson. The home teams held serve after with the Capitals clinching the 4-2 series win with a 3-1 triumph Monday in Duncan. “I thought both goaltenders were terrific,” said Harbinson. “We just made some crazy errors, had a costly too-many-men penalty, had a key goal go against us in Game 3 that the league confirmed shouldn’t have counted, we had so much more zone time and yet we couldn’t finish. And the standard of officiating with penalty calls in the first four games was not what it was in the regular season. It all adds up to what it was.” Asked if there was anything he would have done different if given a do-over, Harbinson said he needs time to evaluate everything before answering the question with any degree of accuracy. “I will say this … and I want to be careful how I word it, but I knew two months ago we might be in a bit of trouble,” said Harbinson. “I’ve been here 12 years and I know the difference in mindset with the various teams. The way we practised at times, the day-in, day-out way we did things wasn’t at the level it needed to be.” The coach said with all the injuries and the healthy players having to eat so many minutes, he tried backing off when it came to pushing the team. “We’d have APs (affiliated players) there for practices and that changes things a lot, and you look up in the stands and you see four or five of your regulars in street clothes,” said Harbinson. “You could just sense the sharpness wasn’t there. We talked and talked and tried to work through it. We never really came out of it those last three weeks or so and it carried over to the playoffs. We lost that first game and never fully recovered.” The Vees continued to put fans in the seats, averaging a record 3,100 per game. The players were highly visible out on the community where they raised $28,000 for local charities. There was the Interior pennant, there was the milestone for their coach. The franchise remains strong and one of the very best in the entire country. Harbinson has already been busy recruiting for next season and the Vees are looking forward to their annual Spring Camp in April, which usually identifies some quality talent for main training camp in late-August. The Vees also have a solid nucleus returning. Goalie Derek Krall and defencemen Evan McIntyre, Jonathan Smart, Carson Kosobud and probably Peter Muzyka and Jack Lagerstrom will be back, and there is a “good” chance Conner Hutchison will be too. Up front, Bowes, David Silye, Lukas Sillinger, Cole Shepard, Jackson Niedermayer and Jack Barnes figure to be back. “At this point, we’ve got to add a goalie, a defenceman and quite a few forwards,” said Harbinson. Harbinson said he will watch some of the other BCHL playoff games, though he admits it’s still hard to swallow that the Vees aren’t one of the last eight teams standing. “It sounds crazy, but it almost feels like a death in the family,” said Harbinson. “You know, this is what we do, 24-7 for most of the year, and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. “(But) we’ve got to move forward and have confidence in the big picture. For the team, and for myself personally, we have to face some adversity and maybe we’ll look back at it as a positive thing. “It’s something that should give us even more motivation."

Nanaimo Clippers Excited With News Regarding Finance and Audit Committee Meeting:

The Nanaimo Clippers are excited to hear the news of last night’s Finance and Audit Committee Meeting. The committee has recommended to City Council to approve the following;

1.     Support the Nanaimo Clippers Junior A Hockey Club bid to host the Royal Bank National Junior A Hockey Championship in 2021; and,
2.     If the bid is successful, commit up to $30,000 in the 2021 budget for the event.

“We have been working with Damon, Arenas Manager for sometime on this entire event and we are happy to be having the City’s support on this.” mentioned Tali Campbell, Director, Business Operations for the Clippers “If we are successful in this event it will bring Millions of Dollars to our City that will have huge impacts.” The next step in the process is the City Council Meeting on Monday, April 1st.

Bulldogs Part Ways With Hughes:

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs announced today that, effective immediately, Head Coach and General Manager Matt Hughes has resigned his position from the club by mutual agreement. Hughes was originally hired by the team in May 2017 and guided the Bulldogs for two seasons. “On behalf of the entire Bulldogs organization and the Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society, I’d like to thank Matt for his efforts on the ice, and in the community during his tenure with the club,” says said Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society President Jim Pelk. “We had many exciting nights at the Multiplex over the past two years, and we wish Matt all the best in his future hockey endeavors.” “Coaching the Alberni Valley Bulldogs has been an honour and I would like to thank the players, billets, fans and community as a whole for the warm welcome they have given me,” says Hughes. “I wish the team full success in the future.” The search for Hughes’s replacement is underway and the club hopes to name a new Head Coach and General Manager in the coming days.

NHA & Clippers Partnership For 2021 Royal Bank Cup:

The Nanaimo Clippers are thrilled to be partnering with the Nanaimo Hospitality Association with the bid for the 2021 National Junior A Hockey Championship. The two organizations started working together back when the World Junior Exhibition Game came to Nanaimo and since have continued to work together on various other events, with the biggest one now being the bid application. “We can’t thank Dan, Trish and everyone at the NHA {Nanaimo Hospitality Association} who have graciously come on board to support this bid and furthermore if we land this event will continue to partner together.” menionted Tali Campbell, Director, Business Operations for the Nanaimo Clippers.  “This event, if we are successful in landing it will land 100,000’s of dollars to our Hotels in town, but without their support we couldn’t make it work.” Dan Brady who is the Executive Director for the Nanaimo Hospitality Association is one of the key members of the Host Committee that has been put together for the 2021 National Junior A Hockey Championship Bid.

Eagles Name Keith New Head Coach/Associate General Manager:

The Surrey Eagles Hockey Club is pleased to announce the hiring of Cam Keith as Head Coach and Associate General Manager. Keith joins the Eagles after spending last season as the Associate Head Coach and Associate General Manager of the Chilliwack Chiefs. Keith has previous BCHL experience as the former Head Coach and General Manager of the Trail Smoke Eaters from 2016-2018, and also coached professionally with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL from 2014-2016. During his playing career, Keith spent three seasons in the BCHL before heading to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. After graduating, he went on to appear in over 500 professional games – including 146 in the AHL and 213 in the ECHL. “Cam is a coach that I was able to build a relationship with over the years,” Eagles General Manager Blaine Neufeld said about the hiring. “He’s someone that I feel can be trusted with this hockey team. I know that he excels at developing young players, and we share the exact same vision on how we need to build this team.” Keith will also be responsible for the bulk of the team’s hockey operations decisions moving forward, Neufeld explained. “Our entire program is built on finding good people and placing them in roles that they are proficient at. I know Cam will be excellent at building our hockey club. Chuck Westgard and I have entrusted him with that, and we will support the path that he takes us on.” Westgard, the team’s sole owner, is excited to turn over the reins of a young Eagles lineup to such an experienced and well-respected leader. He sees the addition as a great step forward for the stability of the organization in the future. “This is a very exciting day for us,” Westgard commented. “We wanted to make a statement by finding a coach who can instantly aid in recruiting and developing our young players. We have hopefully taken care of some rumours about the direction of our hockey club with this decision, and I can assure that Cam allows us to carry out our vision of bringing a winning culture back to South Surrey.” Keith will be heavily involved in the team’s upcoming spring identification camp that is slated for May 18th-20th at South Surrey Arena. Registration for players born between 1999-2004 is still open.

Gallagher Leaves Smoke Eaters For Western Hockey League:

The Spokane Chiefs have added D Luke Gallagher, 18, to their roster as an AP. Gallagher, 18, had two assists in 22 games with the Chiefs earlier in the season. From Mead, Wash., he joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters in January, and recorded seven assists in 15 regular-season games and one in 12 playoff games.

Buhr Commits To Clippers:

The Nanaimo Clippers have announced the commitment of Brandon Buhr, 2002 born forward from North Vancouver, BC. Buhr, who is coming off a 43 point season with the Vancouver North West Hawks and a very dominate Spring Camp in Delta is a player Head Coach Darren Naylor was looking for “He is a fast, skilled forward who can put up points and will fit in our lineup great” said Darren Naylor. “I have been watching Buhr for the last few years now and each year he continues to exceed expectations on and off the ice.” In 2017 Buhr played for the West Van Academy Elite 15s where he averaged over one point per game with 25 goals and 11 assist. Buhr, who choose the Clippers after meetings with Darren is excited and thinks he can help the team succeed “I feel like my speed and ability to move the puck is a strong set of mine.” Buhr commented “my goal is to jump into the lineup next season and work hard offensively and defensively.” The Nanaimo Clippers next Spring Camp is April 12-14 at Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo.

Tattle Commits To Coquitlam Express:

COMMITMENT: We are happy to announce that we've signed 2001-born forward from Port Moody, Ryan Tattle!  Ryan suited up for 2 games last season as an AP while playing for the @NEChiefs_MML. Welcome to the Express Ryan!#AllAboard

Leung Leaves Smoke Eaters:

The Trail Smoke Eaters Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club announced Thursday that Assistant Coach Jessie Leung will not be returning to the team for the 2019/20 season. Leung, 34, spent the past two seasons in the West Kootenay with the Smoke Eaters. The New Westminster, BC native leaves Trail after helping the Smoke Eaters to the second round of the BCHL playoffs in 2019 while having a helping hand in Trail’s playoff run in 2018 to the Interior Division Final. Leung was behind the bench of the BC Major Midget League’s Valley West Hawks before his time in Trail where he coached for six seasons, including a 2016 BCMML championship. He is also involved with the BC Hockey High Performance Program while working in a variety of different BC Hockey events including the U16 BC Cup and Canada Winter Games.  The Smoke Eaters would like to thank Jessie for all of his hard work and dedication over the past two seasons with the organization and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours.

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