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:
Penticton Is Pledging $100,000 In A Bid For The 2021 National Junior A Championship:
The City of Penticton is pledging $100,000 in a bid for the 2021 National Junior A Championships. City council voted unanimously Tuesday to support the joint bid being put forward by the Penticton Vees and South Okanagan Events Centre. The $100,000 combination of cash and in-kind support will not be needed until the year of the event should the bid succeed. “We see this as a non-profit event. We see this as an event that helps with the issues regarding the South Okanagan Events Centre,” said bid chair Stuart Ladyman. The bid must be submitted to Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League by the end of the month with the expectation that the winner be announced this summer. Council heard eight other Canadian cities — including Salmon Arm, Trail and Nanaimo — are also submitting a bid. SOEC general manager Dean Clarke pointed out that Penticton is in a unique situation in that it owns the venue, which would allow the city to generate revenue from the event and offset their financial contribution. “There are sources of revenue like concessions and rent that we the arena… will be charging the tournament,” he said. “Without this event, I wouldn’t be generating any income, but for ten days I will be.” Clarke said the $100,000 pledge is really to “show support and outbid” the other communities. He noted the economic impact for the last national cup in Chilliwack was estimated at $2.5M. After profit sharing between $25,000 and $50,000 earmarked for the five participating teams, the remainder of the tournament’s proceeds will go into a local legacy fund. Clarke said the event will generate $900,000 in revenue with expenses in the $700,000 to $800,000 range. Chilliwack’s event turned a $30,000 profit. “This has national standing and national history, what the community would get back for our investment is the national exposure,” Coun. Judy Sentes said.
Larson Commits To Chiefs:
The Chilliwack Chiefs are proud to announce the signing of 2001 born right-handed forward Joey Larson from Brighton, Michigan. Joey is fresh off of leading the Hartland High School hockey program to its second straight league title, this season as their captain. Joey led the Kensington Lakes Activities Association in scoring this past season with 25 goals, 20 assists for 45 pts in just 25 games played. Recently, Joey was honoured by being named 2019 Mr. Hockey for the state of Michigan, an outstanding achievement. “The Chilliwack Chiefs are extremely excited about the signing of Joey Larson.” said Brad Rihela. “When doing our research and talking to Joey’s past coaches the common topic of conversation was always based on Joey’s enormous character and his high-end leadership qualities. We are really excited about his skill and ability with and without the puck, and know that this will be a great fit for our program going forward.”
Hometown: Brighton, Michigan, USA
DOB: March 27, 2001
Height/Weight: 6’1″ 179 lbs
2018/19 Season: Hartland High School
Centennials Open Spring Camp With Six Locals:
The Merritt Centennials are set to open their spring camp this weekend from Friday April 5th to Sunday April 7th and there’s a healthy dose of locals in the mix. Among the 100 invitees, 6 local products will be participating, as well as 3 younger brothers of current or former Centennials. The name most familiar to Cents fans is the youngster who’s proven you can make the hometown team. Talon Zakall will participate in a supporting role along with some other veterans to help run camp. Joining Talon to help with camp will be defenders Mattias Dal Monte, Mike Van Unen, and Jackson Munro along with forwards Rylan Van Unen, Ben Ward, and Brett Roloson. In his rookie season Zakall got into 45 games putting up one goal and 9 assists. Chase Cooke is a name already known to the Merritt Minor hockey community. He won a provincial championship in Peewee, and has added to his trophy collection since then. Last season, the 2003 born defender spent time with the Thompson Blazers Minor Midget program and tallied a goal and 13 assists in 28 games played. Atrayu Johnny is in his second stint at Centennials camp. The 2002 born Merritt local was one of the final cuts to the roster before last season began, and spent his season with the Princeton Posse of the KIJHL. With Princeton he had 6 points (1 goal) in 45 games played. Another name known to Merritt is Anthony Tulliani. The 2000 born forward spent last season with the Osoyoos Coyotes of the KIJHL and had a goal and 5 assists in 41 games. A pair of Merritt Midget alums are set to challenge camp as well. Colton MacCauley served as the teams goaltender and saw a ton of rubber over the season, and Justin Vinterwick is also in the mix in camp. Assistant Coach Brandon Shaw says that continuing to develop local talent is great for not only the team, but the town. “It’s great to have the locals out. We want to be a part of building the hometown talent. If it leads to them making the roster, if it leads to them playing Junior B, or if it sets them up to be a part of the team in the future – that’s huge. It’s also great for Merritt to see the local talents that’s on display, and I encourage fans to come check it out.” The other story line heading in to camp is some of the brothers that are hoping to follow in the footsteps of some current or former Centennials. Younger brother to the Van Unen twins, Josh will suit up in camp. He was an affiliate player twice during the season, failing to register a point but impressing the coaching staff nonetheless. The 2001 born forward had an impressive season at Shawnigan Lake Academy of the CSSHL where he scored 26 goals, added 36 assists in 29 games played and managed to register 2 points a game. He will be itching to join older brother Rylan on next years roster. Nick Wicks may be leaving the Centennials for the University of Alaska Anchorage, but younger brother Garrett will be looking to continue the former Captain’s legacy. The 2001 born forward, Garrett suited up in 6 BCHL games this season, one of which against the Cents where he registered one of his two assists on the year. He spent the majority of last season as the Captain of the Greater Vancouver Canadians in the BCMML where he scored 18 goals, and set up 24 for 42 points in 38 games. The 3rd brother to be in the mix has some NHL bloodlines just like his older brother Brett. Ross Roloson is a defenseman who spent last season with the Northern Alberta Elite 15 squad of the CSSHL putting up 6 goals and 17 points over 35 games. “These younger brothers really reflect the characteristics of what has made their older brothers successful, but each brings something unique to their own game that will help them be great Junior players in the future.” With the camp having 5 teams going head to head over the three days, Assistant Coach Shaw says that each player will have to bring what they do best. “We want players to come in and play their game, but hopefully find those that fit into what we are trying to build. We play a high tempo, exciting game with a blue collar work ethic like the town itself, but what I’m looking for is players that showcase their best, try their hardest, and show some character.”
Isack Bandu Commits To Grizzlies:
Proud to sign my first hockey contract with the @BCHLGrizzlies, looking forward to join the organization next year. @GoBCHL
Nanaimo Clippers Name Birkas New Assistant Coach:
Nanaimo Clippers Owner Wes Mussio announced today that Colin Birkas has been named the teams Assistant Coach effective immediately. Birkas, who has been coaching for 14 years, 7 years at the Junior A Level and 7 years at the Midget AAA Level will join Head Coach Darren Naylor on the bench for the 2019-2020 Season. “As we went through this process, given our goal of finding an elite assistant coach to develop our players with the Clippers, it was clear to us that Colin Birkas was the best choice for our organization.” Wes Mussio said “Birkas, will bring a vast knowledge to our organization and a recruiting base that we do not have yet.” Birkas who has already been busy recruiting players for next season knew the Clippers was a good fit “I met Darren and Wes earlier this year and knew from our conversations that the direction they were taking this team was one I wanted to be a part of.” Darren Naylor and Colin Birkas are both on scouting trips this week and are continuing to build the Clippers program to be National Junior A Championship Contenders.
Owen Commits To Surrey Eagles:
The Surrey Eagles are excited to announce the commitment of 2000-born defenceman Owen Nolan to the team for the upcoming 2019-20 BCHL season. Nolan, who is slated to play NCAA division I hockey for Army after next season, comes to the Eagles from Millbrook of the United States high school prep league. This is the first move of what can be expected to be a busy offseason for the Eagles, and is the team’s first recruitment under the guidance of new head coach and associate general manager Cam Keith. “I think it’s the perfect situation for me,” Nolan told SurreyEagles.ca. “What I hear about the BCHL is that it’s a very offensive and fast-paced league, and I think that fits my playing style very well. Coach Cam is a great guy and he really speaks highly of me. It was a no-brainer for me to pick Surrey.” On top of his connection with coach Keith, another factor in his decision to come to Surrey was the large Olympic-sized ice surface at South Surrey Arena and also the general location of the team. “It’s very exciting, I love a big ice surface,” Nolan admitted. “It’s nice to be able to skate and have a little more room coming out of my zone. A bigger ice surface usually keeps the game moving and it’s fast, so it’s a lot of fun for a player of my style.” “Fans can expect me to jump into the play a lot. I like to make plays with my feet and I see the ice well. I can use my stick pretty effectively in the defensive zone and I try to keep my gaps pretty tight against my opponents.” Nolan says that another one of his qualities that endeared him to coach Keith is his leadership ability. He served as a captain on his high school club, and chose to commit to the U.S. Military Academy despite interest from other universities. “I like to be a leader, that’s something I bring wherever I go. I intend to lead by example as well as vocally. I just love to compete, so I think that’s where it comes from.” Welcome to Surrey, Owen!
Sweeney Commits To Trail Smoke Eaters:
The Trail Smoke Eaters Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce forward Connor Sweeney (’00) has committed to the team for the 2019/20 season. Sweeney, 18, comes to Trail after playing with the Lawrence Academy Spartans for the past two seasons, amassing 16 goals and 31 assists for 47 points over that span. During the 2018/19 season, the 6’2”, 194-pound forward helped his team to the Massachusetts Regionals in registering 7 goals and 15 assists for 22 points in 26 games with the Spartans. Sweeney will join former Smoke Eaters forward Chase Stevenson in the fall of 2020 as he is committed to the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. The North Andover, Massachusetts native has deep hockey bloodlines as his father, Bob, compiled a lengthy National Hockey League career after four terrific seasons at Boston College with the Eagles. Bob Sweeney played in 639 career NHL games, split between the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders and Calgary Flames where he produced 125 goals and 288 points along with 799 penalty minutes in that span. On a visit to the West Kootenays, Sweeney was impressed with his first trip to the west coast, “I am super excited to be a member of the team,” mentioned the newest Smoke Eaters forward, “I loved everything in Trail from the team to the town to the people, everyone was so nice and welcoming. I’m very excited to play in front of them and ready to work hard in the summer to be the best I can for Trail.” “We couldn’t be more excited as a staff to add Connor Sweeney to our team,” stated Smoke Eaters General Manager and Head Coach Jeff Tambellini, “Connor is one of the most explosive power forwards coming into the BCHL next season and possesses a pro pedigree. His 6’2” frame will be a challenge for opposing teams to handle and he will complement our skill nicely at the centre ice position.” “We’re excited to build Connor into a top power forward in the league and have him ready to transition into a full scholarship at the University of New Hampshire the following season” continued the Smoke Eaters bench boss. The Smoke Eaters would like to welcome Connor and his family to the organization as well as the City of Trail.
Express Name Lepper New Manager Of Business Operations:
Ryan Lepper has been hired as our Manager of Business Operations. Ryan has previously worked in the BCHL for Salmon Arm & Prince George, and we are pleased to announce that he is returning to his hometown of Coquitlam to join the Express!
Chiefs Promote Rihela To Associate Coach/Assistant GM:
On Thursday, April 11, the Chilliwack Chiefs Hockey Club announced the appointment of Brad Rihela as the new Associate Coach and Assistant General Manager for the team. Over the past decade Brad Rihela has been coaching at a variety of levels, ranging from Bantam to Junior. Last season, Rihela was a member of the Chilliwack Chiefs staff as Director of Player Personnel and Assistant Coach, and prior to that he spent three seasons coaching the Bantam Prep program at the Yale Hockey Academy. While at Yale, Rihela won a CSSHL League Title, a Rocky Mountain Classic Championship, and also guided his team to the prestigious John Reid Memorial Tournament Championship in St. Albert, AB. Before he joined Yale and the CSSHL, RIhela was the Head Coach and Assistant General Manager of the Aldergrove Kodiaks, a Junior B program in the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL). In his first year as Head Coach, the Kodiaks claimed the PJHL title beating the Richmond Sockeyes in 7 games despite trailing the series 3-1. In the 2014-15 season, he was named the PJHL Coach of the Year. Coaching with the Chilliwack Chiefs is the second coaching stint in the BCHL for Rihela, as he was an assistant coach on Dave Dupas’ staff with the Prince George Spruce Kings back in 2012-13. Brad Rihela, Associate Coach and Assistant General Manager: “I am extremely excited for this opportunity to expand my role with the Chilliwack Chiefs. I have so much respect for this organization; it is a true privilege to be able to call Chilliwack home. This is the perfect fit for me and my family; we couldn’t be happier. I want to thank Brian Maloney, Barry Douglas, and all the staff for welcoming me with open arms. I can’t wait to get the 2019-20 season started!” Brian Maloney, Head Coach and General Manager of Hockey and Building Operations: “We’re thrilled that Brad Rihela has chosen to bring his level of professionalism and experience to the Chilliwack Chiefs’ bench for the 2019/20 season. I know our players and staff will benefit greatly from his leadership.”
Howie Commits To Capitals:
The Cowichan Capitals are very pleased to announce that Johnny Howie has committed to play for the team for the upcoming season. The 6'3" 205lb defenceman will join the Capitals from the Renfrew Timberwolves Junior 'B' Hockey Club.
Evans Commits To West Kelowna Warriors:
The West Kelowna Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce the commitment of forward John Evans(‘02) for the 2019-2020 season. Evans, 17, spent the past four seasons with Delta Academy of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League(CSSHL). The South Surrey native was able to rack up 20 goals and 52 assists in only 35 games played in his 16 year old season with the Delta Academy Prep squad. “We are thrilled to have John and his family join ours here in West Kelowna.” Warriors Head Coach and General Manager Brandon West. “John is coming off another terrific season with the Delta Hockey Academy who have developed him on and off the ice. John is going to have a bright future here with us and we expect him to be a leader in the offence in due time. We feel that he is an elite 2002 who can make things happen on the ice and Warrior fans will be excited to watch him develop over the coming years.” The 5’10 140 pound forward played eight games as an affiliate of his hometown Surrey Eagles in the 2018-19 season registering a goal, but still decided to commit to the Warriors. “Brandon West was coaching in Surrey when I attended Eagles training camp last year so he got to know my game,” stated Evans. “When he was hired to coach West Kelowna it made sense for me to play for Coach West and the Warriors.” No player came close to Evans stats on Delta Prep this past season with the second place scorer only registering 39 points compared to Evans 72 points. Evans says improvements in his game this year have been made in the defensive zone. “I try to focus on my defensive game and that tends to lead to getting good offensive opportunities.” The Warriors would like to welcome John and his family to the City of West Kelowna and the Warriors organization.
Ibraheem Commits To Surrey:
The Surrey Eagles are excited to announce that 2001-born forward Nate Ibraheem has committed to the team for the upcoming 2019-20 BCHL season. Ibraheem comes to the Eagles from the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers of the Alberta Midget Hockey League. Ibraheem led his team in scoring this past season, posting 20 goals and 19 assists in 34 regular season games, before adding 5 goals and 3 assists in 8 playoff games. He also already has 4 games of Junior A experience, appearing as an affiliated player for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League over the course of the previous two seasons. “I couldn’t be happier to have this opportunity,” Ibraheem told SurreyEagles.ca in an interview. “I really wanted to be a part of this young team and contribute to something good. I’m hoping my teammates and I can all grow together in Surrey.” Eagles Head Coach and Associate General Manager Cam Keith praised the 6-foot-2, 180 pound forward’s skating ability and hockey IQ as part of the reason why they reached out to him to be a part of the club. Ibraheem agrees with the assessment, and hopes that those skills can shine on the larger Olympic-sized ice surface at South Surrey Arena. “I think I’m a really fast player who is smart and skilled in the offensive zone,” Ibraheem explained. “I try to make quick plays in the D-zone. I’m looking forward to playing on the bigger ice surface to give me lots of room to move and create plays. There should hopefully be more options out there.” He also mentioned that his relationship with coach Keith was an integral part of his decision to come to Surrey, praising his ability to connect with young players immediately. Those thoughts were echoed by the team’s other recent commit – Owen Nolan. “Cam is a really approachable guy, you can talk to him about anything and everything. I really like that. I like a coach that is easy to talk to. We get along really well.” As for his role on the team, that is something that will be carved out when he arrives for training camp. He’s ready for any challenge the team throws at him, but has his eyes set on being a major contributor in his first season in the league. “I’d love to be an offensive guy and get some powerplay time. I know I’m capable of playing a lot of minutes up front, and that’s the kind of role I’d like to play.” Welcome to Surrey, Nate!
Knights Sign Winslow:
The London Knights are proud to announce that the team has signed defenceman, Avery Winslow, to an OHL Standard Player’s Agreement. “We are very happy to welcome Avery to the London Knights organization,” said London Knights General Manager, Mark Hunter. “Avery is a very talented, smooth skating defenseman who will contribute greatly to our success next season. We are already looking forward for his arrival in London.” Winslow, a native of Clearwater, Florida, was drafted in the fifth round, 94th overall of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Last season Winslow played in the BCHL as a member of the Wenatchee Wild where he accumulated two goals, four assists in 35 games played. Winslow will be in London for training camp in August as he enters his NHL draft eligible season.
Wegleitner Named Assistant coach For The Nanaimo Clippers U16 Team: