Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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:

Lajoy Commits To Wenatchee Wild For 2020-21 Season:

Forward Peter Lajoy has committed to the Wenatchee Wild for 2020-21. The 17-year-old from Evergreen, Colorado is playing for the Shattuck St. Mary’s Midget Prep team this season, where he has eight goals and 13 assists in 37 games. Lajoy is committed to the University of Denver for Sept. 2021.

Torzsok Leaves Centennials For Western Hockey League:

The Merritt Centennials will be without forward Hunor Torzsok for the foreseeable future after the 20-year-old joined the Western Hockey League Everett Silvertips. He has 16 goals and three assists in 35 games with the Centennials since being acquired in a trade with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins on November 5. Torzsok had a goal and three assists in 37 career WHL games with the Vancouver Giants from 2017-19.

Statement From Nanaimo Clippers Management:

Dear Nanaimo Clippers Fans, Starting tonight February 15, 2020 the Nanaimo Clippers are bringing in two new policies during games for the safety of fans. The first one is a no in and out policy for minors (anyone under the age of 18). You will only be allowed to leave the arena and come back in if you’re accompanied by an adult. If you leave the arena without an adult you will not be permitted back in. The second policy is Footprint Security / Nanaimo Clippers Staff will be searching all backpacks prior to entry. If refused to allow the search you will asked to leave. These policies are in place for the safety of all Clippers Fans. Thanks, Nanaimo Clippers Management

Bucks Sign Leibl:

The Cranbrook Bucks (BCHL) are excited to announce the signing of Noah Leibl for the 2020-2021 season. Leibl, 17, has 22 goals and 43 points through 26 games this season with Shawnigan Lake School Midget Prep (CSSHL). The San Diego, California native currently sits 10th in scoring for the midget prep division. “We are very excited to have Noah on board for next season” said Owner and President Nathan Lieuwen. “He not only has the ability to be a strong player in the BCHL but also has the right character that we want to build this team with” This is the first player to ever commit to Cranbrook after announcing their entrance into the BCHL back in October.

2012 Penticton Vees Going Into BC Hockey Hall Of Fame:

One more honour awaits the national champion 2012 Penticton Vees, the BC Hockey Hall of Fame announced Monday. The squad, which will be inducted into the hall this summer, had one of the most historic seasons in the franchise’s history, posting a 54-4-2 record during their 60-game regular season and outscoring their opposition by a mark of 334 to 133. Part of those 54 wins included a 42-game winning streak, which stands as the longest winning streak in BC Hockey League, Canadian Junior Hockey League and North American Junior Hockey history. The team also broke records for points with 110 and wins in a season with 54. “This is a proud moment for our entire organization and community,” said Vees president, general manager and head coach Fred Harbinson. “The 2012 players and staff were a part of a magical season that will now be part of the fantastic history of hockey in B.C. This group of young men did so much to create what the Penticton Vees are today.” Other inductees who will go into the hall at a ceremony July 24 at the South Okanagan Events Centre are Vernon native and former NHLer Eric Brewer; former Vancouver Canucks defenceman Mattias Ohlund; retired NHL linesman Jay Sharrers; Pacific Junior B Hockey League president Ray Stonehouse; and the Memorial Cup champion 2002 Kootenay Ice. “This elite group of inductees have made a profound impact on hockey in British Columbia,” said Bernie Pascall, chairman of the hall’s selection committee. “We are extremely proud to welcome them and recognize their outstanding achievements in hockey.” In their run to a national title, the 2012 Vees defeated the Chilliwack Chiefs in six games before claiming the Interior Division Championship, beating the Merritt Centennials in five games. Penticton earned the Fred Page Cup after a four-game sweep of the Powell River Kings to advance to the Doyle Cup, which was won in five games as the Vees defeated the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The Vees advanced to the Royal Bank Cup and, after falling in their opening two games of the tournament, strung together four consecutive wins, including a 3-0 victory over the Soo Thunderbirds in the semi-final before claiming the franchises’ third national championship with a 4-3 win over the Woodstock Slammers. Three members of the team were selected in the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft as forward Mario Lucia was selected 60th overall by the Minnesota Wild, forward Steven Fogarty was taken 72nd overall by the New York Rangers and defenseman Mike Reilly was drafted 98th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Forward Wade Murphy was also drafted into the NHL during the 2013 Entry Draft, going 185th overall to the Nashville Predators. Three players from the team – Steven Fogarty, Mike Reilly and Troy Stecher – have gone on to suit up in the NHL.

Joughin Commits To West Kelowna For 2020-21 Season:

The West Kelowna Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce the commitment of forward Marcus Joughin(‘01) for the 2020-21 season. The Tecumseh, Ontario native is currently the leading point producer in New England Prep with 12 goals and 44 assists in only 24 games played with New Hampton School(USHS Prep). “Marcus is a player with the potent combination of high skill and high level of compete,” said Warriors Head Coach Simon Ferguson. “His vision and passing are elite, and he has worked very hard to become a 200 foot player.  We are excited about what he will bring to our lineup, and excited to add a great character individual to the community of West Kelowna.” Joughin is also committed to Sacred Heart University(NCAA) for the 2021-22 season. The 5’11, 175 pound forward had plenty of options on where to play next year, but decided to commit to the Warriors. “I chose a team like West Kelowna because I’ve heard nothing but great things about the city,” stated Joughin. “With the new ownership under John Murphy I believe this team is heading in a positive direction. There’s a lot of opportunities and I will have a chance to make an immediate impact.” Joughin doesn’t know a single player in the BCHL but still had his eyes set on playing junior hockey in Western Canada for some time. “What sticks out to me in regards to the BCHL as an elite junior hockey league is that it’s highly offensive speed and skill league. I think it tailors to my game very well. I would like to thank all my past and present coaches, especially Nate Bostic, Casey Kesselring, Conner Gorman, Joe Marsh and my family and friends.”   The Warriors would like to welcome Marcus and his family to the City of West Kelowna and the Warriors organization.

Salmon Arm Prepping For Hopeful Long Playoff Run:

After a mid-season coaching change, the Silverbacks are back on track.

Cranbrook Bucks: Road to the BCHL (Pt.2)

The Cranbrook Bucks are the newest franchise in the BCHL and are set to begin play in September 2020, and is publishing a three-part series that is taking a deeper look into the league and the team as they near closer to their inaugural game. Part 2 of “Cranbrook Bucks: Road to the BCHL” specifically looks at the Cranbrook Bucks’ hockey operations, while Part 1 provided a view at the BCHL and Part 3 will further into the Cranbrook Bucks’ plans to bolster fan experience. The Cranbrook Bucks have a plan to be a competitive team in their first year in the BCHL, believing that the structure and format in Junior A will help them put together a strong team on the ice right from the opening faceoff. With the introduction of the Bucks into the BCHL, the league will have to realign their current divisions (Island, Mainland, Interior) to make space for the 18th franchise. How that will work remains up to the BCHL’s Competition Committee, which may decide a move to four divisions and two conferences or keep the three divisions but balancing to have six teams in each. Nathan Lieuwen, President and Majority Owner of the Cranbrook Bucks, told that the team’s travel schedules will also be taken into account when realignment is considered. “The Competition Committee within the BCHL, they set the schedule, they set the divisions, conferences however they want to set it up to make sure that everyone not only gets to play everyone else and we get some diversity of the different teams coming through, but at the same time making that travel schedule as easy as possible for these kids.” The most likely scenario is that the Cranbrook Bucks will share a division with the Trail Smokeaters, creating a new Kootenay rivalry between the two teams, but the BCHL will determine those exact changes following the 2019/2020 season. Regardless of what happens, Lieuwen believes Cranbrook is in a great spot for the BCHL with the potential for back-to-back home games on weekends and creating economic opportunities for the community. “Where we’re positioned geographically within the league is going to be great for our economy here in Cranbrook. I think it’s great for local restaurants and hotels and to bring a lot of people in, whether its fans and teams coming in, whatever it is, I think it is going to be a great fit.” As for actually building a competitive team, Lieuwen believes they can attract players to Cranbrook with the opportunity of being able to play major minutes with a franchise that has a new roster and has a large home venue in Western Financial Place that is undergoing dressing room renovations and upgrades. “It was a wonderful place to play before and it’s going to be an even better place to play now,” said Lieuwen, who previously played four full seasons in Cranbrook with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. “I think that a lot of kids are going to be looking our way as to a good place to play in the league.” Lieuwen said rosters usually turn over quite frequently within the BCHL, as most teams would see five or six players return any given season. With that in mind, the rest of the league is recruiting and looking for players to fill their rosters just as much as Bucks will be in their first season, presently a fairly even playing field. The BCHL can effectively draw from any league they want to, although the majority of players come from the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) and the BC Hockey Major Midget League (BC MML), while players are also pulled from other Canadian provinces and territories or from the United States. “We’re looking from the BC Major Midget Leagues to the Sport School Leagues, obviously Alberta right next door, all throughout the U.S. especially the eastern United States,” said Lieuwen, as he’s already begun recruiting and scouting for the Cranbrook Bucks. “The most important thing about drawing players in is using your networks and using the people that you know in hockey that are in a position to help you identify the top players.” Lieuwen said he is getting a head start on the recruiting process even as he continues the search for the Cranbrook Bucks’ Head Coach and General Manager, so they can have the best start possible once the offseason hits. “It’s a big decision, in fact, I think this is probably one of the most important decisions that we’ll make in this first year as a franchise. We want someone that has good values, can do things the right way, has the same vision for this team that obviously I foresee for it and someone that has those connections to bring in the top players like we talked about, someone that can network and someone that has some relationships with NCAA because obviously we want to be able to send our kids on to the next level.” The hope for the Bucks is to have a Head Coach and General Manager in place once the 2019/2020 season ends. From there, Lieuwen said they will look to fill the other staffing positions on the team in order to create a unified culture. While jerseys, the team mascot, and other announcements are anticipated in the coming weeks and months, the big event for the hockey operations department will be Spring Camp at Western Financial Place from May 1st to 3rd, 2020. Lieuwen told that Spring Camp will be an open slate as they will try to bring in as many players as they can that could eventually work their way onto the roster. “The league itself is built so that older teams do seem to succeed but that’s not a rule, that’s just kind of a standard and I definitely think that we’ll be able to make some moves to bring in some veterans and some experience and then on top of that with our top recruits and our import players and our BC players, we’ll be able to be very competitive in our first year.” Lieuwen said Spring Camp will be a great way to connect with their potential players and prospects, noting that it will be a purposeful and competitive event that will allow the Bucks to see how their roster will possibly shape up come Training Camp.

One On One With Brooks Christensen:

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks will be hosting the British Columbia Hockey League’s premier Showcase event next season. The four day event kicks of the league’s regular season and is a major event for NCAA coaches and scouts come watch some of the best Junior A hockey players in the country. This will be the first time Salmon Arm has hosted the event, as it was held in Chilliwack since its inception in 2012 and was split between Chilliwack and Penticton last year. Silverbacks GM Brooks Christensen talks about the event and it’s economic effect it will have on the community.

Express Make Statement Regarding Goaltending Situation:

The Coquitlam Express would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Clay Stevenson who played his final junior hockey game Friday night in Penticton. We would also like to provide clarity regarding his NCAA commitment and eligibility to play junior hockey after his 21st birthday. Clay’s performance this season helped us become the top team in the BCHL. Clay is leading the league in almost every goaltedning category and has broken numerous franchise records along the way. He persevered through unthinkable tragedy after losing his mother in September. Unfortunately, due to college regulations, he cannot play junior hockey after his 21st birthday (March 3rd) to remain admissible to Dartmouth College. As is the case with many Ivy League institutions, this is an admissions regulation and not an NCAA or Dartmouth Hockey ruling. The Express organization was aware of this situation for some time, and added goaltender Joe Howe ahead of the trade deadline to ensure we had 2 BCHL goaltenders for the post season. Express staff had also been working with Dartmouth to try and find a solution, but all parties were unable to find a scenario that allowed Clay to continue playing. Dartmouth College is a tremendous institution and we are thrilled to follow Clay’s journey as a student athlete beginning in September. The Express could not be more proud of Clay and his achievements on and off the ice during the past 3 seasons. He will be joining our staff as a volunteer mentor and assist our players and organization as we continue to keep the train rolling. His story is not over with us just yet! If you have any inquiries, please contact Director of Communications Jacob Lazare

Bucks Sell Over 1,000 Season Tickets In Two Days:

The Cranbrook Bucks had season tickets for their inaugural BCHL season go on sale this past Saturday morning and according to News1130 sports anchor Chris Wahl, the team has sold more than 1,100 since then. Wahl was the Director of Sales and Public Relations for the WHL’s Kootenay Ice from 2014-17.

Dukovac Commits To Clippers For 2020-21 Season:

With this season drawing to a conclusion and a long playoff run looming, the Nanaimo Clippers are still hard at work recruiting top-end players for the 2020-2021 season. One of the first recruits is 2002 born forward, Max Dukovac. He is currently on the Chicago Mission U18 team of the HPHL where he has 21 points in 14 games including 10 goals. There is no question Max has a knack for scoring as in the USHS-IL, over the previous two seasons, he had 92 points including 51 goals and 41 assists in only 45 games played. He has dual citizenship so he is not an import roster spot as well. Darren Naylor remarked, “After watching Max play at the Calgary Macs Tournament over the Christmas break, I identified him early as a future BCHL star and made arrangements to meet Maxand his father while in Calgary. Max is a player that creates a lot of offense. He has a high hockey IQ and seems to always put himself in a good position to score. He has an NHL caliber shot and release that is similar to current Clipper, Josh Bourne. Maxjoins us from the prestigious Chicago Mission program, the same team that we recruited Robbie Drazner from several years back.” Max, a highly sought after recruit, commented, “There are a couple of different reasons that I decided to commit to Nanaimo. They have a winning tradition, Nanaimo is a beautiful area, and the program succeeds at developing and as well as moving kids on to the next level.”

Forfellow Commits To Bucks For 2020-21 Season:

The Cranbrook Bucks (BCHL) are excited to announce the commitment of Owen Forfellow for the 2020-2021 season. The 2002 born defencemen from Abbotsford, BC currently plays for the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the BCMML where he has 16 points in 29 games. Fraser Valley currently sits second in the BCMML standings through 32 games. “We are really excited that Owen will be coming to Cranbrook for next season” said Owner and President Nathan Lieuwen. “He is a well rounded, good skating defensemen and an outstanding young man which makes him a great fit for the type of team we are building here.

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