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:
Roloson Commits To Kings:
The Powell River Kings are pleased to announce the commitment of ’03 defensemen, Ross Roloson to the 2020-2021 roster. The 5’11, Woodbury, Minnesota native will join his brother Brett on the ice for the coming season, after playing in 35 game with the Northern Alberta Xtreme Prep of the CSSHL. Ross registered 4 goals and 30 assists while at NAX and he also suited up for 5 games with the Spruce Grove Saints in the AJHL. “Ross is a smooth skating, puck moving defensemen who has all the tools to excel in the BCHL and beyond,” says Kings Head Coach Brock Sawyer. “He has a great stick and he thinks the game very well. Adding a young defenseman like Ross to our program is a big addition for us. He will complement our returning core and has the potential to be an elite player in the league for years to come.” Please join us in welcoming Ross to the Powell River Kings organization.
Bulldogs Continue To Roll With The Off-Season Punches:
As many have said, there isn’t a manual when it comes to what the Bulldogs and the rest of the BCHL are facing. COVID-19 and the ensuing shutdown of the sports & entertainment world has made this off-season anything but normal. Coming off the season the Bulldogs experienced, perhaps this latest set back is par for the course. “We’re doing what we can to make sure the business, and our club are healthy when we come out the other side of this” said club president David Michaud. “It’s honestly meant some tough choices to keep us as lean as possible while the revenue has really all but dried up. From a hockey perspective though, Joe Martin & Brandon Shaw have been relentless in their efforts to add to our strong returning core for next season.” The Bulldogs have committed to forwards Chase Klassen, Brandon Buhr, Adam Jeffrey, and Jacob MacDonald so far this spring. With such a strong contingent returning, the Bulldogs are optimistic that their roster is taking shape to be a competitor for and Island Division crown. “We’re always working the phones” said Bulldogs general manager & head coach Joe Martin. “We’re all in the same boat, so I think as a club we are doing whatever we can during this off-season to try and get a leg up. Losing out spring camps has changed some things, but I think the work we have done so far this off-season has us feeling pretty good with where things are at.” Like all clubs in the BCHL, the Bulldogs are in a waiting game to hear from Hockey Canada and the provincial health authorities on what’s next. The hope of course is that all the heavy lifting that has been done by the people of BC will see the virus settle down and allow things to get back to normal by the fall. If however the “new” normal looks a little different than we’re used to, the Bulldogs are prepared to do whatever it takes. “We’re really preparing for all scenarios” said Michaud. “Time is on our side to prepare for not only life returning to normal, but building contingencies in case we need to alter our course. As a league, we’re committed to doing what’s right for our players, our fans, and our businesses so that we’re as strong as ever for the day we can welcome our players back and the puck can drop for next season.”
Fred Harbinson Reflects On A Cancelled Season, Hopes Team Is Back ‘In Full Force’ In The Fall:
In 25 years of coaching hockey Penticton Vees head coach, Fred Harbinson, has never been in a situation like he found himself in on March 12, 2020 — when was he handed the difficult task of telling his team that the BCHL playoffs had been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier in the day, the team had finished what Harbinson called one of their best practices of the year. The coach would later call the team back to the rink to tell them it would also be their last practice of the year. “When I first started talking, I think a lot of them thought I was saying that it (the season) was going to be put on hold and as I continued to go on I think it started to sink in that what I was actually saying was that the season was over,” said Harbinson from his Penticton home. “It’s hard because for a lot of them that’s the way their junior hockey career ends and their time in Penticton ends. “There was a lot of different emotions that went into it. That day was tough.” The Western News recently caught up with Harbinson to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted the Vees organization and players, the fate of the BCHL amid financial concerns, and how the Vees plan to build for next season. Harbinson has kept busy recruiting and scouting possible line-up additions for next season, albeit not in person. He’s spent an unprecedented amount of time watching hockey tapes due to the fact that he can no longer view players in person. “We’re still trying to build our roster with the anticipation that we’re going to be playing in the fall,” Harbinson said from his office filled with Vees’ memorabilia. In addition to scouting potential new players, Harbinson has also made a point to keep in touch with returning players. This week, he reached out to each returning player to make sure everyone is on the same page. “There’s some different things that have been thrown out there that could create a little bit of confusion about what’s happening next year and I just want to make sure that our guys have the proper message moving forward,” he said. One area that has presented a unique challenge for Harbinson and his coaching staff has been how to ensure players are keeping in the best shape possible given the time away from the gym and rink. “That’s one big difference from way back in the day when you had to keep your thumb on them (players) to make sure they’re doing their workouts. Nowadays, these guys all have their own trainers and personal skills coaches and all that stuff but obviously that’s all been put on hold,” said Harbinson. To combat the lack of resources, assistant coach Matt Fraser put together a workout program which assumed the players had nothing — no weights and no access to a gym. “Some guys obviously have stuff at their homes but we came up with a workout program that they could all do. So every few weeks we’re monitoring that and trying to switch it up and keep it as interesting as possible but it’s definitely a bigger challenge that what we’ve seen in the past,” said Harbinson. At the time of the cancellation, Harbinson’s club had just made easy work of the West Kelowna Warriors in the first round of the BCHL playoffs, winning the series in five games. Coming off an impressive 44-12-1-1 regular season, the team was poised to take a legitimate run at the franchise’s 13th Fred Page Cup. Harbinson, however, refutes that his team’s strong season made the cancellation any harder of a pill to swallow. “All the teams that were left in the playoffs had a chance to win,” said the Vees coach of 13 years. “That’s what makes our league so great right now is the parody of so many teams that can beat each other and in the playoffs, you never know. “But it did hurt because we had lost early in the playoffs the year before so the whole year we were trying to redeem ourselves and we had a heck of a year.” Harbinson admits that the 2018-19 Penticton Vees roster had holes that were exploited in the playoffs, despite a successful regular season. But this year he was confident his team had all the right pieces to go on a deep playoff run. “We had the goaltending, we had a solid defensive core, we could score, and we could play physical. We were a lot like we were in 2017 where we could beat you different ways except we had more talent this year.” Most importantly, each player on the team was 100 per cent committed no matter their role, said Harbinson. “Whenever I’ve had championship teams here you have to have that and this year we had that total buy-in,” said the four-time BCHL Championship winner. With the 2019-20 season officially over, the Penticton Vees organization has shifted gears to preparing for the upcoming season. However, there is a chance that the league may not look the same once it returns. With the bulk of BCHL profits coming from ticket sales, the league is experiencing financial hardships due to lost revenue from the season’s cancellation. The league recently reached out to the provincial government to request financial help and while unlikely at this time there is concern that some teams may fold. Harbinson was quick to extinguish these concerns, citing the fact that people have speculated that certain teams could go under for years yet they “always find a way” to survive. Harbinson thinks the league asking for financial help may have been misconstrued by the public. “Those guys (BCHL commissioner, Steve Hebb and franchise owners) have done a great job of trying to get ahead of things here. It was misinterpreted a bit. They’re trying to get to the government to see if there’s anything we qualify for,” he said. “A lot of these organizations are more than just a hockey team, they do a lot economically for their communities. There’s a lot of other businesses that are in the same shape; we’re not putting one in front of the other. “We’re trying to find ways to keep people employed, ways to keep these programs viable not just for the short-term but for the long-term. The truth of the matter is: maybe when it’s all said and done there could be some teams that might need a year but we’re not even close to that yet. “I think everybody has indicated that they’re going to come back and teams are working along like that’s going to happen.” Looking ahead to the 2020-21 season, Harbinson is confident that his club can once again assemble a strong roster despite losing some key pieces. And the club has begun to put in work to do just that, already bringing in six new players for next season. There will be a handful of returning players but also a number of key departures from the 2019-20 squad. Integral forwards Danny Weight, Jay O’Brien, Lukas Sillinger, Colton Kalezic and captain David Silye will all be moving on to college hockey next season. Finding replacements for the high-scoring forwards will be one of the Vees’ main off-season priorities, said Harbinson. The organization has already begun to do so with five new forwards committing to the team for the 2020-21 season. One recent addition Harbinson hopes can help fill the void is 17-year-old centre Ryan McGuire. McGuire, 6’2” 185 lbs, was ranked 105th among North American skaters eligible for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft by Central Scouting Services. Harbinson said he has already envisioned McGuire filling Colton Kalezic’s spot playing the middle between Tyler Ho and Tristan Amonte. “He’s a passionate player, he plays hard, he plays both ways and he’s a guy that can do a little bit of everything. I think McGuire with those two guys could be a real force,” said the coach. Harbinson also noted that how returning forwards like Ho, Amonte, Liam Malmquist and Jackson Neidermayer progress with one more year of development will be crucial for the 2020-21 squad. “It will be exciting to see those guys a year older and stronger,” he said. In net, Harbinson said the goaltending tandem of Yaniv Perets and Carl Stankowski may have to be split up because both players will be 20-years-old at the start of the season (The BCHL allows a maximum of six 20-year-old players on a team). Whatever the organization decides to to, Harbinson has no doubt his goaltending will be great next season. As for the back-end, the Vees will have less holes to fill. The look of the team’s defensive core will, however, greatly depend on if Conner Hutchison decides to head off to college or spend another season in Penticton. “If he comes back he can be one of the best defensemen in the league,” Harbinson said of Hutchison. Despite hockey still consuming a good portion of his life, Harbinson was quick to point out that the pandemic is bigger than hockey. “There’s bigger issues in the world right now and people with a lot bigger hardships,” he said. Until hockey returns Harbinson asks that fans stay positive in these trying times and do what they can to support each other. “This is uncharted territory… I feel really bad for what some people are going through. We’ll try to find a way to get through this and I think when it’s all over we’re going to need each other. “I really hope we’re there in full force in the fall because I think after we go through something like this you need some enjoyment in your life. I really think people will be tired of sitting at home and watching Netflix… and they’re going to want to be out with their family and watching hockey. “I just want everybody to know that we’re behind them and I’m sure they’ll be behind us when we get back on the ice.”
Busby Commits To Coquitlam:
Commitment: Another exciting commitment for your Express. Minnesota Defencemen LUKE BUSBY has signed with the Express. He played his past season for the Eden Prairie Eagles. We look forward to having you join the Express next season. Welcome aboard Luke!
Top 10 Langley Rivermen Goals of 2019-20
The Langley Rivermen had one of the highest scoring defencemen in the league in Jake Livingstone and were boosted by the return of sniper Brendan Budy to the lineup.
Waters Commits To Nanaimo:
The Nanaimo Clippers continue their offseason with the commitment of Brody Waters from the Elmira Sugar Kings of the GOJHL. Waters is a 2002 born forward from Heidelberg Ontario. He’s been playing in the GOJHL for the last two seasons after finishing his first year of midget. Waters was a high draft pick for the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League in 2018 but decided instead to pursue the college hockey route. In the GOJHL over the last two years, he had 71 points including 36 goals in 68 games, illustrating his offensive thrust. Darren Naylor, Head Coach and Vice President of the Clippers, added; “Brody is a big bodied forward with the ability to get to greasy areas to put the puck in the net. He plays hockey the Clipper style so I have every belief Brody will be an impactful player in the next few years for us. Brody has a strong work ethic with a great understanding of the offensive game.” Colin Birkas, Associate Coach noted: “Having coached in Ontario for many years, I became familiar with Brody. He is a nice skating aggressive forward with a highly hockey IQ. What I like the most about him is he’s an extremely competitive player and never gives up on the puck. Adding in his large frame and his knack for goalscoring, he’s definitely a marquee pickup for the Clippers.”
Niemo Commits To Cranbrook:
The Cranbrook Bucks (BCHL) are happy to announce that they have committed forward Nicholas Niemo for the 2020-2021 season. Niemo played last season for the Islanders Hockey Club of the NCDC collecting 20 goals and 30 assists for 50 points through 48 games. The 2001 born, Vermont native spent the previous season with the Islanders U18 Program collecting 38 points in 25 games. Nicholas joins his teammate from last season, goaltender Jacob Zacharewicz, in playing for the Bucks this coming season. “Our staff is happy to add a player of Nicks caliber to our hockey team for the 2020-21 season.” Said Head Coach and General Manager Ryan Donald. “Beyond his offensive production, it became clear to our staff that Nick has many of the intangibles that we are looking for in our players. He is a highly competitive individual, exceptionally self-motivated and driven to win. We are extremely excited to add yet another piece to our organization for this fall.” The Cranbrook Bucks wish to welcome Nicholas to the organization and the City of Cranbrook.
Grenier Commits To Cowichan Capitals:
The Cowichan Capitals are excited to announce their first commitment for the 2020/2021 season is 2003 born forward Adam Grenier out of Coquitlam, BC. Grenier a 16 year old, played last season with the Burnaby Winter Club’s Under 18 Prep team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League, a team that after the 2019 season had moved seven players onto BCHL rosters. “Growing up in Coquitlam, I’ve always been around the BCHL. I have a lot of buddies that have chose the BCHL, they say nothing but great things about the league. I chose this route because of the academics, and my style of play, school is really important to me.” Grenier said in a phone interview. In 2019/20 he finished 2nd in team scoring with 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points in 36 games, and said this year was all about gearing up for the next step. “The staff prepared us for junior, coached us like we were in junior. I’ve heard it’s a challenging jump from prep league to junior but I’m excited” said Grenier. In his past three seasons Adam has been a near point per game player at BWC, finishing with 22 points in 25 games on the Elite 15’s team in 2018/19 and adding 25 points in 30 games on the bantam prep team in 2017/18. “I see the ice pretty well, I like to play on both sides of the puck, skate well too, and obviously producing offence and points is fun” Grenier added with a laugh. Capitals Assistant Coach Dan Whiteford likes that hard-nosed style Grenier plays “Adam’s got good hockey sense, he’s a hard working guy with a nose for the net and a high ceiling. He was successful at a very good program in Burnaby Winter Club and we think he can produce at the junior level.” Looking at the success of last season and the previous two postseasons Adam decided Cowichan was the best place to continue his career and development. “They move guys on, which is important to me. I think this is a good spot to go to help me get to the next level and the NCAA.” Last season Grenier got his first taste of junior hockey suiting up for one game with the Chilliwack Chiefs, saying that getting a feel for the league and the game was big for his development “It was really nice to get a game in, it was Teddy Bear Toss so that was a lot of fun, it was nice to get that experience in. I’m really excited to come to Cowichan and play for the Capitals.”
D’Addario Commits To Surrey:
The Surrey Eagles organization is happy to announce the team has committed Tio D’Addario to the team for the 2020-21 season. The ’02’ forward from Montreal, Quebec is the 5th player committed for next season, following Cole Galata, Alec Saretzky, Holden Cardinal, and Matt Connor. Tio D’Addario is another speedy center for Cam Keith’s roster, as the Eagles Head Coach continues to look for speed, skill and hockey IQ to supplement his returning core for the 2020-21 B.C Hockey League campaign. The young forward who stands 5’10 and weighs 165 pounds played in 35 games split between 2 leagues with the Mount Academy Saints, where he scored 21 goals, 22 assists for 43 points. Tio was the 2nd leading scorer on the Saints last season. For Tio, moving to the Eagles will be a big jump in his career. Tio admitted he’s, “super excited. I spoke to Cam a lot and he seems like a great coach. The team moves the puck really well, and I’m super excited to join the team and try to help the team out.” Surrey’s puck movement was one of the biggest reasons why Tio chose Surrey, explaining “A lot of smart players who move the puck fast. They can get from one zone to the other in the blink of an eye.” For Eagles fans, Tio gave a personal scouting assessment of himself. He reports to the fans, “I’m a two-way centerman. I like playing in the offensive zone, and I like being a playmaker. I’ll use my speed to try and make some nice plays.” Cam was elated to have Tio join the fold. “Tio’s a brilliant two-way center. He has excellent hockey sense and can read the play at an elite level. A skilled playmaker who can also shoot the puck well.” Cam gave credit to his scouting staff for the find, revealing “Tio was brought to our attention from Olivier Filion, our Eastern Canada Scout.” Welcome to the Flock Tio!