Friday, July 31, 2020

Maine Mariners Add Former Viper McNicholas To Teams Season Ending Roster:

The ECHL announced their season-ending rosters as submitted by each of its member teams. The Maine Mariners have seventeen players listed on their season ending roster list one is former Vernon Vipers forward Michael McNicholas.

McNicholas was is in his second season with the ECHL Maine Mariners before COVID-19 cancelled the 2019-20 season. In 60 games McNicholas collected (11-goals-27-assists-38-points).

McNicholas spent four seasons at the University of New Hampshire before signing his first professional contract with the ECHL Indy Fuel March 6th 2018. McNicholas only played in three games that season before leaving for Norway the following season. McNicholas spent the 2018-19 season with the Manglerud Star, commonly known as Manglerud Star and abbreviated as MS, is a Norwegian ice hockey team based in Oslo, Norway. They currently play in the GET-ligaen. The Star signed McNicholas February 6 2018 was terminated October 26 2018. In 15 games with the Star McNicholas collected (2-goals-7-assists-9-points). The Mariners signed McNicholas November 1st 2018.

McNicholas played one season in Vernon (2013-14). The Vipers traded Aaron Hadley to Nanaimo for future considerations (Michael McNicholas & Jordan Klimek) on January 10th 2013. In 56 games with the Vipers McNicholas collected (23-goals-46-assists-69-points) scored one of the biggest goals in recent Vipers history, scored the overtime winner in Game 7 of the Interior Division Finals vs Penticton in 2014.

Michael McNicholas's Player Profile:

This was posted on the Mariners website:


June 16, 2020/in News /by mainemariners

PORTLAND, ME – June 16, 2020 – The Maine Mariners released their season-ending roster for 2019-20 on Tuesday, protecting the rights of 17 players between now and July 1

Here is the Mariners 2019-20 season-ending roster:




Each team is entitled to reserve rights to a maximum of eight players from the list of 20 by extending a qualifying offer no later than June 30. Of the eight qualified players, no more than four can be veterans (260 regular season professional hockey games played as of the start of the 2020-21 Season). Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded. Teams are not required to extend a qualifying offer to players who sign a contract prior to June 30.

The qualifying offer must remain open for acceptance until July 16 at which time the qualifying offer becomes null and void and the team may sign the qualified player to any salary or may elect to take no further action. Teams that extend a valid qualifying offer to a non-veteran player shall retain the rights to that qualified player for one playing season.

A team that extends a valid qualifying offer to a veteran player, or to a goaltender who has played more than 180 regular-season games, will retain the rights to that player until July 16. After July 16, if the veteran player or goaltender is not signed to a contract by the team, the veteran or goaltender shall be deemed a restricted free agent and shall be entitled to seek and secure offers of employment from other ECHL teams. Restricted free agents may not be traded. When a restricted free agent receives a contract offer from a team other than the team with the player’s rights and the restricted free agent wishes to accept the contract offer, the restricted free agent and the offering member must, within 24 hours, notify the ECHL, the team with the player’s rights and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association. The member with the player’s rights shall have seven days after the date it is notified to exercise its right to match the contract offer.

If a restricted free agent is not signed to either an offer sheet or a contract by an ECHL team by Aug. 1, the player shall be deemed an unrestricted free agent.

Starting on Tuesday, June 16

Full and half season ticket packages as well as mini plans and flex packs for the 2020-21 season, sponsored by Hannaford To Go, are available by calling 833-GO-MAINE. The Mariners are auctioning off five additional exclusive “HOME” jerseys through Handbid to benefit COVID-19 relief: one for Levey Day School and four others that will include a personalized name plate for each winner. The Mariners have also partnered with Evergreen Credit Union, the Portland Sea Dogs, and the Maine Red Claws to support the Good Shepherd Food Bank through a virtual food drive at

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Chiefs Give Forer Vipers Goaltender Gore Extension:

The Western Hockey League Spokane Chiefs have given former Vernon Vipers goaltender Lucas Gore a contract extension.

Gore will be entering his second season with the Chiefs as there goaltending consultant. The Chiefs signed Gore August 1st 2019.

After four seasons with the University of Regina (2011-2015) Gore signed with the ECHL Stockton Thunder on March 5th 2015. In 7 games with the Thunder Gore went 2-4-1 with a 4.37 GAA. Gore along with the Thunder moved to Adirondack becoming the Adirondack Thunder for the start of the 2015-16 season. Gore was protected by the Adirondack Thunder but never played a single game after the 2014-15 season.

Gore retired from hockey and was the goaltending coach with the 2016-17 Prince George Spruce Kings. Gore spent the past three seasons as a goaltending consultant with the Western Hockey League Kamloops Blazers before joining Kamloops minor hockey in May 2019.

Gore played one season in Vernon (2007-08). In 27 games with the Vipers Gore went 14-8-1 with a 3.31 GAA before joining the Western Hockey League Chilliwack Bruins the following season.

Lucas Gores Player Profile:

This was posted on the Chiefs website:

Chiefs Announce Contract Extensions for Multiple Hockey Staff Members

JUNE 8, 2020


Spokane, Wash. — The Spokane Chiefs announced on Monday that multiple members of the organization’s hockey staff have signed contract extensions.

Among those returning to the organization are assistant general manager Jim Hammett, goaltending consultants Lucas Gore and Jesse Plewis, equipment manager Tim Lindblade and education advisor Joe Everson.

“We’re very happy with the performance of our hockey staff,” said general manager Scott Carter. “We are proud to have them as part of the Chiefs family and look forward to more success to come.”

Hammett, who leads the Chiefs’ scouting department among other duties, enters his second year with the Chiefs after being hired in July 2019. He was previously an executive and scout for multiple National Hockey League clubs.

Gore and Plewis were also hired in 2019 and enter their second season with the club. Gore previously worked with the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL and Prince George Spruce Kings of the BCHL. Plewis spent time with the Portland Winterhawks (WHL) and Penticton Vees (BCHL).

Lindblade is entering his eighth season with the Chiefs after being hired in the summer of 2013. He previously worked with the Wenatchee Wild (then of the NAHL).

Everson is the longest tenured of the five extended on Monday, having worked with the Chiefs in some capacity for 30 years, beginning as liaison counselor for the team at Joel E. Ferris High School. He has officially served as Education Advisor for the Chiefs for the last 12 seasons, during which the team has been recognized as the WHL Scholastic Team of the Year (2015-16) and twice had a player named WHL Scholastic Player of the Year (Reid Gow in 2011-12 and Ty Smith in 2017-18).

Wednesday, July 29, 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:

Catching Up With The Backs EP. 3 – Shaw & Bennett

Salmon Arm Silverbacks broadcaster Nathan Kanter chats with Silverback forwards Logan Shaw and Drew Bennett over Zoom in the video below. The veterans share how the locker room came together over the course of last season, what was the difference in their first-round playoff sweep over Victoria, what they’re most looking forward to when next season rolls around, what they’ve been up to since COVID-19 hit and much more!

The Unique Chilliwack-Michigan Connection:

Throughout the Chilliwack Chiefs 30-year history, hundreds of players have played for NCAA teams, and a huge number have gone to schools based in the state of Michigan. They have also had players come from Michigan to join the Chiefs as well. It seems the Chiefs have more connections to Michigan over any other state. From players going to school and Michigan recruits coming to Chilliwack to Chiefs alumni playing in the Detroit Red Wings organization and other pro teams in Michigan. Even some of the Chiefs front office staff are fans of the Red Wings. Vice president Barry Douglas is a huge Wings fan and even saw them play at Joe Louis Arena before they moved to their new building.

Players From Michigan

Chilliwack has recruited some players from Michigan to come to play for the Chiefs.

  • Necco Belanger 2005-06/2007-08, Marquette, MI
  • Trevor Adams 2019-20, Muskegon, MI
  • Zach Diamantoni 2013-14, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Ben Israel 2012-13, Bloomfield Hills, MI
  • Joey Larson 2019-present, Brighton, MI
  • Stephan Balint 2004-06, Grosse Ile, MI
  • Justin Hernandez 2006-07, Farmington Hills, MI

Players to Michigan-based NCAA Schools

Over the years several Chiefs players have gone to play for NCAA Divison I hockey in Michigan

  • Bill Macgillivray 1990-91, Northern Michigan 1991-95
  • Brad Hodgins 1993-96, Michigan State 1996-2000
  • Shawn Horcoff 1995-96, Michigan State 1996-2000
  • Bob Gassoff 1996-97, University of Michigan 1997-2001
  • Brian Maloney 1997-99, Michigan State 1999-2003
  • Kevin Estrada 1997-2001, Michigan State 2001-05
  • Jeremy Jackson 1999-00, Michigan State 2000-01
  • Jeff Tambellini 2000-02, University of Michigan 2002-05
  • Zach Tarkir 2002-03, Northern Michigan 2003-07
  • Blake Cosgrove 2002-04, Northern Michigan 2004-09
  • Derek Janzen 2002-05/2006-07, Northern Michigan 2005-06/2007-09
  • Matt Butcher 2003-06, Northern Michigan 2006-10
  • Trevor Elias 2006-09, Western Michigan 2009-13
  • Milos Gordic 2006-09, Michigan Tech 2009-13
  • Derek Grant 2007-09, Michigan State 2009-11
  • Mason Blacklock 2010-11, Michigan Tech 2015-18
  • Malcolm Gould 2011-12, Michigan Tech 2012-16
  • David Bondra 2011-12, Michigan State 2012-16
  • Zach Diamantoni 2013-14, Northern Michigan 2014-18
  • Jake Hand 2013-15, Lake Superior State 2015-18
  • Darian Craighead 2015-16, Northern Michigan 2016-20
  • Jake Smith 2015-17, Michigan State 2017-Present
  • Joey Larson 2019-21, committed to Northern Michigan 2021-22
  • Brett Rylance 2019-21, committed to Northern Michigan 2021-22
  • Brett Willits 2019-20, committed to Northern Michigan 2020-21

Players to Michigan pro teams

Chilliwack has had many players play for pro teams in Michigan as well as the Detroit Red Wings organization.

  • Dennis Cholowski 2014-16, drafted by Detroit in 2016, plays 2019-present
  • Cooper Moore 2019-20, drafted by Detroit in 2019, committed to North Dakota 2020-21
  • Luke Esposito 2012-13, played for Grand Rapid Griffins (AHL) 2017-18
  • Zach Diamantoni 2013-14, plays for Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL) 2018-present
  • Matt Bickley 2001-02, played for the Kalamazoo Wings (IHL) 2007-08
  • Ryan Cyr 1999-2001, played for the Muskegon Fury (UHL) 2006-07
  • Brandon Fleenor 1996-97/1997-99, played for the Motor City Mechanics (UHL) 2004-05
  • Marco Emond 1997-98, played for the Flint Generals (UHL) 2004-05
  • Matt Holmes 1995-96, played for Muskegon Fury (UHL) 2001-02
  • John Craighead 1991-92, played for Detroit Vipers (IHL) 1994-96

Chilliwack has been a factory for players going to the state of Michigan, whether it’s college, minor pro, or the National Hockey League. It’s entirely likely more former Chiefs players will play in Michigan in the future. Maybe one day a school like Michigan Tech or the University of Michigan can repay the favor and have an exhibition game in Chilliwack against a U SPORTS school like the University of British Columbia or Trinity Western University. It could be a complete coincidence but there’s no doubt history shows a pipeline exists between “The Green Heart of the Province” and “The Motor City”.

Prince George-Penticton Trade:

The Penticton Vees Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club announced Monday the team has acquired forward Finlay Williams (’03) from the Prince George Spruce Kings in exchange for future considerations. Williams, 17, brings a plethora of experience to the Vees roster and also is a BC Hockey League champion, joining the Spruce Kings for the team’s run during the 2019 playoffs. The 6’0”, 190-pound forward got into 8 BCHL playoff games while suiting up for 6 Doyle Cup games and 6 games at the National Junior ‘A’ Championship, playing until the tournament’s final game. The North Vancouver, BC product joined the team full time for his 16-year-old season during the 2019/20 campaign, finishing with 11 goals and 20 assists for 31 points in 40 games played. Williams also has secured his future in collegiate hockey as he is committed to play with the University of Michigan Wolverines. In his time before Junior ‘A’, Williams played at the Burnaby Winter Club as part of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) where he tallied 74 points in 61 games split between his Bantam Prep and Midget Prep campaigns. He also represented British Columbia at the Canada Winter Games in 2018, posting 5 goals and 4 assists for 9 points in 7 games for Team BC. “Fin is an extremely mature person and player who will have an immediate impact on our program” stated President, General Manager and Head Coach, Fred Harbinson. The Vees would like to welcome Fin and his family to the Vees organization, the City of Penticton as well as the South Okanagan.

West Kelowna Warriors In-Game Experience:

In the movie Field of Dreams, a farmer keeps hearing a voice in his head telling him, “if you build it, he will come”. This same voice probably whispers in every junior hockey team’s collective mind. The trick is not to just make them come, but to keep them coming. For the West Kelowna Warriors, the game experience is key in ensuring the long term success of the franchise. For the junior hockey franchise, there are two components to keeping a solid fan base. The on-ice product and no less important, the game experience. Generally, it is difficult for a franchise to have a great on-ice product year after year. This is especially true in junior hockey. The player-team relationship lasts, at most, 4 years. Junior hockey is not only a transitional spot for players but for general managers, coaches, and other talented members of the front office. A great game experience will help smooth out those periods when the team is transitioning from bad to good to great (and, except for a few exceptions, every team will). Watching a hockey game is the easy part. The hoops you have to jump through to get to your seat, the extracurricular stimulus occurring while you’re watching and the simple act of getting out of the arena all have a lasting impact on the casual fan’s positive or negative impressions. Whether you are going to a movie, the theater, or any activity that requires you to ultimately interact with a lot of people, there are certain barriers you think through to decide whether the effort is worth the reward.

  • Ease and availability of parking
  • Purchasing a ticket
  • Concessions
  • In-game entertainment

For the West Kelowna Warriors, minimizing these barriers will have a positive impact on developing a solid, committed fan base.


Parking at Royal LePage Place is not a problem. It’s free and available in the parking lot to the east, on the roadways surrounding the arena, and in the paved parking lot down by the high school. All parking is within walking distance to the facility and for the most part, easy to navigate. If the arena is full though, you may end up with a bit of a walk. The one shortcoming is that there is not enough parking available for people with disabilities.

Grade: 5/5

Purchasing a ticket

There are a variety of ways to purchase a ticket for the game. For the committed fan, the most cost-effective and easiest way is to buy a season ticket. This option may not for everyone. Game packs are also available that may be more affordable. There are restaurants that will include game tickets as part of a meal promotion. Single-game tickets can be purchased online. If you have fundamental computer knowledge, this is absolutely the best way to buy a single game ticket. Some franchises add a service charge for this but the Warriors do not. Lastly, you can purchase a ticket at the arena. You can go to the Warriors office before the game and buy them or you can queue up at one of the two ticket windows at game time. The ticket window option can be a bit frustrating just before game time.

Grade: 5/5


There are really two parts to this. The ability to purchase, and the food, the price, and the service. The ability to purchase will always be a problem at this location. The design is awful. The building was built in 2007 and it probably felt 20 years old the day it opened. This was not a problem the franchise created but will suffer because of it. The team gave up the concession rights in 2016 but got them back a year later. Having a bad set up and not having the ability to manage the impacts of a bad set up are roadblocks for the team to manage this part of the experience. The Warriors have done some things to try and minimize the impact. They have beer and wine sales in two locations, and pizza, popcorn, and other small snacks in the southeast corner. What they are missing is a coffee bar, because right now you have to queue up in the concession line if you want just a coffee or specialty beverage. The food, the price, and the service are fine, I guess. It is concession food and for the most part, it’s fairly good and the price is comparable to other venues in the BCHL. The staff does the best they can, working with long lines and a tight kitchen. However, if the Warriors begin to attract in excess of 1,000 people per game, this will become a real problem.

Grade: 3/5

In-game entertainment

This is a matter of personal preference. There is too much music for some, not enough for others. The music is too loud, not loud enough. It’s not traditional enough, it’s not more up to date. For the most part, it is on par with most arenas. The game host is good. Very animated, sometimes a bit too sarcastic but works effectively to keep the crowd in the game. For a few months last season, there were no 50/50 tickets being sold. The absence of a 50/50 draw was a glaring issue and thankfully the Warriors brought it back later in the season. The sound system is good. The pregame activities are above average. The mascot is effective and readily available for younger fans to interact with. The between period entertainment is pretty standard fare. The first period entertainment is hit and miss and the frisbee toss has been a long-time tradition for the second period intermission. The biggest thing missing is video. In this day and age, the absence of that one component will always be a limiting factor of the in-game experience in this facility.

Grade: 3/5

What does it all mean?

With everything else being relatively equal to other facilities, the problems with the concession and not having a video board brings does make the casual fan think twice before heading out to the game, especially if the team is in transition. The addition of a video board, a little more work on the between period entertainment, and improvements to the concession experience are a big step in improving the in-game experience. In its present form, “it has been built; they came but they probably won’t stay” when the team is struggling. In Trail, the new owners worked with the city to make changes to enhance the in-game experience and in four years they have doubled attendance from 1,000 to 2,000 per game. No doubt the team has been much better over that time but the enhancement of the game experience has clearly helped. The success of a team will always be a big part in determining success at the box office but with a few changes, the in-game experience can help to smooth out the parts during a season when the team is struggling.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Vipers Lose Longtime Volunteer/Season Ticket Holder: Gord Williams

This was in Thursday's Vernon Morning Star newspaper:

Gord Williams

Jul 14, 2020       OBITUARIES

February 1, 1934 – July 14, 2020

Heaven received another Angel on Tuesday, July 14th, 2020. It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Gord Williams. Born in Manitoba, he died peacefully in his sleep with Elaine and his little companion Kasey by his side at home here in Vernon after a long courageous battle with cancer.
He is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Elaine, his children: Terry-Lynn, Darrell (Sherry), Cheryl (Dennis) and Karen; his step children: Kim (Bob), Debra, Charmayne (Lisle), Cheryl (Jody), Derek (Cora-lee) and Kari (Deanna); 21 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Gord was predeceased by his parents Charles and Victoria and three sisters.
Gord was a competitive water skier and even skied on trick skis at 70 years old on Sugar Lake! He was a long time truck driver who had a passion for horses. He enjoyed team roping with his daughter Cheryl as well as training, cutting and penning, all which brought out the cowboy in him. His horses Mis-T and Turkey and his border collie Thea were his partners in crime. Gord also enjoyed spending his spare time fishing and golfing. His winter hobby was busy cheering and volunteering for his favorite hockey team, the Vernon Vipers.
There will be a private service held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cancer Society. Expressions of sympathy may be forwarded to the family at
Arrangements entrusted to Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services® Vernon 250-558-0866 & Armstrong 250-546-7237
The family would like to express their sincerest gratitude to Dr Deetlefs, Dr Schultz and Dr Rankin, for their compassion for and support of Gord during his journey.
Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services

Monday, July 27, 2020

Vipers Off-Season Report With General Manager & Head Coach Jason McKee:

This was posted on


Written by Brieann Knorr on July 16, 2020

Brieann has a passion for hockey and sports media. She lives in Vernon and has been a supporter of the Vipers for her entire life. In 2014 she obtained a diploma in broadcasting from Mount Royal University in Calgary. Brieann is looking forward to using her skills to cover the Vipers and junior hockey.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Vernon Vipers general manager and head coach Jason McKee this past week. We talked about the Vipers’ abrupt end to the season, the off-season, and what lies ahead for the team.

McKee feels the 2019-20 season was an overall success but his end goal every year is to win a national championship. He also said his team showed their true colors when faced with heavy adversity in the season.

“We had some inconsistencies throughout our year, but as the season progressed, I felt our team was playing the best that we’d played all year.”

Before the playoffs were cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vernon was set to play the Penticton Vees in the Interior Conference semi-finals. The Vipers had just come off a 4-1 series victory over the Wenatchee Wild and according to McKee, was excited and ready to play the Vees.

“We were emotionally invested in those games and the guys were good, I was super proud of the way they played. We were excited about the opportunity to play Penticton, we knew we had just beaten a very good team in Wenatchee. We also knew we had a very good opponent coming up but our confidence level at that time was very high. Man-to-man, we felt like we were gonna be right in the thick of things with Penticton.”

Recruitment for 2020-21

With 10 new recruits joining the team for the 2020-21 season, McKee has been busy. Three of the recruits came from the same Chicago Mission U18 team. McKee is excited to have Desmond Johnson, Nicholas Remissong, and Daniel Rozsival join the Vernon Vipers.

“Those were a few guys we identified early, we were able to watch them at Mac’s Tournament and got to know them a little bit, and it’s one of those things where we’d knew they’d be comfortable coming together,” explained McKee.

He emphasized that despite coming from the same U18 team, all three players individually made the decision to come to Vernon.

“Obviously they have to do what’s best for them and their career and they felt like Vernon was that option. It probably isn’t going to work out like that every year but for this year, maybe we got a little bit lucky but we’re really happy to be adding all three players.”

The Vipers have recruited a number of players during the off-season but the most recent is Ayden Third. Third is from Regina and spent the last season playing for the Regina Pats Canadians U18 AAA team. McKee says his playing style is very important in the BCHL.

“Ayden is a big strong kid, he was at our camp in 2019 and a big part of his midget team last year. He’s a really good defensive defenseman but can also help on the offensive side of the puck,” described McKee. “He’s got good size, he’s very difficult to get around and play against, and he’s mobile. I think that’s the biggest thing in the BCHL, you need to move well out there and skate and he’s able to do those things.”

Trade with Bonnyville

Vernon also traded for 2002-born forward Jarrod Semchuk from the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in exchange for future considerations. Mckee is excited to see what Semchuk does with the Vipers and hopes a fresh start will see him reach his full potential.

“Semchuk was 17-years-old in Salmon Arm last season. He’s cut his teeth a little bit in the league. It’s a big step from midget to junior especially as an underage player playing in the BCHL,” said McKee.

The Vipers boss feels Semchuk will benefit from a fresh start in Vernon. “We’re hoping that some of the numbers he put up in midget will translate to the junior level as an 18-year-old. He’s still a young player, we think there’s the potential for Jarrod to become a real impact guy in the BCHL. He’s from Kamloops so he’s a local kid in the area, and we are excited to add him to our roster.”

Expectations for 2020-21

The Snakes are a much younger team than they were at this point last year. McKee doesn’t think it’s will be a hindrance but rather serve as a motivator for the team and players. He’s excited about his team’s youthfulness and thinks they will be highly competitive whenever the puck drops for the new season.

“I think there’s going to be energy, exuberance and they’ll grow together. We’re going to make mistakes but as a staff, we’ve got to be patient, work with these guys, and go through the trials and tribulations together.”

“It’s not a crutch, it’s a motivating factor. We’re young but we’re gonna go after it. I look forward to working with the players and seeing them grow,” added McKee.

With Vernon needing a new leadership core after the graduation of Connor Marritt, Landon Fuller, and Ben Sanderson, McKee says management will decide at a later date which players will get letters this season.

“We will take our time in deciding what that looks like. The returning players know they’ll have to carry more of a leadership role this year.”

“Some of the young guys we brought in have been captains or alternate captains on their teams, that’s a good sign of character as we’ll have to get leadership from a lot of different areas. The focus is on making sure each individual is ready to go and help each other out when they can.”

There are still a lot of unknowns because of the COVID-19 pandemic but the Vernon Vipers continue to plow forward in planning for the 2020-21 BCHL season.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Thunderbolts Add Ex Viper Hannoun To Teams Protected List:

The Southern Professional Hockey League announced its Protected Lists as submitted by each of its member teams. The Evansville Thunderbolts have thirteen players listed on their protected list one of is former Vernon Vipers forward Demico Hannoun.

Hannoun started the 2019-20 season with the Thunderbolts after signing a three game tryout. Hannoun was released November 16th 2019 would re-sign two days later and finish the season with the Thunderbolts before the season was cancelled due to COVID-19. In 37 games this season Hannoun collected (11-goals-11-assists-22-points).

Hannoun spent two years (2016-2018) at Northern Michigan University before leaving school to sign with the ECHL Indy Fuel. The Fuel signed Hannoun August 28th 2018, never played a game after being released October 11 2018. Hannoun played last season with the FFHG Meudon Comets. The Comets play in the French Ice Hockey Federation. In 10 games last season Hannoun had (7-goals-15-assists-22-points).

Hannoun played one season in Vernon (2013-14) before being traded to Surrey along with Ben Butcher June 9th 2014 as the Future Considerations in the Brett Mulcahy trade from January 2014. The Vipers sent forward Chase McMurphy & Future Considerations to Surrey for Brett Mulcahy & Future Considerations on January 6th 2014. Hannoun played two seasons in Surrey before joining the Vipers. Hannoun was part of the future considerations in the Vipers-Eagles trade at the 2012 BCHL trade deadline that saw Vernon send Adam Tambellini & Michael Roberts to Surrey for future considerations wich at the end of that season were named (Mason Blacklock and Demico Hannoun). In 47 games with the Vipers Hannoun collected (15-goals-29-assists-44-points).

Demico Hannoun's Player Profile:

This was posted on the Thunderbolts website:

Head Coach Jeff Bes announces Protected Player List


EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Evansville Thunderbolts head coach Jeff Bes announced the team's protected players list for the 2020-21 season Friday afternoon. These are players that can't be signed by any other team in the Southern Professional Hockey League. It is headed by MVP and Rookie of the Year forward Austin Plevy and alternate captain forward Derek Sutliffe.

Evansville Thunderbolts Protected Players List

Name                         Position

Austin Plevy              Forward
Derek Sutliffe            Forward
Seth Swenson           Forward
Matthew Barnaby      Forward
Noah Corson             Forward
Demico Hannoun      Forward
Hayden Hulton          Forward   
Zane Jones               Forward
Connor Sanvido        Forward    
Brett Radford            Forward
Braden Hellems        Defenseman  
Tanner Butler           Defenseman
Brian Billett              Goaltender

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Episode 16 Vernon Vipers Voices With Jimmy Lambert

This is on the Vernon Vipers twitter account:


July 24 2020

Episode 16 of Vipers Voices is available now as we chat with Jimmy Lambert (@JL___23)

Give it a listen/watch and don't forget to subscribe!#OneGoal

Friday, July 24, 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:

Merritt-Coquitlam Trade:

The Coquitlam Express picked up the rights to 2000-born forward Spencer Schneider from the Merritt Centennials for future considerations. Schneider, from Lakeville, Minnesota, began the 2019-20 season in Merritt with two goals and two assists in 20 games before joining the Aberdeen Wings of the North American Hockey League in late November. The Bowling Green commit finished with seven goals and 14 assists in 30 games for the Wings.

Silverbacks Name Damon New Assistant Coach:

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks are pleased to announce the hiring of 39-year-old Derek Damon as an assistant coach and director of player development for the 2020-21 BCHL season. Damon, a native of Bangor, ME, retired from pro hockey this past spring after a 14-year career, 12 seasons of which were spent in Europe, where he totalled over 500 career points. “When we first heard that Derek was looking to transition into coaching, it was an easy decision. We had several calls from well-known hockey minds recommending Derek for the position,” Silverbacks general manager Brooks Christensen said. “In my initial conversation with him, I knew right away he was on the same page as myself and the rest of the coaching staff. Anytime you can add a staff member with experience like Derek’s, it will not only help our organization, but the players he’s working with as well.” The former University of Maine standout most recently served as captain for the Heilbronner Falken in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL 2) in Germany for two seasons, where he compiled 38 goals and 83 assists for 121 points in 102 games. Previously, the forward made stops in Denmark, Switzerland, Austria and Finland. “I am very excited for the opportunity to join the Salmon Arm Silverbacks,” Damon said. “The Silverbacks are an organization with a rich tradition of excellence and I look forward to contributing to the club’s continued success. I am grateful for the confidence placed in me by Brooks Christensen and I look forward to working with coaches Tyler, Tanner and Carter, as well as this talented group of players. My family and I are thrilled to be joining the Salmon Arm community.” Damon attended the University of Maine from 2001-06, winning the Hockey East Championship in 2004 alongside future NHLers Jimmy Howard, Dustin Penner and Mike Lundin. The 5-foot-11 forward registered 51 goals and 60 assists for 111 points during his NCAA career. Damon, who also holds a master’s degree in sports management, will be relocating to Salmon Arm at the end of August, after which he will be joined by his wife Andrea and their three kids (Elizabeth, Keith and Annabelle). The Silverbacks would like to welcome Derek and his family to the northern Shuswap!

BCHL Next Generation: West Kelowna Warriors

All summer we’ll be going team-by-team to profile new players coming in for the 2020-21 season with recaps of offseason commits and acquisitions. We will also have interviews and scouting reports from the coaches.

First up is the West Kelowna Warriors.

After struggling out of the gate in the 2019-20 season, the West Kelowna Warriors made a change behind the bench in late December and hired Simon Ferguson as an interim head coach for the remainder of the year. After he was brought in, the Warriors improved significantly from their early-season form and went 9-10-2 after the coaching change to lock up the final spot in the BCHL playoffs. Ferguson, who previously enjoyed a successful playing career, including a Memorial Cup title with the Kelowna Rockets as well as a Calder Cup AHL championship with the Portland Pirates, now has the interim tag removed from his job title and is set to enter his first training camp as the team’s head coach. The Warriors were a young team last year and subsequently have several returning players that will be relied upon to play key roles in 2020-21. “John Evans was a 17-year-old last year and he put up a lot of numbers,” said Ferguson. “We expect him to kind of drive the offence on the younger end. We also have Carter Wilkie coming back, a veteran 20-year-old. We expect him to play a lot of minutes and put up a lot of offence as well.” On top of the returning players, the Warriors have been busy recruiting new talent as well. Of the six players they’ve announced committed to play next season, five of them already have an NCAA scholarship in hand. “We’ve had people in the buildings watching them,” said Ferguson. “We’ve taken a lot of time watching video and watching them play in actual games live on the east coast – even watching them practice. We’ve invested a lot of time and money into selecting these players.”

2020-21 commits:

Marcus Joughin (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Tecumseh, Ont.
  • Previous team: New Hampton School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Sacred Heart University (2021-22)

The 19-year-old led New Hampton in scoring last year with a whopping 79 points in 35 games, with 63 of those points being assists. In his two years of prep, he ended up with 118 points in 70 games.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s an elite passer who plays as a centreman. He’s got good speed and we expect him to help drive the offence this year.”

Jack Cronin (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Hamilton, Mass.
  • Previous team: Noble & Greenough School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Princeton University (2021-22)

Cronin wrapped up his final season of prep school at Noble & Grenough in Dedham, Mass. last year where he finished third in team scoring with 36 points and second in goals with 22. Over his four seasons there, he averaged exactly a point per game with 108 in 108 contests.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s a good skater and a good passer. Overall, he’s a solid hockey player with a good IQ.”

Connor Joyce (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Dedham, Mass.
  • Previous team: St. Sebastian’s School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Boston College (2021-22)

Joyce played the last three seasons at St. Sebastian’s in Needham, Mass. Last year was his most productive season where he notched 33 points in 28 games to finish third in team scoring.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s just kind of a natural goal scorer. He’s committed to Boston College. He plays with good speed and has a good IQ.”

Philip Tresca (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Boston, Mass.
  • Previous team: The Rivers School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Yale University (2021-22)

Tresca played at the Rivers School where he was the team’s second-leading scorer in 2019-20 with 28 points in 28 games.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“Philip was listed on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings in the fall. He’s a gifted offensive player with great hands and is a good passer.”

Pat Lawn (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Waltham, Mass.
  • Previous team: The Rivers School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Bentley University (2021-22)

The fourth and final player on our list with Massachusetts roots, Lawn just wrapped up a long prep school career at The Rivers School where he played alongside Tresca. Lawn was the top-scoring defenceman on the team in 2019-20 with 16 points in 29 games.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“Pat is a really solid defenceman. He’s an excellent puck mover who has really good feet.”

Tyson Jugnauth (2004, D)

  • Hometown: Kelowna, B.C.
  • Previous team: Okanagan Rockets (BCMML)

At 16-years-old, Jugnauth will be one of the youngest players in the BCHL next year. He’s coming off a season with the Rockets where he put up five goals and 23 assists for 28 points in 34 games. He was also recently invited to camp for Team Canada’s Under-17 team.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s a guy with elite-level potential. He’s a player who has big offensive upside.”

Acquired via trade:

Zach Bennett (2000, G)

  • Hometown: Winnipeg, Man.
  • Previous team: Nanaimo Clippers

Bennett is coming off an outstanding season last year with the Nanaimo Clippers where he split duties with Jordan Naylor. The 19-year-old finished the season with the fourth-best save percentage in the BCHL with a mark of .927, a top-10 goals-against average at 2.49 and tied for the fifth-most shutouts with three.

Adam Trotman (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Maple, Ont.
  • Previous team: Coquitlam Express

Trotman ended his first BCHL season with 44 points in 58 games after joining the Express last offseason. Before heading west, the 20-year-old played two seasons with the Newmarket Hurricanes of the OJHL.

Jarrett Penner (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Saskatoon, Sask.
  • Previous team: Notre Dame Hounds (SJHL)

Penner spent the past two seasons with Notre Dame in the SJHL where he had seasons of 39 and 37 points. His best year came in 2018-19  when he potted 22 goals for the Hounds.

Zach Brooks (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Bromont, Que.
  • Previous team: Cowichan Valley Capitals

After coming over from Quebec, Brooks notched 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points with the Capitals in 2019-20.

Vees To Host Three Camps In August:

The Penticton Vees Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club announced Friday the team will be hosting three camps in late August as they prepare for the upcoming 2020/21 BC Hockey League season. Three separate camps will take place at the South Okanagan Events Centre in the final two weeks of August. A pair of camps will skill and conditioning while the third and final camp is an identification camp as the team will look to fill spots on their affiliate roster for the upcoming campaign.

Details on the camps are as follows:

Penticton Vees Skills and Conditioning Camp:

The Penticton Vees will be hosting two separate Skills and Conditioning camps at the end of August. Players are welcome to attend one or both camps.

August 19th to 21st AND August 24th to 26th at the SOEC
2001 to 2005 Born Players
2 Ice Sessions per day, 6 Ice Sessions total
$275 fee for one of the camps or $500 total for both camps

Interested players and families can contact Vees Assistant GM Steve Cawley at

Penticton Vees Identification Camp:

August 28th to 30th at the SOEC
2001 to 2005 Born Players
1-2 Ice Sessions per day, 4 Ice Sessions total
$295 fee

The Vees Organization will be looking to fill all of their Affiliate Player Spots for the upcoming 2020/2021 season from this camp.

Those interested in attending can contact Vees Assistant GM Steve Cawley at

Bucks Add Kurylo To Roster:

The Cranbrook Bucks (BCHL) are excited to announce the addition of defencemen Carson Kurylo. Kurylo spent the last the past 3 seasons in the AJHL playing his last 2 seasons with the Camrose Kodiaks. The 19-year-old Calgary native has collected 17 goals and 38 assists for 55 points in 137 AJHL regular season and playoff games played.  Carson also won the 2018 Stewy Stewart Memorial Award for displaying attributes of character, perseverance, integrity, and sportsmanship. “We are pleased to add a veteran defender to our lineup for this season.” Said Head Coach and General Manager Ryan Donald.”  Our staff believes that Carson will bring leadership and stability to our blue line and will be able to impact our lineup immediately.  Carson is a player that is excited to be a part of the community here in Cranbrook and will be an excellent addition for our hockey club.” The Cranbrook Bucks wish to welcome Carson to the community and the Bucks family.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Kent, Herbst, Hachisuka & Duerr Selected At North American Hockey League Entry Draft:

41 players from the BCHL including four Vernon Vipers were selected at Tuesday's North American Hockey League's draft.

Defenceman Nicholas Kent was drafted 2nd round, 30th overall by St. Cloud

Goaltender Reilly Herbst was drafted 3rd round, 62nd overall by Jamestown

Defenceman Keigo Hachisuka was drafted 5th round, 109th overall by Wichita Falls

Defenceman Sam Duerr was drafted 7th round, 165th overall by St. Cloud

NAHL announces results of 2020 Entry Draft

View the results from the 2020 NAHL Entry Draft here,

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

BCHL Commissioner Chris Hebb Q&A:

This was posted on


Written by Brian Wiebe on July 17, 2020

Brian's been involved in the BCHL in a variety of capacities for 17 years. From 2002 to 2012, he served in several roles around the Merritt Centennials organization, including as team president, board member, beat writer, colour commentator, webmaster, media and communications coordinator and marketing assistant. He's been writing about the BCHL since 2008 and served as colour commentator on the TSN 1040 broadcasts in 2012-13. BCHLNetwork is one of Brian's many passion projects that he balances around his full-time job as an instructor in the Radio Arts and Entertainment Program at BCIT in Burnaby.

The BCHL sent out a news release on Friday morning to outline the league’s plan to open the 2020-21 season on December 1, pending approval from the British Columbia health authorities and return to play plans from viaSport, and each of the league’s 18 home facilities.

In a Q&A with BCHLNetwork co-founder and managing editor Brian Wiebe, BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb talks about preparations for the 2020-21 season between now and the December 1 start date, as well as the implications of starting three months later than normal.

Brian Wiebe: Are you convinced that BC and Canada will be healthy enough for the BCHL to return to play in December?

Chris Hebb: We’re going to do is give the health authorities a chance to ascertain that. The problem that all of us have is that we’re not medical doctors. One of the things we’ve done a good job with at the BCHL is listening. Starting December 1 gives you a much better chance of not getting shut down because if the health authorities allow you to play in December, it’s probably a pretty good sign that they think things are under control.

BW: How did the BCHL arrive upon the date of December 1?

CH: It’s not like we threw a dart, we had a conversation with the provincial health office and one of the things they worried the most about was the fall. The flu season is obviously a time that they have no idea how the virus is going to act. So we said, “Okay, let’s give the health authorities time to determine whether or not there is a significant second wave created by the flu season.”

December 1 is a date that we thought we could make work and still have a good season, but we really chose it because it’s really going to give the health authorities time to determine if there’s a second wave.

BW: How much collaboration is there with the other CJHL teams to look at the length of the regular season and playoffs, ultimately ending in time for the Centennial Cup in May?

CH: Every league is operating on its own. We’ve been talking because the CJHL has meetings on a regular basis. It’s really up to the leagues to determine, in their region, what makes sense. Everybody’s got a different experience with COVID-19 across the country, so the CJHL has allowed us to speak to each other and to connect, but at the end of the day, you have to make your own decisions.

BW: How late will the 2020-21 BCHL season go if you start on December 1?

CH: What we’re thinking right now is we can get the season and playoffs in by the end of May. That may push back the Centennial Cup, we don’t know if the Centennial Cup will be affected by COVID-19, there’s obviously already been cancellations of Hockey Canada events. We want to start our season and then end it by May 31.

BW: Is there a chance the BCHL won’t be represented at the Centennial Cup if there’s a conflict between the dates?

CH: That could happen, but at this point, we need to put a schedule together, and right now, May 31 is our end date.

BW: Is that with a full 54 game schedule?

CH: I don’t think we’ll be able to get 54 games in, we’re shooting for 46 if we can, and a lot of that will depend on when we start. The thinking is if we start December 1, we can get the schedule in by May 31.

BW: Is there a chance that the 2020-21 season starts earlier?

CH: Oh sure, if a vaccine happens between now and September, yes, there’s a chance that we’ll start earlier. We’ll make that decision then. The way we felt about it was that it’s better to schedule to start later and have a miracle happen to enable us to start earlier than starting earlier and taking risks.

BW: Do you think you’ll have fans in your rinks in 2020-21 without a vaccine?

CH: That’s up to the provincial health office. If we take the safety precautions outlined in our COVID-19 plan that we’ll submit, we should be able to have people in the seats. If they agree with us, that’s great, and if they don’t agree with us, they’re the ones making the decision. We feel if we can do adequate social distancing and hygiene, and limit the number of people in the seats, that we can have fans in the rinks safely.

BW: What’s the thought process behind a nearly three-month training camp?

CH: Our thinking is that these kids lost their playoffs last year, lost their summer, and the training they do in the summer, so we think they’re champing at the bit. If we can safely provide them with a place to train, and they love the game of hockey, we can bring them in and we should do that. Each team can decide whether or not they’ll have this extended training camp but we feel the kids will want to come.

BW: Your news release mentions that once the province moves into Phase 3 of viaSport BC’s Return to Play model, exhibition competition with other BCHL teams will be expanded in-region. Why not just play regular season games then?

CH: We don’t think it makes any sense to have the kids play games in the regular season that are in front of no audience. We just don’t think that makes any sense. I know they’re doing it in golf right now, but what we’d rather do is come back as a full league with people in the stands, on a limited basis restricted by the provincial health office. But at least what we’re doing is coming back as the BCHL, we won’t be a shadow of ourselves.

BW: Would you allow American imports if they follow the guidelines outlined by the various regulatory bodies and health authorities? 

CH: The border is closed right now, and what we’re trying to determine is if those American players are allowed to come across, and that will be determined by Health Canada and border authorities. If our players have been tested for COVID-19 and are negative, that will allow them to come to the border and then it’s up to the border authorities if they will let them come across.

Our feeling is that American players, especially once they’ve tested negative, would come across the border and be quarantined for a couple of weeks and be able to join their teams after that.

BW: With the border closed, what’s the plan with your lone US-based franchise, the Wenatchee Wild, to start the season in December or even training camp in September?

CH: We’ve had lots of discussions with the Wild and one of the suggestions is whether it can move its operations to Canada and operate out of a rink up here, that’s being studied. We’re also waiting to see what happens with the Western Hockey League and the situation it has with teams in the US. We do not have a resolution to that situation as we sit here today.

BW: Has there been any discussion with NCAA schools and NHL teams about how to scout players if they aren’t allowed to watch in person or chat with the player after a game?

CH: It’s our intention to put even some of our exhibition games on HockeyTV so the scouts will obviously be able to see the players on video. The idea of scouts coming to the rinks is based entirely on whatever the safety protocols are. Hopefully, it doesn’t keep scouts from coming to see the players, especially if they’ve met the restrictions of the border and adhered to what we feel the safety protocols should be in our rinks, we’d love to see them.

BW: How much pressure is there to get back to playing?

CH: The key thing is to think about the kids, first and foremost. They’re at a critical point in their development. We look at the league as almost like a university and this is someone coming to a high level, educational environment that will help them not only get better as hockey players but help them with scholarships and their education, and really their lives. That’s the first thing I feel pressure about is how to get these kids back.

The second thing is the communities we represent. These communities have had teams, in some cases for decades, and we have a financial impact and a cultural impact. Given what COVID-19 takes away, it would be nice for those communities, on a limited basis, in a safe environment, to have their teams back.

That said, the BCHL will operate in the interest of safety. It’s one of our pillars, and player safety, fan safety, and community safety are paramount. We’re operating in an environment where our owners realize that, yes, we’d all like to be back on the ice, but we won’t do it in a way that will impact negatively all the progress we’ve made with COVID-19 in BC.

BW: Is it comforting to know that all the work and planning have resulted in pinpointing a date to get things started for 2020-21?

CH: I think people were looking for clarity, and with us announcing this date, it gives them a target, it also gives them a plan, parents can say, “Okay, my kid’s going to go off to the extended training camp.” That’s what we’re going to do until December 1 is actual, not tentative. Being able to announce a date, and a date we think that isn’t giving anyone false hope is important to us.

BW: In a COVID-19 world, you make a bunch of plans, only to see things change, it can be a really complicated process. Does this seem like an insurmountable task at times?

CH: I’ve been on this job for two years and there’s a challenge around every corner but I look at our front line workers and what they’ve been through and the people who have lost family members to this virus, and I have to give my head a shake if I’m feeling sorry for myself. It really is something, as a society, we’re having to do our part and the BCHL intends to do that.