Monday, August 31, 2020

Tigers Re-Sign Ex Viper Whistle:

The National Ice Hockey League Telford Tigers have re-signed former Vernon Vipers forward Brandon Whistle.

The Tigers are a National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) ice hockey team that formed in 1985. After initially closing in 1999, a new team, under the name 'Telford Wild Foxes', was formed in 2001; and re-adopted the original name in 2005.

Whistle will be entering his second season with the Tigers after spending the 2018-19 season with the Elite Ice Hockey League Sheffield Steelers. The Steelers are a professional ice hockey team located in Sheffield, England a hockey club that is currently a member of the Elite Ice Hockey League. In 37 games last season with the Tigers, Whistle collected (22-goals-37-assists-59-points).

Whistle played parts of three seasons with the Alberta Junior Hockey League Bonnyville Pontiacs before being traded to Vernon. The Vipers traded the playing rights of Adam Panacci November 6th 2017 to the Pontiacs in exchange for the playing rights of Brandon Whistle. The Vipers traded Whistle to Salmon Arm December 30th 2017 for Josh Latta. In 16 games with the Vipers Whistle collected three assists.

Brandon Whistle's Player Profile:

This was posted on the Tigers website:

Tigers Whistle Up Star Signing!

by Telford Tigers      29th July 2020

Telford Tigers are ecstatic to announce the return of fan favourite Brandon Whistle for the 2020/21 season. Whistle will return for his second year with the Tigers and will continue to wear the number 34 shirt. Whistle was a huge part of the team that won last year’s NIHL League and Cup double, specialising in scoring crucial penalty shot goals and coming up with clutch performances in the title run in. Whistle scored 69 points for Tigers last season including the winning penalty shot in the epic comeback win over Swindon Wildcats in the National cup semi final.

Brandon stated, “I’m excited to come back to Telford for another year, I really enjoyed my time there last season, we had a great team and great team spirit in the dressing room! I am looking forward to trying to repeat our success and bring some more trophies to the club and to reward our fans for their support!”

Tom Watkins, Head Coach and General Manager, said, “I am very excited to be able to retain Brandon for a second season as he made a lasting impression on the club and the fans last season. He scored numerous penalty shot goals and he was a top performer in the cup final and showed his ability in the key games towards the end of the season. He turned it up in the big occasions and played without fear when we had a lot to play for. He’s an exciting player to watch and capable of creating something out of nothing. He can score, make plays and create space for others. He has all the tools needed and formed a terrific partnership with Scott McKenzie. We spoke at length about his future and as soon as he confirmed he was interested in coming back, we were very keen to make it happen. Players of his calibre are very hard to find.”

We would also like to thank Williams and Lamb who have agreed to be Brandon’s individual sponsor for a further season. Brandon’s own and loan shirts are available to order now for £100 each (Home and Away). Please see the Tigers’ Online Shop for details.

Watch out for further details about new signings at Telford Tigers, visit: or catch up on Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday, August 30, 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:

Clippers ID Camp:

The Nanaimo Clippers Junior A Hockey Club kickoff their 2020 ID Camps today, one in Abbotsford and one in Nanaimo for players looking to compete for a spot on the upcoming roster. The Clippers originally had their camps booked for end of March and middle of April however due to COVID-19 plans had to change. “It feels great to be able to get back on the ice and seeing these guys compete for a spot.” said Darren Naylor, vice-president and head coach of the Nanaimo Clippers “These camps are held for players to be able to showcase their skills, now more than ever these camps are vital for us to get to see players.” Both camps have over 80 players battling for a spot on the 30-man Training Camp Roster which is scheduled to kickoff September 8th in Nanaimo. “This time around these camps are much different as we continue to follow the rules put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, no hitting, no spectators, etc but one thing remains the same, the compete level and attitudes will showcase on the ice and that’s a huge thing we look for in players.” said Tali Campbell, the team’s governor and general manager, “what we will see this weekend is who has been working their butts off during the last four months and who hasn’t.” The Clippers encourage fans to visit their social media channels to follow all the action this weekend. The Clippers 2020 ID Camp is presented by Western Financial Group.

Catching Up With The Backs Ep. 4 – Panetta & Loney

Salmon Arm Silverbacks broadcaster Nathan Kanter chats with two new off-season acquisitions: forwards Daniel Panetta and Carter Loney. Both players touch on their playing style, their previous junior experience, their NCAA Div-1 scholarships, what Silverback ID camp was like last week, and plenty more!

Cowichan-West Kelowna Trade:

The Cowichan Capitals have acquired 2001 born Jacob Brockman from the West Kelowna Warriors in exchange for future considerations. Brockman is 19 years old and coming off a rookie BCHL campaign in which he recorded 2 goals and 7 assists for 9 points in 54 games with West Kelowna. Brockman is from El Segundo, California but holds dual citizenship to Canada and the United States and does not count as an import player. He stands 6’3″ and weighs in at 175 lbs and can play both up front and on the back end. “We are really pleased to add Jacob to our roster. He brings a lot of skill and a veteran presence to our lineup. He played defence and forward last season so that gives our group some versatility as we enter the season. He has experience in the BCHL and will give our group more depth” said Capitals Head Coach and General Manager Geoff Grimwood. Prior to joining the Warriors last season, Jacob played for the Los Angeles Jr Kings organization, rising through the ranks of U13 to U18 over the course of six seasons. His final two were on the under 18 team, where he recorded 61 points in 81 games. In his 17 year old season Brockman posted 16 goals and 24 assists for 40 points in 49 games, good for third on the team. Welcome to Cowichan Jacob!

Assam Commits To Alberni Valley Bulldogs:

After a successful Summer ID Camp this past weekend at the Multiplex, the Bulldogs are pleased to welcome 2003 born forward Kobe Assam for the 2020-2021 season. The 6’2, 185 pound native of Kelowna BC spent the past 3 seasons in Penticton with the Okanagan Hockey Academy.  Last season Assam posted 14 goals and added 21 assists for 35 points and 74 PIM in 33 games with the Midget Prep Red team.  Assam also appeared in 2 games with the Bulldogs as an affiliate player towards the end of last season. “Kobe had an outstanding weekend during our ID Camp” said head coach & general manager Joe Martin. “We challenged him at the end of last season to come to this camp and prove to us that he can be a Bulldogs.  It’s a great story and we’re excited to add him to our line-up.” For Assam, becoming a Bulldogs was the realization of year-long goal. “I’d like to thank the entire Bulldogs organization for this amazing opportunity. It’s been my goal for this entire year and I’m truly honoured and excited to become a Bulldog.” Assam will join his new teammates in mid-September for the start of the Bulldogs Extended Training Camp powered by Van Isle Ford & Pacific Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd.

BCHL Next Generation: Powell River Kings:

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.

Next up is the Powell River Kings.

Brock Sawyer may be starting a new role with the Powell River Kings this year, but that doesn’t mean there will be much of a learning curve for the 33-year-old. The Toronto, Ont. native has been with the Kings as a coach since 2014, including a stint as the team’s interim head coach in 2017-18. He also played for Powell River for parts of two seasons from 2006 to 2008. This year, he enters the season as the team’s head coach for the first time in his career. Sawyer and a handful of the other Kings staff already had a built in relationship with Powell River before they joined the team and that’s something that they see as an advantage. “There’s familiarity with the town, the organization and the fans,” said Sawyer. “Being able to relate to the players and what to expect when playing here, I think it goes a long way. Between myself, [assistant coach] Kyle Bodie and [general manager] Chad [Van Diemen], we’re three guys who are alumni of the program. I think the familiarity and the continuity with the Board is good. It opens up lines of communication. We’re all invested in a common goal of providing a safe learning environment for our players.” Despite the familiarity, it doesn’t mean that the transition to the head coach’s job has been an easy one this year. With travel restrictions and limited access to on and off-ice training facilities, all teams are operating differently than they would in a normal season. The Kings are no different and are doing everything they can to make sure their players are ready to go come training camp. “There’s just been a lot of phone calls and quite a few Zoom meetings,” said Sawyer. “Each day is different with the information we get. We’re just keeping everybody informed. Guys are taking advantage of rinks opening up and being able to skate in small groups. They’re itching to get back to town and skate. They want to get back into their billet homes and get back to some normalcy.”

New recruits:

Noah Rupprecht (2002, G)

  • Hometown: Thief River Falls, Minn.
  • Previous team: Thief River Falls High (USHS-MN)

Rupprecht had an outstanding two seasons with Thief River Falls. Last year, he posted an astounding seven shutouts in 25 regular-season games. He had a goals-against average under two in both seasons.

Sawyer’s scouting report:

“Noah comes out of Minnesota with a lot of Division I interest. He had great numbers in high school for a team where he did field a lot of rubber. We’re looking for him to come in and work with [returning goalie] Thomas Wardle in a one-two combination and push each other to battle for ice time.”

Branden Piku (2002, F)

  • Hometown: St. Clare, Mich.
  • Previous team: Belle Tire U18 AAA (T1EHL U18)
  • College commitment: Lake Superior State (2022-23)

Piku played for Belle Tire in Detroit, Mich. last season and led the team in scoring with 68 points in 67 games.

Sawyer’s scouting report:

“He’s a little water bug. He’s not the biggest guy, but has a high skill level and can make plays in traffic because he skates well. We’re expecting him to come in and adjust to the BCHL level and be here for a few years preparing for when he goes off to college.”

Ross Roloson (2003, D)

  • Hometown: Port Dover, Ont.
  • Previous team: Northern Alberta X-Treme Prep (CSSHL)

The 17-year-old is the son of former NHL goaltender Dwayne Roloson and the brother of current Powell River forward Brett Roloson. Ross tied for the lead in scoring among defencemen on his team last year with 34 points in 35 games. He suited up for five contests in 2019-20 as an affiliate with the Spruce Grove Saints of the AJHL.

Sawyer’s scouting report:

“Ross is a smooth-skating defenceman. We expect him to come in and contribute right away. He played some exhibition games last year in our league and some games with Spruce Grove, so he’s got a bit of experience. He’s a good two-way defenceman that can move the puck and defend off the rush. He’ll get the puck moving up the ice quickly in transition for us.”

Jacob Bonkowski (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Richmond, B.C.
  • Previous team: West Van Academy Prep (CSSHL)

Bonkowski had 36 points in 31 games for West Van in 2019-20. He also played in a pair of games for Powell River as an affiliate.

Sawyer’s scouting report:

“He’s got some good size and he’ll grow into his frame. He’s a good skater. When he was with us last year as an affiliate, he fit in pretty seamlessly. He’s been around our program for a year now and we’re excited to add him into the lineup and see what he can do.”

Ethan Riesterer (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Richmond, B.C.
  • Previous team: St. George’s School Midget Prep (CSSHL)

Riesterer was the leading scorer at St. George’s last year, finishing his season with 36 points and a team-high 23 goals in 35 games. The 17-year-old also played three games as an affiliate with the Kings.

Sawyer’s scouting report:

“He’s a highly-skilled player and can really think the game. He’s not a big body, but he puts himself in situations with his smarts to get pucks back and find a play in the offensive zone. He’s also responsible defensively.”

Jakub Teply (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Stamford, Conn.
  • Previous team: Brunswick School (USHS-Prep)

Teply was over a point-per-game with Brunswick last year, finishing his campaign with 32 in 31 games to tie for third in team scoring.

Sawyer’s scouting report:

“Jakub is a big forward that can skate. He has a heavy shot and scored a lot of goals in prep school playing against some of the better competition on the east coast. He’s got a lot of Division I interest as well. He’s a heavy player and he can find the net. We’re expecting him to come in and protect the puck and shoot every chance he gets.”

Ben Raymond (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Newton, Mass.
  • Previous team: Dexter Southfield School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Colgate University (2021-22)

The 18-year-old notched 20 points in 30 games with Dexter Southfield in 2019-20 and also played another 37 games with the Neponset Valley River Rats where he totaled 21 points in 37 games.

Sawyer’s scouting report:

“He’s got speed, much like Jack Brackett who we had last year. Talking with Colgate, they’re pretty high on him and excited for when he goes in. We’re excited to have him and we hope he’ll be able to contribute in our lineup 5-on-5 and on the penalty kill.”

Acquired via trade:

Olivier Lépine (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Montreal, Que.
  • Previous team: Notre Dame Hounds (SJHL)

Lépine led all Hounds defencemen in scoring last year in his first SJHL season after totaling 20 points in 44 games.

Sawyer’s scouting report:

“Olivier is a guy with experience. He played with [Thomas] Wardle at Notre Dame and he grew up with [returning defenceman] Dylan Finlay in Montreal, so there’s some familiarity there. He’s a smooth-skating defenceman who can really move the puck and he’s an elite thinker of the game. When we called him and let him know he was a King, he was ecstatic. We’re happy to add him in and it gives us another veteran presence on the back end."

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Skellefteå AIK Re-Sign Vipers Alumni Nowick:

Skellefteå AIK has re-signed former Vernon Vipers forward Darren Nowick.

Skellefteå AIK is a Swedish professional ice hockey (SHL) club from Skellefteå, Sweden. The SHL is the highest level of ice hockey in Sweden.

Nowick split last season between Västerviks IK & Skellefteå AIK. Västerviks IK is a Swedish ice hockey club, based in Västervik. The club, founded in 1971, had spent decades yo-yoing between the third and fourth tiers of Swedish ice hockey.

After playing four years at Northern Michigan University Nowick signed his first professional contract with the ECHL Missouri Mavericks March 16 2016. From 2016-2018 Nowick spent three seasons playing in the American Hockey League & ECHL with three different teams ( Missouri-Kansas City Mavericks, Stockton Heat and Bridgeport Sound Tigers) before signing with Västerviks IK in May 2019.

Nowick played two years in Vernon (2010-2012) played in 109 games with the Vipers collected (36-goals-50-assists-86-points). 

Darren Nowick's Player Profile:

This was posted on the Skelleftea AIK website:

Nowick has extended

July 29 2020

He joined in fantastic February and made it even more memorable with his sacrificial style of play. We will now see more of this as he has extended his contract until 2022. 'The supporters and the city in general are outstanding so it was a no-brainer to sign,' said Darren Nowick.

Nowick was brought in from Västervik just before the transfer window closed in mid-February. He quickly left an imprint with his large work capacity and frenetic forechecking. Now it is clear that the forward will be skellefteå AIK faithful for two more seasons.

'It feels amazing! Just being there last season was a great experience and I just have great things to say about the organization. 'The supporters and the city in general are outstanding so it was a no-brainer to sign an extension,' said Darren.

'Made a very good impression'

He came into the team quickly and accounted for 4 points in the 11 games he made in the black and yellow jersey 19/20.

– I'm pretty happy with what I had time to accomplish and to get another two years to build on this group feels incredibly exciting. I'm really looking forward to it.

GM Forssell is pleased to retain the hard-working American who joins in mid-September.

– We're glad we've put together a solution with Darren over two years. He made a very good impression during the short time he was here, both as a player and as a person. He is useful in many ways but I think his intensity and forechecking is what stands out the most,' says Erik.

The new contract with Darren Nowick extends over the 2021/2022 season.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Fans Can & Will Expect Changes This Hockey Season:

Will we see Junior hockey this fall? If the BCHL does start the 2020-21 regular season wont start until December 1st. What kind of changes will we see inside Kal Tire Place?

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Saint John Sea Dogs are the first junior hockey team to announce new changes for the up coming season.

This was posted on the (Sea Dogs blog)

Season ticket memberships will look - and cost - a lot different this season

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Saint John Sea Dogs became on of the first QMJHL teams to release detailed information on season tickets for the COVID-19 impacted 2020-21 season on Tuesday.

Season tickets will be much different than in past seasons, obviously, and they'll also be quite a bit more expensive.

Adult season ticket memberships have been priced at $575, an increase of $76 compared to the 2019-20 season. This upcoming season will also feature four fewer home games due to the schedule being cut to 60 games.

Here's a comparison:

2019-20 Price2020-21 Price
Kids Pass$35$150

"With the limited number of fans in the arena, and the growing cost of ensuring safety for our fans, players, and staff, prices have changed for this season," read the Sea Dogs news release.

A lot of fans are struggling financially through this pandemic. The price increase is unfortunate, but junior hockey teams, like many businesses, are going to struggle to survive over the next year or two. A lot of businesses will be making similar price increases with their product, no doubt - and it's not like the Sea Dogs can simply say "let's sell more tickets."

According to the news release, TD Station's capacity will be around 25% of seats - which means around 1,500 fans or so. That's less than half of last season's average attendance of 3,345 fans.

There's a strong chance only season ticket members will be watching live games in Maritime arenas this season. "We anticipate that only those who have season tickets will be able to get a seat at the Sea Dogs games this year," said the team.

Fans can also expect a change in seat location due to social distancing requirements.

"Some of the bigger changes include very limited capacity (around 25% of seats), social bubbles, and masks once you get inside TD Station," read the release. "Also, because of all the changes to the seating plan, you shouldn’t expect to sit in your same seat, and possibly not in your same section as last season."

  • Parking at TD Station has increased again. It will now cost $5.
  • Masks will be mandatory upon entry.
  • There will be no standing at railings.
  • The Sea Dogs will host the Moncton Wildcats on New Year's Eve.
  • Can season ticket members give away their tickets? "Season Ticket Members are responsible for their tickets purchased. If you choose to give your tickets for a specific game away to another individual, that’s OK. You will however be the key point of contact for your seats, should we need to reach you."
  • Fans "will be required to sign a waiver agreeing to adhere to all health and safety measures when at TD Station" and failure to comply may result in removal from the building.

The Sea Dogs are scheduled to play their first regular season home game on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Posted by Jamie Tozer 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

South Carolina Stingrays Add Ex Viper Hannoun To Teams Season Ending Roster:

The ECHL announced their season-ending rosters as submitted by each of its member teams. The South Carolina Stingrays have twenty players listed on their season-ending roster list, oneof the twenty players is former Vernon Vipers "AP" affiliated player-forward Dante Hannoun.

Hannoun started the 2019-20 season with the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. Hannoun spent the past five seasons with the Western Hockey League Victoria Royals & Prince Albert Raiders, before signing his first professional contract with the Gladiators September 19th 2019. Hannoun played 24 games with the Gladiators (5-goals-14-assists-19-points) before heading to Austria. Hannoun signed with the HCB Foxes December 26 2019.  Hockey Club Bolzano-Bozen Foxes is an Italian ice hockey team located in the city of Bolzano, South Tyrol, that plays in the Austrian Hockey League (EBEL). Hannoun had three assists in 17 games with the Foxes. The Stingrays claimed Hannoun off waivers December 27 2019.

Hannoun was invited to the Boston Bruins training camp in September 2019, before being released/sent to the Boston Bruins Prospect Challenge in late September 2019. A round-robin tournament featuring rookies from various teams. Hannoun would be released/sent to the American Hockey League Boston Bruins farm club Providence Bruins training camp, before being released, would report to the Atlanta Gladiators.

Hannoun is the younger brother to former Vernon Vipers forward Demico Hannoun who played with the 2013-14 Vernon Vipers.

Dante Hannoun played one game as an "AP" (affiliated player) with the Vernon Vipers during the 2013-14 season. 

Dante Hannoun's Player Profile:

This was posted on the ECHL website:



16 Jun 2020 

The ECHL on Tuesday announced the Season-Ending Rosters as submitted by each of its Member Teams.

Season-Ending Rosters may include up to 20 players. Season-Ending Rosters cannot include any players who did not sign an ECHL contract in 2019-20.

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.

South Carolina Stingrays – Tom Parisi, Jordan Klimek, Neal Goff, Jesse Lees, Jaynen Rissling, Marly Quince, Alexandre Boivin, Max Novak, Branden Troock, Mark Cooper, Scott Davidson, Dan DeSalvo, Andrew Cherniwchan, Dylan Steman, Alec Marsh, Cameron Askew, Tim Harrison, Nick Saracino, Casey Bailey and Dante Hannoun

Wednesday, August 26, 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:

Prazma Commits To Surrey Eagles:

The Surrey Eagles have solidified their goaltending for the upcoming B.C Hockey League season, announcing Max Prazma has committed to the team for the 2020-21 season. The 18 year old goaltender will team up with Tommy Scarfone in the crease to form one of the best tandems in the league. Max has all the physical tools to be a standout goaltender in this league as he develops moving forward. The Calgary, Alberta native stands 6’5, and weighs 190 pounds, covering a ton of the net. Prazma was one of the top goaltenders in the CSSHL last season, and had a 4.23 goals against average and a .904 save percentage with the Pacific Coast Academy. (Gabe Schovanek and Sean Ramsay’s CSSHL stomping grounds last season.) Max’s future is bright, and he’s ready to make the jump into a great scouting league to try and move his career forward. “I’m so excited, I can’t wait to play this year… I know the BCHL has great exposure, and it’s super exciting to hone my craft and earn a [NCAA] commitment moving forward.” For Eagles fans who haven’t seen Prazma in action, he talks about himself as, “A big, calm goalie who can read the play well, and I believe in my ability to move as well; I’m never going to give up on a puck.” Finally, Max also understands he’ll get to learn under one of the best goaltenders in the BCHL in Scarfone. “I got out and watched a couple games, and he was unreal for the team and I’m sure he’s going to help me out a ton next year. I’ve also heard the goalie coach is terrific.” For Eagles Head Coach Cam Keith, he’s excited to add who he believes was one of the top goaltenders in the CSSHL last season. “Prazma is known for his excellent reflexes and ability to read the play. He was considered one of the top goalies in the CSSHL. He has a great opportunity to learn from one of the best goalies in the BCHL in Tommy Scarfone to grow his game moving forward.” Welcome to the flock Max!

BCHL Next Generation: Penticton Vees:

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.

Next up is the Penticton Vees.

Last season, the Penticton Vees were crowned Interior Division regular-season champions for the ninth year in a row. It was just one of a long run of successful seasons for the franchise that has won three Fred Page Cup championships and an RBC Cup national championship during that stretch. Most teams in junior hockey will try build up to one or two dominant seasons and then have a down year or two due to the amount of changeover that happens in junior. That hasn’t been the case for the Vees and that’s something that the team’s president, head coach and general manager Fred Harbinson sees as one of the franchise’s biggest accomplishments during his time there. “People ask me what we’re most proud of here and it’s probably consistency,” he said. “We treat our players with a lot of respect. We have the infrastructure here to really work on the development side. Our coaching staff, to me, we create a lot of traction. I’ve been here 13 years and we’ve had different turnover with assistants, but it’s never year after year. I have assistants that last quite a few years with me, so there’s a lot of continuity in our staff and how we build things.” A common thing in Penticton over the last decade has been the recruitment of sons of former NHL players, especially high-profile ones. Last year alone, the Vees roster had Doug Weight’s son Danny, Scott Niedermayer’s son Jackson, Tony Amonte’s son Tristan, Mike Sillinger’s son Lukas and Stu Barnes’ son Jack. This year will be no different with Amonte coming back and the number of Niedermayers will double with the return of Jackson and the addition of his brother Joshua. These players have performed well for the Vees and increased the awareness of the team based on name recognition, but, according to Harbinson, this wasn’t done intentionally, at least at first. “We didn’t set out with the mindset that we should do that,” he said. “It just kind of started morphing into that. I’ve always said that the best recruiters are the players and families that play for you. The NHL fraternity is pretty tight, so when a Sillinger comes through, then Mike Sillinger, who played for 12 different teams in the NHL and played with a bunch of different guys, he mentions that his son had a great time playing in Penticton and developed and moved on to the next level. That word gets around.” “Another positive is that the kids are in a household that’s been around the game since the time they were born. They kind of already understand what it means to be a professional and what it’s going to take to try to get to the next level.”

New recruits:

Ryan McGuire (2002, F)

  • Hometown: New Canaan, Conn.
  • Previous team: Belmont Hill School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Colgate University (2021-22)

McGuire led Belmont Hill in both goals, with 22, and points, with 38, in 30 games. He’s ranked 105th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting for the 2020 draft. He’s the son of former NHL and NCAA coach and current NBC analyst Pierre McGuire.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“Ryan is a very steady two-way centreman. He’s a great character kid. In the short time that I’ve dealt with him, I’ve seen that he’s a very mature kid. You always want to try to build through the middle of the ice and I think our centreman are going to be a real asset to our team this year.”

Devlin O’Brien (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
  • Previous team: St. Andrew’s College (CAHS)
  • College commitment: Merrimack College (2021-22)

O’Brien was a top performer for a St. Andrew’s team that produced plenty of offence. He tallied 85 points in 68 games for the team in 2019-20.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“Devlin scored a lot of goals for a great program in St. Andrew’s College. They’ve had a lot of great players go through that program over the last few years and he’s going to be another one. He’s a good winger who can score goals and is very hard on the puck.”

Jacob Quillan (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Dartmouth, N.S.
  • Previous team: Salisbury School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Quinnipiac University (2021-22)

The 18-year-old played two seasons for Salisbury and put up a combined 70 points in 58 games over his two years there. He had his best output in 2019-20 when he finished second in team scoring with 37 points in 28 games.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“Jacob is another centreman coming from prep school. He’s very quick and tenacious. He plays the game a little bit like Travis St. Denis who played here for me in 2012 and Jacob is going to Quinnipiac just like Travis did. We’re expecting big things out of him.”

Frank Djurasevic (2002, D)

  • Hometown: New Rochelle, N.Y.
  • Previous team: Trinity-Pawling School (USHS-Prep)

The 18-year-old played one season at Trinity-Pawling and led all blueliners in scoring on his team with 20 points in 21 games.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“Frank is a dual citizen – American and Canadian. He’s a big, strong defenceman and a very good character kid. I think he’s a defenceman that’s going to really utilize his time in junior hockey to sort of refine his skill-set. We think that he can be a guy that can add size and strength to our back end.”

Stefano Bottini (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Lugano, Switzerland
  • Previous team: Lugano U20 (U20 Elit)

Bottini has spent his hockey career in Switzerland up until joining the Vees for the coming season. He has represented his country internationally several times and was invited to Switzerland’s camp for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships. The dual Swiss-Canadian citizen was Lugano’s second-leading scorer in 2019-20 with 40 points.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“He played in a league that is very comparable to ours. As a 17-year-old last year, he put up some very good numbers. He’s a strong kid. He’s one of those guys that we never got a chance to watch in person, but watched a lot of video on him. We think he’s going to be a player that’s going to be a great addition to our team. He can do a little bit of everything. He’s got some good strength. He can play on both ends of the rink.”

Quinn Hutson (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
  • Previous team: North Jersey Avalanche 18U (AYHL 18U)
  • College commitment: Boston University (2021-22)

Hutson has an offensive force for North Jersey last year, leading the team in scoring with 59 points in 32 games.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“Quinn is a goal-scorer. He’s scored at every level he’s been at. He actually came out here last year and skated with us for a week. His dad also played for Bellingham in the BCHL back in the day. This kid here has a great shot and will have a good opportunity to score goals in our league.”

Jason Marsella (2002, D)

  • Hometown: Greenwhich, Conn.
  • Previous team: Avon Old Farms School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Yale University (2021-22)

The 17-year-old finished one point back of the team lead in defenceman scoring at Avon Old Farms with 16 in 23 games. Marsella also spent time with the North Jersey Avalanche last year.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“He’s a very shifty defenceman. He’s a kid that skates well. He’s another one that came out for about a week last year and skated with us. He’s someone that we think will have the opportunity to be a power-play type defenceman down the road.”

Joshua Niedermayer (2004, D)

  • Hometown: Newport Beach, Calif.
  • Previous team: Okanagan Hockey Academy Red Prep (CSSHL)

The son of NHL Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer and the brother of current Vees forward Jackson Niedermayer, Joshua played the last two years at Okanagan Academy. He totaled 20 points in 36 games last year and also dressed for three contests as an affiliate for the Vees.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“He’s an ox. I’ve had a couple 16-year-olds that don’t look like 16-year-olds in my time here and he’s going to be one of those. He played a handful of affiliate games for us last year and got better every game. The actual physical strength of this kid at his age is off the charts. He has a very high ceiling.”

Acquired via trade:

Luc Wilson (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Duncan, B.C.
  • Previous team: Cowichan Valley Capitals
  • College commitment: Minnesota State University (2021-22)

Wilson had a breakout year last season with his hometown Capitals, leading the team in scoring with 53 points in 55 regular-season games. He also got an invite to play for Team West at the CJHL Prospects Game in January.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“Luc is proven to be a guy that can produce in this league. He was one of the higher scorers in the league last year and we think he has a chance to score again with us. We’re going to give him every opportunity to play at the top of our lineup. He’s got a great shot. He’s a guy that’s learning to play with quicker pace and continuing to get better every year.”

Finlay Williams (2003, F)

  • Hometown: North Vancouver, B.C.
  • Previous team: Prince George Spruce Kings
  • College commitment: University of Michigan (2021-22)

Williams burst onto the scene in the BCHL during Prince George’s 2019 Fred Page Cup run when he scored a big goal for the team in the championship series as a 15-year-old. In his first full season in the league last year, he put up 31 points in 40 games.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“Fin is another two-way centreman. He should be an NHL draft pick the following year. He’s one of the most mature players in our league, off the ice and on the ice. It says a lot that he wore a letter last year in Prince George as a 16-year-old. We met with him and his father last week after the deal was done and it was really impressive being around him. He’ll be a leader on our hockey club as well.”

Ben Wozney (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Richmond, B.C.
  • Previous team: Powell River Kings
  • College commitment: Bowling Green State University (2021-22)

Wozney took on an expanded role last season in Powell River which saw his offensive numbers surge. He finished the year with 26 points in 58 games, second most among Powell River defencemen.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“Ben has a long stick and a long reach. He’s got a great wingspan for a defenceman and he has offensive talent as well. He did a great job on Powell River’s power play last year. We’re expecting big things from him playing on our top unit this year.”

Kaeden Freer-Lane (2001, G)

  • Hometown: Burnaby, B.C.
  • Previous team: Grande Prairie Storm (AJHL)

Freer-Lane saw a heavy workload the last two seasons with Grande Prairie with 74 games played over that stretch. His best year came in 2018-19 when he went 22-17-3 with two shutouts.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“He gives us a lot of stability in net with Yaniv Perets back. Freer-Lane has already played two years of junior hockey. He’s a B.C. kid and grew up playing at the Burnaby Winter Club. To have that kind of tandem and experience in net, we’re very fortunate.”

Ryan Upson (2001, F)

  • Hometown: West Vancouver, B.C.
  • Previous team: West Kelowna Warriors

Upson had 12 points in 54 games last year in his rookie season in West Kelowna.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“Ryan is a veteran player who played against us in our division last year. He is a very hard-working player and a kid that I think will be able to grow in our program.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Iowa Wild Sign Ex Viper Maser:

The American Hockey League Iowa Wild have signed former Vernon Vipers forward Josh Maser.

Maser was in his fourth season with the Western Hockey League Prince George Cougars before the season was cancelled in March due to COVID-19. In 62 games last season Maser collected (29-goals-19-assists-48-points).

Maser attended the Vernon Vipers training camp in August 2016 before leaving camp for the Western Hockey League's Prince Albert Raiders training camp. The Raiders traded Maser to Prince George October 18th 2016.

Josh Maser's Player Profile:

This was posted on the Wild website:


JUL 22, 2020

Iowa Wild General Manager Tom Kurvers announced today the organization has signed defenseman Phil Beaulieu, forward Kameron Kielly, and forward Jesse Mychan to one-year, two-way AHL / ECHL contracts for the 2020-21 season. In addition, the club has signed forward Josh Maser to a one-year, AHL contract.

Beaulieu, 24 (9/2/95), turns pro after four seasons at Northern Michigan University where he compiled 121 points in 158 career games. Listed at 5-foot-11, 187 pounds, Beaulieu led the Wildcats with 19 assists in 2019-20, and finished fifth overall in points (25), while serving as team captain. As a sophomore in 2017-18, the Duluth, Minn. native was named a CCM / ACHA Second Team All-American, the 17th All-American in Wildcats history, and the first since 2010.

A 6-foot, 181 pound forward, Kielly joins the organization after three years at the University Of Prince Edward Island. A Charlottetown, P.E.I. native, he posted 42 points in 2019-20, including a career-high 17 goals. The 23-year-old (12/13/96) finished fourth in USports scoring this past season, and was selected to the USports Second All-Star Team in each of the last two years. From 2013-2017, Kielly racked up 196 points (75g, 121a) in 246 contests with the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

Maser served as team captain for the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League (WHL) last season, recording 48 points (29g, 19a) in 62 games.  Maser, 21 (1/18/99), hails from Houston, British Columbia.  His 29 goals last season were 16 more than the next closest Prince George skater, and his 19 assists placed him fourth on the team. A 6-foot-2, 207 pound left winger, Maser totaled 143 points (90g, 53a) in 218 career WHL games.

Mychan, 28 (7/02/92), spent the majority of the last two seasons in Denmark with the Esbjerg Energy. In 2019-20, Mychan scored 11 goals and added eight assists to go along with 58 PIM in 46 games. A 6-foot-2, 203 pound winger, Mychan has logged 10 AHL games in his career, spending time with Portland, San Jose and San Antonio. A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Mychan has also played in overseas in Wales, Germany and Austria. A seven-year-pro, Mychan has also compiled 135 points (80g, 55a) in 195 career ECHL games, all with Colorado from 2013-2018.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Other Junior Leagues Returning To Play Ahead Of BCHL?

This was posted on Gregg Drinnan's Blog:

QMJHL set for exhibition season . . . MJHL aiming for Oct. 9 opening

August 20, 2020

The QMJHL will open its 51-game exhibition schedule on Sept. 1 and wrap it up on Sept. 26. It plans on opening its regular season on Oct. 1. . . . Each of the league’s 18 teams will play four, five, six or seven exhibition games. . . . According to the league, the Gatineau Olympiques, Halifax Mooseheads and Charlottetown Islanders “will play all of their preseason games in a neutral site as their buildings are currently not available.” . . . QMJHL teams are opening training camps on Aug. 30. . . . I haven’t been able to find a blanket statement, but it would appear that fans won’t be permitted at any of the exhibition games. The MJHL announced on Wednesday that it is planning to open its 2020-21 regular season on Oct. 9. Training camps are to open on Sept. 18 with each team having 34 or fewer players on hand. . . . Each team will be permitted to play three exhibition games, with none of those against out-of-province teams. . . . From the MJHL news release: “Players/Staff and Officials are required to wear face masks while entering/exiting and within the arena for MJHL sanctioned activities while not on the ice. . . . Players/Staff are required to wear face masks while traveling to and from games (on the bus, entering/exiting restaurants and hotels, etc.) . . . Members of the public are strongly encouraged to wear face masks while in any MJHL facility during MJHL activity while following all necessary distancing and facility guidelines.” . . . The MJHL hasn’t yet released its schedule, but it did say that the schedule “will be significantly modified to mitigate risk of spread or potential contact between multiple teams and to allow for minimal disruption of the schedule in the event of a positive COVID-19 case.”

This is posted on the MJHL website:


AUGUST 19, 2020

WINNIPEG, MB – The Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) is excited to announce that the 2020-21 Regular Season will begin on Friday, October 9, 2020.

Since early June, the MJHL has worked diligently with Hockey Canada, Hockey Manitoba, Sport Manitoba and Manitoba Public Health Authorities to develop very comprehensive Return to Play (RTP) Guidelines to ensure that our players, fans, staff and communities can return to hockey in a safe, structured and responsible manner in today’s new normal.  All authorities recognize the significant and important role that fitness, sport, and competition plays both physically and mentally in our daily lives, specifically involving the game of hockey within the province and across our country.  And as such, have remained extremely cautious and responsible in managing the approval process of returning to hockey within Manitoba.

Sport Manitoba and the Provincial Health Authorities have done an outstanding job in leading and providing direction to each sport within our Province in returning to play throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Provincial Health Authorities, with the endorsement of Sport Manitoba have agreed to provide the MJHL with the appropriate delegated authority to re-introduce hockey upon approval by Hockey Manitoba.  Authorities will continue to provide regular updates and the necessary guidelines that will be required.  Greater responsibility will now be delegated to the MJHL and each member team as it relates to our full return to hockey.

“On behalf of the MJHL Board of Governors and with the support of Sport Manitoba and approval by the Hockey Manitoba Board of Directors, we are excited to share that MJHL Hockey will be returning to the province in October” shared Commissioner, Kevin Saurette. “We believe our thoroughly provincially vetted MJHL Return to Play – Phase II Guidelines will provide the MJHL, all member teams, players, staff, officials, volunteers, stakeholders, fans and communities with the best position to return to and enjoy hockey in a safe, structured and responsible manner in accordance with all necessary public health and facility guidelines.  The league and member teams also understand the immense responsibility we have been provided as we move forward with the 2020-21 season.”

MJHL Regular Season to begin on Friday, October 9th.

MJHL Main Camps will begin on September 18th with no more than 34 players in attendance. Teams will play no more than three exhibition games.  Games involving out-of-province teams are not permitted.

The 2020-21 season schedule will be significantly modified to mitigate risk of spread or potential contact between multiple teams and to allow for minimal disruption of the schedule in the event of a positive COVID-19 case.  Full schedule announcement will be made in the coming weeks.

Any upcoming Camps held by teams that are not Main Camps (Prospect Camps, Development Camps, etc.) are to be hosted before September 18th and are to follow the MJHL Return to Play- Phase I which have been in place since June 26th.  Full contact is not permitted during these camps.

Players/Staff and Officials are required to wear face masks while entering/exiting and within the arena for MJHL sanctioned activities while not on the ice.

Players/Staff are required to wear face masks while traveling to and from games (on the bus, entering/exiting restaurants and hotels, etc.)

Members of the public are strongly encouraged to wear face masks while in any MJHL facility during MJHL activity while following all necessary distancing and facility guidelines.

The MJHL RTP – Phase II Guidelines will remain fluid and flexible to accommodate the necessary response to advice from public health authorities.

As is the case for everyone throughout the province and beyond, these past months during the COVID-19 pandemic have placed significant financial stress on each MJHL team and community.  Additional stress will be felt as each organization prepares for what will be required for the upcoming season to ensure we return to hockey in a safe, structured and responsible manner.

Each organization is to be commended for their absolute commitment to providing elite development opportunities both on and off the ice in the face of these financial challenges with the health and safety of all involved always being the number one priority. Teams will need and deserve all the support they can be afforded during this time as we return to the game we all love.

Please stay tuned for further exciting announcements in the coming weeks.

This was posted on the AJHL website:

AJHL Delays Regular Season, Launches Development Season

August 14th, 2020

The Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) has postponed the start of the Regular Season and will commence the 2020-21 campaign with a Development Season beginning August 31st, 2020.

Within the current boundaries of Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey Plan and Stage 2 of Alberta’s Relaunch, the AJHL is unable to enter regular season competition at this time.  The League continues to have progressive discussions with the Alberta government on safety measures to protect players, staff and fans as the AJHL advances into its Development Season.

The Development Season will meet the needs of both the League and its athletes by allowing teams to actively prepare for the upcoming season while providing players an opportunity for high-calibre training and development.  Training Camps will be permitted to begin as early as August 31st in all 15 AJHL communities and will run until the AJHL embarks on regular season play.

Invited players will have the option to register for a respective team’s Development Season or opt out of the camp. 

“As anxious as we all are to return to competition and embrace our communities, public safety and the safety of our athletes has to be the priority,” stated AJHL Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk.  “The opportunity for an AJHL Development Season will amplify the League's ability to provide our athletes with a valuable experience through the quality instruction of our coaches and access to team training resources.”

“The Alberta Junior Hockey League will be poised to immediately resume regular season competition when Provincial regulations allow.”  As part of the Development Season, and in preparation for the regular season, the AJHL will move to exhibition play within the Province’s guidelines once rosters are reduced to the allotted size.

The AJHL Development Season outline meets the current health and safety requirements of the Government of Alberta and aligns with Hockey Canada’s Return to Hockey Safety Guidelines and Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey Plan in focusing on the safety and wellbeing of all participants.  In addition, teams will commit to using the ABTraceTogether App.

In June 2020, the AJHL announced the schedule for its 57th season, which was strategically created to remove pre-determined blocks of games as part of a contingency plan should the season be delayed.  Plans for the 2021 AJHL Playoffs, 2021 Doyle Cup and 2021 Centennial Cup will be determined at a later date.