Sunday, April 23, 2017

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:

Salmon Arm-Trail Trade:

Salmon Arm Silverbacks general manager Troy Mick today announced the team has announced the Future Considerations part of the Jan 10, 2017 trade with the Trail Smoke Eaters that saw 96 D-Man Carter Cochrane head to the Kootenays. The Silverbacks would like to welcome 97 D-Man Mitch Stapley to Salmon Arm. Stapley from Campbell River, BC had 24 assists in 39 games this past season for the Smokie’s. The 5’10 ft 180 lbs D-Man also had 5 assists in 10 playoff games in the 2017 BCHL playoffs. The smooth skating offensive D-Man will be a welcomed addition to the Backs back end for next season. “Mitch will be entering his 20 yr old season with the Backs next season and will be counted on to lead the offensive production from the back end” stated GM Troy Mick He is a very good power play D-Man who will play in all situations for us. We are very excited to have him skating next season at the Shaw Centre.

Saving The Warriors:

Now that the West Kelowna Warriors are staying put, the focus has turned to enticing a fan base that has failed to average 1,000 fans a game over the past four seasons. The lack of solid support, despite a national championship 12 months ago, prompted owner Mark Cheyne to investigate selling the team that has played out of Royal LePage Place the past 10 years. An 11th-hour deal with local interests will keep the team in town. Cheyne says details on just how much of the team each of the partners (believed to be three or four) will own are still being ironed out. Those details should be made available within the next week. The team is now pushing hard to sell tickets for next season. "Our goal is to sell 1,000 season tickets," said Cheyne. It's an ambitious goal for a team that had about 475 season ticket holders last season. As an incentive to buy early, the Warriors are offering a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas, a signed team jersey and a free season ticket. Season ticket holders also get an "I Saved The Warriors" T-shirt. The Warriors, eliminated from the playoffs two weeks ago, are now preparing for their annual spring prospects camp April 21 to 23. The schedule for the 2017-2018 season, the Warriors 12th in the BCHL, is expected to be released in early summer.

Toneff Leaves Smoke Eaters:

Assistant Coach, Curtis Toneff has left the Trail Smoke Eaters to accept a position as the Head Coach and General Manager of the Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). Though we are sad to see a young coach of Curt’s calibre leave our organization, we are excited for him as he takes the next step in his coaching career. Curt joined the team after a successful run as the Assistant Coach of the Campbell River Storm in the VIJHL, where the team captured a Cyclone Taylor Championship. When an opening for an assistant coach with the Smoke Eaters came up early in the 2015-2016 season, Curt jumped at the opportunity to join an organization that he had spent time with as a player. In his two seasons behind the bench in Trail, Curt has had to fill several roles, and at the end of 2015-2016, stepped in as the interim Head Coach for the team during the few weeks of the season. At the end of last season, the team was in the difficult position of not having a full-time Head Coach in place heading in to the off season and without Curtis, the team would not have had the ability to take time to look for the right coach to take over the role of head coach for the team. The hard work that Curt put in during last off season helped to pave the way for the success that the Smoke Eaters had during this last campaign. It does not come as a surprise to the team’s front office that Curt would be given the reigns of his own hockey club. Director of Hockey and Business Operations, Craig Clare, has seen Curt grow from a player to coach, adding “Curt’s leadership and work ethic paved the way to this Head Coach and GM opportunity.  Curt came to Trail and was a big part of changing and improving the Trail Smoke Eaters program.  I have no doubt he will have a successful coaching career, and I am proud that it started with the Trail Smoke Eaters.” In discussing his time in Trail, Curt had the following to say. “I would like to thank the Trail Smoke Eaters organization for the opportunity they gave me these last two years. Tom Gawryletz, Craig Clare and Barry Zanier for everything they helped me with, and Cam Keith for taking an unknown Assistant Coach to him and showing me how the pros do it. Thank you of course to the players who were all such class acts and a pleasure to work with this year! The Smokies have an exciting future to look forward to. Rich and Annie and the hockey operations staff are doing such great things. Trail is a true hockey town with genuine hard working people. Good luck!” Though the team would love to have seen Curt return next season, we are excited for him and know he will excel in his new role with the Buccaneers. Best of luck, Curt, and thank you for everything you have done for the Trail Smoke Eaters.

Effort To Keep Clippers In Nanaimo Reaches 'Do Or Die Time'

Comeback efforts are something Clippers head coach Mike Vandekamp has seen many times over his long career — but much like the bid to keep the team in Nanaimo, someone has to step up and be the hero. Vandekamp told NanaimoNewsNOW there have been discussions with "10 or 12 different people" since the current ownership group set a deadline of the end of the month to find local investors or the team would likely move. While the process is "moving in the right direction," Vandekamp said they are not at a point where they have a concrete offer to take to majority owner Ken Wagner. "There's definitely been a list of people," Vandekamp said. "(They) are kicking tires but we need commitment at this point. It's do or die time here for the Clippers in Nanaimo. We need to make sure the tire kicking becomes something solid, so the next few days are really important." He said there has been a diverse range of people showing interest, including business owners looking for cross exposure, people in the local hockey community and alumni or people with a connection to the program. While Vandekamp said the perfect scenario would be one person or group stepping in to buy the entire ownership share, the timeline placed on them by the current owners created a need to explore different options. "We need significant investment locally, that's what we're looking at more than anything. It's not necessarily about the whole thing happening right away, it's about the community stepping up and us being able to add local ownership to the team in a large amount, in a significant way." Vandekamp and Nanaimo-based team president and minority owner David LeNeveu hope to have a proposal to take to Wagner by the end of the week. "(The) pending sale to move the team to a different location on the island...that deal had a date on it so we have to respect that," Vandekamp said. "This is a really important week for us to be able to have something in place to form some kind of agreement with the current ownership they can accept to keep the team here." Since the March 16 announcement the club may move or cease operations in Nanaimo, Vandekamp said he has learned something about the local hockey community. "The vibe has been, 'you know what Mike, there's more support out there than you think.' There's a lot of people...that really want to see this team stay and they believe in the program and the history. It's time for people to step up and show that, that's the key. "That's all fine and dandy, but we need more than that at this point. We need a financial commitment...that's what we've been fighting hard to find."

Bhandal Leaving Centennials:

“The Cents win! The Cents win! The Centennials WIN!” These words highlighted the playoff run the Merritt Centennials had this past season. As the voice of the team, I got to call some fantastic games, which will forever be cemented by both Tyrell Buckley (thanks for making me famous!), and Stephan Seeger’s OT heroics. The season was full of a lot of ups and downs, from that lengthy losing streak early in the season to the incredible playoff run that saw the Centennials become the only team in history to sweep a defending RBC cup champion. The gentlemen that formed this Centennials team were a group of excellent individuals. Some appropriate words to describe this group include genuine, compassionate, hard-working, and diligence. This was a team that prided itself in doing things the right way; to be good people and to treat people with respect. All the players made bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime. They never gave up on each other. From the antics of Zach Court to the weird dance routines of Colten Lancaster and the fierce leadership of Brett Jewell, they all went to war with each other day in, and day out. And I got to have a front row seat. From the opening day of the season and the seven-and-a-half hour bus ride to Prince George (only to not have the broadcast equipment work forcing me to call my first BCHL game over my cell phone), to the game seven loss in Penticton, I had the pleasure to bring you the Centennials games on Q101 and Hockey TV. Travelling with the team gave me experiences and memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. Like when a tire on the bus flew off on the trip back to Trail and we were stranded on the highway for over seven hours. What a fun time. You can’t make this up! This community has been amazing to me, I have a lot of respect for the people of Merritt. However, I will not be returning next season. My father has been fighting blood cancer for a few years now, and as an only child I’m going back home to be around him. Thank you for embracing this twenty-year-old, and giving me my start. I will never forget you, this town, and this team. “For the final time as the voice of your Merritt Centennials, good night, and good-bye.” Mantar Bhandal is the play-by-play host of the Merritt Centennials broadcasts on Q101 radio.

Clippers Call Monday News Conference To Announce Future Of Team:

The Clippers are tight lipped on the details, but a news conference has been scheduled for Monday morning. The announcement is expected to provide a definitive answer on where the team will be playing next season and who its owner will be. Two weeks ago the current owners announced that the club needed new local ownership by the end of the month or the Clippers would likely be on the move to another Vancouver Island city. Coach Mike Vandekamp said Thursday if the team does stay in Nanaimo they will still need to gather more support from the community. "For sure, no matter what we're going to have to continue to work on this, creating a more stable financial environment for the team," Vandekamp said. "That's not necessarily just going to be solved in two weeks time. It's going to be something that the whole community needs to rally around." Team President David LeNeveu and Vandekamp have been working around the clock on a plan to keep the Clippers in Nanaimo since the March 16 announcement putting the team's fate in question. Vandekamp says that during that process they believe a wider interest has been sparked for people wanting to keep the club in the harbour city. "In order for the team to stay in Nanaimo we have to grow the group of supporters. Whether that be through private ownership, or going down a path of a non-profit approach...we need people from Nanaimo to own this team. It needs to become Nanaimo's team and no matter what that's what we've been trying to create here." There are still many moving pieces at play if the team is to stay in Nanaimo, according to the coach. Vandekamp said the team is looking forward to providing some clarity to their fans, sponsors, and the rest of the hockey community. He added the team is optimistic everything will come together favourably and will be able to operate in Nanaimo next season. Local junior hockey fans may be on pins and needles over the weekend but come Monday there will be a firm decision on the future of the Nanaimo Clippers.

Van Diemen Leaves Spruce Kings:

The Prince George Spruce Kings would like to announce a change with their hockey operations staff. Due to family reasons, Chad van Diemen is stepping down from his role as Head Coach. Van Diemen joined the Spruce Kings in April 2015 and guided a young rebuilding team to a 14-38-4-2 record during the 2015/16 season. During the 2016/17 season van Diemen guided the team to a much improved 25-27-4-2 record which included a spot in the BCHL playoffs. The team lost a tough 7 game series to the first place Wenatchee Wild in 6 games. “Chad did a great job as the head coach of our team. Chad was someone that I had targeted back in 2015 when we were seeking a new Head Coach. He brought a lot of passion, commitment and hockey knowledge to the position. Our organization and our players were fortunate to have Chad as their Head Coach and while it is tough to see him step away it is the right decision at this time. We are all very passionate about this organization but family certainly comes before hockey” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes. In conjunction with van Diemen stepping away, the team is very pleased to announce the promotion of Associate Coach Adam Maglio to the position of Head Coach. “It was an absolute no brainer for me. As soon as I became aware of the situation with Chad I immediately knew who I would wanted to be our next Head Coach. Adam is an incredibly prepared, organized and committed person who is one the best young and progressive coaches in junior A hockey. He has shown me over the past two seasons that he is more than ready and capable to take the reins as our new Head Coach. I look forward to continuing the process of moving our organization forward with Adam” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes. “I would like to thank the Prince George Spruce King’s organization for the opportunity to become the team’s next Head Coach. I’m extremely excited to continue working with a deeply dedicated staff of quality individuals who are committed to development and ultimately winning. We have a very solid base to build on from last season in which, I believe, we made tremendous steps and growth as a team. I’m thrilled to push forward next season in working towards our ultimate goal of bringing a championship to the City of Prince George” said Spruce Kings new Head Coach Adam Maglio.

Centennials Spring Camp A Success:

The Merritt Centennials held the first of two spring evaluation camps on the weekend, with close to 100 skaters on hand from across Canada and the United States. “There was some excellent talent,” said Cents’ head coach and GM Joe Martin. “The games were quite low-scoring, which was a testament to the good goaltending and strong defensive play.” The players were divided into five teams, and scrimmages were held Friday night, all day Saturday and on Sunday till about 3 p.m. “Like last year, we made things a bit more competitive, and had the teams competing to play in the championship game on Sunday afternoon,” said Martin. “We had a few prizes for the winners, like candy bars and so on. Everyone seemed to like the format.” The majority of the players in attendance at this weekend’s camp came from British Columbia. There were also some from Alberta, and even as far away as Newfoundland, Connecticut and Colorado. Many had Junior B experience, while others last played in major midget or elite prep school/hockey academy varsity programs. Several Merritt minor hockey products attended the camp, including goaltenders Holden King and Colton Macaulay, and forward Sunil Sahota. Other participants of interest were Josh Van Unen from Kamloops (the younger brother of Cents’ rookies Michael and Rylan Van Unen), Slade Desharnais from Fort St. James (son of former Centennial Guy Prince), Nolan Corrado (son of former Centennial Pat Corrado), Ezra Paddock (son of former Merritt RCMP officer Dave Paddock), Luke Recchi from Kamloops (nephew of NHL hockey legend Mark Recchi), and Michael Araki-Young from Vancouver (whose dad grew up in Merritt). Martin stated that several players from the weekend evaluation camp have been invited to the second spring camp in Abbotsford in June, and to the Cents’ main camp in late August. “We want to create a pretty competitive environment for these players, as well as for the 14 returnees from this past season’s Centennials team,” said the head coach.

Clippers To Form Society And Stay In Nanaimo:

The Clippers will be staying in Nanaimo as a community-owned hockey club. The B.C. Hockey League franchise announced Monday morning it will create the Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Society. “We’re obviously very happy and excited to announce that the Clippers are staying in Nanaimo,” said David LeNeveu, team president. Keeping the Clippers in the Harbour City involved a group of individuals contributing at least $50,000 each to allow the society to purchase a portion of the hockey club. There was sufficient commitment to satisfy the current ownership group. “The goal is to have the society own the entire club free and clear, so as funding comes in, a portion of those funds will be used to buy out the current ownership,” LeNeveu said. That timeline, he said, will depend on community support. As soon as the society is legally set up, a fundraising drive will begin, said Andrea Trepanier, a Clippers investor who will head up business operations. “Moving forward we’re going to need more community support and we’re going to need some corporate partners to step up and help us out in a bigger way,” she said. The Clippers will immediately increase their budget for the coming season to add more staff; Trepanier said it will take higher expenses to boost revenues. She noted that the Clippers are basing their society model on the experience of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, who recently ran a similar campaign and raised $300,000. LeNeveu said now that the Clippers are locally owned, he believes the community and its hockey fans will be more supportive of the home team. “When the people of the community own the team, they’re going to support the team and they’re going to reach out to other members of the community to help support this team,” he said. “It’s the hardest decision that’s going to require the most work and the most people that we’re going to call on for help; however, this is what’s going to be successful in this community.”

Saturday, April 22, 2017

FireAntz Sign Ex Vipers Defenceman Robertson:

The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) Fayetteville FireAntz have signed former Vernon Vipers defenceman Sean Robertson.

Robertson was invited to the East Coast Hockey League Utah Grizzlies training camp in September, was released during camp before signing with the Grizzlies on a later date. Robertson was later released October 21 2016.

Robertson played In 11 games with Merrimack College during the 2012-13 season before leaving for the University of Guelph. Robertson spent his first six seasons playing for the Victoria Grizzlies before being traded to Vernon in his final year of Junior hockey. On December 12th 2011 the Vipers traded Zach McPhee and future considerations to Victoria for Robertson.  In 31 games with the Vipers Robertson collected (0-goals-4-assists-4-points).

Sean Robertson's Player Profile:

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=114072

This was posted in the Fayetteville Observer Newspaper:

FireAntz busy shuffling roster with multiple moves

Posted Oct 26, 2016

By Thomas Pope - Sports editor

The Fayetteville FireAntz made multiple roster moves Wednesday, included a trade with expansion Evansville.

Coach Jeff Bes sent defenseman Kyllian Kirkwood to the Thunderbolts for future considerations. He signed defenseman Sean Robertson, who finished his collegiate career at the University of Guelph.

Right winger Max Cook was placed on the 14-day injured-reserve list by the Southern Professional Hockey League team, and Bes released goalie Michael Doan from a tryout contract.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Former Vernon Viper Brownlee Wins Two Awards At 2016 BCCMA Country Music Awards:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman Chad Brownlee took home two awards at the 2016 BCCMA Country Awards.

Brownlee won Album/EP of the Year (Hearts on Fire) & Male Vocalist of the Year.

Brownlee a current Country music star "The Best That I Can (Superhero)",  his first single, was released in November 2009. Brownlee's self-titled debut album, produced by Mitch Merrett, was released in August 2010. Brownlee won the 2011 CCMA Rising Star award winner, also a recipient of his first JUNO Award nomination for Country Album of the Year on February 19, 2013.

Brownlee played two years in Vernon (2001-03). In 113 regular season games with the Vipers, Brownlee collected (14-goals-28-assists-42-points). Brownlee was drafted in 2003 in the 6th round, by the NHL Vancouver Canucks but retired from hockey after a short stint in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) with the Idaho Steelheads following a series of injuries, before becoming a Country music star.

Chad Brownlee's Player Profile:

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=72703

Chad Brownlee's website:

http://chadbrownlee.com/

This was posted on the Country 107.1 website:

The Full List Of BCCMA Award Winners

by curtis.pope on October 24, 2016

BC Country Music Association ANNOUNCES the 2016 WINNERS !!

The BCCMA is proud to announce the winners from this years 40th Annual BCCMA Awards

Album / EP of the Year
Chad Brownlee – Hearts On Fire

Country Club Act of the Year
Chris Buck Band (Philip Puxley, Michael Vanderlans, Jesse Burch, Taylor Allum )

Country Venue of the Year
The Roxy – Vancouver (Christian Aldred )

Don Adam’s Country Music Person of the Year
Linda Corscadden

Country On Air Personality Area Code 250
Louis BigRig McIvor – Country 103.1 Kamloops

Country On Air Personality Area Code 604
Curtis Pope– Country 107.1 Abbotsford

Entertainer of the Year
Dallas Smith

Fans Choice Award
Aaron Pritchett

Female Vocalist of the Year
Madeline Merlo

Gaylord Wood Traditional Country Award
Jackson Hollow (Tianna Lefebvre-Sanyshyn, Mike Sanyshyn, David Barber& Kirby Barber )

Group Duo of the Year
The Washboard Union (Brett Ellis, Chris Dunner & David Roberts )

Male Vocalist of the Year
Chad Brownlee

Mike Norman All Star Band – Bass
Kirby Barber

Mike Norman All Star Band – Drums
Pat Steward

Mike Norman All Star Band – Guitar
Darren Savard

Mike Norman All Star Band – Keyboard
Carly McKillip Carly Savard

Mike Norman All Star Band – Special Instrument
Mike Sanyshyn – Fiddle

Producer of the Year
Jeff Johnson

Radio Station of the Year
Country 107.1 – Abbotsford

Ray McAuley Horizon Award
The Heels (Kyla Rawlins, Bobbi Smith Brittni Dominelli & Georgia Dominelli)

Recording Studio of the Year
Studio Downe Under (Soren Lonnqvist )

Roots Canadiana of the Year Award
The Washboard Union

Single of the Year Award
Aaron Pritchett – Dirt Road In Em

Socan Songwriter of the Year Award
The Washboard Union – Maybe It’s The Moonshine
(Chris Duncombe, David Roberts, Aaron Grain, Grant Vogelfanger, and Witt McKay)

Video Director of the Year Award
Stephano Barberis

Video of the Year Award
Aaron Pritchett – Dirt Road In Em

Website of the Year Award
Ben Klick – www.benklick.com

Humanitarian of the Year Award
Twin’s Cancer, Gone Country – Here for the Cure

Volunteer of the Year Award
Murray Bureyko

Presidents Citation
Steve Adams Barb Adams – Tim Hortons Surrey

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE WINNERS!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Foxes Sign Former Vernon Laker Metropolit:

The HCB Foxes have signed former Vernon
Lakers forward Glen Metropolit.

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).

Metropolit spent the past two seasons with the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) Adler Mannheim Eagles.  In 49 games last season with Adler Mannheim Metropolit collected (10-goals-17-assists-27-points). Metropolit signed with the Eagles July 29th 2014. The Eagles are an ice hockey team that play in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the highest ice hockey league in Germany. The Eagles are based in Mannheim, a city in the north of Baden-W├╝rttemberg.

Metropolit has spent the past six seasons overseas playing with four teams (EV Zug, HC Lugano, SC Bern & Adler Mannheim) in two different leagues (NLA & DEL). Metropolit was also Captain for Team Canada the 2014 Spengler Cup.

Metropolit played one season in Vernon (1994-95) with the Vernon Lakers. In 60 regular season games with the Lakers Metropolit lead the team in scoring with (43-goals-74-assists-117-points). Mettropolit was never drafted but played eight seasons in the NHL with seven different teams (Washington, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia & Montreal).

Glen Metropolit's Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=3587

This was tweeted by 37hockey and posted on www.37hockey.com

37 HOCKEY, LLC‏
@37hockey

20 Oct 2016

Client Glen Metropolit has signed with @HCB_Foxes in the @erstebankliga for the 2016-2017 season

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sound Tigers Loan Viper Alumni Juha To Missouri Mavericks:

The American Hockey League (AHL) Bridgeport Sound Tigers have loaned
former Vernon Vipers defenceman Luke Juha to the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Missouri Mavericks.

Juha played four years at Penn State University before signing a Amateur Tryout contract with the American Hockey League (AHL) Bridgeport Sound Tigers March 24th 2016 before agreeing to terms on one-year American Hockey League contract with the Sound Tigers July 5th 2016. Juha has never played a game with Bridgeport, has played in 43 games with the Mavericks this season, picking up (1-goal-12-assists-13-points). Last season Juha was up for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, was also one of nine Canadian Junior Hockey League alumni who were selected out of the twenty candidates for the 2015-16 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate hockey.

Juha played one season in Vernon (2011-12). Juha played in just ten games picking up two assists, missed most of the season due to two long term injuries. The Vipers acquired Juha from the OJHL Burlington Cougars on June 27th 2011 for future considerations.

Luke Juha's Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=75054

This was in the Missouri Examiner Newspaper:

Mavericks set final roster for opening weekend

Oct 14, 2016

By Bill Althaus

bill.althaus@examiner.net

John-Scott Dickson could finally sit back in the chair behind the desk in his office inside the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena and take a deep sigh of relief.

He and the Missouri Mavericks front office have put together the final roster for the ECHL team that will open the season with games this Saturday and Sunday at Allen, Texas, against the two-time defending ECHL champion Americans.

“It’s done, we have a roster,” said Dickson, the first-year head coach who served as an assistant coach the past two seasons. “I really like this team, like this roster. We put them through a tough couple of hours out on the ice this morning. We had a scrimmage game, worked on the power play and penalty kill. We had most of the guys who will be with us this season, and it was nice to get them all out on the ice together.”

The lone exception was Tyler Elbrecht, a defenseman from the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. He joins the team following a late trade for future considerations.

“He’s a nice addition to our defense,” Dickson said. “He’s a shutdown guy who will have a presence out on the ice. He might get into 10 or 12 fights a year – a tough player, but a guy who can skate and really play defense.”

Like Dickson, general manager Brent Thiessen is also happy with the team the Mavericks are sending to Allen to start the season.

“We are very happy with our roster,” Thiessen said. “There is a good mix of youth and experience in our goaltenders, defensemen and forwards. We expect this group to have a lot of success.”

Highlighting the season opening roster are seven returnees from the record-setting 2015-16

They are Bryce Aneloski, Andrew Courtney, Rocco Carzo, Jesse Graham, Darren Nowick, Josh Robinson and Reed Seckel. They are joined by 16 newcomers who have already made an impact on the first-year coach.

“I’m really happy with the way our team has come together,” Dickson said. “It was a unique training camp this year, but now that everyone is here we are gelling as a team and excited to start the season.”

The opening roster includes goalies Josh Robinson and Eamon McAdam; forwards Shawn Pauley, Andrew Courtney, Rocco Corzo, Dan Correale, Darren Nowick, Sam Povorzniouk, Justin Selman, Lukas Lofquist, Radoslav Illo, Reed Seckel, Aaron Berisha and Dane Fox; and defensemen Bryce Aneloski, Jesse Graham, Samuel Noreau, Ryan Obuchowski, Dmitrii Sergeev, Gus Young, Luke Juha and Tyler Elbrecht.

The new players came to the team by several means from the NHL affiliates, the New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues and their American Hockey League affiliates.

The Islanders assigned Graham and McAdam to the Mavericks from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Bridgeport loaned Berisha, Lofquist, Juha and Obuchowski to the Mavericks.

The Blues assigned Selman and Sergeev to the Mavericks from Chicago, and the AHL’s Wolves loaned Povorozniouk and Young.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Wolf Pack Loan Ex Vipers Defenceman Noonan To East Coast Hockey League:

The American Hockey League Hartford Wolf Pack have loaned
former Vernon Vipers defenceman Garrett Noonan to the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

Noonan attended the New York Rangers training camp in October before being assisgned to the American Hockey League.

Noonan started last season with the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Cincinnati Cyclones, split last year between Cincinnati & the American Hockey League (AHL) Milwaukee Admirals.

After four seasons at Boston University Noonan signed a Entry-Level Deal with the Nashville Predators on April 22nd 2014 also signed an amateur try-out contract (ATO) with the American Hockey League (AHL) Milwaukee Admirals. Noonan has spent the past two seasons playing with Cincinnati & Milwaukee. Noonan was drafted by Nashville in Round 4 #112 overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Noonan played one season in Vernon (2009-2010) In 58 regular season games with the Vipers Noonan collected (2-goals-16-assists-18-points).

Garrett Noonan's Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=48219

This was posted on the Swamp Rabbits website:

Swamp Rabbits Opening Day Roster Unveiled

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Greenville, SC – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, announced Thursday the team’s official roster for the upcoming 2016-17 ECHL season. Greenville has 12 forwards, eight defensemen, and three goaltenders prepared for the road toward the 2017 Kelly Cup.

Greenville returns nine players who saw time in the 2015-16 season while bringing in seven rookie skaters into the mix. Captain Bretton Cameron along with Tyler Brown are the veterans on the roster with 667 games logged in the ECHL and AHL combined. Goaltender Jeff Malcolm returns between the pipes after spending parts of three seasons between Greenville and Hartford. Eleven different players on the Greenville roster have had time in the American Hockey League, bringing a wealth of experience to the upstate for the upcoming season.

“Our staff put a lot of time this offseason into finding the right group of guys to compete at a high level here in Greenville,” said Head Coach Brian Gratz.“We have a great group and I’m excited to get the season started.”

To complete the roster, the Swamp Rabbits also have traded defenseman Tyler Elbrecht to the Missouri Mavericks in exchange for future considerations. Elbrecht logged 65 games for the Swamp Rabbits in 2015-16. With two goals and ten assists for 12 points, Elbrecht served as an alternate captain during his third professional year. His 148 penalty minutes led the Swamp Rabbits. The Edwardsville, IL native joins his fourth team since entering the league in 2013.

With the announcement of the team roster, the Swamp Rabbits complete their final transactions of the preseason. Greenville has added defensemen Justin DaSilva and Garrett Noonan along with forwards Ahti Oksanen and Adam Chapie. Noonan and Oksanen are on loan from Hartford, while Chapie has been reassigned to Greenville by the New York Rangers. DaSilva rejoins the Swamp Rabbits for a second season after a preseason tryout with the Wolf Pack. Oksanen, Noonan, and Chapie all will wear Swamp Rabbit jerseys for the first time. In addition, Zach Loesch has been released from his professional tryout and Chad Duchesne has been moved to the injured reserve list.

DaSilva produced 21 points (3g, 18a) for Greenville from the blue line in his rookie season. Oksanen enters his rookie season after a prolific career at Boston University. As one of the team’s top scorers for three of four seasons, the Finnish forward put 36 points up in 39 games as a senior. Also entering his rookie season, Chapie was one of the top scorers at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell for three seasons. In that time he collected 89 points for the River Hawks in 113 games.

Noonan comes to the Swamp Rabbits as a 4th Round NHL Draft Pick by the Nashville Predators in 2011. Now in his third pro season, Noonan has compiled 57 career AHL games and 73 ECHL games over time with Milwaukee (AHL) and Cincinnati. In the ECHL, the defenseman has 53 career points with the Cyclones. Noonan also captained the Boston University Terriers during his senior season.

The Swamp Rabbits begin the regular season on Friday night against the Florida Everblades for a two game series. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. from Estero, FL to begin the seventh year of hockey in the upstate.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Former Viper Jones Solid In NHL Debut:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Connor Jones made his NHL debut, April 2nd 2017 with the New York Islanders after being called up from the American Hockey League (AHL) Bridgeport Sound Tigers April 1st 2017. Jones played once with the Islanders before being sent back down to the American Hockey League April 4th 2017.

Jones is in his second season with the American Hockey League (AHL) Bridgeport Sound Tigers, signed a one-year, two-way (NHL/AHL) contract with the New York Islanders February 22, 2017.

After four years at Quinnipiac University Jones signed his first pro contract along with twin brother Kellen with the American Hockey League (AHL) Oklahoma City Barons April 3rd 2014. Connor has spent the past two seasons playing with three teams in three different leagues. (ECHL-Bakersfield Condors, AHL-Oklahoma City Barons & the AHL-Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Connor played In 163 regular season games with the Vipers collecting (80-goals-118-assists-198-points) Connor also is the Vipers all-time franchise points leader (regular season & playoffs) with 228 & all-time franchise goals leader (regular season & playoffs) with 95.

Connor Jones Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=38011

This was posted on Newsday.com

Islanders’ Connor Jones solid in his debut

April 2, 2017

By Arthur Staple  arthur.staple@newsday.com

BUFFALO — Connor Jones may not have seemed like the right man for the daunting task of replacing John Tavares, but he did what he was brought up from Bridgeport to do in his NHL debut Sunday.

The 26-year-old played a solid 11:13 in the Islanders’ 4-2 win over the Sabres and came close to a couple of milestones. He appeared to touch the puck to Nick Leddy on a play that ended with Cal Clutterbuck scoring the opening goal, although no assist was given. He also missed the empty net twice in the final minute.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “In warm-ups, you’re out there, seeing all the fans, everybody, just that amount of people watching you — it’s the stuff you only see on TV. I enjoyed it for a little bit, then it was time to get to work.”

Doug Weight said Jones was chosen over a few higher-scoring Bridgeport forwards because he kills penalties and fits in well with the fourth-line ethos that the Islanders want up and down their lineup.

“He had some energy, just what we thought he’d bring,” Weight said. “He was probably tired, he played a ton for Bridgeport two nights ago, but he looked ready and he did some good things.”

This was on the Islanders twitter account,

Here is a pre-game clip with interview's from Connor and his family before his NHL debut,

https://twitter.com/NYIslanders/status/849018696261525504


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Vernon Vipers Spring Prospect Camp:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vernon Vipers SPRING Prospect Camp

April 6 2017

The Vernon Viper Prospect camp will be held May 19th-21st 2017 in Vernon, BC. Each player will be guaranteed at least 4 games (Depending on playoff schedule). Camp will begin Friday afternoon and conclude Sunday afternoon.

Head Coach Mark Ferner and his staff expect the pace and compete level of the camp to be very high with players trying to earn permanent positions on the Vipers for the upcoming season.

“Past camps have seen players competing at a high level for roster spots on one of the most prestigious JR A programs in Canada. At the completion of this Showcase camp we will provide players  feedback on where they reside within our organization. We have tremendous opportunity for players to be able to come in and play prominent roles within our hockey team.   I have enclosed a registration form please fill out and mail/fax it back to the address or number listed on the form.”

If you require further information please feel free to contact the Vipers office at 250-542-6022.

For more information please contact Mark Ferner or Kevin Kraus at 250-542-6022

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Vipers Lose Long Time Fan-Supporter George Taylor:

This was in Wednesday's Morning Star Newspaper:

George Robert Taylor

was born on June 8th, 1943 in Princeton, B.C. and passed away peacefully on April 6th, 2017 in Vernon, B.C. with his wife by his side.

George will be lovingly remembered by his wife; Pat, to whom he was married for 43 years, his sons; Lorne (Janet) Taylor of Sherwood Park, Alberta, James (Kim) Taylor of San Jose, California, Dan (Stacee) Taylor of Athabasca, Alberta, his daughter; Anita (Gord) Thorburn of Camrose, Alberta, 13 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, his brothers; Don (Doreen) Taylor of Kamloops, B.C. and Bill Taylor of Penticton, B.C., his sister; Caroline of Vernon, B.C. along with numerous nieces, nephews, extended family members and friends. George was preceded in death by his parents; George and Beryl Taylor and by his brother; Jim Taylor.

George worked for the B.C. Forest Services for 36 years, then went private, Scaling for 5 years at which time he retired. He wasn’t happy being retired so he went to work for Rec Ex / City of Vernon in 2004 and worked for them up until he passed away. George was very passionate about his hockey and he was a huge supporter of the Vernon Vipers hockey team. He loved to read about history and enjoyed fishing trips with his children when they were young.

The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Dr. Pritchett, Dr.
McClellan, all of the staff at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital and Hospice House for their amazing care and support shown to George and our family.

In respecting George’s wishes, he was cremated and no funeral service will be held.

As an expression of sympathy, those who wish to do so may send donations in memory of George to the Canadian Cancer Society #104-3402 27th Avenue, Vernon, B.C. V1T 1S1 or to the North Okanagan Hospice Society 3506 27th Avenue, Vernon, B.C. V1T 1S4. Cremation arrangements have been made with BETHEL FUNERAL CHAPEL LTD., 5605 – 27th Street, Vernon, B.C. V1T 8Z5 • 250-542-1187

Friday, April 14, 2017

Harbinson Recaps Vipers-Vees Series:

This is posted on Castanet.net

A new challenge for Vees

Dustin Godfrey - Apr 12, 2017

The Penticton Vees overtook their rivals in the Interior division finals this week, with a game seven win over the Vernon Vipers on Monday, but come Friday, they’ll face a new challenge.

Heading into league finals against the Chilliwack Chiefs, head coach Fred Harbinson says the Vees will need to get riled up for a team they don’t encounter as often as they do the Vipers.

“We need to find a way to have some dislike for the Chilliwack Chiefs,” he said in this week’s Vees’ View with Coach Harbinson. “It was easy to get up for Merritt, obviously you get up everyday not liking Vernon, now we have to do the same with Chilliwack.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1ALPZ4zuUU

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lansdell & Hanson Recieve Honourable Mention For Player Of The Week:

This is posted on the BCHL website:

Kawaguchi helps Chiefs to Finals, takes BCHL POW

April 11, 2017

Chilliwack Chiefs forward Jordan Kawaguchi has been named the BCHL Player of the Week for the week ending April 10, the league announced Tuesday.

The Abbotsford native picked up five goals and two helpers over the final four games of the Coastal finals, helping the Chiefs past the Victoria Grizzlies. Kawaguchi was named 1st Star in Game 3 after he scored a hat
trick which included the game-winner. He followed that with a goal and an assist in a Game 4 road victory, scored in a home loss the next game and finished the series with a helper in the decisive Game 6 in Victoria.

Kawaguchi totaled 13 points in the Coastal finals and now has 28 points in 16 postseason games, which leads all scorers.

Honourable Mentions this week:

Victoria Grizzlies F Nathan Looysen: 3G, OT GWG, 3rd Star

Vernon Vipers G Darion Hanson: 2W, SO, two 1st Stars, 3rd Star, 151 saves/161 shots, .938 sv%, 1.97 GAA

Vernon Vipers F Jesse Lansdell: 3G, 3A, 2nd Star, FortisBC Energy Player of the Game

Penticton Vees F Taylor Sanheim: 3G, 1st Star, 3rd Star

Chilliwack Chiefs F Jake Smith: 2G, 4A, GWG, 2nd Star, 3rd Star

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Vees Brush Back Vipers In Game 7:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vees brush back Vipers in Game 7

Kevin Mitchell Wed Apr 12th, 2017

It was Game 204 for Riley Brandt. His last as a valued member of the Vernon Vipers. The 5-foot-8, 195-pound muscle-bound centre earned his shower every minute in his B.C. Hockey League career.

A consummate heart-and-soul captain, the 20-year-old Brandt was distraught moments after the Vipers lost 3-1 to the Penticton Vees in Game 7 before 4,033 highly vocal fans Monday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Vees take the Ryan Hadfield Memorial Trophy as Interior Conference champions and meet the Chilliwack Chiefs for the Fred Page Cup, while the Vipers clean out their lockers and spend a few days celebrating a pretty special season.

“The group of guys in that room made it so easy for me to be the captain this year,” said the teary Brandt, perhaps the league’s toughest player ounce-for-ounce. “The group of 20-year-olds we had left their hearts on the ice every single day. You couldn’t have a better group of rookies and everybody else through the whole organization over the past years here have been nothing but great to me.

“I call Vernon home and there’s nothing I could have done anymore to show my appreciation to the organization, and especially to this group of guys inside that room tonight. I am so thankful for what this organization has done for me in the past and coming out like this is obviously difficult, but that’s hockey and I guess you’re gonna have to go with the memories instead of the championships sometimes.”

Viper head coach/GM Mark Ferner was very emotional moments after the game. He said the Vipers simply couldn’t get any traction or catch a break.

“It’s never easy coming into someone else’s building and we fell behind early. The one positive is I’m very extremely proud of this group, not only the way they played on the ice, but the way they were off the ice. This was a very pleasurable team to coach and be around. We’ve got great personalities and it’s very tough and bitter for some guys, especially the 20-year-olds and the players that will be leaving for school. That was the message: we’ve very proud of them. They represented the organization and the city like no other.”

Brandt, the pride of Trail, scored the Vipers’ last goal of the year to give them some life midway through the third period. He will play for the Royal Military College Paladins in Kingston, Ont. next year.

“This organization is is very good hands,” said Brandt. “I’m very proud to have been a Viper for the past three years.”

Brandt and teammate Jagger Williamson were the only Vipers who lost Game 7 to the Vees in the 2015 Interior final. The Vees grabbed the lead 7:51 after the national anthem when Okanagan Hockey Academy call-up Cassidy Bowes fed d-man Gabe Bast down the left sidewall. Bast, a North Dakota commit, wired a low wrister past Viper goalie Darion Hanson for his fifth of the playoffs.

Bowes entered the Vees lineup for Chris Klack, who was issued a one-game suspension from Game 6 in Vernon. The Kelowna 18-year-old enjoyed a strong showing and earned the FortisBC Energy player of the game.

Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said getting that first goal was crucial all series long.

“It has been important in this series. Both teams are so good with the lead,” said Harbinson. “Getting that first goal gave us the confidence. Got the crowd into it, which was outstanding tonight, over 4,000 people.”

Hanson recorded a big save off a Jared Nash backhander five minutes into the second period. The Vees went up 2-0 when power forward Duncan Campbell, who played in the Memorial Cup last year with the Brandon Wheat Kings, took a feed from Nic Jones and buried a 10-foot snapper, untouched, from the right side of Hanson. Jones, also headed to North Dakota, juked and jived with the puck for a good seven seconds in the deep slot before finding Campbell. Bast drew the secondary assist.

“They backed off a little bit so I thought I had some time,” said Jones, a 20-year-old from Edmonton. “I was gonna shoot one, I saw Campbell over there so he was able to make a good shot.”

Added Jones, who played a full season with the Ohio State Buckeyes as an 18-year-old: “We’re a pretty good team with the lead. We fell behind early last game (5-1 loss Saturday night in Vernon) and weren’t able to get back into it. It was nice to get up early tonight.”

Penticton upped their lead with 6:40 left in the middle frame when D Sol Seibel, filling in for Chris Jandric, who was serving a one-game suspension, turned the puck over in the Vees end to Owen Sillinger. The Bemidji State commit sprung Taylor Sanheim.

Sanheim, who spent 133 games with the WHL Calgary Hitmen before joining the Vees at the trade deadline, broke into the Vipers zone, then slowed as he made an inside-out move on D Shane Kelly that looked like it was going nowhere. Sanheim then snapped a shot, high blocker that sent fans into a frenzy.

Viper centre Brett Stapley cut hard to the net but was denied by goalie Matt Robson, one of the few Vernon scoring chances over 40 minutes.

Luke Gingras almost got Vernon on the board with a Grade A chance in front of Robson after an aggressive forecheck early in the third stanza.

With 9:34 remaining, Jesse Lansdell picked off a James Miller clearing pass and fed Brandt, who went roof daddy. The Vipers pressed hard for the remainder of the period, outshooting Penticton 12-5.

“This is a tough loss,” said Viper All-Rookie team defenceman Michael Ufberg, who caught a piece of Ty Amonte with a monster check at the Vees’ blueline. “You gotta give credit to Penticton over there. We got down pretty early and fought back which shows the kind of team we have, the kind of character in the room, the heart in the room and the passion. You have to give a shout out to our whole team, probably the most amazing team I’ve ever played on. It was all about team this year.

“Mark and (assistants Kraus and Pedersen) Kevin and Kevin taught us so much and they preached the culture and we responded to that. We had a great group of 20-year-olds who were great leaders. Riley Brandt’s the best captain I’ve ever had, one of the best leaders I’ve ever seen.”

Ufberg, a 19-year-old from Philadelphia who has a scholarship to Princeton Tigers, will return next year and promises to be a leader after watching the Viper veterans work the room.

The Vees and Vipers were meeting in the playoffs for the 22nd time since 1967 and went to Game 7 for the the third time in four seasons, with Vernon winning in overtime in 2014 (Michael McNicholas winner) and Penticton prevailing 2-0 in 2015 (Patrick Sexton goal).

Penticton hosts the Western Canada Cup April 29-May 7. The top-two teams move to the Royal Bank Cup, 13-21, in Couburg, Ont.

“Vernon is a great team. You’re in Game 7 and up 3-0 in the third,” said Harbinson. “You know that they are going to keep pushing. They got one. They made us turn the puck over. Now all of a sudden you are hanging on for dear life. I told our guys to act like a family. When you’re in tough situations with your family, you’re going to stick together and that’s what the boys did tonight.”

Ferner tweaked his lineup in the fall, adding giant blueliners Connor Clouston and Cooper Watson, Hanson and the feisty Lansdell to become a tougher team to play against.

Clouston, who was released by his father/coach Shaun Clouston of the WHL Medicine Hat Tigers, has no regrets coming to Vernon. The 20-year-old Medicine Hat product played 158 Major Junior games with the Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors and Tigers. He knew and trusted Ferner.

“I couldn’t be happier the way things worked out,” said Clouston. “I’ve never been part of a team that close; I’ve actually never made playoffs in my Junior career. It’s an incredible feeling with an incredible group of guys. I made some lifelong friends and memories here.

“I learned a lot as a hockey player and as a person through great leadership from the team, from the young guys to the older guys and an unbelievable coaching staff.”

While Clouston and Watson were the most feared defensive pairing in the league, the Snakes’ other three players aging out brought grit and moxy as well.

WHL refugee Austin Adamson found his way after a rough start and Hunter Zandee was a versatile super pest. Brandt cared deeply about his teammates, fans and everybody involved with the Vipers, treating the organization like a brotherhood.

“One thing about our 20-year-olds is they treated everybody with such respect and they were fun to be around,” said Ferner. ‘They all have good futures.”

The Vees visit the Chiefs for Games 1 and 2 Friday and Saturday at the Prospera Centre.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Viper Alumni Finlay Wins National Championship With Pioneers:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Liam Finlay & the Denver Pioneers win their eighth National Championship.

Finlay is in his first season with the University of Denver, played parts of two years in Vernon (2014-2016) after coming over in a trade with the Penticton Vees. In 96 games with the Vipers Finlay collected (39-goals-69-assists-109-points).

Liam Finlay's Player Profile:

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=202405

This is posted on the Pioneers website:

Pioneers Skate to Eighth National Title

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

CHICAGO (AP) -- Tariq Hammond hobbled out to center ice with a walking boot on his right leg. Surrounded by the jubilant Denver Pioneers, the junior defenseman just kept saying "We did it," over and over again.

Yup, it's real.

Jarid Lukosevicius scored three goals in the second period, and Denver beat Minnesota Duluth 3-2 on Saturday night for the NCAA championship.

Troy Terry had two assists and Tanner Jaillet made 38 saves as Denver moved into a tie with North Dakota for second on the NCAA list with eight men's hockey titles, trailing only Michigan with nine. The Pioneers (33-7-4) also made it to the Frozen Four last year, but lost 4-2 to the Fighting Hawks in the semifinals -- providing inspiration for this year's run to the program's first championship since 2005.

"It's hard to put into words," said senior captain Will Butcher, who became the sixth Hobey Baker Award winner to also take home the NCAA title in the same season. "After that loss, it seemed like everybody was focused from that day on to become better, become committed to excellence, like we always talk about."

The game was delayed early in the third when Minnesota center Jared Thomas and Hammond got tangled up, and Hammond's right leg got pinned against the boards behind the Pioneers net.

Hammond, who had a goal and two assists in Denver's semifinal win against Notre Dame, was taken off on a stretcher. The Pioneers surrounded him for a brief moment on his way off.

"It's probably a broken ankle," coach Jim Montgomery said. "I guess it wasn't easy for three orthopedic surgeons that were here to put it back in place."

When play resumed, Minnesota Duluth pushed frantically to get back in the game. Riley Tufte's rebound goal got the Bulldogs within one at 14:39, but the Pioneers managed to hold on. Jaillet made 16 saves in the third.

"They were coming strong. They were throwing the kitchen sink at us," Jaillet said. "Our guys had huge blocks, making plays. We were able to weather that storm and obviously come out with the win."

Lukosevicius' three goals in a 7:39 span finished off the first hat trick in an NCAA final since Montgomery accomplished the feat in Maine's 5-4 victory against Lake Superior State in 1993. It also helped Montgomery become only the fourth man to win the championship as a head coach and player.

Lukosevicius was named most outstanding player of the Frozen Four.

"I was in the right place at the right time," he said.

Alex Iafallo also scored for Minnesota Duluth (28-7-7), and freshman Hunter Miska had 25 stops. The Bulldogs, the tournament's No. 2 overall seed behind only the Pioneers, dropped just two of their last 21 games.

"Our guys were awesome in the third, and we gave ourselves a chance to get back in the game," coach Scott Sandelin said. "And we just came up one goal short."

The NCAA final served as the 208th meeting between the longtime rivals and members of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. They split two entertaining games in Denver in December, with the Pioneers taking the opener 4-3 and the Bulldogs winning 3-1 on the second night.

Together again at the home of the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks, they put on another good show -- especially in the second.

Denver jumped in front with two goals in 16 seconds. First, Michael Davies' shot went off Lukosevicius and into the top part of the net at 4:44. Then Terry made an outstanding drive to the net from the left wing corner and Lukosevicius slammed it home for his 15th of his sophomore season.

After Iafallo tipped Joey Anderson's power-play pass by Jaillet at 7:16, Lukosevicius struck again for the Pioneers. Terry tried to find Dylan Gambrell in front and the puck popped out to Lukosevicius, who knocked it in at 12:23.

"They're not easy goals he scored," Montgomery said. "I know that everyone says like he might have an open net, but he buried them and he was in the area where it's tough to score goals."

The Bulldogs responded with a strong push and nearly got another goal when Neal Pionk flipped the puck by a charging Jaillet in the final seconds of the second, but it went wide.

"Couldn't be prouder of the guys," Duluth captain Dominic Toninato said. "They battled and gave it their all."

The Pioneers poured out to the ice after the final seconds ticked off, ditching their helmets and gloves. They took turns skating around with the trophy, but the biggest highlight of the celebration for the players was the return of Hammond for the party.

"He's my best friend. He's a battler," Lukosevicius said. "It's unfortunate he went down. But it's awesome he stuck around and was able to celebrate with us."

Interior Division Finals: Game 7 Vipers-Vees Highlight's:

Here are the Interior Division Finals Game 7 highlight's from the South Okanagan Events Centre Monday in Penticton. Gabe Bast opened the scoring, while the Vees scored two more in the 2nd period to take a 3-0 lead into the 3rd. Riley Brandt with the lone Viper goal in the 3rd. Matthew Robson made 28 saves in the win as Penticton defeated Vernon 3-1. The Vees win the Ryan Hatfield Memorial Trophy-Interior Division Championship for a sixteenth time in franchise history.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CYXGOlONmI

Interior Division Finals: Game 7 Penticton 3 Vernon 1

I have had season tickets for the past 27 years and been following Junior hockey in Vernon for well over thirty years. I have missed only three home games since the 1998-99 season. For anyone who could not attend or watch tonight’s Vipers game here are my thoughts and views from tonight’s game. You may agree or disagree but we all have our own view and opinion on any game we watch. This is my opinion and my thoughts on how I saw tonight’s game. I try to be unbiased and give a fare recap on both sides. Thanks for stopping by & visiting my blog.

I was at Game 7 of the Interior Division Finals between the Vipers & Vees as Penticton defeated Vernon 3-1 in front of 4,033 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Darion Hanson
Penticton: Matthew Robson

1st Period: Both teams got off to a bit of a slow start as the play went back and fourth early before the Vees slowly started to take over the edge in play. Seven minutes in Grant Cruikshank won the battle along the boards, went into the corner before coming back out front before being denied by Darion Hanson who was forced to make a quick save from in tight. A minute later Cassidy Bowes sprung Gabe Bast on a two on one attack, beat Darion Hanson fivehole giving Penticton a 1-0 lead at 7:51 on a goal I think Hanson would like to have back. Bowes drew the lone assist. The Vees outshooting Vernon 6-2 at this point. A minute later Michael Ufberg walked in from the point, beat two defenders before cutting towards the slot, fired a low shot along the ice that was kicked out by Matthew Robson before Riley Brandt was stopped on the rebound. Robson with two big saves on the shift following a goal. With four and a half minutes remaining Cooper Watson with a turnover in his own end, allowed Grant Cruikshank to wheel in for the loose puck, wired a hard low shot along the ice, forcing Darion Hanson into making a huge pad save keeping this game at 1-0. Steven Jandric battled hard down low would be stopped by Matthew Robson on the wrap around with about eighteen seconds left in the opening frame. It was 1-0 Penticton after 20 minutes of play. Both teams went back and fourth early with no real scoring chances before the Vees got going and slowly started to take over the edge in play. I thought Penticton was the better of the two teams for most of the 1st carried a lot of the play, carried the puck-had the better opportunities. The Vipers struggled offensively, had all kinds of troubles getting pucks to the net-getting bodies to the front of the goal. The Vees defence was solid all period keeping Vernon to the outside, bottling them up along the boards. Penticton with good sticks, blocked shots-got sticks in the way, limited the Snakes opportunities. The Vipers with very little to no zone time, struggled getting any kind of pressure in the offensive zone. Both teams went a good five-six minutes at one point with no shots on goal. The puck was taking some weird bounces off the end wall in the Vees zone. Several Vernon shots took awkward bounces off the end boards through out the period. Penticton outshot Vernon 12-8.

2nd Period: About a minute and a half in the Vees tried setting up Grant Cruikshank going to the net, redirected his slap pass just wide of the goal. Two minutes in Vees captain Nicholas Jones outworked two Viper defenders before driving to the net, got in close before being stopped by Vipers starting goaltender Darion Hanson. Just minutes later Nicholas Jones spotted former Brandon Wheat Kings forward Duncan Campbell who ripped a heavy shot from the bottom of the circle, beat Darion Hanson giving Penticton a 2-0 lead at 5:25 Jones & Gabe Bast collected the helpers. Grant Cruikshank looked like a man on a mission, come ready to play tonight, had several opportunities in and around the Snakes goal, either just fired wide or was stopped by Darion Hanson. Owen Sillinger setup Taylor Sanheim who went one on one with Shane Kelly, went inside/outside before getting in behind Kelly went bar and down beating Darion Hanson high glove giving Penticton a 3-0 lead and basically in full control of this contest. Sillinger picked up the assist.Four minutes later the Vees would get the games first powerplay. James Miller's shot from the blueline forced Darion Hanson into making a big pad save with bodies in front. Penticton with good pressure, had some good looks before taking a penalty in the dying seconds of the man advantage. After a brief four on four, Vernon went to work on their first powerplay couldn't capitalize with the man advantage before the final buzzer. It was 3-0 Penticton after 40 minutes of play. Two big goals by the Vees basically put this game away. It was all Vees for most of the middle frame. Penticton carried the balance of play, were all over the Snakes. The Vees getting pucks to the net, were buzzing in and around Darion Hanson had several quality chances-looks. The Vipers for a second straight period struggled offensively. Vernon saw a lot of time in their own end, again had troubles getting any kind of sustained pressure. The Vees defence was solid, once again kept the Snakes to the outside, away from the front of the net, took away their time & space. Penticton outshot Vernon 16-9.

3rd Period: The Vipers started the final frame with the man advantage that was carried over from the 2nd period. Off the opening draw, Vernon with a dump in play, saw the puck take a huge hop off the end boards come right out front, after Matthew Robson left his crease to chase the puck. Luckily for Penticton no Vernon players were near the front of the goal as the puck come up the middle and out of the zone. The Vees were able to kill off the remainder of the penalty. Two and a half minutes in the Snakes spotted captain Riley Brandt along in the slot, couldn't solve Matthew Robson who shut the door. Just over five minutes in Jesse Lansdell was a little over aggressive along the wall, took a penalty, giving Penticton just their second powerplay of the evening. Owen Sillinger with the Vees best opportunity, couldn't beat Darion Hanson in tight as the Vipers with a huge kill, killed off the minor. The Vees looked to take their foot off the gas and were basically dumping the puck in, as the Vipers couldn't seem to get much of anything going early to start the 3rd. It wasn't until just before the halfway mark, Jesse Lansdell jumped on a Vees turnover setup Riley Brandt in front beat Matthew Robson cutting the Penticton lead to 3-1 at 9:34 Lansdell drew the lone helper. This goal seemed to spark Vernon, giving the Snakes some life and momentum as the Vipers picked up the pace. Vernon now down two with time against them, were pressing hard. The Vipers with a ton of pressure, still having troubles getting bodies-pucks to the goal. Cameron Trott's point shot was snagged by the quick glove of Matthew Robson. With time winding down, the Vipers would get Darion Hanson to the bench for the extra attacker with about 2:30 left in the hockey game. With the Snakes pressing, Vernon had some good looks but couldn't find the back of the net. Nicholas Jones & Duncan Campbell with big block shots inside the final two minutes. With a minute to go and the Interior Division Championship on the line, Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye (by Steam) started blaring over the sound system at the SOEC as the crowd now started getting into it, chanting Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye. Vernon pressing hard inside the final minute just couldn't muster any offence as the Vees were forced into icing the puck at least three or four different times before the final buzzer. The Penticton bench erupted piling onto goaltender Matthew Robson, as the SOEC went into a frenzy, while at the other end of the rink, several Vipers with their heads down were dejected with their season coming to an end. Both teams would eventually line up at centre ice for the handshake. While the Vipers were leaving the ice, a mob of Viper fans surrounded the tunnel cheering on their team for one last time. The Vees would clinch the Ryan Hatfield Memorial trophy and the Interior Division Championship for a sixteenth time in franchise history after a 3-1 victory in Game 7. Both teams had a few chances early before the Vees looked to take their foot off the gas and play defence with a 3-0 lead. It took the Snakes just about half the period to get going. Riley Brandt would get Vernon on the board in his last Junior game, as the Vipers pressed hard in the final ten minutes but just couldn't capitalize on some chances-solve Matthew Robson or the Penticton defence. I thought the Vipers were the better team in the 3rd but needed more then ten minutes of a period to try and rally three goals down. Vernon outshot Penticton 12-5.

Top Player's: (Vernon)

I didn't think any Vipers stood out tonight

Game Thought's: (Vernon)

After playing a hard fought game in Game 6 to force a Game 7 tonight, you have to wonder what happened to the Vipers in Game 7. This was not the same Viper team I have watched all season. The Snakes got off to a slow start, struggled offensively and didn't look-play well for most of the night. I'm not making any excuses but Vernon for whatever reason, didn't deserve to win tonight. The Vipers with maybe two opportunities in the 1st, no chances in the 2nd finally got their game going in the final ten-eleven minutes tried to rally down three goals pressed hard to end the game but still had trouble creating/generating opportunities at times. I thought Matthew Robson looked a little shaky at times, the Vees netminder didnt see a lot of rubber, seemed to have troubles with several shots from well out, was giving up several big rebounds. Your not going to win many if any hockey games when you only get a handful of chances through out the entire game. Vernon struggled offensively most of the night, had troubles getting pucks on goal, struggled getting bodies to the front of the net, were kept to the outside and along the boards most of the night. The Vipers didn't go to the grey area's enough. The Snakes were outplayed and outworked most of the night. The Vipers turned over the puck on several occasions, looked tired, weren't hitting and were losing the battles. The Vipers top two lines were almost invincible. I don't know if the boys were nervous or just overwhelmed with being in a Game 7 in front of over four thousand people but a very disappointing loss for sure and a tough way to end the season. This was the first time in several years that the Vipers held their own against Penticton, went 3-3-0-1 vs the Vees during the regular season, before taking Penticton to seven games. The past five-six years, Penticton has had Vernon's number and basically dominated the Vipers over those seasons. A great turnout of Viper fans made the trip for tonight's game. Great to see! I really liked the look of this years Viper team and myself along with most Viper fans, I think had high hopes on a strong season-long playoff run. Hold your heads high boys! You had a heck of a season and made Vernon proud. Id like to take the time to congratulate the Vernon Vipers and the entire Vipers organization on a heck of a season! For just the second time in the past seven years this was a very fun and exciting team to watch and watch grow and build as a team, improve game to game and through out the season. A huge shout out has to go to Mark Ferner and the Vipers coaching staff for doing a remarkable job this season recruiting and putting together this year's team. Im really excited and looking forward to next season already. To all the players that wont be back next season, I wish you all but nothing but success in your future whatever you do, and to the returning players, I look forward to next season. Thank you for some great memories and a great season!  The Vipers have a possible nine-ten players returning for next season. (Sol Seibel, Brett Stapley, Ryan Brushett, Simon Sagissor, Niko Karamanis, Luke Gingras, Brody Dale, Steven Jandric, Chris Jandric & Ty Taylor).
 

Top Player's: (Penticton)

Gabe Bast (1 goal & 1 assist) Played very well, has had a strong series and given the Vipers trouble all seven games. Opened the scoring, played very well at both ends of the rink.

Nicholas Jones (1 assist) I thought the Vees captain played well, created/generated opportunities, was skating hard, going to the net, competed all night. Lead by example.

James Miller was very solid on the backend. 

Grant Cruikshank I thought was Penticton's best player, was ready to go off the opening puck drop, really elevated his game, had a ton of chances through out the night, was dangerous with and without the puck. Was hard to contain.

Owen Sillinger (1 assist) Played well, had a few looks-opportunities.

Cassidy Bowes (AP) Playing in just his second game with the Vees, made his playoff debut tonight and what a performance. Behind Cruikshank I thought this young man was right up there. Played with a ton of jump/energy, really used his wheels to move the puck, wasn't afraid to take the body, played physical at times, laying out some big checks. Even levelled Connor Clouston to the ice after a big check in the defensive zone. Didn't look out of place at all. Got a large ovation from the crowd after a few shifts. Showed a lot of hustle-determination. 

Griffin Mendel Was another d-man that played well. Was hard to beat one on one.

Game Thought's: (Penticton)

After losing 5-1 in Game 6 returned home for their second Game 7 of these playoffs and took care of business on home ice. The Vees who finished atop of the Interior Division were ready to play and other then the final ten-eleven minutes were by far the better team tonight and fully deserved the victory. Penticton needed a few minutes before slowly started to take over a slight edge in play. Getting the first goal was key-big but also not playing strong defensively. The Vees defence was solid all night, shut down Vernon's offence. The Vipers were kept to the outside most of the game, limited on their opportunities as the Vees took away their time and space. Penticton blocked several shots-got sticks in the way, capitalized on their chances. Taylor Sanheim's goal in the 2nd to give the Vees a 3-0 lead was basically lights out. The Vipers couldn't recover and were playing from behind all night. The Vees are very strong playing with the lead and when they open the scoring. Penticton wins the Ryan Hatfield Memorial Trophy-the Interior Division Championship for a sixteenth time in franchise history and will now advance to the league finals in Chilliwack Friday to face the Chiefs. This will be Penticton's fifth trip to the Fred Page Cup in the past ten years. The last time the Vees won the league title was over Nanaimo in 2015. Both the Chiefs and Vees have already advanced to the Western Canada Cup wich will be held in Penticton at the end of the month. The Chiefs get in representing BC while the Vees get in automatic as the host team. Penticton has now eliminated Vernon come playoffs, three straight years while taking out the Vipers in three of the past four seasons. Three of those four playoff series went to Game 7 with Penticton winning two out of the three. Again what can you say about the fans and the atmosphere at the South Okanagan Events Centre tonight and through out the season-playoffs. Over 4000 jammed into the SOEC tonight with the 50/50 going for $7,153 Incredible! Id like to congratulate the Penticton Vees and their entire organization & fans on a great season and series and wish them all the best in the next round.

Scratches:

Vernon:

Brody Dale
Chris Jandric (Suspended)

Penticton:

Sam Rossini
Chris Klack (Suspended)
Kenny Johnson
Greg Brydon
Ryley Risling

Energy Player of the Game:

Cassidy Bowes (1 assist)

Three Star's:

1st Star: Taylor Sanheim (1 goal)
2nd Star: Gabe Bast (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Matthew Robson (28 saves)

Here’s a look at the previous 23 playoff meetings between Vernon & Penticton:

1966-67 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 1 (Semifinal)
1967-68 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 0 (Semifinal)
1971-72 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 3 (BCJHL Final)
1973-74 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 0 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1974-75 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 2 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1975-76 Penticton defeated Vernon (No Stats) (Interior Division Semifinal)
1976-77 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 2 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1982-83 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1986-87 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1987-88 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1992-93 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 1 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1993-94 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1994-95 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Vernon blows 3-1 series lead)
2001-02 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 2 (Interior Conference Final)
2002-03 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Conference Quaterfinal)
2004-05 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Conference Semifinal)
2006-07 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 1 (Interior Conference Final)
2007-08 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Conference Semifinal)
2008-09 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 1 (Interior Conference Semifinal)
2009-2010 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 2 (Interior Conference Final)
2013-2014 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Final)
2014-15 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Final)
2015-16 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 1 (Interior Division Semifinal)
2016-17 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Final)     

Boxscore-Game Summary,


Fraser Rodgers Penticton Vees Blog,


Game Report,


Text Box Score,


One final Thank you to you the fans who viewed my blog on a regular basis. I just wanted to say thanks to the many many fans who checked out my blog this season! I have been averaging between 400-700 views a day this season, if not more. Some over 800-900 during the playoffs. With the Vipers season all but over now, that dosn't mean this blog is finished for the season. I will have several articles-news-stories on Viper alumni and of course any Viper news through out the off season. So please keep coming back through out the off season-summer to keep informed with any Vipers news-Viper alumni updates.