Wednesday, May 17, 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:

Dubois Commits To Smoke Eaters:

The Trail Smoke Eaters are excited to announce the commitment of Cariboo Cougars forward, Daine Dubois for the 2017/18 season. The product of Williams Lake, BC tied for the BC Major Midget scoring title, posting 27 goals and 40 assists this past season. Dubois also led his team in playoff scoring, registering 14 points as the Cougars captured the BCMML League title. Dubois is currently preparing for the Midget National Championship (Telus Cup), being hosted by the Cariboo Cougars, from April 24th to 30th. Smokies Coach, Cam Keith is very pleased that Daine has committed to the Smoke Eaters this coming season, saying, “Daine brings an element of elite skill and scoring ability. His experience in leading his Midget team to a championship and his upcoming Telus Cup experience will help him transition into an immediate impact in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). While speaking to his new coach, Dubois relayed his excitement in joining the team. “It’s exciting to be playing in a new spot. I’ve been to Trail a few times and really like the town. I’m looking forward to joining such a successful and historic organization.” Adding players with character and skill, such as Daine’s – along with championship credentials – falls into the culture the Trail Smoke Eaters want to instill in the orgranization. The Smoke Eaters would like to welcome Daine and his family to the city of Trail.

Financial Reasons To Spell End Of Western Canada Cup:

The Western Canada Cup will end after five years where it began — in B.C. Five years ago the Western Canada Cup (WCC) was launched in Nanaimo and it was held for the final time in Penticton, having wrapped up on May 7. B.C. Hockey League commissioner John Grisdale confirmed effective the 2017-18 season that entry in the RBC Cup for B.C. and Alberta will come via the Doyle Cup, while for Saskatchewan and Manitoba, it will be the Anavet Cup. Grisdale said the four Western Canadian Junior Hockey Leagues will finalize moving from all four leagues playing in the WCC to determine the two RBC teams back to the old format of the Doyle and Anavet Cups at the upcoming CJHL meeting. “It was a decision that the other leagues made that they didn’t feel they wanted to continue,” said Grisdale. “It was a profit issue more than anything else. I think at the end of the day, with it not being the end of the year tournament, a lot of expense.” Grisdale said for Penticton to host it was a terrific gesture adding he is quite hopeful that it’s a profitable tournament. He said it was pretty well attended. The WCC total attendance was 28,038 over nine days with the largest crowd being 3,021 between the Vees and Battlefords North Stars. “It ended on a positive note,” said Grisdale. The commissioners of the four leagues had been discussing the future of the tournament for a while, Grisdale said. He added if the other partners feel different about it, it makes it hard to justify. No teams had submitted bids to host the tournament next year. Grisdale said the future of the WCC had been pretty much finalized while Penticton was hosting last week. Having the tournament go for five years was giving it a good shot, according to Grisdale. “Five years is pretty good to see how it was vetting out,” he said. “There was a lot of positives. If it was the end of the year, if it was the last tournament, I think we might have had different results. It would have had more impact.” After Nanaimo hosted the first tournament, the WCC went to Dauphin, Man., in 2014, Fort McMurray in 2015, where the Penticton Vees won and in Estevan, Sask., in 2016.

Gervais Commits To Clippers:

The Nanaimo Clippers are very pleased to announce that Jeremy Gervais has committed to play for the Team for the 2017-2018 season.  The 1999 born defenceman joins the Clippers after playing the past two seasons for the Cariboo Cougars of the British Columbia Major Midget Hockey League.  During the 2016-2017 regular season, the 5’11” – 175 lb Prince George, BC native led all defencemen in BCMML scoring with 15 goals and 34 assists for 49 points in 37 games played.  In the playoffs, Gervais tallied 12 points in 8 games helping the Cougars win the BCMML Championship.  Gervais and his Cougars teammates will be participating in the upcoming Telus Cup Canadian Midget Hockey Championship April 24-30 in Prince George.

BCHL Playoff Attendance Records:

The 2017 BC Ford Dealers Road to the Fred Page Cup BCHL Playoffs featured some of the best hockey and top moments of any recent postseason. And the league’s attendance figures show fans got caught up in the excitement. Playoff-bound BCHL teams combined to attract 138,852 fans over the course of 73 playoff games for an average of 1,902 per game. That is an increase of 23.7 per cent from last season, when just 60 playoff games took place. “Playoffs always bring out the best in our teams and players and this season, that carried over to our fans,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale. “With our champions from Penticton going to Game 7 in each round and the Fred Page Cup being decided on an overtime goal, there were plenty of highlights and I’m thrilled so many fans got out to watch.” From the middle of the second round onwards, there were only two crowds that did not reach four figures in size and both those games were within a few bodies of reaching that mark. The largest crowd of the entire postseason came opening night in Round 1 in Wenatchee as 4,300 fans saw the Wild defeat the Prince George Spruce Kings 4-1 on March 4. There were 15 crowds of 3,000 fans or more, and seven of 3,500 or more. Even in some of the league’s smaller buildings, record crowds came to see the BCHL playoffs. The Merritt Centennials drew a season-high 1,080 fans for a March 24 game against Penticton and the Powell River Kings drew a season-high 1,461 in a March 25 game against Victoria.

Head Commits To West Kelowna Warriors:

The West Kelowna Warriors Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce the commitment of defenseman Wyatt Head (’99) for the 2017/18 season. Head, 18, comes to the Warriors after spending last season with the Okanagan Rockets of the British Columbia Major Midget League (BCMML), where he played in 37 games amassing 12 goals and 39 points to go along with 20 penalty minutes. The 6’3”, 180-pound rearguard is no stranger to the Warriors and the BCHL as he got into eight games as an affiliate player for West Kelowna in the 2016/17 season earning two penalty minutes while also drawing into one playoff game in the Warriors first round series against the Merritt Centennials. “He’s a very good young player that plays well at both ends of the ice,” commented Warriors head coach and general manager Rylan Ferster, “In the games that Wyatt played with us this past season, he was poised with the puck and made good decisions without any hesitation.” The newest member of the Warriors is excited for what lies ahead, “I am super excited to be playing with a great organization in West Kelowna. They’ve had great success in the past and continue to grow the program year after year and I’m excited to be a part of it.” “I think it will definitely help having played quite a few games last year and practicing in West Kelowna,” continued Head on his familiarity with the Warriors and the players from last season, “I know most of the guys so I think that the feeling out process should take less time and hopefully that transfers into me having an impact right away.” The Warriors would like to welcome Wyatt and his family to the Warriors and West Kelowna.

McLean, Burgan & Clark Added To Clippers Marketing Team:

Joining Andrea Trepanier and Darcy Olsen will be Samantha McLean, Kait Burgan and Phil Clark. We are excited to get out into the community and meet our fans and supporters. We will be actively promoting our Clippers Hockey Society donation campaign so watch for news and media posts regarding this exciting campaign. Kait Burgan comes to us from Shaw TV and other media related projects. Phil Clark is the former owner of the Corner Lounge and has been active in downtown Nanaimo business strategies. Samantha McLean is one semester away from her Business Marketing Degree at VIU and has Dean’s List recognition. The Clippers are excited to welcome these dynamic and energetic individuals to the team.

Antisin Steps Down As Silverbacks Head Coach:

Salmon Arm Silverbacks President & General Manager Troy Mick today announced that Head Coach Misko Antisin will be stepping down as Silverbacks Head Coach effective May 30, 2017. “I appreciate the confidence and support of Troy Mick and the Silverbacks ownership group over the last 3 years, however I will be moving back to the USA to pursue professional opportunities down there” stated Coach Antisin. I would like to thank my immediate staff Darrell Hay, Brooks Christensen, Jade Viegas, Heather Sims and Phil Stewart for all of your diligent work and efforts as well as your friendship & support. To the players thank you for giving me your best every night and to the best fans in the league, thank you being patient with the young group we had this past season as I believe you will be very pleased with the team this coming season. It has been an honor to work with such a prestigious and professional organization and I will miss it all. I will also stay on as a consultant to help continue to find the best players available for the Backs down south. “This is a tough day for me personally as I have known Mish for many years however I’m very excited for his future down in the states” says GM Troy Mick. He turned the program around when he agreed to take the team over in November and we will be a better team this year because of it. He is an amazing coach, friend and role model for all players in the game of hockey…he will be missed. The search for Misko’s replacement will begin immediately.

Alberni Valley Bulldogs Name Hughes New Head Coach/GM:

The Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs hockey club are pleased to announce that they have hired Mr. Matt Hughes as Head Coach and General Manager of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. It is a 2-year agreement with an option for a 1-year renewal. Matt comes to the Bulldogs from the highly respected Pursuit of Excellence hockey academy in Kelowna BC where he was the Head Coach of the U18 Midget Prep team. Pursuit’s emphasis on hockey development, academic excellence and community service deemed Matt an excellent fit for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs core beliefs. Matt has helped more than 30 of his past players obtain NCAA Division 1 Scholarships. “Our search for a new head coach saw an overwhelming amount of interest in the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.” says Port Alberni Hockey Society President Ron Paulson. “It speaks volumes to the reputation of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs franchise, and the reputation of the BCHL.” Over 100 resumes were received for the Bulldogs Head Coach/GM position. Prior to the Pursuit of Excellence academy, Matt spent 11 years coaching competitive junior hockey in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), North American Hockey league (NAHL), and BCHL. Matt coached the AJHL Grande Prairie Storm as Assistant Coach, Head Coach and General Manager from 2012 to 2014. Matt also served as Assistant Coach and Assistant GM of the NAHL Dawson Creek Rage from 2010 to 2012. Prior to the Rage, Matt served as Head Coach and Assistant GM of the BCHL Salmon Arm Silverbacks. In 2008 & 2009 Matt was the Assistant Coach and Video Coach for the Hockey Canada World U17 program, winning Silver in 2009 and helping develop young player such as Ryan NugentHopkins, Mark Pysyk, and Brendan Gallagher. Matt’s career started in 2003 with coaching stints with the KIJHL Summerland Kings, Columbia Valley Rockies and the BCHL Quesnel Millionaires. “I would like to thank the Bulldogs organization for this opportunity. The Alberni Valley is an amazing community with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic fan base.” said Matt. “I’m looking forward to the work we have ahead of us.” Matt starts work immediately, recruiting for the 2017/18 season. He will be overseeing the Bulldogs Osoyoos spring identification camp along with Assistant Coach Alex Even and the rest of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs scouting staff. Matt’s also burning up the phone lines contacting his network of players and scouts, identifying new players and key prospects.

Eagles Name West New Head Coach:

The Surrey Eagles owner, Chuck Westgard, is shuffling the focus of the Surrey Eagles in order to get it back to where it is meant to be, the RBC Championships. Three years ago after having the Eagles win the “Fred Page Cup” the “ Western Canada Cup” and eventually lose in overtime in the semi-final of the “RBC Cup” In Charlottetown PEI, Westgard hired an outside management group to run the team. He has now decided the time is right to get actively involved again. Westgard, in addition to his successful Real Estate and Development business, has a long history with sports. Westgard played professional baseball in the early 1980s, and is one of the Country”s  most successful girls’ fast pitch coaches, having led his White Rock Renegades teams to 6 National titles. The same goal he has again while being involved with the Eagles. “We saw a big improvement with last years group and now with the core we have coming back we are looking forward to getting back into the mix with the top level teams in the league, and ultimately the Country.” Westgard commented, “We will continue to add good people to our group that share in our common vision, of making this the place the place to play again”. The Surrey Eagles are proud to announce Brandon West as their Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel to a multi-year deal. West has been in the BCHL for the past seven years, the previous three as the Head Coach for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Prince George, B.C. native comes to the Eagles highly recommended from numerous members of the NCAA coaching fraternity and the BCHL. West was ironically coaching in Surrey for the CJHL Top Prospects game in 2015. He also guest coached with Canada West World Junior A Challenge and assisted with the Canadian Pacific U-17 program in 2013. West, along with his staff at the time, aided in the development and progression of many great players in our league including, Angus Redmond (Michigan Tech/Anaheim Ducks), Shane Hanna (Michigan Tech) and Taro Hirose to (Michigan State). “I am honoured and excited to be joining the Surrey Eagles organization. We have an eager group here that is driven to make an impact on and off the ice. After meeting with all the staff, things just lined up in what we are all looking for and we believe we are heading in the right direction. I’d like to thank the ownership and management for this opportunity. My family and I are very excited to be Surrey Eagles.” says the newly appointed coach.  West, 32, will be the successor on the bench to Blaine Neufeld. Neufeld who has been head Coach for the Surrey Eagles for the past three years will move to General Manager of the hockey team for the upcoming season.  “It is something we have been planning to do for some time now and it was all about finding the right person that shared the same vision as myself and that I’d be willing to trust to carry it out” Neufeld says. “We have taken our hits and have continued to get up and are stronger from them, but now we are so close to winning that it was extra important it was the perfect fit, which we feel it is.” The Eagles have a potential 15 skaters returning for the 2017-18 campaign and a very elite recruiting class joining that. “We’ve been hard at work on next years group. I’ve been out of province traveling since February and we’ve found some amazing kids with great character.” Neufeld added.  “It is the core coming back that we have that is certainly very strong and the recruits to add makes us very optimistic that this will be a very successful year in Surrey.” West explains. The Eagles are a few months away from hitting the ice. The team is excited and the surrounding community is as well. There will be a lot of Eagles talk moving into the Summer months. Up next for the Eagles Organization will be their annual Spring Prospects Camp at the South Surrey Arena May 19th – 22nd, which is open to the public.

Silverbacks Buy Hockey School:

The Salmon Arm Hockey School will be under new management for 2017, but promises to keep up the same tradition of skill development and love for the game that has made them one of the longest-running hockey schools in B.C. The owners of the hockey school announced on May 9 they had reached a deal with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks to sell the hockey school to the team effective immediately. All of the hockey school’s 2017 programs will proceed as planned. After 37 years of operating the Enderby/Salmon Arm Hockey School, co-owners Gord Mackintosh, Tom Marsh and Roy Sakaki felt it was time to move on. In 1981, Mackintosh and Sakaki purchased the Enderby Hockey School from the late Rick Anderson. After 20 successful years working in Enderby, the opportunity came up to transfer the hockey school to the new facility in Salmon Arm. The school has operated at the Shaw Centre for the past 17 years. Mackintosh said it makes sense with the ’Backs taking over the school as they can provide some outstanding instruction from their coaching staff, past alumni and local minor hockey coaches. The outgoing hockey school owners say they wish the new owners the very best. A press release from the Silverbacks on the subject said they are excited to be the new owner and operators of the hockey school, and referred to the outgoing owners as “three legends in our community.” “Roy Sakaki, Gord McIntosh and Tom Marsh have been amazing ambassadors to this community for a long time and we are looking forward to continuing on the great hockey school that they started 38 years ago. We will be honouring these three gentlemen during our opening night ceremonies for the start of the 2017-2018 BCHL season,” the release reads. According to the Silverbacks organization, lots of the team’s players and coaches will be helping to develop the hockey school’s young players both on and off the ice. The release says nothing will change for the 2017 hockey school in August, but those interested should stay tuned for news about the future of the school in 2018.

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