BCHL News & Trades:
Ong Commits To Alberni Valley Bulldogs:
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are pleased to announce that Burnaby Winter Club Midget Prep forward Bradley Ong has committed to join the team for the 2017/18 BCHL season. Ong is coming off a tremendous year that saw him score 22 goals and add 23 assists in 30 regular season games during the 2016/17 Canadian Sport School Hockey League campaign. His 45 points were good for 10th spot amongst all Midget Prep scorers, and he also also tied for the CSSHL playoff scoring lead with eight points in just five games. “Bradley is a smart, skilled forward who has been one of the elite players in the CSSHL over the past two seasons,” says Bulldogs head coach Matt Hughes. “He has great instincts at both ends of the ice and the ability to finish and make plays off the rush and in the offensive zone. He has all the tools to be an excellent BCHL player and we’re very excited that he’s chosen to develop as an Alberni Valley Bulldog.” Ong captained the BWC Midget Prep team last season after netting 47 points the previous year with the Delta Hockey Academy. “I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Bulldogs organization and to play for Coach Matt this upcoming season,” says Ong, who describes himself as a two-way player who can be relied on in all situations. “This is a new slate for the team and a new opportunity for me to be an impact player and help the team win. My goal is to have an impact on the team’s success and to lead by example through working hard and pushing my teammates.” Ong will take the ice with his new teammates when the Bulldogs begin their main training camp on Monday, August 21st at Weyerhaeuser Arena.
Prince George-Cornwall Trade:
The Prince George Spruce Kings are very happy to announce the acquisition of 18 year old defenseman James Orr from the Cornwall Colts of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) in exchange for future considerations. James Orr is 6’2” and 185lbs and calls Beaconsfield, Quebec home. Last season for the Colts Orr tallied 2 goals and 7 assists for 9 points in 34 games. Prior to his season with the Colts Orr played 2 seasons for the prestigious Lac St-Louis Lions Midget AAA program. “We’re excited to be able to acquire James. He is a young, skilled player who skates well and has a high hockey IQ. He sees the ice well, makes smart plays in the defensive zone and also joins the rush well. He will fit in well with our skilled group of defensemen” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes. James will join his new Spruce Kings teammates when the team begins their main training camp on Thursday August 24th at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.
Vees Add New Mural To South Okanagan Events Centre:
Here is the newest addition to the South Okanagan Events Centre. The Penticton Vees have recently painted a Vees alumni mural of former Vees who currently play/or have played in the National Hockey League. The mural is painted on the walls inside the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Caron & McCloskey Join Chilliwack Chiefs:
The Chiefs today announced the addition of two players who served as affiliate players with the club last season. Joining the Chiefs on a full time basis are 17 year old goaltender Mathieu Caron and 17 year old defenseman Sean McCloskey. Caron got into four regular season games with the Chiefs last season putting up a goals against average of 2.54 and a save percentage of 89.6. With the Yale Academy Prep team he got into 18 games finishing with a goals against average of 3.01 and a save percentage of 90.2. McCloskey, also a member of the Yale Academy Prep team last season got into one game with the Chiefs last season. In 28 games at Yale he scored twice and added seven assists.
The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the British Columbia Hockey League, have acquired veteran defenseman Matthew Holzer from the Olds Grizzlys of the AJHL in a trade involving Logan Milliken and future considerations. Holzer, who checks in at 6’3”, 190 lbs., was born and raised in St. Albert, Alberta and played his youth hockey there until moving to nearby Edmonton as a bantam. Playing hockey was always in the cards for Holzer. “My dad was the biggest influence on me playing hockey, as it was such a big part of his life that it wasn’t really a question whether or not I would play too!” His father was a defenseman, and Holzer followed suit right from the beginning, crediting his father with teaching him the finer nuances of the position. The left-handed defenseman played the last two seasons for the Olds Grizzlys in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where he posted a modest 13 points from the back end over 94 games played. Most players tend to find themselves looking to pattern their game after successful NHL players, and Holzer is one of them. “I think I model my game most after Jay Bouwmeester; a smart, puck moving defenseman with solid d-zone coverage.” He carries high expectations for the coming season, declaring, “My expectations coming into Wenatchee are to be a dominant team all year and go deep into playoffs!” On a personal note, he has a well-defined set of goals. “My long-term goals would be to get a scholarship into a NCAA school and hopefully graduate with a science degree so I can pursue a career in dentistry, or some sort of physiotherapy/chiropractic business.”Head Coach / GM Bliss Littler is excited to add Holzer to the roster. “He’ll bring a solid veteran presence for us on the blue line”, he said. “He has a tremendous upside with pro potential.” Holzer and the rest of the 2017-18 Wenatchee Wild will report to Main Camp on August 21. The team will play four preseason games before beginning the season on the road in Merritt, BC on Saturday, Sept. 9.
Berger Returns To Centennials For 2017-18 Season:
The Merritt Centennials announced today that veteran goaltender Jacob Berger will return to the team for the 2017-18 season. Berger, a 20-year-old from Minnetonka, Minnesota, joined the Cents last season from the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes U18 team. In 39 games in Merritt, Berger went 18-18-2 with a 3.07 goals-against-average, a .915 save percentage and one shutout. His efforts earned him a spot on the BCHL All-Rookie Team and Berger’s numbers improved in the playoffs, where he had a 7-4-0 record, a 2.88 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage. “Jacob was a big part of our success last season, especially during the post-season. After trading Colten Lancaster this off-season, Jacob has the opportunity to own our crease this season and be a dominant number-one goaltender,” said Cents General Manager and Head Coach Joe Martin. “We’re excited to have Jacob back. He will part of a strong group of veteran players we expect to have a big impact in 2017-18.”
Around the Pound Episode 5
Bulldogs goaltender, Carson Schamerhorn, commits to Vancouver Island University Mariners. Congrats to former, Bulldogs assistant coach, Adam Hayduk, who has been hired as Hollyburn's hockey Director.
Beatty Resigns/Capitals Name Passmore New Head Coach-GM:
The Cowichan Valley Capitals Junior A hockey club would like to announce changes to the hockey staff ahead of the 2017-18 hockey season, including naming Brian Passmore as the team’s new Head Coach and General Manager. The 37-year-old Passmore has spent the past two seasons as the Head Coach of Shawnigan Lake School’s Bantam Prep Hockey Team. He takes over for Bob Beatty, who has resigned after spending the past four seasons as the Capitals Head Coach and General Manager. Beatty came to the Cowichan Valley ahead of the 2013-14 season, after a combined 17 years as a Head Coach in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL). His head coaching accolades include two trips to RBC Cup, including winning the National Junior A championship in 2003 with the Humboldt Broncos. The Capitals wish Bob all the best in his future. Prior to his two-year tenure in Shawnigan, Passmore spent three years as a Head Coach in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL): two years as the Peninsula Panthers Head Coach and General Manager (2012-14), and one as the Westshore Wolves Head Coach (2014-15). Passmore has also been the owner of Passmore Hockey for four years, and has been an Associate Player Representative with Norton Sports Management for three years. A former player, Passmore was selected in the seventh round of the 1999 NHL entry draft to the Minnesota Wild, and played more than 300 combined professional games between 2003-2009. After four years playing in the OHL, Passmore played two seasons in the CIS at the University of Prince Edward Island, before turning pro in 2003-04. Furthermore, the Capitals would like to announce that Dan Whiteford will be returning for a second season as an Assistant Coach. It was announced at the team’s annual awards banquet in March that Rob DeClark, who spent six seasons with the Capitals, will not be returning for a seventh year behind the bench. DeClark was an Assistant Coach and spearheaded the BCHL’s Talk Today initiative, partnering with the Canadian Mental Health Association. As well, Assistant General Manager Darren Rodney, who has long been involved with the Capitals, will have an expanded role, being named the team’s Director of Hockey Operations. In this capacity, Rodney will work collaboratively with Passmore on matters regarding player personnel.
Rutledge Commits To Alberni Valley:
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are pleased to announce that Phillips Exeter Academy Prep defenceman Graham Rutledge has committed to join the team for the 2017/18 BCHL season. Rutledge recently completed a successful three-year career at the New Hampshire-based prep school, totaling six goals and 25 points in 30 games in his senior season while helping his team to a 23-7-1 record. Overall, the six-foot-two blueliner dressed in 91 games at Phillips Exeter, scoring 11 goals and adding 32 assists. He was named a team captain prior to the 2016/17 campaign. “Graham is the rare breed of defenceman who combines great size with a high hockey IQ and a tremendous ability to move the puck,” says Bulldogs head coach Matt Hughes. “We believe he can step right into our line-up and make an immediate impact in the BCHL, and we’re excited that he has chosen the Alberni Valley as his destination to pursue an NCAA scholarship.” Rutledge is a former teammate of 2016/17 Bulldogs’ scoring leader Trevor Cosgrove, as the two spent a pair of seasons together patrolling the Phillips Exeter blueline. “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to play for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs,” says Rutledge, who describes himself as a defensive-minded, physical player who continues to improve the offensive side of his game. “With the organization’s emphasis on community service and education, along with the opportunity to grow and develop in a high caliber league like the BCHL, it seemed like a great fit for me. I’m also looking forward to playing in a town that’s so invested in its team. My main goal for this upcoming season is to contribute to the team’s success and hopefully go on a strong playoff run, and individually it has been my dream to obtain an NCAA Division 1 scholarship.” Rutledge will take the ice with his new teammates when the Bulldogs begin their main training camp on Monday, August 21st at Weyerhaeuser Arena.
Push For Penticton New Arena Funding:
Penticton’s Mayor says it's too early to say if a referendum will take place on a proposed new twin-rink arena on the South Okanagan Events Centre campus. City council took the first decisive steps towards addressing the city’s arena challenges Tuesday by directing staff to craft a $6M infrastructure grant application for the project. In doing so, they accepted the recommendations of the Arena Task Force. “Now really it's all about trying to find a funding strategy, because it's a big gap, the loose number was $34M, so even with a $6M grant, it's a large nut to crack,” Andrew Jakubeit said on this week’s Mayor’s Minute. “We need to find other funding partners to come to the table whether its service clubs or philanthropic people in the community,” he added. Additional financial analysis and a more fleshed out business case will also need to be prepared. And the $6M grant is far from a sure thing, “that obviously dictates how we move forward,” he said “If we don’t have other funders coming to the table or a bunch more grants than it's going to be very difficult.” If a local government wants to borrow money over a term longer than five years, it needs to get consent from the electorate through a referendum or alternate approval process. An AAP would require the municipality to state its intentions, which can be shot down or sent to a mandatory referendum if 10 per cent of the electorate voice opposition. Both methods are commonly used. Prince George will vote in a referendum on a new $35M pool and $15M fire hall in October, while Smithers used the AAP to borrow $3M for their airport in April. “Depending on how big that impact is, and how many other players are jumping onboard to help fund it, and sort of the business case and rationale,” Jakubeit said “That will dictate how far we go with the electorate.”
With main camp less than a month away, the Merritt Centennials continue to be busy building a roster for the 2017-18 BCHL season. The club announced this week the signing of 18-year-old centre Ashton Stockie from Stratford, Ontario. The six-foot one-inch, 185-pound Stockie played last season for the Kitchener Dutchmen of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. In 60 regular season and playoff games with the Dutchmen, he scored 16 goals and added 28 assists for 44 points. Prior to his one season in Kitchener, Stockie played 40 games with the Waterloo Wolves AAA midgets, racking up five goals and 23 assists. This latest acquisition comes on the heels of three announced signings earlier in the month: forwards Brendan Schneider, 18, and Matthew Kopperud, 17, from Wesley, Ontario and Denver, Colorado respectively, and 17-year-old defenseman Jackson Munro out of Vancouver. “Ashton was first seen by our regional scout in Ontario, Brandon Shaw,” said Cents’ head coach and GM Joe Martin. “He watched as Ashton went from a depth player with Kitchener in the regular season to a real go-to guy in the playoffs. He really progressed. “Ashton’s got a hard shot, and it comes off quick,” added Martin. “He gets lots of pucks to the net, and he’s strong down the middle at both ends of the ice — a good, honest 200-foot player. He plays a hard game, and that takes its toll on opposing players.” In a press release, Martin also said, “When meeting with Ashton, I was impressed with his maturity and values. Combine that with his work ethic, and he will succeed.” Stockie, for his part, is excited about coming out west to continue his hockey career. “I always thought the BCHL would be a good route for me, because ultimately I want to play in the NCAA,” he said from his family cottage near Grand Bend on the shores of Lake Huron. “I’ve heard that it’s awesome hockey, and I also think it will be great to live in B.C.” Stockie has learned quite a bit about the BCHL brand of hockey from other players from his hometown and nearby Waterloo who have played or are presently playing in the league. Coincidentally, all three names he mentioned were or are Penticton Vees — former captain Brad McClure (2012-14) and Jared Nash and Joe Leahy (2016 – present ). “They’ve all said the BCHL is more of a skill league, and I think of myself as a skillful player,” said Stockie. “I think I have good vision on the ice, and try to make smart plays. I’m a hard worker, and a good defensive centreman who can chip in offensively.” Stockie is spending July and part of August training at a boot camp run by the dad of Buffalo Sabres’ forward Ryan O’Reilly. “We work out for three hours a day till one o’clock, and then we’re on the ice,” he said. Stockie is set to fly out to B.C. on Aug. 18, a few days prior to the start of the Cents’ training camp. He’ll acquire some wheels in Vancouver, and drive up to Merritt shortly thereafter. Ashton’s younger sister, Skyler, 16, will also be in Vancouver at the same time, playing softball at the midget Nationals. “She’s actually a bantam-aged player, but she got picked up by an Oakville team for the Canadian midget championships,” said her brother. “She’s a really good player.” In other Cents’ news, rumors that the hockey team might be losing some players to the rival United States Hockey League (USHL) have been confirmed by Martin. Forwards Tyler Ward, Michael Regush and Zach Risteau, along with defenseman Zach Metsa have all decided to seek their fortunes south of the border with teams in Tri-City, Wash., Youngstown, Penn., and Chicago. All four have already committed to play for U.S. colleges or universities beginning in the fall of 2018. Although disappointed at the loss of four important players who were expected to return this season, Martin said it’s the new reality in hockey at all levels. “The landscape is changing rapidly. For many, loyalty to a team, a community, a program doesn’t exist anymore,” the coach said. “Trying to build a team [in Junior A] when you don’t have a draft and you don’t have ownership [of prospects] is very difficult. Every player you talk to is talking to five or six other teams — and not just in your league.”