Month: May 2009

Cents Acquire Zmurchyk, Reacquire Valenti:

The future considerations continue to be finalized for the Merritt Centennials as it’s now been confirmed that defenceman Jeff Zmurchyk (90) and forward Alex Valenti (89) are joining the team.

I had a chance to ask coach and GM Joey Bouchard about the additions.
Cents coach and GM Joey Bouchard
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All audio property of Radio NL (Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.)

I don’t know a whole lot about Zmurchyk, maybe Shawn Mullin will be able shed some light on what type of blueliner is joining the Cents. He had three points and 15 penalty minutes with the Smokies last season as a rookie, isn’t overly big at 6′ and 175 lbs. Zmurchyk has also tried out for the WHL in the past with Prince George so maybe there’s a chance he’s looking to go that route this season. He turns out to be the future considerations that saw the Centennials trade Scott Jacklin (90) to Trail.

As for Valenti, most people know exactly what the Centennials are getting. He was of course, acquired by Merritt back in October along with Jordan Soquila (89) from Burnaby. In 22 games with the Cents, Valenti posted five goals and 11 assists. In 17 games with the Express, the St. Louis product had four goals and eight assists. On January 7, Valenti and futures were dealt to the North Bay Skyhawks of the NOJHL for defenceman Andrew Glasser (90) and futures. With the Skyhawks, he went on a tear, scoring 16 goals and four assists in 16 games. Valenti also set a NOJHL record for the fastest goal from the start of a game at four seconds on February 22. He will no doubt be relied upon for a lot of offensive production for the Centennials in 2009-10.

Harrison May Traded, Minor Lacrosse Scores:

Although the details of the deal haven’t been confirmed by Centennials coach and GM Joey Bouchard, it has been rumored for months, and now Express coach and GM Dave McLellan has confirmed on Eddie Gregory’s Burnaby Expressions blog that his team has acquired goaltender Harrison May (89) from the Cents via Vernon.

On his blog earlier this month, Vipersdiehardfan speculated that the deal sees the Centennials send May to the Vipers as the future considerations in the trade that saw Merritt acquire defenceman Steve Tresierra (89) last season. Vernon then turns around and swaps the rights to May to Burnaby to complete the trade that saw former Cents captain Cameron Brodie (88) and defenceman Miek Leidl (89) move to the eventual RBC champs. McLellan also confirmed that this is indeed the way the deal breaks down.

So the bottom line for the Centennials is that they lose one of the top netminders in the BCHL in May, but they acquire a defenceman in Tresierra who many say could be among the best in the league this upcoming season and is likely a strong candidate to be the Cents captain in 2009-10. In my mind, it’s a saw off.

Shauna Clinging at Merritt Printing sent some more Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse scores from this past weekend.

Merritt Mountain Towing Midget
Shuswap 7 Nicola Valley 2
Shuswap 7 Nicola Valley 0

Contain It Mini Storage Bantam
Kelowna 8 Nicola Valley 6

Homelife Merritt Novice
Kamloops 10 Nicola Valley 8

Century 21 Peewee
Nicola Valley 11 North Okanagan 2

Merritt Mountain Towing Midget
North Okanagan 5 Nicola Valley 2

Homelife Merritt Novice
North Okanagan 9 Nicola Valley 6

Alpha Design Tyke
Nicola Valley 11 Penticton 8

Cents Spring Camp, Trade with Grand Prairie;

Cents coach and GM Joey Bouchard confirmed with me today the dates and times for their Spring Camp. It’s going to be at the Abbotsford Centre Ice Arena from Friday June 19 – Sunday June 21. Registration is Thursday June 18 from 7 – 9 pm. Any players interested in attending the camp are encouraged to call Joey at 780-204-6977. I had a chance to talk to Bouchard about the Spring Camp earlier today…

Cents coach and GM Joey Bouchard
Click here to download

All audio property of Radio NL (Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.)

So it sounds like Joey has his eye on building a base of prospects (91 to 94-born players) that can develop through the years with the Centennials. But if you listen to the interview, he also makes it clear that 89 and 90-born players could play their way onto the team if they aren’t part of the current returning veterans.

The Grand Prairie Storm and Merritt have both confirmed that AJHL goaltender of the year Chad Carder is on his way to Nanaimo via the Centennials. The trade ultimately breaks down like this:

To Grand Prairie from Merritt: F Brooks Robinson
To Merritt from Grand Prairie: G Chad Carder
From Merritt to Nanaimo: Carder
To Merritt from Nanaimo: F Ryan Aynsley

I asked Joey if he wanted to make a comment on the deal and all he would say was that it was a trade that was consummated before he was hired and that he is only looking forward to building the team with his own devices and whatever pieces were left to him.

The Cents are still owed futures from Nanaimo in the deal that saw F Matt Betker go to the Clippers, so it remains to be seen who is coming to Merritt in that deal.

Cents Could Be Sold:

What a day for the Centennials!

The other big news to come out of the media conference this morning is that it appears Brent Stark is ready to step forward as owner of the team. Stark is currently owner of the junior B Whitecourt Wolverines, where new Cents coach and GM Joey Bouchard spent the past two seasons, and will need to follow the BCHL protocol to purchase the franchise.

Stark was very clear on his intentions to keep the Centennials in Merritt, based on the support the community gives the franchise. There has yet to be an application of the sale to the league and once there is, the BCHL will do the same legwork it does for any perspective buyer of a franchise (like approving a financial plan and a budget) before the league’s governors vote on the sale.

That being said, Stark will reportedly sign a letter of intent to buy the team and issue a substantial non-refundable down payment. With Bouchard on board as coach and GM, it would appear that Stark is confident that the BCHL will approve the sale once the due process is completed.

Cents Introduce Bouchard:

The Merritt Centennials unveiled Joey Bouchard as the team’s new head coach and general manager at a media conference today. I’m hoping to have the entire conference posted on my blog in the next day or so. In the meantime, here are Bouchard and acting President Tom Reynolds’ thoughts on these recent developments for the Cents.

Cents acting President Tom Reynolds
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New Cents coach and GM Joey Bouchard
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All audio property of Radio NL (Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.)

Cents set to announce new coach, Minor Lacrosse scores:

I’ve received word that the Centennials have ended their search for a new coach. Joey Bouchard is set to take over the reigns from Al Glendinning. Bouchard, although young, appears to be a very accomplished junior B coach, leading the Whitcourt Wolverines of the Northwest Junior Hockey League to a record of 32-and-3 last season. No word on whether or not Bouchard will also assume the GM’s role or if he’ll retain last year’s assistants Bill Birks and Wayne Wittal. I’ll have more on this as it develops as the Cents are expected to call a media conference for any day this week.

Homelife Merritt Novice Thunder on the road Saturday against Kelowna at Rutland West Arena. Mack Stead, with the assist from Jacob Woodland, tallied the Nicola Valley squads only marker in a 6-1 loss. Sunday brought the Kelowna team to Shulus Community Arena where the Thunder novice team showed there tenacity in hard fought match. The outcome was 7-4 loss with Nicola Valley goals scored by Keyton Laupitz, Tyson Coles, Travis Simon (assisted by goalie Rowan Clinging & Jesse Landerkin) and Mack Stead.

The Century 21 Peewees split games in double header action with Kamloops on Sunday at Shulus Community Arena. In the morning game the Thunder Peewees fell 8-3 to the Kamloops Rattlers with goals from Jessie Cunningham, Liam Clinging (assisted by goalie Anand Bains) and Jarrod Murphy.

The Thunder team regrouped and came back for an 8-5 victory in the afternoon game. Taea Coles started the scoring on an assist from goalie Nathan Lund. Liam Clinging tallied 4 goals and 2 assists in a solid team effort. Dakota Grismer-Voght 1 goal, Jarrod Murphy 1 goal & 1 assist, Braedon Thormoset 1 goal, Anand Bains 2 assists, Jessie Cunningham 2 assists, Tanner Malloy 1 assist.