The Cents wrapped up their annual Spring Evaluation Camp yesterday at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. At the end of the camp, I had the chance to talk to Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce about the weekend, and also his plans for the upcoming weeks of the off-season.
Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce
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Congrats are in order once again to the Revelstoke Grizzlies on their win at the Cyclone Taylor Cup yesterday. As I mentioned when the Grizzlies won the KIJHL championship, Troy Mick’s roster features five players who AP’d with the Centennials this past season. Luke Richardson, who was in training camp with Merritt last season, Brad Friedrich and Cole Buckley are all eligible to play junior A hockey next season, so we’ll wait and see which of them come to rookie camp with the team in August. Lucas Blinkhorn and Caleb Roy are both 1989-born players and are definitely winding up their junior careers on a huge run. Revelstoke now moves onto the Western Canadian Keystone Cup championship this weekend in Kamloops. I don’t know if I’ll be able to for sure, but I’m hoping to catch some of the action.
Overall, the Cyclone Taylor Cup featured seven players with ties to Merritt. In addition to the five players with Revelstoke, Tyler Johns, who skated with the Centennials during the 2007-08 season after coming over in a trade with Cowichan Valley, is a member of the Oceanside Generals along with Brent Baltus, who was one of the last cuts by the Cents during training camp last season.
Now the Keystone Cup features twelve players who have worn a Centennials sweater. Of course, there are the five players on Revelstoke. The host Kamloops Storm have former Cents Alessio Tomassetti, Gary Rai, Jordan Wilkins and Anthony Manfredi. Two other players with the Storm, Mike McCance and Jason Alessio, were both AP’s with the Cents in the last few years.
A huge congrats as well to 2005-06 Cents MVP Brandon Wong as the Victoria product made his professional hockey debut this past weekend against the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat. Wong played on a line with former Canucks tough guy Brad May and assisted on the lone goal that Grand Rapids scored in a 2-1 loss. Wong finished with two shots on goal, a +1 and the one assist.