What’s Next for Timberwolves Players?

Now that the BCHL’s Governors have decided to suspend the Williams Lake franchise, the status of their sixteen eligible returnees is up in the air. The last time the T-Wolves took a hiatus, their players were dispersed in a draft which was shrouded in secrecy. Here are the players and where they ended up to start the 2007-08 season:

Adam Knopp – Prince George (BCHL)
Tim Holloway – Prince George (BCHL)
Matt Lees – Prince George (BCHL)
Mike Leidl – Quesnel (BCHL)
Kenny Carpenter – Quesnel (BCHL)
Jared Collen – Powell River (BCHL)
Neil Chambers – Powell River (BCHL)
Trevor Wilson – Powell River (BCHL)
Ben Payne – Alberni Valley (BCHL)
Lee Patzer – Alberni Valley (BCHL)
Adam Baldassarre – Alberni Valley (BCHL)
Brian Matte – Cowichan Valley (BCHL)
Warren Muir – Merritt (BCHL)
Dustin Sobchak – Victoria (BCHL)
Alex Evin – Penticton (BCHL)
Raj Toor – Abbotsford (PIJHL)
Joe Vetere – Calgary (AJHL)
Clay Cumiskey – Edmonton (WHL)

I asked BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale about the draft procedure three years ago and he stayed pretty coy on the subject. I’m not saying that the BCHL did things wrong, but I think the fans should know how everything broke down once the dust settled and player’s CJHL rights changed hands. Based on a straight standings determination, the teams heading into the dispersal draft should have chosen like this:

1. Quesnel
2. Surrey
3. Alberni Valley
4. Westside
5. Merritt
6. Powell River
7. Langley
8. Burnaby
9. Prince George
10. Salmon Arm
11. Trail
12. Vernon
13. Cowichan Valley
14. Victoria
15. Penticton
16. Nanaimo

Arguably the most sought after player from Williams Lake in 2007 was their goaltender Alex Evin. So the question is, how did Evin get picked up by the second place Penticton Vees when Quesnel had first pick in the dispersal draft? Now that’s not to say Mike Leidl wouldn’t have been a worthy choice first overall and he very well may have been, but the fact is we don’t know. I find it hard to believe that if every carded player on the T-Wolves roster at the end of 2006-07 season was available that Evin would drop all the way to 15th. If Penticton made a trade to move up and take Evin, no problem, but that didn’t happen as far as anyone knows.

If each player was released and free to find their own place to play for 2007-08, that’s fine too, but there were a number of articles online (including Powell River’s own website) that referred to the former Williams Lake players being dispersed in a draft, so it seems clear that’s what happened.

Here are the players eligible to return to the BCHL in 2010-11:

F – Trent Murdoch (91)
F – Justin Bardarson (90)
F – Danny Merth (91)
F – Anthony DeLong (91)
F – Keenan Bailey (91)
D – Kyle Beaulieu (91)
D – Jake Harcoff (91)
D – Clayton McEwan (91)
F – Cameron Hoffman (91)
D – Brady Fuller (91)
F – Calvin Johnson (92)
F – Jordan Hirano (92)
F – Tanner Clarkson (93)
D – Stefan Virtanen (92)
F – Cody Wiseman (93)
G – Sean Donnelly (90)

If the BCHL does a true dispersal draft based on standings, here’s how the draft order would shake down:

1. Prince George
2. Coquitlam
3. Merritt
4. Trail
5. Quesnel
6. Cowichan Valley
7. Nanaimo
8. Salmon Arm
9. Surrey
10. Langley
11. Victoria
12. Powell River
13. Westside
14. Alberni Valley
15. Penticton
16. Vernon

Regardless which way the sixteen eligible returning players find teams for next year, I only hope that the process is transparent for fans and media to digest.

EDIT: Word is now that there will be no dispersal draft and all of the above players are free to tryout or sign with any team.

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