Month: July 2010

Sad Day For Cents Fans, Friday Movements:

It’s been a sad 24 hours for the entire Centennials organization as word was received yesterday of the passing of one of the most passionate hockey fans in Merritt, Elva Reid.

Here’s the release from the Cents website:

Merritt, BC – July 30, 2010

It is with much sadness and regret that the Merritt Centennials announce the passing of long-time supporter and friend Elva Reid at the age of 85. Elva had been a Cents season ticket holder since the 1970’s and was a mainstay at most games at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, with her cowbell in hand.

Regarding Elva’s passing, Cents Head Coach and GM Luke Pierce said, “On behalf of our players and staff, I’d like to pass on my condolences to the family of Elva Reid. Elva will be sadly missed around the community and especially at the Arena. She was a tremendous lady, fan, and supporter of our Hockey Club. She embodied everything that we cherish in our fans, and her passion and love for the Centennials was evident on a nightly basis. Personally, I will miss our conversations prior to each game, as it had become somewhat of a ritual for me. As a team, we would like to dedicate the upcoming 2010-11 season to the memory of Elva Reid.”

Elva was not only a huge part of the Merritt Centennials, she was a big part of the City of Merritt. She was an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 96 in Merritt, in addition to many other community groups and causes over the years.

Elva will be greatly missed by all the players, staff and fans of the Merritt Centennials. Our thoughts are with her family at this time.

I know that the team is planning a moment of silence prior to the home opener on September 17th against Salmon Arm, and there might be more in the planning stages. But good on Luke for dedicating the entire season to Elva’s memory, going to Cents games won’t be the same without her. If you’ve got any Elva Reid stories, feel free to share them in the comments below.


Friday Movements:

F Evan Barlow (Salmon Arm, 2003-05) signed a one-year deal with HIFK (Finland SM-Liiga). The Strathmore, Alberta product played most of last season with Idaho Steelheads (ECHL), posting 32 goals and 43 assists. He also skated in eight Abbotsford Heat (AHL) games, notching a goal and three assists. . . .

Mitch Jones Back in BCHL:

It didn’t take long for D Mitch Jones (91) to be back with a BCHL team. The league website reports today that Jones has been acquired by Surrey Eagles from Huntsville Otters (OJHL).

I haven’t been able to find any record of Jones being traded from Grande Prairie to Huntsville, but obviously that’s what happened because the Centennials traded his junior ‘A’ rights to the Storm last month for future considerations and goaltender Jared Andersen.

Now there’s going to be a lot of speculation as to why Jones has been traded twice in the last month, my guess is that he didn’t report to Grande Prairie and subsequently was moved to Huntsville. I have no idea what the circumstances are that sees him dealt to Surrey, but for his sake, I hope this is the last of the moves.

I never had a problem personally with Mitch, he was always great to deal with for me, but there are definitely going to be question marks about a player who’s entering just his second season of junior ‘A’ and has had his rights owned by six different teams.

Thursday Movements, Cents Press Round-Up:

Thursday Movements:

D Kyle Hood (Penticton/Cowichan Valley, 2000-04) has signed a one-year contract with Milano Rossoblu (Italy Series A2). Hood, who led all BCHL defencemen in scoring during the 2003-04 season with 66 points, played last year with Arizona Sundogs (CHL), posting 14 goals and 42 assists in 63 games. . . .

F Casey Bartzen (Quesnel, 1998-99) signed a one-year deal with Miskolci Jegesmedve JSE (Hungary MOL Liga). Bartzen, who holds the Millionaires franchise record for points in a season with 109, skated last season with Bisons de Neuilly-sur-Marne (France Ligue Magnus), posting five goals and nine assists in 16 games. . . .

F Jeff Hoggan (Powell River, 1998-99) joins Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg (Germany DEL) for the 2010-11 season. The Hope, BC product split last season between San Antonio Rampage (AHL) and Phoenix Coyotes (NHL). Hoggan had no points in four games with the Coyotes, but posted 13 goals and 20 assists in 70 games with the Rampage. . . .


The Merritt Herald has two articles this week on the Cents, including one penned by coach and GM Luke Pierce.


Published: July 27, 2010 6:00 PM

By Luke Pierce, Head Coach
Merritt Centennials Hockey Club

As the weather continues to heat up outside, things are cooling down over here at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. With the ice now installed for the upcoming hockey year, it gives me not only a much cooler office, but a serious reminder that the 2010-11 BCHL hockey season is fast approaching. There’s just four weeks remaining until the opening of training camp, and things are really starting to take shape.

We have made numerous changes and announcements over the past three months that I hope you as fans have read about and listened to. This week, I would like to discuss our most recent one – the announcement of the return of Steve Tresierra for the coming season, and his appointment as our team captain.

Leadership is perhaps one of the most crucial concepts in any setting that involves a team, or any group of people that are working towards a common task. There is a reason why such emphasis is placed on these positions; they come with grave amounts of responsibility. The entire premise of leadership is to inspire people to do things that they likely wouldn’t do on their own. Not a simple task, regardless of the situation.

Now, being a captain of a hockey team is much less demanding than leading a country, or commanding troops in a battle, but, nonetheless, there are responsibilities here. So, why have we chosen Steve Tresierra to take this on?

Steve is a natural leader. He is confident, hard-working, respectful and extremely determined to succeed. Although it is not a necessary requirement for successful leadership, he is well-liked by his teammates and generally anyone he comes into contact with. But what I believe will make Steve a great leader is something that I don’t think most people look at. He is a personal leader. By that, I mean he leads himself in a very efficient manner, which is something many people struggle with. I’ve seen leaders in the past who are great at inspiring others, but struggle to control themselves.

At the end of the day, if every player in our room can take on personal leadership, there really is no need for an external source of inspiration and direction. Now, I’m not saying that Steve won’t be able to provide inspiration to his teammates, because with his work ethic, it’s hard not to be inspiring. However, I’m hoping that each player will be able to observe the way he conducts himself and emulate that behaviour to become their own personal leaders.

Steve will have success in helping to create personal leaders because he is not a big talker. He leads by example, by conduct. That is what I’m hoping will become contagious. I’m also confident that Steve is here to win, and that he knows he may have to make some unpopular recommendations at times in an effort to ensure the best interests of the group are being met.

The hardest part about being a leader is telling your peers, and usually friends, that they aren’t working hard enough, or that they shouldn’t be staying out late tonight. But I’m confident that Steve knows why he is here, and that sometimes those decisions have to be made to preserve not only his interests, but the interest of our hockey club.

Steve is set to lead our team at a crucial time in the history of the organization, and I don’t think we could have asked for a better person to take on this responsibility. Congratulations Steve!

Cents name their captain
By Ian Webster – Merritt Herald
Published: July 27, 2010 6:00 PM

With less than a month to go until the Merritt Centennials begin their training camp, things are beginning to heat up on the local Junior A hockey front.

Last week, the Cents formally announced that not only would 20-year-old defenseman Steve Tresierra be returning for a third BCHL season with the team, but that he would be the captain for the 2010-11 campaign.

The confirmation of Tresierra’s place on the roster for the coming season, and his wearing of the “C” on his jersey, is huge as he will certainly be counted on to not only anchor a defensive corps that will have as many as four rookies, but a Centennials’ squad that may see up to ten new faces in the line-up come September.

Understandably, Cents’ head coach and GM Luke Pierce is ecstatic about Tresierra’s return.

“We are delighted that not only has Steve decided to return to Merritt for another season, but that he has agreed to take on the responsibility of being our captain,” stated Pierce in a July 20th press release. “He provides the necessary foundation for creating a culture based on character, work ethic and determination. Steve is a tremendous individual who is well-liked and respected in our community, and is an elite player in our league who commands the respect of his opponents.”

Last season was a breakout one for Tresierra. The durable native of Golden, B.C. collected 7 goals and 20 assists for 27 points in 60 games. His hard work and huge minutes earned him not only the Top Defenseman trophy at the Centennials’ year-end awards ceremony but also selection to the BCHL Interior Conference all-star team.

Whether Tresierra would be back with the Centennials for his fifth and final year of BCHL eligibility was uncertain right up until two weeks ago as the talented blueliner received a number of scholarship offers from both sides of the border. In the end, Tresierra decided that it would be in his best interests to play one more year in Junior A and build on his already formidable reputation as not only an excellent hockey player but a truly remarkable individual off the ice.

In other Cents’ news, Merritt fans will not be able to look forward to the return of all-purpose player Derek Hills, as the 1990-born native of Campbell River has decided to take his game south of the line. He has signed to play with the Amarillo Bulls of the United Stated Hockey League.

Hills, a versatile two-way player who could suit up as a defenseman or on the wing, scored 18 goals and added 30 assists for 48 points last season, fourth best on the Centennials team.

Finally, the Merritt Centennials also announced last week that former player Alex Valenti has committed to play hockey this coming season for the College of St. Scholastica, a NCAA Division III school based in Duluth, Minnesota. Valenti is the second Centennial to be recruited by the Saints, who earlier this summer announced the signing of Ryne Bodger.

The two Cents will join a Saints’ men’s hockey program that last season had no fewer than 19 Canadians on its roster, including six graduates of the BCHL.

Cents Announce Exhibition Schedule, Alex Valenti Audio, Wednesday Movements, Kevin MacKay Out In Salmon Arm:

Just a month until the first Cents game of the season! (Albeit exhibition, we’ll take it!)


Merritt, BC – July 28, 2010

The Merritt Centennials have unveiled the schedule for the upcoming 2010 exhibition season, with the Cents set to kick off their 4-game schedule in Salmon Arm on Sunday, August 29th versus the Silverbacks.

The complete schedule is posted below and online at

Date Home Away Start Time
Sunday August 29 Salmon Arm Merritt 3:00 pm
Monday August 30 Merritt Salmon Arm 7:00 pm
Wednesday September 1 Westside Merritt 7:00 pm
Friday September 3 Merritt Westside 7:30 pm


(Former Cents forward Alex Valenti)

I had the chance to catch up with former Cents forward Alex Valenti from his home in Bellingham, Washington on the heels of his commitment to the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota earlier this week.

Former Cents Forward Alex Valenti
Click here to download


Wednesday Movements:

F Milan Gajic (Merritt/Burnaby, 1997-01) has signed a one-year contract with Victoria Salmon Kings (ECHL) for the 2010-11 season. Gajic, who’s from Burnaby, split last season between Florida Everblades (ECHL) and Albany River Rats (AHL). In 33 games with the Everblades, he registered 15 goals and 27 assists and recorded one goal in six games with Albany. . . .

D Dave Simoes (Merritt/Prince George/Williams Lake/Burnaby, 2001-06) has been traded from Mississippi River Kings (CHL) to Allen Americans (CHL) for fellow D Tyler Wooddisse. Simoes had two goals, 13 assists and 171 penalty minutes in 58 games with Mississippi last season. The Vanderhoof product is entering his fourth Central League season. . . .


Former Cents coach Kevin MacKay won’t be back in the BCHL this season after all. Here’s the story from the Salmon Arm Observer:

’Backs lose assistant coach
Updated: July 28, 2010 5:12 PM

The merry-go-round continues behind the Salmon Arm SilverBacks bench.

Kevin MacKay, announced by the club in May as the team’s new assistant, has opted not to report to Salmon Arm.

MacKay had a working relationship with former ‘Backs coach Rylan Ferster, who stepped down in June. When the Ferster resignation announcement was made, MacKay’s ties to Salmon Arm were severed.

“He had had discussions with Rylan and had Rylan stayed, he would have come onboard,” said new SilverBacks bench boss Tim Kehler, who was hired in late June.

Kehler said MacKay, who spent the past several seasons as head coach and general manager of the Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, was up front about pursuing other options when the two met about two weeks ago.

“He’s secured other employment,” said Kehler, though he did not know where MacKay was headed and noted MacKay never even set up in a coaching capacity with the SilverBacks and was not on the payroll.

That leaves Kehler in charge of finding a new assistant. He said Monday an announcement will be made in August regarding the position.

In the meantime, Kehler is headed to Prince Albert, Sask. to finalize the inking of three players who were recruited in May.

Bryce Gervais, Taylor Fauchoux and Cody Michelle all spent last season with the Prince Albert Mintos and will report to training camp at the end of August.

Monday Movements:

Monday Movements:

D Andrew Derton (Powell River/Vernon, 2000-03) has signed a one-year contract with Miskolci Jegesmedve JSE (Hungary MOL Liga). Derton spent last season playing senior men’s hockey with the Fort St. John Flyers, posting 13 goals and 14 assists in 15 games. The Powell River product played with the Eaters Geleen (Netherlands Eredivisie) in 2008-09 with ten goals and 23 assists in 40 games. . . .

F Bryan MacGregor (Vernon, 2002-03) has signed a one-year deal with HC Trinec (Czech Extraliga). MacGregor played last season with Vaasan Sport (Finland Mestis), scoring 25 goals and 32 assists in 43 games. . . .

Cents Roster, Sunday Movements:

With defenceman Derek Hills and forward Daniel Chang off to the NAHL and the trading of forward Colton Sobchak, defencemen Mitch Jones and Matt Mazzarolo, plus the recruitment of Jakob Reichert and acquisition of goaltender Jared Andersen, I thought I’d take a look at what the Cents roster looks like less than a month before training camp.

Thus far the forward ranks shake down like this:

F Dustin Johnson (90)
F Alexander MacMillan (90)
F Sam Gemmell (90)
F Jeff Jones (91)
F David Sabey (91)
F Stephen Wall (91)
F Silvan Harper (92)
F Jakob Reichert (93)

The (*) indicate a spot in the lineup that needs to be filled. Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce went with 13 forwards last season, including Derek Hills, so in addition to Jakob Reichert, there’ll be at least five new forwards in Merritt this season.

As for the blueline:

D Steve Tresierra (90)
D Jeff Zmurchyk (90)
D Kam Crawford (91)
D Austin Baecker (92)

Luke went with seven defenceman last season, so that means there’s at least three spots up for grabs on the Cents defence corps. Austin Baecker’s WHL rights were acquired by Seattle earlier in the off-season, so it’s unknown whether he’ll be with the Thunderbirds or back in Merritt this season. I would think Seattle wants Baecker to at least come to its camp after trading for him.

And between the pipes:

Jared Andersen (90)
Keith Hamilton (92)
Cole Holowenko (93)

The reason why I put an (*) with the goaltenders is because it’s unlikely that Keith Hamilton and Cole Holowenko will be in Merritt this season. Both saw time in the WHL last season and Luke Pierce has mentioned that he doesn’t expect Keith to join the Centennials for a couple of months if at all while Holowenko could stick in Chilliwack this season. Jared Andersen was acquired in the Mitch Jones trade with Grande Prairie, but he’s unproven as a number one netminder at the junior ‘A’ level, so I think there is a possibility that the Cents could wind up with two new faces in goal this season (not including Andersen).

Realistically, there could be a minimum of nine new players (not including Reichert and Andersen) in the Cents lineup this season, which should make training camp very interesting starting August 23rd!


Monday movements. . . .

F Dean Strong (Vernon, 2004-05) signed a one-year contract with Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg (German DEL). Strong had two goals and three assists in 16 games with Worcester (AHL) last season. He also had 16 goals and 21 assists in 34 games with Kalamazoo (ECHL). . . .

Alex Valenti Commits to St. Scholastica, Andersen Audio, Cents Community Challenge, Booster Club AGM, Ouellette Signs With Kassel, Movements:

(Former Cents forward Alex Valenti)

I’m so glad to hear that Alex Valenti, who is the fourth of last season’s four graduating Cents players, is moving on to NCAA hockey. Valenti has committed to the College of St. Scholastica for the 2010-11 season. Of course, defenceman Ryne Bodger committed to the same school earlier this off-season, so there’ll be some familiarity there for both players.

Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce chatted with me today about the commitment and the fact that all four graduating players from last season will be playing hockey and attending post-secondary institutes in September.

Cents Coach & GM Luke Pierce
Click here to download

I hope to get some reaction from Valenti himself sometime early next week. In the meantime, here’s the official release from the team:


Merritt, BC – July 23, 2010

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce the commitment of 20-year-old forward Alex Valenti to the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota for September 2010.

“We are very happy that Alex has ensured that his hockey career will continue beyond his time here in Merritt,” said Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce. “I believe that Alex is an elite player who could be considered a major steal for Saint Scholastica.”

Pierce continued, “Alex was a pleasure to coach, and his upbeat personality will bring him success in whatever he chooses to pursue. I want to thank Alex for his time spent here, and I look forward to following his career at the next level.”

For further information, please contact Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce at 250-378-3607.


Cents goaltender Jared Anderson, who was acquired in a trade last week, joined me on the morning show today to talk about the trade from Grande Prairie, what his expectations are for the season and more. Check it out…

Cents Goalie Jared Andersen
Click here to download

The Merritt News also did a story on Andersen in this week’s paper:

Goalie provides stability to rebuilding Cents team
July 22,2010

Coleman Molnar – News Reporter

With two of his goalies going away to Western Hockey League training camps, Merritt Centennials head coach Luke Pierce knew he needed to find some more stability in net. This is where Jared Andersen comes in.

Andersen was traded from the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm in exchange for defenceman Mitch Jones. At six feet tall and 175 pounds, Andersen will be the third goalie signed to the team this year, but he understands his future role on the team is yet to be determined.

“I think the situation is kind of up in the air,” said Andersen.

“They (the goalies) might come back, and they might not.”

Pierce has torn feelings about his prospecting goalies, as any coach would. Keith Hamilton will be attending the Portland Winterhawk’s training camp in late August, while Cole Holowenko is being looked at by the Chilliwack Bruins.

“It puts you in a kind of wait-and-see position, which isn’t always easy,” explains Pierce.

“We’d like to see them succeed in their goals, which are to play in the WHL, but at the same time we’d like to know what we’ve got coming in here.”

Pierce expects Hamilton to stay on in Portland for at least the first couple months, but is unsure about Holowenko’s status. The acquisition of yet another goalie is something that Pierce may have to deal with before the season starts.

“We’re going to keep looking here to try and get some certainty.”

As for Andersen, he is focusing on his training and letting the politics of the sport he loves take care of themselves.

“I’m going to try not to worry about it right now and just work my hardest for the rest of the summer,” said Andersen.

“If they both do come back, I can try to beat them out for a starting spot by working as hard as I can.”

I had Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel on my morning show yesterday to explain what the 2010 Community Challenge is all about.

Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel
Click here to download

Here’s the official release from the team:


Merritt, BC – July 20, 2010

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce a fun and exciting contest for fans to get involved in.

It’s called the Cents 2010 Community Challenge!

“We are looking for 20 people in the community who are willing to sell up to ten season tickets each to help us reach our goal of ‘500 Makes Cents’ for the 2010-11 season,” said Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel.

“Also, the person who sells the most season tickets will receive a signed team jersey and an autographed photo of Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick and former Cents captain Casey Pierro-Zabotel,” continued Canuel.

For further information, please contact Cents Marketing Manager Maddison Canuel at 250-280-2439 or

The Cents Booster Club, which I think is the absolute lifeblood of the organization, has its annual general meeting coming up next Thursday. I really hope that they get a great turnout and that this tireless group of people who care so much about the Centennials and our community receive a ton of requests from people wanting to volunteer. The reality is that without the Booster Club, the Cents likely would have left Merritt a long time ago.


Merritt, BC – July 21, 2010

The Merritt Centennials Booster Club would like to invite all residents of the Nicola Valley to its Annual General Meeting on Thursday July 29, 2010 at 6 p.m. at the Ska-Lu-La Workshop at 1775 Coldwater Avenue.

The evening will consist of reports on booster club finances for the 2009-10 fiscal year and the election of the 2010-11 Board of Directors. Nominations for the Board of Directors will be permitted from the floor during the meeting.

“We’d like to hear from you even if you only have a few spare hours a month to donate, any amount of volunteer time is a huge help,” said Cents Booster Club President Betty Doberstein. “As part of our fundraising, we do catering and bar services for any event, and even have a full supply of dishes for rent at a reasonable rate.”

For further information, please contact Cents Booster Club President Betty Doberstein at 250-378-6940 or or Secretary Rusty Brewer at 250-378-4744 or


(Former Cents forward Mike Ouellette – seen here with his Austrian Club Team last season)


Merritt, BC – July 22, 2010

The Merritt Centennials would like to congratulate Mike Ouellette after signing with the Kassel Huskies of the German Elite League for the 2010-11 season.

Ouellette, who was BCHL Interior Conference Rookie of the Year in 2001, spent the 2009-10 season with Medvescak Zagreb of the Austrian League, finishing second in team scoring with 48 points in 52 games.

The Kamloops product is a veteran of 149 AHL games and 75 ECHL games over four pro seasons. Ouellette received a scholarship while playing for the Centennials and played four years at Dartmouth College after graduating from the BCHL in 2001.


Any junior hockey fan who frequents the blogosphere, likely visits Greg Drinnan’s Taking Note blog on a regular basis. (You can see a link on the left side down a bit.)

Greg’s blog does an amazing job keeping tabs on the whereabouts of former WHL players and I’d like to start doing a similar thing for former BCHL players on this blog, regardless of whether they played for the Cents or not.

I’ll start with this list of recent moves and hopefully can update on a daily basis or as player movements happen.

F Cory Larose (Langley, 1995-96) signed a one-year contract with Vienna Capitals (Austria EBEL). Larose had eight goals and nine assists in 22 games with Langenthal (Swiss NLB) and no points in two games on loan to Langnau (Swiss NLA) last season. . . .

D Matt Suderman (Surrey, 2003-04) signed a one-year deal with Hull Stingrays (England Elite Ice Hockey League). Suderman had one goal and two assists in 21 games with HC Morzine-Avoriaz (France Ligue Magnus) last season. . . .

D Craig Gaudet (Nanaimo, 2003-06) signed with Alaska Aces (ECHL). Gaudet had three goals and seven assists with St. Cloud State University (NCAA) last season. . . .