Month: September 2010

Cents Make Roster Moves, Cents Icebreaker Fundraiser This Saturday, Cents Weekend Road Trip Recap:

Here I am with another lame apology for the lack of updates lately, things are just really busy with work and home, etc. so please bear with me if I don’t update as often as I’d like.


Cents coach/GM Luke Pierce mentioned to me that they were looking to carry fewer than the 24 players they were and now they are down to 22 players after yesterday. With a 1-6-0-0 start, there was a feeling that something was going to give in terms of the line-up too. Here’s the official release from Merritt

Merritt, BC – September 28, 2010

The Merritt Centennials announced today that they have traded forward Alexander MacMillan (90) to the Calgary Mustangs of the AJHL for future considerations.

MacMillan appeared in six games with the Cents this season, notching one assist and six penalty minutes.

The Calgary product was originally acquired by Merritt in a three way deal during the 2008-09 season involving the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints and Drayton Valley Thunder, and posted one assist in 12 games in his first season with the Centennials.

He had eleven goals and twelve assists along with 27 minutes in penalties in 43 games last season.

The Cents would like to thank Alexander for his contributions during the last three season and wish him the best as he plays his final season of junior ‘A’ hockey with the Mustangs.


The Cents also cut forward Justin Lachance loose yesterday to get down to roster numbers. Here’s the release:

Merritt, BC – September 28, 2010

The Merritt Centennials announced today the release of forward Justin Lachance (92).

Lachance, who’s from Coquitlam, BC, appeared in three games with the Cents this season, notching one goal.

The Cents would like to thank Justin for his contributions this season and wish him the best in his future endeavours.

This morning, I talked to Luke about the moves of the last 24 hours.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce
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Now prior to yesterday’s moves, I talked to Luke about how things went on the weekend, ideas about the roster, etc. Keep in mind that the interview was recorded before the announcement of the MacMillan trade and the Lachance release.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce
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The Cents biggest fundraiser of the year is coming up this Saturday with your truly as the emcee! I hope to see a huge crowd, it should be blast!

I chatted with one of the organizers, Mischelle Pierce, about the event on the morning show today.

Mischelle Pierce, one of the Cents Icebreaker organizers
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Cents Weekend Preview, Soquila on BCHL Poll, Former Cents D-man Mazzarolo Traded, Zabotel Injured at Penguins Camp, Wong on Signing With Hartford, Recent Moves:


For the first time in almost four years, the Centennials are coming off a win over the Vernon Vipers! Granted the Snakes are a different team than the one which won its’ second straight RBC Cup last season, but a win over Vernon is a win over Vernon and I know all of Merritt is excited about it!

The Centennials power play is on fire as they’ve moved up to third in the league. Consider the fact that the Cents have eight goals with the man advantage already this season after scoring just 47 all of last season.

The win was also significant because it took 17 games for the Cents to get their first road win last season, while just four games this season.

You can check out the boxscore from the game here.

The Cents continue their stretch of five straight away from Memorial Arena tomorrow night in Powell River and Saturday in Coquitlam. I talked to Head Coach/GM Luke Pierce about the win over Vernon, the games this weekend, the goaltending situation and the power play.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce
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Cents rookie Regan Soquila is one of the subjects of the BCHL Subway Poll on the league’s website. Here’s the question:

Which BCHL rookie is going to maintain their early season success and enjoy a breakout season?

Coquitlam’s Destry Straight

Merritt’s Regan Soquila

Powell River’s Daniel Shuler

Salmon Arm’s Cody Michelle

Trail’s Adam Boytnick

Westside’s Kevin Boyle

As of right now, Soquila is third in voting, head over to the BCHL website and cast your vote!


Former Cents defenceman Matt Mazzarolo, who requested to be moved to a Lower Mainland team for his 20-year-old season earlier this year, is on the move again as the Surrey Eagles traded him to Coquitlam for future considerations.

Mazzarolo makes his Express debut in their home opener tomorrow against, ironically enough, Surrey. It’ll be a weekend of games against former teams as the Cents pay their lone visit to Coquitlam on Saturday.


Former Cents captain and 2007 BCHL Interior Conference MVP Casey Pierro-Zabotel’s chances of cracking the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup this season took a hit as he was injured in practice on Sunday.

Here’s the story from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Forward Casey Pierro-Zabotel has the first significant injury of training camp.

He broke a finger on his right hand when he was struck by a puck Sunday and is expected to be out of action for three or four weeks.

He and defenseman Alex Grant, who got a broken wrist and whiplash on a hit from behind during the recent prospects tournament in London, Ontario, are the Penguins’ only lost-time casualties during September, although coach Dan Bylsma believes the demands of training camp are starting to show.


I chatted with former Cents forward and the 2006 BCHL Interior Conference MVP Brandon Wong today about his recent signing of his second pro hockey contract with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL).

Connecticut Whale Forward Brandon Wong
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I know all Cents fans certainly wish Wonger the best of luck in his first pro season this year.


D Colton Jobke (Penticton, 2008-09) signed a three year entry level contract with Minnesota Wild (NHL) after training camp. Jobke was reassigned from the Wild back to Kelowna Rockets (WHL) for this season. He had no goals and eight assists in 69 games with the Rockets last season. . . .

D Josh Caron (Merritt, 2007-08) inked a three year entry level contract with Minnesota Wild (NHL). Caron, who was a walk-on to Minnesota’s camp, had one goal and five assists in 60 games with Kamloops Blazers (WHL) in 2009-10. He’ll play with the Blazers once again this season. . . .

D Jordie Benn (Victoria, 2004-08) is in Dallas Stars (NHL) training camp on a try-out. Benn had nine goals and nine assists in 45 games with Allen Americans (CHL) last season. . . .

D Nolan Toigo (Surrey, 2007-09) didn’t receive a contract after his try-out with Edmonton Oilers (NHL) and will now play with UBC Thunderbirds (CIS) this season. Toigo had no goals and 21 assists in 72 games with Vancouver Giants (WHL) last season. . . .

F Darcy Zajac (Salmon Arm, 2004-06) is trying out with New Jersey Devils (NHL). Zajac joined Adirondack Phantoms (AHL) last season after wrapping up his college career at the University of North Dakota (NCAA). He had no points in two games in the American League and eight goals and 11 assists in 41 games at the college level. . . .

Cents Coach/GM Luke Pierce on Jones Commitment, BCHL Commish John Grisdale on Junior A Supplement:


I had the chance to chat with Coach/GM Luke Pierce about Jeff Jones’ recent commitment to Robert Morris University.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce
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There’s been a lot of talk (and confusion) about the “one fight rule” and junior A supplement implemented by the BCHL this season. I talked with BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale to hopefully shed a little light on the subject.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce
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(All audio courtesy of Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.)

Cents Start Season 0-4, Cents Forward Jeff Jones Commits to RMU, Former Cents MVP Brandon Wong Signs With AHL Hartford, Recent Moves:

OK, here I go again with another apology for a lack of update! I don’t want to give a million excuses, but let’s just say between internet connections that make dial-up look like DSL and a bout with an illness that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, I haven’t had the opportunity to post here as much as I’d like.


As for the Cents, there’s a fair bit to chat about, but the one thing EVERYONE asks me about is the goaltending situation. I’m not going to throw Jared Andersen under the bus, but being pulled in two of three games he’s started this season (both of which he allowed five goals or more on 20 shots or less) is causing people to ask questions. Who knows what Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce thinks, but as our play-by-play announcer Alex Grebenyuk put it on our last broadcast (an 8-4 loss to Salmon Arm last night), I’d be surprised if Tyler Steel didn’t get the start on Tuesday in Vernon.

It’s also no secret that the Cents veteran players NEED to be more consistent. Four games into the season with Jeff Jones, Dustin Johnson, Alexander MacMillan, Silvan Harper and David Sabey all combining for just 11 points is definitely less than I think most expected, even the players themselves.

That being said, the Cents overall, are in a situation where they COULD be sitting at 2-2-0-0 instead of 0-4-0-0.

Last Saturday’s game in Trail came right down to the wire and if not for some heroics by Kiefer Smiley could have resulted in a Merritt win based on how the Cents played. It was a MUCH better effort than the 8-2 loss the night before. After hearing from Luke on our post-game show, it didn’t sound like the performance could have been much worse than the season opener.

Fast forward to this past Friday’s home opener against Salmon Arm and a game that could have gone either way. The Cents outshot the Silverbacks, but not many of their shots were good, quality scoring chances as despite the shot totals, Kris Moore didn’t have too difficult a night in goal for Salmon Arm. The goal that beat him, by Jakob Reichert, is likely the type of goals the Cents are going to need more of. Not pretty, but incredibly effective to build momentum. The Cents have a ton of skill too and need to remember that ugly goals look exactly the same on the scoresheet. We’ll see what happens Tuesday in Vernon.


It took all season for the Cents to get their first commitment for 2009-10 and one week into the 2010-11 season, we’ve got the first of what should be a number for this year.

Jeff Jones will only end up playing two seasons in a Centennials sweater as after this year, he’s off to play at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. Jones finished second in scoring on the Cents last season despite limited ice time in the first portion of the year and is expected to have a monster 2010-11 season. Here’s the release from the Cents website:


Merritt, BC – September 16, 2010

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce the commitment of 18-year-old forward Jeff Jones to Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for September 2011.

“We are extremely happy for Jeff in securing his NCAA future as he’s been a tremendous player for us and an exceptional character individual,” said Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce. “He is a player who was receiving a lot of interest from several schools in the NCAA, but at the end of the day he felt that the fit was right at RMU.”

Pierce continued, “Jeff is an intelligent young man who decided to choose Robert Morris based on the potential to play a significant role for them in the immediate future. Getting Jeff committed this early in the season is a big step for our program and we thank him for his outstanding efforts thus far.”


2006 BCHL Interior Conference MVP Brandon Wong has signed his first pro contract with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League. Way to go Wonger! Here’s the release from the Wolf Pack:


Hartford, CT – September 13, 2010

Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the Wolf Pack has signed forward Brandon Wong, who is coming off of an outstanding four-year career at Quinnipiac University, to an American Hockey League contract.

Wong, a 5-10, 185-pound native of Victoria, B.C., led the 2009-10 Quinnipiac squad in points and goals, and finished second on the team in assists, with totals of 19 goals and 22 assists for 41 points in 40 games. His point total of 41 was good for a tie for fifth in the ECAC. Following the completion of his college career, Wong, 23, joined the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins on an Amateur Tryout (ATO) agreement and registered one assist and four shots on goal in three games.

Wong left Quinnipiac having amassed the second-most goals (68) and fifth-most points (143) in the school’s Division I history, in a total of 147 career games-played. That included a freshman year in 2006-07 in which Wong set a school single-season Division I freshman goals record, with 27 in 40 games. That total led the ECAC by a margin of eight goals, and Wong’s freshman-year point total of 44 was good for a tie for the league lead in that category, earning him ECAC co-Rookie of the Year honors.


There’s been a ton of movement recently among former BCHL players and I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed, but here’s a summary of the last week:

F Evan Barlow (Salmon Arm, 2003-05) has had a pretty tumultuous off-season. He signed a try-out with HIFK (SM-liiga Finland) at the end of July before being released. Barlow then signed a try-out with Rogle BK (Hockey Allsvenskan Sweden 2) and didn’t receive a contract offer after that. Now he’s signed with Valarenga Ishockey (GET-ligaen Norway), which means the 24-year-old now has a place to play for the season. . . .

D Scott Ford (Merritt, 1997-00) received a try out with Nashville Predators (NHL). Ford spent last season with Milwaukee (AHL), notching a goal and seven assists in 61 games. . . .

F Mike Wakita (Powell River, 2001-06), who signed with Missouri Mavericks (ECHL) last month, has earned a try out with Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) this month. Wakita wrapped up his college career with Union (NCAA Div. I) last season with a goal and two assists in 37 games. . . .

F Tyler Burton (Chilliwack, 2003-04) signed a one year contract with Rio Grande Killer Bees (CHL). Burton, who signed with Starbulls Rosenheim (Oberliga Germany 2) in August, was released from that team two weeks later due to injury. Burton also has a try out with Houston Aeros (AHL) and if he’s unable to make the team, he’ll play with Rio Grande. . . .

D Travis Gawryletz (Trail, 2002-04) is attending camp with Colorado Avalanche (NHL). Gawryletz split last season between Elmira Jackals (ECHL) and Lake Erie Monsters (AHL). He had two goals and ten assists in 51 games in the American League and two goals and four assists in 16 games in the East Coast League. Gawryletz has a contract for 2010-11 with Lake Erie. . . .

D Travis Ramsey (Salmon Arm, 2003-04) is on the training camp roster of Vancouver Canucks (NHL). He’s already signed a contract for 2010-11 with Manitoba Moose (AHL) after scoring two goals and 14 assists in 80 games with them last season. . . .

F Blair Riley (Merritt/Nanaimo, 2002-06) is in training camp with Phoenix Coyotes (NHL) on a try out basis. Riley had 18 goals and 20 assists in 40 games with Ferris State (NCAA) and no points in three games with Springfield Falcons (AHL) last season. . . .

F Brendan Morrison (Penticton, 1992-93) signed a try out contract with Vancouver Canucks (NHL). Morrison had 12 goals and 30 assists in 74 games with Washington Capitals (NHL). . . .

2010-11 Merritt Centennials Roster, Opening Night:

I apologize for the lack of blogging in the past week, with this being a short work week, our first Cents broadcast tonight, my annual trip to speak to the students at BCIT on Wednesday and the fact that Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce was battling an awful cold all adds up to not having any time or info to blog about. That being said, there’s now LOTS to talk about!

(Cents goaltender Jared Andersen)

Jared Andersen is one of a handful of newcomers for the Cents this season. There are nine returning players, one new addition with junior A experience, and 13 rookies.

Here’s Cents coach/GM Luke Pierce with his thoughts on the roster:

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce
Click here to download

It’s here! Finally it’s opening night for the Centennials and the rest of the BCHL.

7 – Alexander MacMillan (90) (3rd BCHL season in Merritt)
8 – Silvan Harper (92) (2nd BCHL season in Merritt)
9 – Evan Stack (91) (1st BCHL season, played one season for Princeton in the KIJHL)
10 – Max Vallis (91) (1st BCHL season, played two seasons for PF Chang’s Midget AAA U18)
11 – Jeff Jones (91) (2nd BCHL season in Merritt)
12 – Regan Soquila (93) (1st BCHL season, played one season for Vancouver NE Chiefs in the BCMML)
14 – Dustin Johnson (90) (4th BCHL season, third with Merritt)
15 – Jakob Reichert (93) (1st BCHL season, played one season for Revelstoke in the KIJHL)
16 – Sean Maktaak (92) (1st BCHL season, played two seasons for Columbia Valley in the KIJHL)
17 – David Sabey (91) (2nd BCHL season in Merritt)
18 – Justin Lachance (92) (1st BCHL season, played one season for Abbotsford in the PIJHL
19 – Chad Brears (91) (1st BCHL season, played one season for Princeton in the KIJHL)
21 – Dustin Lebrun (92) (1st BCHL season, played two seasons for Vancouver NE Chiefs in the BCMML)
22 – Steve Wall (91) (2nd BCHL season with Merritt)
26 – Dylan Playfair (92) (1st BCHL season, played one season for Penticton in the KIJHL)

2 – Billy Marshall (91) (1st BCHL season, played two seasons for Princeton in the KIJHL)
3 – Reece Willcox (94) (1st BCHL season, played for the Surrey Thunder AAA)
4 – Steve Tresierra (90) (4th BCHL season, third in Merritt)
24 – Richard Sabourin (1st BCHL season, played one season for Okanagan Rockets in the BCMML
25 – Brandon Pfeil (1st BCHL season, played two seasons for Grandview in the PIJHL)
27 – Jeff Zmurchyk (3rd BCHL season, second in Merritt)
28 – Kameran Crawford (2nd BCHL season in Merritt)

1 – Jared Andersen (1st BCHL season, played two seasons for Canmore and Grand Prairie in the AJHL)
35- Tyler Steel (1st BCHL season, played one season for Sicamous in the KIJHL)

I also had the chance to chat with Luke Pierce about tonight’s game and their opponent, the Trail Smoke Eaters.

Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce
Click here to download

Cents 5 Warriors 4:

Merritt, BC – September 3, 2010

Dustin Johnson had two goals and an assist while Alexander MacMillan had a goal and two assists to lead the Merritt Centennials (2-2-0-0) to a 5-4 win over the Westside Warriors (2-2-0-0) Friday at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

Chad Brears and Brandon Pfeil also scored for the Cents while Reese Wilcox, Jeff Zmurchyk, Justin Lachance, Billy Marshall, and Kam Crawford each chipped in with one assist.

Dru Morisson led the Warriors attack with two goals. Max French and Jason Nash also scored for Westside while Matt Cronin and Tyler Brickler each had two assists.

Jared Andersen went the distance for Merritt in goal, finishing with 28 saves on 32 shots. Conor Barrie started the game for the Warriors and allowed three goals on ten shots in 31:39 of action. Cam Gorchinski played the final 28:21 for Westside and gave up two goals on 15 shots.

The Cents went 2-for-4 on the power play, the Warriors wound up 0-for-7.

Merritt’s next game is their season opener on Friday, September 10th in Trail against the Smoke Eaters. Westside opens its season the same night at home against Penticton.


Merritt Centennials at 3:37 (PP) – Dustin Johnson from Reese Wilcox and Alexander MacMillan
Westside Warriors at 13:33 – Max French from Tyler Brickler
Merritt Centennials at 18:42 – Dustin Johnson from Jeff Zmurchyk and Alexander MacMillan

Merritt Centennials at 8:01 – Chad Brears from Justin Lachance and Billy Marshall

Westside Warriors at :12 – Dru Morisson from Max French and Matt Cronin
Westside Warriors at 3:42 – Dru Morisson from Matt Cronin and Tyler Brickler
Westside Warriors at 11:48 – Jason Nash (unassisted)
Merritt Centennials at 13:17 – Alexander MacMillan from Dustin Johnson
Merritt Centennials at 14:55 (PP) – Brandon Pfeil from Kam Crawford

Westside Warriors at 2:45 – Michael King for High Sticking (2 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 8:23 – Silvan Harper for Tripping (2 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 11:14 – Dustin Johnson for Unsportsmanlike Conduct (2 Min.)
Westside Warriors at 11:14 – Brett McKinnon for Unsportsmanlike Conduct (2 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 14:37 – Dustin Johnson for Charging (2 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 19:10 – Jeff Zmurchyk for Holding (2 Min.)

Westside Warriors at 1:54 – Matt Maher for Hooking (2 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 14:03 – Kam Crawford for Boarding (2 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 17:44 – Payton Schaefer for Roughing After The Whistle (2 Min.)

Merritt Centennials at 4:25 – Kam Crawford for Boarding (2 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 12:06 – Sean Maktaak for Roughing After The Whistle (2 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 12:06 – Silvan Harper for Misconduct (10 Min.)
Westside Warriors at 12:06 – Sean Hochhausen for Misconduct (10 Min.)
Westside Warriors at 12:37 – Michael King for Tripping (2 Min.)
Westside warriors at 14:45 – Tyler Brickler for Cross Checking (2 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 16:02 – Sean Maktaak for Misconduct (10 Min.)
Westside warriors at 16:02 – Izaak Berglund for Misconduct (10 Min.)
Merritt Centennials at 19:20 – Justin Lachance for Hooking (2 Min.)

Here are the team rosters from last night:

2 – Billy Marshall
3 – Jeff Zmurchyk
4 – Steve Tresierra
6 – Brandon Pfeil
7 – Reese Wilcox
9 – Justin Lachance
12 – Regan Soquila
14 – Dustin Johnson
15 – Payton Schaefer
16 – Sean Maktaak
17 – David Sabey
18 – Brent Fletcher
19 – Chad Brears
21 – Dylan Playfair
22 – Dustin Lebrun
26 – Silvan Harper
27 – Alexander MacMillan
28 – Kam Crawford
1 – Jared Andersen
35 – Ryan Garber

2 – Matt Maher
4 – Sean Hochhausen
5 – Jason Nash
6 – Colton Dahlen
3 – Michael King
7 – Brayden Sherbinin
8 – Jordan Wood
9 – Derek Colucci
11 – Tyler Brickler
12 – Jeff Coates
15 – Matt Coleman
17 – Brett McKinnon
19 – Dru Morisson
20 – JT Osborn
22 – Brett Mulcahy
24 – Matt Cronin
25 – Max French
27 – Izaak Berglund
1 – Conor Barrie
30 – Cam Gorchynski

I talked to Cents assistant coach Chad DeLeeuw after the game and they plan on making their final cuts this morning so they can get in nearly a full week of practice before Friday’s season opener in Trail.

Cents Roster Update:

The Cents released eight players yesterday, leaving them with 29 total heading into tonight’s final exhibition game at home against Westside.

Head coach and GM Luke Pierce figures they’ll make further roster decisions tonight and be down to their set roster by tomorrow morning. Luke did also mention that they might be bringing in another goaltender today, but didn’t elaborate on who that might be.

Here’s a look at who’s still with the team:

Jared Andersen (90)
Ryan Garber (91)

Steve Tresierra (90)
Jeff Zmurchyk (90)
Kam Crawford (91)
Brandon Pfeil (92)
Billy Marshall (91)
Reece Wilcox (94)
Richard Sabourin (92)

Dustin Johnson (90)
Jeff Jones (91)
David Sabey (91)
Alexander MacMillan (90)
Silvan Harper (92)
Steve Wall (91)
Max Vallis (91)
Justin Lachance (92)
Payton Schaefer (93)
Sean Maktaak (91)
Brent Fletcher (92)
Regan Soquila (93)
Eric Schmidt (93)
Dustin Lebrun (92)
Daylan Robertson (94)
Jordan Salahor (93)
Evan Stack (91)
Chad Brears (91)
Dylan Playfair (92)
Jakob Reichert (93)