Month: May 2011

Cents Avoid Conflict with Game Three of Stanley Cup Final and Reschedule Annual General Meeting

A great decision by the Cents in my mind! GO CANUCKS GO!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – May 30, 2011

The Merritt Centennials of the BC Hockey League would like to announce that their Annual General Meeting has been rescheduled to avoid conflict with Game Three of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins.

The AGM, which was originally scheduled for Monday, June 6th, is now scheduled for Tuesday, June 7, 2011. The meeting will start at 6:30 pm in the Mezzanine at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

“With the entire province gripped in Canucks fever, we felt that it would be in our best interest to reschedule the AGM,” said Cents President and Chairman of the Board Jerry Canuel. “We’re all Canucks fans too and didn’t want Game Three of the Stanley Cup Final to distract from what is our most important meeting of the year.”

The evening will consist of reports on team finances for the 2010-11 fiscal year, marketing, season tickets, billeting, booster club, hockey operations and the election of the 2011-12 Board of Directors. Nominations for the Board of Directors will be permitted from the floor during the meeting.

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For further information, please contact President and Chairman of the Board Jerry Canuel at 250-378-9266 or jerrycanuel@apgroup.ca

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 39 years as the BCHL’s longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

Cents Hire Joe Martin as Assistant Coach/GM, Luke Pierce on the Hiring and Steve Tresierra’s Commitment to Queen’s University, Cents Forward Max Vallis Drafted to NAHL:

The Centennials made it official today. Joe Martin is joining the team as assistant coach and assistant GM from the Creston Valley Thundercats of the KIJHL. He replaces Chad DeLeeuw, whose contract wasn’t renewed at the end of the season.

Here’s the official release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – May 27, 2011

The Merritt Centennials of the BC Hockey League are pleased to announce the hiring of Joe Martin as Assistant Coach and Assistant GM for the next two seasons.

“Joe is exactly what we were looking for in an assistant coach,” said Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce. “His familiarity with junior hockey in BC, recruiting of players, and hockey knowledge will be an instant impact within the Merritt Centennials culture.”

Martin has been the Head Coach and GM of the KIJHL’s Creston Valley Thundercats for the past four years and guided the team to one regular season division title, two first round playoff series wins, moved ten players onto college, ten players onto junior ‘A’ hockey and produced a regular season record of 112-68-3-2. He was also named Eddie Mountain Division Coach of the Year for 2010-11.

“I’m very happy to be joining the Centennials in their 39th year of operation in the BCHL. The last few years I’ve been watching the team’s progress under Luke Pierce and now to join the organization and work with Luke is an honour,” said Martin. “The Cents have a great reputation in junior hockey and after meeting some of the people I can see why. I look forward to making the move to Merritt permanently and working with the community on building a championship team.”

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

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 39 seasons as the BCHL’s longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

I talked with Luke this morning about the hiring:

Yesterday I talked to Luke about the commitment of Steve Tresierra to Queen’s University. I didn’t get a chance to post it then, so here it is:

Cents forward Max Vallis was drafted by New Mexico in the 3rd round, 60th overall in the North American Hockey League draft on Wednesday.

It’s the second time this off-season that Vallis has been claimed by a team in a US Junior ‘A’ league after he was drafted earlier this month by the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. Word is that Vallis is still planning to return to Merritt in 2011-12. I would expect that he is poised to significantly improve on his 22 goals this past season.

Cents Looking for an Athletic Trainer/Equipment Manager

The staff changes continue for the Merritt Centennials as Jason Kitzan won’t be back for his third season as the club’s Athletic Trainer & Equipment Manager.

Here’s from MerrittCentennials.com:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – May 26, 2011

The Merritt Centennials have an immediate opening for an Athletic Therapist/Equipment Manager. The salary is minimum $2000 per month (negotiable) and the contract length is negotiable.

This posting expires on July 1, 2011. The Centennials appreciate all interest in the position, but only applicants considered for an interview will be contacted.

Applications are accepted by fax to (250) 378-3609, email to luke@merrittcentennials.com, or mail to Merritt Centennials, Human Resources, P.O. Box 1730, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8, (Attn: Luke Pierce)

Job Description

Role and Responsibilities

The Athletic Therapist/Equipment Manager is a key part of the success of the Merritt Centennials Hockey Club, contributing to the health and readiness of the players and working with the coaching staff to ensure optimal performance.

Coordinate and implement all medical, rehabilitation and strength and conditioning activities
Responsible for equipment inventory tracking, maintenance and distribution
Responsible for injury prevention and assessment

Qualifications and Education Requirements

Preferred experience with hockey teams or other team related sports. Applicants must have the following qualifications:

Certified Athletic Therapist
Bachelor’s Degree or Diploma: Kinesiology or related program preferred

The following credentials are preferred but not essential:

ATC
NSCA CSCS certification
Hockey Canada ‘Speak Out’ and ‘Safety’ Programs

Preferred Skills

Working knowledge of modality unit preferred. Applicants must be committed to working in team environment and proven ability to handle multiple tasks and responsibilities.

Lots of BIG Cents News:

It’s been a crazy week in the world of the Centennials.

First, great news for captain Steve Tresierra with his commitment to Queen’s University. I’ll have reaction from Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce on Steve’s commitment sometime tomorrow. I hope to reaction from Steve himself soon too. Here’s from the Cents website:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – May 25, 2011

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce defenceman and captain Steve Tresierra has accepted an offer to play for the Queen’s University Golden Gaels starting in the 2011-12 season.

Tresierra played all 60 regular season games in each of the past two seasons for the Cents and established a new personal best this year with nine goals on the campaign. He scored 27 points for the second year in a row and finished his BCHL career with 21 goals and 64 assists in 206 games.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Golden, BC, product played four seasons in the league after beginning his career with the Vernon Vipers. He came to Merritt midway through the 2008-09 campaign. He captained the club to consecutive playoff appearances the last two years as the Centennials improved their point totals each year he was in Merritt.

“I think he’ll carry the same thing over to Queen’s as he did for us,” said Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce. “He’ll be a leader and the type of player and person you can build a program around.”

“He’s everything you want for a small-town hockey club because he gets involved in the community, just like he did here in Merritt, and others follow him.”

Tresierra becomes the second straight Centennials captain to go to Queen’s as Jordan Soquila went to the Kingston, Ont. campus last season.

It hasn’t yet been confirmed by Luke Pierce to me, but the Creston Valley Thundercats are reporting that Joe Martin has joined the Centennials on a two-year contract as Assistant Coach/GM.

I heard rumblings about the status of last season’s Assistant Coach Chad DeLeeuw, but I can confirm that he won’t be back behind the Cents bench in 2011-12.

I should have more on this breaking story in the next day or so.

Cents Announce "Share The Cents" Season Ticket Promotion:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – May 24, 2011

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce a new program for season ticket holders to get extra benefits by referring others to enjoy the fast-paced, hard-hitting BCHL action that is Cents hockey.

Called the Share The Cents Promotion, it provides an incentive for current season ticket holders to pass on the names of friends, relatives and others they know who they believe would enjoy exciting junior ‘A’ hockey with the Centennials.

To earn a referral reward, current or new season ticket holders fill out a form with their name as “promoter” and give it to the individual they encouraged to purchase tickets. That individual then turns in the form when they purchase their 2011-12 season tickets and the “promoter” receives a $50 credit towards their own season ticket!

For more information on the Share The Cents Promotion, please contact Cents Season Ticket Coordinator Karen Webster at 378-2345 or Cents Marketing Manager Rachael Sanders at 378-3604.

The form is also available for download by visiting MerrittCentennials.com

Conditions:

* Credit may not exceed the cost of your ticket
* Credit may not be carried forward to another season
* Credit is non transferable and holds no cash value
* If you’ve already purchased your 2011-12 season ticket, your credit may be applied towards next season.
* Does not apply to MMHA season tickets
* Does not apply to corporate tickets

Harvey Smyl to Coach Chilliwack BCHL Team; Moray Keith Promises Cheaper, Offensive Hockey:

By Tyler Olsen, Chilliwack Times May 24, 2011

The British Columbia Hockey League is back in Chilliwack.

The BCHL board of governors has unanimously approved the sale of the Quesnel Millionaires and the franchise’s relocation to Chilliwack.

The new ownership group includes Chiefs Development Group principals Moray Keith and Jim Bond, along with Harvey Smyl, who will serve as the team’s coach and general manager.

“We’re thrilled,” Keith told the Times. “We’ve always been big fans of the BCHL. We wanted to have hockey in Chilliwack. We think the BCHL is a wonderful alternative. It’s respectful hockey.”

With the Langley Chiefs having been renamed the Rivermen, the franchise will likely be called the Chiefs. “Chiefs hockey represented great hockey in Chilliwack and the fan support we had behind the Chiefs was just wonderful,” he said. “Chiefs hockey was a fun time for Chilliwack. With Harvey it’s always been winning hockey and it’s also growing young men and . . . I think that’s something the community bought into big time with the old Chiefs teams.”

But Keith told the Times that, while he favours the old name, the franchise plans to ask fans for their two cents.

“We’re going to take a little look at that over the next week or two,” said Keith.

Jersey and logo decisions will also involve community input, Keith promised, but he stressed that any Chiefs logo must be respectful.

“I think we need to do something that’s very respectful when we’re doing the Chiefs,” he said. “I think we’ve had some great jerseys in the past and we’ve also had some that were a little bit comical, and I think we’ll stay away from those and head to just a real classy jersey.”

As for a mascot, Keith doesn’t rule out the return of an old standby.

“I always thought the name Chief Wannawin is pretty cool,” he said, when asked specifically about the former Chiefs standard-bearer.

CDG owns and operates Prospera Centre and owned a minority share of the now-departed Chilliwack Bruins of the Western Hockey League.

Keith doesn’t think it will be difficult to attract fans to watch a BCHL team in an arena which, with a seating capacity of around 5,000, will be one of the largest buildings in the league.

“What we’re finding is tremendous support from the folks in the community who are anxious to have the BCHL back in town.”

He pointed out that the Chiefs averaged more than 3,000 fans their first year in Prospera Centre, before the team left for Langley.

“We think we’ve got an opportunity to drive that,” he told the Times. “Number one, we’ve got a more affordable ticket. We’re going to be making it very approachable and very easy for families to attend. We think that hockey in Chilliwack should be a family outing. It should be something you want to take your kids to and there will be zero-tolerance for misbehaviour in the stands.”

He said there are no plans to tarp over sections of seats. The franchise also plans to replace the videoboard that departed with the Bruins.

“We believe we have to step it up a bit,” said Keith. “There’s no doubt that the WHL was a higher-profile league and we need to make sure we’re doing the same thing for the BCHL and we will.”

He said the lower costs associated with operating a BCHL team will make it easier for the franchise to afford to bring a top-notch experience to fans.

“Our intention is to fill the building. There’s no ifs ands or buts.”

Keith clearly believes that Smyl—who coached the Langley Chiefs last year but who still lives in Chilliwack—will be a vital part of the on- and off-ice success of the team.

The Millionaires won just 13 games last year and were swiftly dispatched in four games in the playoffs. With the BCHL ushering in a new playoff format that will see only four teams from each division qualify for the post-season, Chilliwack will be in tough. But Keith has confidence in Smyl’s ability to work wonders with young players and promote an entertaining style of play.

“Harvey seems to lose five or six games at the start of the year, by Christmas time he’s playing .500 hockey, and by the time he hits the end of the year, he’s in the second round of the playoffs,” said Keith. “What fans, I believe, want is guys who go out every shift and give it everything they’ve got and we can promise we’re going to have exciting offensive hockey.

“Yeah, it’ll take a few minutes to get a team sorted around but Harvey’s used to rebuilding teams because we’ve always incentivized Harvey based on sending . . . young men [to college] rather than holding them from 16 to 20 on the team.”

The Western Hockey League had previously expressed an interest in returning to Chilliwack, but Keith said he and his partners are fully committed to the BCHL.

“Judging by the way we were treated by the WHL, we’re not very anxious to be involved with those folks again,” he said.

Keith says the franchise has put in place a 10-year lease for the Prospera Centre.

He also emphasized the need for community involvement in the team and hopes to recruit an army of volunteer ushers, ticket-takers, billeters and security personnel.

“We’re going to look for a lot of people to be involved,” said Keith. “We believe that rather than commercializing some of those positions, we should be trying to look for people who want to be involved in the community and involve some of the clubs and also some of the students.”

He said the team plans to begin hiring within two weeks, with a business manager and marketer at the top of the list.

Chilliwack will play in the BCHL’s Interior Conference next year. Realignment will take place the following, according to the league.

BC Hockey must still rubber-stamp the move, but that approval is expected at a conference call scheduled for June 7. The new Chilliwack owners, meanwhile, are planning a summer of announcements tied to the new team and are begging for input from local hockey fans and residents.

“We firmly believe the team belongs to the community,” said Keith. “We get to be caretakers of the team.”

New Look BCHL in 2011-12:

Not only are there a ton of rule, roster and playoff changes (which I still haven’t gotten around to analyzing on the blog), but now we know for sure that the Interior Conference will look much different in 2011-12 than it did in 2010-11.

For the first time since the 1995-96 season, there won’t be any games involving the Quesnel Millionares as the sale and relocation of that franchise to Chilliwack has been approved by the BCHL’s Board of Governors. And for the first time since the 2005-06 season, a team from Chilliwack will skate in the BCHL. The Chiefs join the Interior Conference, where they played for their first four seasons of existence from 1990-94.

So, when the league hammers out the schedule next month, here’s what they need to consider for alignment.

Coastal Conference
Alberni Valley Bulldogs
Coquitlam Express
Cowichan Valley Capitals
Langley Rivermen
Nanaimo Clippers
Powell River Kings
Surrey Eagles
Victoria Grizzlies

Interior Conference
Chilliwack Chiefs
Merritt Centennials
Penticton Vees
Prince George Spruce Kings
Salmon Arm Silverbacks
Vernon Vipers
Trail Smoke Eaters
Westside Warriors