Month: November 2011

Salmon Arm Fires Assistant Coach Dan Cioffi:

This is posted on Salmon Arm’s website:

SilverBacks Make Coaching Change

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks wish to announce that they have made a coaching change. They have released Associate Coach Dan Cioffi from his position effective immediately. “My vision for this hockey club differs from Dan’s an enormous amount. I feel that our club needed to have one unified vision and we needed to make this change in order to accomplish our goal. As an organization we wish Dan all the best and thank him for the time he spent in Salmon Arm” stated Head Coach and General Manager Colin O’Hara.

The SilverBacks have promoted Jayson Reardon to fill the vacant position. Jayson recently played for Coach O’Hara and is very familiar with the expectations that are put in front of this group. “Jayson still has a fire and passion for this team, community and league. He understands where this group should be and that the work ahead needs to be unified” said Coach O’Hara

The End of the Doyle Cup:

As was confirmed on Dan Marshall’s Clippers radio show on 106.9 The Wolf tonight, 2012 represents the last year the BCHL and AJHL champions will face off for the Doyle Cup.

It’s also the last year that the SJHL and MJHL champions compete for the Avanet Cup.

Starting in 2013, the five team tournament will be a Memorial Cup style format, except it’ll feature the four league champions from the BCHL, AJHL, SJHL and MJHL, plus the host team.

It’s already been determined that a BCHL team will host the inaugural tournament from April 26 – May 5, 2013. Teams around the circuit have until December 15 to submit a hosting bid, with Nanaimo owner Ken Wagner being the first to go public with the Clippers desire to host.

Word is that the top two teams in the Western Canadian Junior A Championship would advance to the RBC National Junior A Championship, which is in Summerside, PEI.

The Centennials won the predecessor to Doyle Cup — the Pacific Centennials Cup — in 1978.

Here’s a list of previous Doyle Cup winners:

1985 – Penticton Knights
1986 – Penticton Knights
1987 – Richmond Sockeyes
1988 – Calgary Canucks
1989 – Vernon Lakers
1990 – New Westminster Royals
1991 – Vernon Lakers
1992 – Vernon Lakers
1993 – Kelowna Spartans
1994 – Olds Grizzlys
1995 – Calgary Canucks
1996 – Vernon Vipers
1997 – South Surrey Eagles
1998 – South Surrey Eagles
1999 – Vernon Vipers
2000 – Fort McMurray Oil Barons
2001 – Camrose Kodiaks
2002 – Chilliwack Chiefs
2003 – Camrose Kodiaks
2004 – Nanaimo Clippers
2005 – Camrose Kodiaks
2006 – Burnaby Express
2007 – Camrose Kodiaks
2008 – Camrose Kodiaks
2009 – Vernon Vipers
2010 – Vernon Vipers
2011 – Vernon Vipers
2012 – TBD

Penticton-Salmon Arm Trade:

(Bryce Gervais is the newest member of the Penticton Vees)

On the heels of a pretty big trade last week between the Vees and Silverbacks, the future considerations involved in the deal have been revealed. The original deal was F Myles McCauley (91), F Garrett Hendrickson (92) and futures from Penticton to Salmon Arm for futures.

Thanks to the power of the internet, the particulars of the future considerations are becoming public sooner than the parties involved wanted.

Fraser Rodgers has the deets on his blog (over there on the left), but essentially the completion of F Bryce Gervais (92) moving to Penticton was supposed to announced on Monday after he played this weekend for Salmon Arm. After the deal was leaked online (on the BCHL Message Board among other places), Fred Harbinson felt it necessary to inform D Shane Hanna (94) that he would be the Vees player joining the Silverbacks in the trade.

The trade officially breaks down like this:

To Penticton:
F Bryce Gervais (92)
To Salmon Arm:
D Shane Hanna (94)
F Myles McCauley (91)
F Garrett Hendrickson (92)

Centennials Continue Their Winning Ways:

This was is Thursday’s Merritt Herald:

Centennials continue their winning ways

By Ian Webster – Merritt Herald
Published: November 10, 2011 1:00 PM
Updated: November 10, 2011 1:52 PM

The Merritt Centennials racked up three more wins this past week – two of them in overtime – to maintain their strong third place position in the BCHL’s Interior Conference standings.

The Cents (22) currently sit just two points back of second place Vernon (24) and only four points behind division-leading Penticton (26).

More importantly, Merritt is beginning to create some breathing space between themselves and the chasing pack. In a fourth-place tie, Chilliwack and Prince George (17) now sit five points in arrears, while Westside (16) is another point back in sixth. At the bottom of the heap are Salmon Arm (12) and Trail (9).

Last Wednesday, in Salmon Arm, a dramatic overtime goal by 20-year-old centre Chad Brears lifted the Centennials to a 3-2 victory over the Silverbacks. The game winner came just 45 seconds into the first period of OT on a great scoring play by the team’s number one forward line of Brears, Evan Stack and Regan Soquila.

Other Cents’ goals on the night were netted by Brent Fletcher and Brendan Lamont in a span of four minutes at the beginning of the second period. It was 17-year-old Lamont’s first goal in the BCHL and a fitting start to a stellar week of play by the über-talented rookie.

Between the pipes, Merritt netminder Tyler Steel was as solid as a rock in turning aside 26 of 28 shots and giving up only one even-strength goal.

Friday night’s rematch between the Cents and Backs at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena was every bit as exciting as Wednesday’s game, especially since the result turned out the same: a 3-2 win for the Centennials, and Brears once again the last-goal hero.

On a night that saw plenty of rubber directed at both goalies (the Cents’ Lino Chimienti and the Backs’ Kurt Williams), the two teams traded goals evenly through the first 40 minutes. Scoring for Merritt were Payton Schaefer in the first period and Brears in the second, while Bryce Gervais and Kody Dhaliwal replied for the visiting Apes.

With time winding down in the third, and another round of overtime seemingly imminent, Brears latched onto a pass from defenseman Richard Sabourin and wired a wicked shot from the left face-off dot past Williams for the game winner.

Chimienti held the fort for the remaining 3:38 of regulation, and the Cents skated off with their second win in three nights over the Silverbacks.

If the two wins over Salmon Arm were the appetizer and the entrée on the weekend menu, then Saturday night’s 3-2 victory over the first-place Vees, in Penticton no less, was indeed the dessert.

The win was especially delicious given that the Cents had not won in the Lakeside city in almost six years – a span of 18 games.

Merritt got off to a great start in Penticton, scoring the game’s first two goals at timely points of the opening stanza. Hard-working Evan Stack tallied at the 5:27 mark on the powerplay, then Billy Marshall added another with just 30 seconds remaining in the period.

The Cents continued to dominate through a scoreless second period, but let things slip in the third. A pair of powerplay goals by Connor Reilly and Grant Nicholson, the latter with less than a minute remaining, evened things on the scoreboard and sent the contest into extra innings.

Victims of an OT loss to the Vees on the same ice one week earlier, the Cents were not about to have history repeat itself in a span of seven days.

Merritt came out four-on-four with guns ablazing, and were promptly rewarded. A tenacious forecheck by Fletcher behind the Vees’ net resulted in a turnover. The 19-year-old Pitt Meadows native fed the biscuit to a pinching Richard Sabourin, and the blueliner made no mistake, putting the puck smartly past Pen stopper Michael Garteig for the victory.

The Cents will be looking to make it four in a row this coming Friday when they host the Prince George Spruce Kings for the first time this season. Game time is 7:30 pm.

Five-On-Five, The Cents Are a Force to be Reckoned With:

This was in Thursday’s Merritt Herald:

Five-on-five, the Cents are a force to be reckoned with

By Ian Webster – Merritt Herald
Published: November 10, 2011 1:00 PM
Updated: November 10, 2011 1:49 PM

Even strength, the Merritt Centennials​ might just be one of the best teams in the BCHL right now.

The Cents are currently on a three-game win streak, following victories over Salmon Arm (twice) and Penticton in the past eight days. They also own a record of 8-1-0-1 in their last 10 games, the best in Canada’s top Junior A league.

To top things off, the Merritt Centennials were an honorable mention in this week’s Canadian Junior Hockey League nationwide Top-20 rankings, a distinction that has eluded a Cents’ team for close to a decade.

The one ‘fly in the ointment’ so to speak has been the (mis)play of Merritt’s special teams. With the man advantage or disadvantage, the Cents have been horrific. If the team can ever get its powerplay and penalty kill on track, it is almost scary to think how good this year’s squad could be.

The numbers simply don’t lie when it comes to odd-man situations. Thus far this season, the Cents have just 13 powerplay tallies in 75 opportunities for a mediocre 17.3% efficiency rating (fourth worst in the league).

Even more telling, the Centennials have given up 25 goals in 90 occasions when they were down one or more players for a league-worst 72.2% PK.

Turn the numbers around and you can see just how good this year’s Centennials are when playing their opposition even up. Of Merritt’s 56 goals scored in 18 games, 43 have been at even strength for a rating of 76.8% (second best in the league). Of the 62 total goals scored against them, Merritt has only allowed 37 while at even strength for an impressive stat of 59.7%, almost five percentage points better than any other team.

BCHL Team Reports:

This is posted on the Hockey Now website:

November 04, 2011
Posted in BC Edition, Junior A

By Brent Mutis /

Only four teams are making the playoffs in each conference this season in the BCHL and nothing is a sure bet so far as just four points separate first from sixth in the Coastal Conference and there are just three points between third and sixth in the Interior Conference. There seems to be better balance throughout the league this year as just four teams lack a winning record and scoring looks to be on the rise as 37 players are averaging better than a point per game.


Chilliwack Chiefs
The Chiefs aren’t a real high scoring bunch but are stingy, with a conference-low 38 goals against. Mitch Gillam is becoming a star in goal after moving west from Ontario while Malcolm Gould and David Bondra, son of Peter, have been point-a-game players.

Merritt Centennials
Allowing more goals than you score isn’t a recipe for success but the Cents are making it work in the meantime as they sit third in the Interior. Only Regan Soquila is over a point per game but Reece Willcox, Brandon Pfeil and Billy Marshall are a good blueline corps with the latter two also being in the top five in team scoring.

Penticton Vees
The Vees have, hands down, the most potent offence in the league at better than five goals a game. It’s no surprise Minnesota Wild second-rounder Mario Lucia leads the way with 29 points in 14 games but Travis St. Denis is right behind. Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Mike Reilly leads BCHL defencemen with 10 goals and 21 points.

Prince George Spruce Kings
One of the true good news stories of the early part of the season has been the turnaround in the North. The Spruce Kings won just 13 games last year but with Paul De Jersey busting out big time (28 points in 13 games), Jujhar Khaira’s game on the rise and Michael Colantone contributing, PG has a legit shot to be a playoff team this season.

Salmon Arm SilverBacks
A big turnover of personnel on the blueline seems to be troubling the ’Backs in the early going as there are five new faces on the back end. The forward group of Brett Knowles, Bryce Gervais, Devin Muller and Morgan Zulinick have been pretty reliable to score but they haven’t been able to outscore the 4.29 goals against per game the team is allowing.

Trail Smoke Eaters
After three of the top scorers in the league last year – Sam Mellor, Scott Jacklin and Travis St. Denis – moved on to college or other teams, the Smokies have a bit of an identity crisis. Head coach Bill Birks moved goalie Matt Larose for defensive help but then had to ship rearguard Rajan Sidhu to Alberta to get another goalie in James D’Andrea. Trail has a league-worst 72 goals against.

Vernon Vipers
A 7-0 start had the Snakes atop the standings early but they’ve since cooled to a 9-4 mark. A roster numbers crunch forced the team to release captain Patrick McGillis and the team has been spiraling since. Defencemen Luke Juha and Brett Corkey were away for Team Canada West tryouts and an extended absence could mean more trouble.

Westside Warriors
Connor Dempsey has been a good find as was Seb Lloyd until a broken collarbone put him on the 60-day disabled list. Tyler Krause is enjoying a breakout season while newcomer Steven Racine has been good in net. The team recently dealt defenceman Brayden Sherbinin to Cowichan Valley for Josh Monk who played for head coach Rylan Ferster when both were in Salmon Arm.


Alberni Valley Bulldogs
The ‘Dogs partnered with the Trail Smoke Eaters Oct. 20 in the biggest player transaction of the year so far, moving defencemen Marley Keca, Tanner Hicks and forward Tanner House in exchange for defenceman Daniel Delbianco and goalie Matt Larose who’s been great since the move.

Coquitlam Express
Head coach Jon Calvano will be happy to see the calendar flip over as the Express finished October with four straight losses. Still, Coquitlam is just a game below .500 and seems to have a gem in Alexander Kerfoot who has 15 points in 12 games as a 17-year-old.

Cowichan Valley Capitals
Tied for the final playoff spot at the start of the week, the Caps are playing good hockey but have seenNanaimo and Victoria get hot recently to move past them. Devin Gannon continues to provide leadership and scoring while Troy Paterson has offered good support from the blueline.

Langley Rivermen
Rollercoasters are more consistent than the Rivermen have been so far this season. They beat Alberni Valley 7-1 Oct. 15 only to lose to Victoria by the same score next game. Darnell Dyck and Mario Puskarich have shown flashes but the team is last in the conference with a two-goal-per-game average.

Nanaimo Clippers
October finished well for the Clips with a four-game winning streak that saw goalie Billy Faust play stellar in net in each of those victories. Nanaimo is getting scoring by committee with Kyle Kramer having a breakout year and Andrew Gladiuk, Brett Hartskamp, Trevor Fitzgerald and Graeme McCormack chipping in.

Powell River Kings
There’s a real test ahead for the Kings as head coach Kent Lewis is away coaching Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge and four players were away at the tryout camp. But they’re back atop their familiar perch in the Coastal Conference as Cohen Adair and Craig Dalrymple have been great.

Surrey Eagles
Tyler Morley has been a dynamo for Surrey, leading the team in goals and points while Andrew Hunt has provided excellent goaltending with the second-best save percentage in the league. It’s been a pretty good recipe but some more secondary scoring is probably top of the list of priorities.

Victoria Grizzlies
A slow start has given way to a torrid pace lately for the Grizz as Jarryd Ten Vaanholt, Wesley Myron and Wade Murphy really found their offensive game until Myron was sidelined. The addition of Mike Moran from Penticton has also been beneficial but the 63 goals against is worst in the conference.