Month: June 2012

Trail Smoke Eaters Veteran Sam Mellor Returns to the BCHL:

(Sam Mellor in action vs. Williams Lake during the 2009-10 season – photo by Randy Emery)
The Trail Smoke Eaters have received a huge boost with the return of F Sam Mellor (92) to the team from the University of Alaska-Anchorage.
I’ve heard rumours as to why Mellor has decided to return to the BCHL, but I’m not going to delve into them here. Regardless of why he’s back, his return gives Bill Birks a proven point producer at the junior A level as alongside Travis St. Denis and Scott Jacklin, Mellor posted 67 points in 45 games during the 2010-11 season. The trio had a whopping 194 points between them.
I suppose there is a chance that Birks winds up trading Mellor and if he does, I would expect that the line of suitors would be long and the return that Trail gets could shape the franchise for a number of years. It’s interesting to see how it all plays out. It’s like the Smoke Eaters have either added one of the best players without giving anything up or they have the luxury of adding a number of assets for a player who they didn’t expect to have anyway – not a bad spot to be in.
F Sam Mellor (92)

Langley-Surrey Trade:

I meant to post this a couple of days ago, but the Langley Rivermen picked up some goaltending insurance from Surrey as they acquired G Conor Barrie (93) from the Eagles for future considerations.

I would expect that the Rivermen go into the 2012-13 season with James Barr (93) and Barrie as their netminders, but I can’t expect that Surrey is going to hand its goaltending duties to rookie Glenn Ferguson (94) so there’s likely a big recruit or trade in the works for the Eagles to grab a number one goalie. We’ll see.

Meantime, here’s how this deal breaks down…

To Langley Rivermen:
G Conor Barrie (93)
To Surrey Eagles:
Future Considerations

Here’s the release from the Langley website:

Township of Langley, BC, Thursday, June 28, 2012: The Langley Rivermen Junior “A” Hockey Club is pleased to announce the acquisition of goaltender Conor Barrie from the Surrey Eagles in exchange for future considerations. This past year was Conor’s first year in the BCHL where he recorded 6 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie in 11 games played to go along with 3.49 goals against average and a .885 save percentage.

“I think it is a pretty good opportunity for me and talking to the coaching staff this morning, they seem really excited and I can’t wait to head out there in August and get started,” Barrie said.

Barrie believes the Rivermen will have a strong team next season as he noticed quite the difference in their play at the latter half of last year,

“You could tell by watching them that they were making some pretty big strides and would be ready to compete come next season and I hope I can contribute anyway I can”.

Rivermen Associate Head Coach Jordan Emmerson really liked what he saw from Barrie last season,

“He played real well against us last season and is a guy that moves well and is technically sound in the net,” Emmerson said, “he provides stability with James Barr coming back with us and we expect Conor to come in and do a good job”.

Cents Play-By-Play Voice Alex Grebenyuk Joins the Vancouver Giants:

This is posted on the Merritt Centennials website, all the best to Alex with the Giants! What this means the fate is of his Cents Central blog, I don’t know, but I’m sure Alex will address that before starting his new job in Vancouver.
My hope is that whomever Q101 decides to hire as the new voice of the Centennials, that person has the desire to do a blog on the Cents much like I did for four years and Alex did for the past six months.

Vancouver, BC – June 28, 2012

The Vancouver Giants are pleased to introduce their new Director of Media Relations & Broadcasting for the upcoming 2012-13 season, Alex Grebenyuk.

Alex, who calls Richmond his home, has spent the last 4 seasons doing play by play for the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials, prior to that having called a handful of games for the Burnaby (now Coquitlam) Express. In addition, he has also done volunteer work with the Giants as a reporter, as well as helping Sportsnet with the 2007 Memorial Cup in Vancouver.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to get this opportunity with the Giants,” says Grebenyuk. “It’s kind of like a dream come true; to be back home on the Coast, and working for the team I’ve passionately followed from the ground up. It’s a superb organization with a great staff, and I can’t wait to get started.”

“We are very happy to be bringing Alex on board this season”, says Vice President of Operations Peter Toigo. “He comes with a great deal of passion and enthusiasm, and has valuable experience having been involved with our team in the past. He has an exciting style of broadcast that I believe our fans will enjoy. We’d like to officially welcome Alex to the Vancouver Giants and look forward to working with him.”

Grebenyuk begins his new role with the Giants on Monday, July 16.

The Cents would like to thank Alex for all of his hard work and dedication over the last four seasons and wish him the best of luck in Vancouver.

For further information, please contact Cents Media & Communications Coordinator Brian Wiebe at 604-432-8595 or

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 40 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.

UPDATED – BCHL Alumni Set to Hit the NHL Free Agent Market:

Former Nanaimo Clippers defenceman and pending NHL unrestricted free agent Jason Garrison
(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
With July 1st coming up on Sunday and the doors to NHL Free Agency swinging open, there are a number of former BCHL players who are set to hit the market. 
There are 17 who are eligible for unrestricted free agency and 10 who are restricted free agents. The unrestricted free agents are sort by position alphabetically while the restricted free agents are sorted alphabetically by NHL team with their rights.
There may some I’ve missed on this list, if you have any corrections, please send them to

Unrestricted Free Agents 

F Byron Bitz (Nanaimo)

F Gilbert Brule (Quesnel)

F Andrew Ebbett (Salmon Arm)

F Tanner Glass (Nanaimo/Penticton)

F Kyle Greentree (Victoria)

F Tyler McNeely (Surrey/Coquitlam)

F Brendan Morrison (Penticton)

F Rod Pelley (Prince George/Vernon)

F Casey Pierro-Zabotel (Merritt)

F Raymond Sawada (Nanaimo)

F Trevor Smith (Quesnel)

F Matt Watkins (Vernon)

D Tyler Eckford (Surrey)

D Jason Garrison (Nanaimo)

D Greg Zanon (Victoria/Surrey)

G Mark Dekanich (Coquitlam)

G Brad Thiessen (Penticton/Prince George/Merritt) SIGNED – 1 year, two way contract worth $525,000 at the NHL level, unknown salary at the AHL level

Restricted Free Agents
Dallas F Jamie Benn (Victoria)

Dallas D Jordie Benn (Victoria)

Minnesota D Chay Genoway (Vernon)

Montreal D Brendon Nash (Salmon Arm)  SIGNED – 1 year, two way contract worth $575,000 at the NHL level, $75,000 at the AHL level

New York Rangers D Lee Baldwin (Burnaby/Victoria)

Philadelphia F Harry Zolnierczyk (Alberni Valley)

Pittsburgh G Marc Cheverie (Nanaimo)

San Jose D Matt Irwin (Nanaimo) SIGNED – 1 year, two way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level, $105,000 at the AHL level D Cody Franson (Trail)

Winnipeg D Brett Festerling (Quesnel)

Winnipeg F Ben Maxwell (Surrey)

BCHL Alumni at NHL Development Camps:

A number of NHL teams are holding their summer prospect development camps this week and there is a BCHL flavour to some of them.
A quick scan of all NHL team websites with the development rosters posted shows 12 former BCHL players taking part, including a league-high five at Edmonton’s camp.
Here’s how it breaks down:

Vancouver Canucks
G Joel Rumpel (Penticton) Andrew Walsh (Salmon Arm, Langley, Prince George) Shayne Taker (Cowichan Valley) Justin Dasilva (Powell River) Jake Baker (Merritt, Nanaimo, Victoria, Trail) Oilers
D Kyle Bigos (Vernon) Joey Laleggia (Penticton) Connor Jones (Vernon) Kellen Jones (Vernon) Jujhar Khaira (Prince George) Coyotes
G Chris Rawlings (Salmon Arm/Powell River/Cowichan Valley) Brett Hextall (Penticton) Austin Carroll (Coquitlam) Bruins
F Justin Courtnall (Victoria/Burnaby) Ben Sexton (Penticton) York Islanders
G Kevin Boyle (Westside) Blair Riley (Merritt/Nanaimo) Senators
F David Dziurzynski (Alberni Valley)

BCHL Represented Well at NHL Entry Draft:

(Jujhar Khaira, the 1st BCHL player selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft)
The BCHL was represented very well at the NHL Entry Draft this weekend in Pittsburgh. Not only did five players get drafted directly from the BCHL, but one alum, one former player and one recruit were also chosen.
So let’s break down those who were selected with BCHL ties.

F Jujhar Khaira (94) from the Prince George Spruce Kings
3rd round, 63rd overall to the Edmonton Oilers Sean Maguire (93) from the Powell River Kings
4th round, 113th overall to the Pittsburgh Penguins Joey Laleggia (92) from the University of Denver (played for Penticton from 2009-11)
5th round, 123rd overall to the Edmonton Oilers Reece Willcox (94) from the Merritt Centennials
5th round, 141st overall to the Philadelphia Flyers Alex Kerfoot (94) from the Coquitlam Express
5th round, 150th overall to the New Jersey Devils Wesley Myron (92) from the Victoria Grizzlies
6th round, 177th overall to the Vancouver Canucks Lou Nanne (94) from Edina High (committed to Penticton for 2012-13)
7th round, 188th overall to the Minnesota Wild Jamie Phillips (93) from the Toronto Junior Canadiens (played for Powell River for half of 2011-12)
7th round, 190th overall to the Winnipeg Jets Here’s the release from the BCHL regarding the Draft: 


Burnaby, BC – June 24, 2012

The British Columbia Hockey League was pleased to see five of its players and one graduate selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft this weekend at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

Prince George Spruce Kings forward Jujhar Khaira (Cloverdale, B.C.) broke the ice when the Edmonton Oilers grabbed him early in the third round 63rd overall.

Powell River Kings goalie Sean Maguire (Powell River, B.C.) was next to go, in the fourth round 113th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Reece Willcox (Surrey, B.C.) of the Merritt Centennials was taken in the fifth round 141st overall by the Philadelphia Flyers.

Coquitlam Express forward Alex Kerfoot (West Vancouver, B.C.) was also taken in the in the fifth round, 150th overall by the New Jersey Devils.

Rounding out the draft for current BCHL players was Wesley Myron (Victoria, B.C.), a forward from the Victoria Grizzlies who was selected in the sixth round 177th overall.

Also selected was Joey Laleggia from the University of Denver. The Burnaby, B.C. native played two seasons for the Penticton Vees before heading off to college.

Jujhar Khaira, F, 6-foot-2, 198 pounds (29G, 50A, 69PIM for Prince George)
Two-time BCHL Academic All-Star
Committed to Michigan Tech for 2012-13 season

Sean Maguire, G, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds (17-12-1, 2.33GAA, .913sv% for Powell River)
Two-time recipient of the Wally Forslund Trophy for best BCHL goalie tandem
Committed to Boston University for 2012-13 season

Reece Willcox, D, 6-foot-3, 184 pounds (5G, 18A, 26PIM for Merritt)
2012 BCHL Academic All-Star
Committed to Cornell for 2012-13 season

Alex Kerfoot, F, 5-foot-9, 153 pounds (25G, 44A, 24PIM for Coquitlam)
BCHL Coastal Conference Rookie of the Year, Most Sportsmanlike Player and 1st Team All-Star

Wesley Myron, F, 6-foot-2, 182 pounds (17G, 25A, 18PIM for Victoria)
Committed to Boston University for 2012-13 season

Joey Laleggia, D, 5-foot-9, 182 pounds (11G, 27A, 35PIM for U. of Denver)
2011 BCHL MVP, Top Defenceman and All-Star
2012 NCAA Rookie of the Year

Nanaimo-Swan Valley Trade:

While a former coach of the Clippers is making headlines for returning to the BCHL with Victoria (more on Bill Bestwick to the Grizzlies tomorrow), Nanaimo is doing its own part in staying noteworthy as Mike Vandekamp swung a big 3-for-1 trade today.
The deal sees the Clippers acquire a number one goaltender while creating a bit more room to add 20-year-old players by sending two out. 
If you’re wondering how Bourbeau wound up as Nanaimo property, he is the future considerations in a January 10th trade with the now-defunct Dawson Creek Rage which saw D Zach Ovics (93) join the NAHL team.
There is a question mark to the trade, and that’s whether or not F Mike Sones (92) winds up in Swan Valley as he’s commited to Mercyhurst University starting with the 2012-13 season. The only way I can see him playing with the Stampeders this coming season is if Mercyhurst feels that he could use another year at the junior A level.
Nonetheless, this is how today’s deal breaks down:

To Nanaimo:
G Jayson Argue (93)

To Swan Valley:
F Mike Sones (92)

F Brett Hartskamp (92)

G Paul Bourbeau (92)’s the release from the Clippers website:

The Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Club would like to announce that we have acquired Goaltender Jayson Argue from the Swan Valley Stampeders (93) in exchange for Forwards Mike Sones (92), Brett Hartskamp (92), and Goaltender Paul Bourbeau (92). Bourbeau was acquired by the Clippers as future considerations in a deal reached at the January 10th deadline with the Dawson Creek Rage.

In his two seasons with the Stampeders, Argue, a 6ft 180lb native of Swan River, MB, received an impressive four team awards, three league awards and was a finalist for Canadian Jr. A Hockey Player of the Year.
2010-2011  Stampeders Rookie of the Year
2011-2012  Stampeders Regular Season MVP
2011-2012  Stampeders Playoff MVP
2011-2012  Stampeders Fan Favorite
2011-2012  MJHL 1st All Star Team
2011-2012  MJHL Top Goaltender
2011-2012  MJHL MVP
2011-2012  CJHL Player of the Year Finalist
In addition to the welcoming Jayson to Nanaimo, the Clippers would like to thank Mike and Brett for their contribution to our Hockey Club and wish them all the best in the future.