Month: August 2014

Three BCHL Teams Ranked in Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 Pre-Season Rankings:

I know the validity of these rankings are of great debate among teams, fans, and broadcasters of Canadian Junior Hockey League teams, but regardless, the league is out with its first Top 20 Rankings of the 2014-15 season.

There are three BCHL teams featured in the Top 20 (Penticton Vees – 2nd, Langley Rivermen – 9th, Merritt Centennials – 14th) while one other (Powell River Kings) received an honourable mention.

Here’s the release from the CJHL:

The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) announced its Pre-Season Top 20 rankings for the 2014 – 2015 season. The leagues in which the teams belong to are in parenthesis.

The CJHL Pre-Season 2014-2015 Top 20 Rankings

1.    Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL)

2.    Penticton Vees (BCHL)

3.    Georgetown Raiders (OJHL)

4.    Portage Terriers (MJHL)

5.    Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)

6.    Drumheller Dragons (AJHL)

7.    Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL)

8.    Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)

9.    Langley Rivermen (BCHL)

10.  Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL)

11.  Woodstock Slammers (MHL)

12.  Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)

13.  Pembroke Lumber Kings (CCHL)

14.   Merritt Centennials (BCHL)

15.   Aurora Tigers (OJHL)

16.  Truro Bearcats (MHL)

17.  Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL)

18.  Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL)

19.  Selkirk Steelers (MJHL)

20.  Les Pantheres de Saint Jerome (LHJQ)

Other teams to watch and honourable mention goes to the Powell River Kings (BCHL), Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL), Battlefords North Stars (SJHL), Oakville Blades (OJHL), Kemptville 73’s (CCHL),

The pre-season rankings are based upon a variety of factors which includes the league in which the teams belong to, last season’s results in regular season and playoffs as well as initial recruiting efforts for the upcoming season. The first in-season Top 20 CJHL Weekly Rankings will be announced on September 30, 2014

Surrey Eagles Bring Defenseman Latrell Charleson Back to the BCHL:

The Surrey Eagles continued to load up on local players as on Thursday they acquired 19-year-old defenseman Latrell Charleson from the Hawkesbury Hawks of the Central Canada Hockey League for 19-year-old blueliner Philippe Johansson.

If Charleson’s name is familiar, it’s because the 6-foot-4, 220 lb. has played in the BCHL before. He got into 23 games as a 17-year-old rookie with Prince George in 2011-12 and played 20 games with the Spruce Kings in 2012-13 before being released in December 2012. The Surrey product then joined the junior B North Delta Devils and also affiliated with the Coquitlam Express, playing eight games with them.

How Charleson’s Canadian Junior Hockey League’s rights got to Hawkesbury is a bit of a mystery. He was recruited by the Battlefords North Stars of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in June 2013 and played with them last season. Then this past July, Charleson was traded to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Lloydminster Bobcats. What I can’t find any record of is how Charleson’s rights ended up with Hawkesbury, which enabled them to trade him to Surrey. We may never know.

Meanwhile, Johansson, who is committed to Brown University for 2015-16, really came into his own during the BCHL playoffs, putting up two goals and three assists in six games for the Eagles.


To Surrey Eagles:
D Latrell Charleson (95)http://www.eliteprospects.com/iframe_player_stats.php?player=102298To Hawkesbury Hawks:
D Philippe Johansson (94)http://www.eliteprospects.com/iframe_player_stats.php?player=264742

Vernon Adds Four Year Junior A Veteran Defenseman Jake Emilio from Cobourg:

With only two returning defensemen, the Vernon Vipers added a significant piece to their blue line on Thursday, acquiring 20-year-old Jake Emilio from the Cobourg Cougars of the Ontario Junior Hockey League for future considerations.

Back in April, Cobourg announced that Emilio had committed to the NCAA Div. III Middlesbury College Panthers for this September, but I assume Vernon wouldn’t have traded for the Kleinburg, Ontario product if he wasn’t going to play for the Vipers. In fact, Emilio is in training camp with Vernon right now.

He’s a two-time OJHL All-Star, representing the East Division in 2012-13 and the North-East Conference last season.


To Vernon Vipers:
D Jake Emilio (94)http://www.eliteprospects.com/iframe_player_stats.php?player=97166To Cobourg Cougars:
Future Considerations

Victoria Reaquires Goaltender Michael Stiliadis in Four Team Trade:

The Victoria Grizzlies crease got a bit more crowded on Thursday as GM and Head Coach Brad Knight was part of a complex trade involving four different Canadian Junior Hockey League teams in four different leagues.

The first deal saw the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Whitecourt Wolverines trade 19-year-old forward Connor McCallum and future considerations to Cornwall Colts of the Central Canada Hockey League in exchange for 20-year-old defenseman Pierre Ouellette.

The Colts then traded McCallum to Grizzlies in exchange for future considerations. Victoria then flipped McCallum and future considerations to Dauphin Kings for 20-year-old goaltender Michael Stiliadis, who was named Most Valuable Player at last spring’s RBC Cup tournament in Vernon.

Stiliadis had expressed to Dauphin that he was interested in returning to the BCHL for his last season of junior hockey and the Kings accommodated. The Woodbridge, Ontario product played for the Grizzlies in 2012-13 season, posting a 2.97 goals-against-average and an .897 save percentage in 31 games played. He was acquired from the OJHL’s Oakville Blades by Victoria in late August of 2012.

In terms of the break down of Stiliadis rejoining Victoria, I’ll only focus on the BCHL portion of the deal.


To Victoria Grizzlies:
G Michael Stiliadis (94)http://www.eliteprospects.com/iframe_player_stats.php?player=96045To Dauphin Kings:
F Connor McCallum (95)http://www.eliteprospects.com/iframe_player_stats.php?player=84017+ Future Considerations

Here’s the release from Dauphin on the deal:

The Dauphin Kings were a part of a 4 team trade this last week. Coming to the Kings is 19 year old forward Connor McCallum who played last season with the Whitecourt Wolverines in the AJHL as well as future considerations.

“Connor will bring tenacity, a strong work ethic and excellent character to our hockey club.” said Kings HC/GM Marlin Murray “He’s a big body that competes hard.”

The 6’2”, 200lb forward will arrive in Dauphin later this afternoon for the Kings Main Camp.

Going to the Victoria Grizzlies is 20 year old goaltender Michael Stiliadis.

“Stilly was very good for us last season and as a team are likely not as successful without him” stated Murray. “We were advised by his father and family advisor in the summertime that he would only be reporting to the BCHL for his final year of Junior A hockey. We are happy to get Connor and maximum PDF back in the deal because many BCHL teams had their goaltenders solidified for the upcoming season. We want to wish Stilly all the best.”

Alberni Valley Deals 19-Year-Old Defenseman Bo Pellah to Surrey:

It looks like 19-year-old defenseman Bo Pellah will make his return to the BC Hockey League with Surrey after his Canadian Junior Hockey League rights were traded to the Eagles by Alberni Valley for future considerations.

Pellah, who’s from New Westminster, played last season with the Youngstown Phantoms and Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League, posting 22 points (6g, 16a) in 50 games.

In June, he informed the Bulldogs that he was looking to return to the BCHL after determining that the USHL wasn’t the best fit for his style of play. At that time, Alberni Valley revealed that it had received a number of calls from teams looking to acquire Pellah.

He was a Coastal Conference Second Team All-Star in 2012-13 after a 33-point split between the Bulldogs and Langley Rivermen. Pellah decommitted from Penn State University back in March. He had committed to the school as a 16-year-old in December 2011.

The trade isn’t posted on either teams’ website, but is posted under “Transactions” on the BCHL website.


To Surrey Eagles:
D Bo Pellah (95)http://www.eliteprospects.com/iframe_player_stats.php?player=102243To Alberni Valley Bulldogs:
Future Considerations

Vernon Vipers Add Former NHL Tough Guy Eric Godard to Coaching Staff:

Forced to hire a completely new assistant coaching staff, Vernon Vipers GM and Head Coach Jason Williamson solidified his help behind the bench, just days before training camp is set to begin.

The Vipers announced earlier this off-season that they hired Kevin Kraus to replace David Robinson, who decided to step away from Vernon as Assistant Coach. Kraus, who played for the Vipers from 2007-08 to 2009-10, was an assistant in Salmon Arm last season.

Then when Associate Coach Kris Mallette left the Vipers last month to join the Kelowna Rockets as an Assistant Coach, Williamson found himself in the position of having to hire another assistant for the second time in three months. And once again, the Vipers looked north and picked up former NHLer Eric Godard to fill the role. Godard, like Kraus, was an assistant with the Salmon Arm SilverBacks in 2013-14.

The announcement of Godard’s hiring is on the 107.5 Kiss FM website:

Vernon Vipers start their BCHL camp Friday morning at Kal Tire Place, with coach and GM Jason Williamson saying it will be a new look team.

“It’s a totally fresh team, players that I have 100% recruited them all. It’s a fresh staff. I’m excited about working with Kevin Kraus (assistant coach), and officially we’ve actually brought Eric Godard on too (as an assistant coach), so I’m excited about that,” says Williamson.

The 34 year old Godard is a Vernon native who played 335 games in the NHL with the New York Islanders, Calgary Flames and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

He was known as an enforcer with 833 career penalty minutes.

“He’ll be a guy that works mainly with the forwards, but just an assistant to help with whatever we need, really,” says Williamson.

Both Kraus and Godard were with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks last season.

Canada West World Junior A Challenge Coaching Staff Has Distinct BCHL Flavour:

Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League jointly announced the coaching staff today for the 2014 World Junior A Challenge from December 14 – 20 in Kindersley, Saskatchewan.

Although Trent Cassan, a coach from the SJHL was named as the Head Coach for Canada West, there is a distinct BCHL flavour to Cassan’s assistants.

Merritt Centennials GM and Head Coach Luke Pierce along with Vernon Vipers GM and Head Coach Jason Williamson were both named assistants. Tim Fragle, who is the GM and Head Coach of the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Spruce Grove Saints, is a former BCHL player, having skated for the Trail Smoke Eaters from 1998 to 2000 before joining Merritt for eight games in the latter part of the 1999-00 season.

Of course, in addition to the managerial roles they each have now, Pierce and Williamson are both former BCHL players. Williamson played three seasons for the Vipers from 1999 to 2002 and Pierce spent two seasons as a Centennial from 2001 to 2003 before joining Vernon for his 20-year-old season of 2003-04.

Canada West hasn’t won gold at the WJAC since 2011, but has claimed a medal at every tournament since its inception in 2006. Canada West won the bronze last year.

Here’s the release from the CJHL regarding today’s announcement:

The Canadian Junior Hockey League, in partnership with Hockey Canada, announced today that Trent Cassan, head coach and general manager of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Yorkton Terriers, will be the head coach of Canada West at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, scheduled for Dec. 14-20 in Kindersley, Sask.

Cassan will be joined by assistant coaches Tim Fragle (head coach and general manager, Sherwood Park Crusaders, Alberta Junior Hockey League), Luke Pierce (head coach and general manager, Merritt Centennials, British Columbia Hockey League) and Jason Williamson (head coach and general manager, Vernon Vipers, British Columbia Hockey League).

“I am honoured and excited to be able to work with many of the top CJHL players from all over Western Canada,” said Cassan. “The World Junior A Challenge is a first-class event with premier players from all over the world. My experience at the 2013 event in Yarmouth, N.S., was a positive one, and I look forward to working with the staff and representing Canada West in Kindersley in December.”

Trent Cassan, 31, will make his second appearance with Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge, having won a bronze medal as an assistant coach in 2013. Cassan has been head coach and general manager in Yorkton for the past five seasons, leading the team to the SJHL championship and RBC Cup national championship last season. A Terriers alumnus (2002-04), Cassan was named SJHL Coach of the Year in 2012-13.

Tim Fragle, 34, will be an assistant coach with Canada West for the first time at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge.  Entering his fifth year as head coach and general manager in Sherwood Park, Fragle has 16 years of coaching and instructional experience.  He finished his CJHL playing career with the Crusaders, serving as captain in 2000-01.

Luke Pierce, 31, will make his first appearance with Canada West at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge. The head coach of Team West at the 2013 CJHL Prospects Games, Pierce has been the head coach and general manager of the Centennials for the past five seasons, guiding Merritt to the playoffs every year, and winning BCHL Interior Division Coach of the Year honours in 2012-13.

Jason Williamson, 33, will be an assistant coach with Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge for the first time. He has been the head coach and general manager in Vernon for the past four years, and was an assistant coach for three years prior to that. Williamson has made four trips to the RBC Cup, Canada’s National Junior A Championship, winning the national title with the Vipers in 2009 and 2010, and finishing as runner-up in 2011. He played three seasons in Vernon (1999-2002), making two trips to the BCHL final.

Canada West has appeared in six of the eight gold medal games at the World Junior A Challenge, winning gold in 2006 (Yorkton/Humboldt, Sask.), 2007 (Trail/Nelson, B.C.), and 2012 (Langley, B.C.). It also won silver in 2008 (Camrose, Alta.), 2009 (Summerside, P.E.I.), and 2012 (Yarmouth, N.S.), and won bronze in 2013 (Yarmouth, N.S.).  It finished fourth in 2010 (Penticton, B.C.).

For more information on the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, please visit http://www.hockeycanada.ca/wjac, or follow along through social media at http://www.facebook.com/wjrac and http://www.twitter.com/hc_wjac.