The 2016 World Junior A Challenge opens Sunday with two preliminary round games. First, the nine BCHL players on Canada West and their teammates face off against the Czech Republic in Cobourg, Ontario at 10 a.m. PST. Then at 2 p.m. PST, Canada East meets Switzerland in Whitby, Ontario.
The Penticton Vees shipped 18-year-old defenseman Sam Jones to Cowichan for future considerations. In 27 games with the Vees this season, the rookie blueliner has four assists and 19 penalty minutes. He put up an astonishing 83 points (21 goals, 62 assists) in 88 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy Red Prep team in 2014-15. Jones is set to make his Capitals debut Wednesday in Nanaimo.
Just a handful of days after signing 18-year-old Haydn Hopkins following his release from the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, the Victoria Grizzlies have lost the hometown forward to the Erie Otters of the OHL. The Otters claimed Hopkins on Canadian Hockey League waivers and he’ll join Erie after playing just one game for the Grizzlies. He had no points and four penalty minutes in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Alberni Valley. The Victoria Times-Colonist has more on the story here.
The Surrey Eagles lost another of their key offensive players on Friday. After trading leading scorer Darius Davidson to Penticton early last week, now 17-year-old forward Ty Westgard is off the Eagles roster following his decision to sign with Victoria Royals of the WHL. The White Rock native was selected by the Royals in the 8th round, 165th overall in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. Westgard had 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 24 games with Surrey this season.
Eastern Washington University will have a new head coach when the second half of the season begins in January. The Eagles have fired second-year head coach Bret Kellogg and promoted assistant coach Jason Greenwell. Kellogg took over from Bill Shaw in May 2014 and leaves EWU with a record of 9-24-0-1, including 2-8-0-0 this season.
The 2015-16 BC Hockey League season starts tonight. It’s an historic night with the league admitting its first US-based team since 1995 as the Wenatchee Wild open the season in Prince George.
Prior to the puck drop tonight, I chatted with BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale, who enters his 13th season at the helm of the league.
Alberni Valley Bulldogs
Powell River Kings
Prince George Spruce Kings
Salmon Arm SilverBacks
Trail Smoke Eaters
West Kelowna Warriors
And just like last year, I thought I’d recap some of the BCHL rules and regulations ahead of the start of the 2015-16 season on Friday.
- Maximum three players per room when travelling on the road
- All team travel must be, at the minimum, by bus
- Minimum three meals per game day
- Minimum three meals per travel day to include breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- The amount of meals provided by the team on the road is pro-rated by the amount of time the team is travelling. For example, an in-division game within an hour’s distance equals a post-game meal
- No fee gym access for players
- Travel to and from Wenatchee. For Canadian players, 3rd party out of country travel insurance is provided by the BCHL. American players are to provide their own family insurance while traveling in the USA.
The BCHL’s 2015-16 regular season will commence on Saturday, September 11, with a six-game slate, highlighted by Wenatchee visiting Prince George in the Wild’s first ever BCHL game. The 986-game regular-season schedule – 58 games per team – will conclude on Sunday, February 28, with four teams in action before the 2016 Fred Page Cup playoffs start.
West Kelowna added a veteran presence to its blueline with the acquisition of Tyler Anderson from the Kindersley Kilppers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for forward Josh Bly and futures. Anderson, a 19-year-old, had 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 48 games with the Klippers last season. He added one goal in ten games as well. Bly, who is from Saskatoon, SK, played one game with Kindersley as an affiliate in 2012-13 and had 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 57 games with West Kelowna in 2014-15.
The Salmon Arm SilverBacks nabbed an import 1995-born player after a trade with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. Coming to the ‘Backs is defenseman Aiden Salerno for future considerations. The 19-year-old from Long Beach, NY scored 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 51 games for the Sabres in 2014-15. He’s a product of the Avon Old Farms high school prep hockey program.
The acquisition of defensemen continued with Coquitlam picking up blueliner Jarell Pinchuk from Drumheller of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for future considerations. Pinchuk is a veteran of 91 career junior A games with the Dragons, posting 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) and 81 penalty minutes. The 18-year-old from Fort Saskatchewan, AB was a 7th round pick, 141st overall by Kelowna in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.
The Surrey Eagles signed forward Paul McAvoy. The Lexington, KY native played with the Connecticut Oilers of the Eastern Hockey League last season, where he had 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) in 41 games. He added three points (two goals, one assist) in 11 playoff games as the Oilers won the EHL championship.
Merritt has added defenseman Mike Faulkner for the upcoming season. He played 32 games of high school prep hockey with Brunswick School out of Greenwich, CT and had 42 points (seven goals, 35 assists) as team captain. The 19-year-old from New York, NY was chosen in the fourth round, 82nd overall by Corpus Christi in the NAHL Entry Draft earlier this spring.