Month: April 2015

Vees Suffer First Loss at WCC, Wenatchee to Join Mainland Division, Rivermen Add Two More Recruits:














2015 WESTERN CANADA CUP
(at Fort McMurray, AB)
 
Saturday, April 25: Penticton (BCHL) def. Spruce Grove (AJHL) 11-3 (718)
Fort McMurray (Host) def. Portage MJHL) 3-1 (929)

Sunday, April 26: Portage (MJHL) def. Melfort (SJHL) 6-3 (749)
Penticton (BCHL) def. Fort McMurray (Host) 6-0 (979)
 
Monday, April 27: Spruce Grove (AJHL) def. Melfort (SJHL) 4-3 (OT) (761)
Tuesday, April 28: Portage (MJHL) def. Penticton (BCHL) 3-2 (705)
Fort McMurray (Host) def.
Spruce Grove (AJHL) 5-4 (894)
 
Wednesday, April 29: Melfort (SJHL) vs. Penticton (BCHL) – 6:30 pm PST
 
Thursday, April 30: Portage (MJHL) vs. Spruce Grove (AJHL) – 1:30 pm PST
Fort McMurray (Host) vs. Melfort (SJHL) – 6:30 pm PST
 
Saturday, May 2: 4th Place vs. 3rd Place – 1:30 pm PST
2nd Place vs. 1st Place – 6:30 pm PST
 
Sunday, May 3: 4th Place/3rd Place winner vs. 2nd Place/1st Place winner







With word that the Wenatchee Wild are to join the BCHL next season, there is a lot of speculation as to which division the team will fit into. One BCHL GM told me that it’s likely the Wild will be in the Mainland Division along with Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Langley, Prince George and Surrey. The Bellingham Ice Hawks are the last US-based team in the BCHL and they played in the Mainland Division before leaving the league in 1995. There is a three hour traveling time difference between Wenatchee and Bellingham, so it’s not really an equal comparison in terms of distance. Geographically, Wenatchee is directly south of Princeton, BC, so it’s actually further east than Merritt, but with Prince George also in the Mainland Division, geography doesn’t really have much to do with it. The discussion about the BCHL’s division names is a discussion for another time. 

Here are the distances and driving times from the Mainland Division home rinks to Wenatchee, according to Google Maps:

Surrey to Wenatchee: 337 km – 3 hours, 53 minutes
Coquitlam to Wenatchee: 363 km – 4 hours, 14 minutes
Langley to Wenatchee: 350 km – 4 hours, 4 minutes
Chilliwack to Wenatchee: 363 km – 4 hours, 22 minutes
Prince George to Wenatchee: 1,032 km – 11 hours, 13 minutes








The Langley Rivermen added two more players to the new recruits section of their roster on the BCHL website. Joining Langley are 19-year-old forward Chase Zieky and 19-year-old defenseman Brenden Russ. 

Zieky is from Avon, CT, and comes to the Rivermen after three seasons with Avon Old Farms Prep School. He was captain at the school in 2014-15 and totaled 45 points (27 goals, 18 assists) in 26 games. During his three year high school hockey career, Zieky had 86 points (43 goals, 43 assists) in 80 games.

Russ is a native of Las Vegas, NV who also spent the last three seasons playing high school hockey in the US. Russ skated with Choate Rosemary Hall, where he notched 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 28 games this past season. His overall totals with Choate show 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 80 games.

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Salmon Arm defenseman Andrew Farny won’t go to the US Air Force Academy and will attend Colorado College in 2015-16. The 19-year-old was named the BCHL’s Top Defenseman in 2014-15 after leading all blueliners in scoring with 49 points (14 goals, 35 assists) in 53 games. Farny had previously committed to Air Force back in December 2013. He’s from Colorado, so it’s realistic to think that going to school and playing hockey close to home factored into the decision to commit to Colorado College.



Surrey Eagles captain Ben Vikich secured his post-secondary plans by committing to the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. The Tommies play Division III hockey and Vikich will join fellow former BCHLers Charlie Donlin (Merritt) and Chase Paylor (Victoria/Alberni Valley) on the squad. The 20-year-old from Surrey had 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in his lone full BCHL season last year.

Penticton Dominant So Far at WCC, Wenatchee Arrives in 2015-16, WHL vs. BCHL Heats Up, Smokies Shore Up Goaltending:

2015 WESTERN CANADA CUP
(at Fort McMurray, AB)
 

Saturday, April 25: Penticton (BCHL) def. Spruce Grove (AJHL) 11-3 (718)
Fort McMurray (Host) def. Portage MJHL) 3-1 (929)

Sunday, April 26: Portage (MJHL) def. Melfort (SJHL) 6-3 (749)
Penticton (BCHL) def. Fort McMurray (Host) 6-0 (979)
 
Monday, April 27: Spruce Grove (AJHL) vs. Melfort (SJHL) – 6:30 pm PST
 
Tuesday, April 28: Penticton (BCHL) vs. Portage (MJHL) – 1:30 pm PST
Spruce Grove (AJHL) vs. Fort McMurray (Host) – 6:30 pm PST
 
Wednesday, April 29: Melfort (SJHL) vs. Penticton (BCHL) – 6:30 pm PST
 
Thursday, April 30: Portage (MJHL) vs. Spruce Grove (AJHL) – 1:30 pm PST
Fort McMurray (Host) vs. Melfort (SJHL) – 6:30 pm PST
 
Saturday, May 2: 4th Place vs. 3rd Place – 1:30 pm PST
2nd Place vs. 1st Place – 6:30 pm PST
 
Sunday, May 3: 4th Place/3rd Place winner vs. 2nd Place/1st Place winner


The Wenatchee Wild are set to become the BCHL’s 17th franchise. One BCHL GM and Head Coach told me today that Wenatchee will “definitely be playing in our league next season.” This comes on the heels of a Twitter conversation I had with Bliss Littler, who is the current GM and Head Coach of Wenatchee in the North American Hockey League, in which he seemed confident that his club would be in the BCHL in 2015-16. Littler’s exact words were, “I’m betting on it happening”. 

As was mentioned in this space earlier this month, the Wild requested to become dormant in the NAHL for next season in order to seek permission from USA Hockey and Hockey Canada to join the BCHL. Approval from USA Hockey and Hockey Canada doesn’t guarantee Wenatchee can move to the BCHL, as the league’s governors would also need to approve any such move. No confirmation where we are in those processes, but based on conversations today, it looks like the BCHL will have its first US-based team since Bellingham last played in the league in 1994-95. There’s more to this story for sure.

An interesting discussion on Twitter started last Saturday night when I tweeted out an article from 710 ESPN Seattle’s website in which Thunderbirds GM Russ Farwell said this about Penticton Vees defenseman Dante Fabbro: “…he’s going to really be stalled if he stays at that (BCHL) level”. Fabbro was a first round Bantam Draft pick of Seattle back in 2013. He had 33 points (four goals, 29 assists) in 44 games with the Vees this season as a 16-year-old. The Whistler, BC product added 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 21 playoff games as Penticton won the Fred Page Cup as BCHL champions. The article, from Tim Pigulski, is here.
The Trail Smoke Eaters solidified their goaltending for 2015-16 with the commitment of Bailey MacBurnie. The Beverly, MA, native turns 20 tomorrow, and is fresh off backstopping the Salisbury School Crimson Knights to a New England Prep School Athletic Conference Championship. The Smoke Eaters had the second-highest goals-against in the BCHL in 2014-15, allowing an average of 4.29 goals per game. Adam Todd has aged out of the league, while Brett Clark is eligible to return to Trail’s crease in 2015-16.








Forward Max Reinhart (Merritt AP, Langley AP, 2007-08) has been recalled by Calgary from Adirondack of the AHL. The North Vancouver, BC product had 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in 67 games this past season in the American League, and no points in four NHL games with the Flames.


Forward Daniel Carr (Powell River, 2009-10) has been called up by Montreal from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. Carr, who’s from Sherwood Park, AB, had 38 points (24 goals, 14 assists) in 75 games in the minors in 2014-15.


Defenseman Josh Manson (Salmon Arm, 2009-11) has been recalled by Anaheim from the Norfolk Admirals. The tough blueliner had 12 pts (three goals, nine assists) in 36 AHL games this season. The Prince Albert, SK, native also had three assists in 28 NHL games with the Ducks.


Forward Morgan Zulinick (Salmon Arm, 2010-12) has left the University of Wisconsin after three seasons with the Badgers. The 20-year-old will return to Kamloops to be with family, which includes a three-year-old son.

Vees Win 2015 Fred Page Cup, Daerendinger Commits to Bulldogs, Collins Commits to EWU, Waddington Commits to SFU, Gratz Commits to Selkirk:

The Penticton Vees won the 2015 Fred Page Cup as BCHL champions last night after Dakota Conroy scored at 2:06 of overtime to beat Nanaimo 3-2 in Game Six. For the Vees, it’s their first title since 2012, third in the last eight years, and 11th overall in franchise history. Nanaimo claimed the first two victories of the series before Penticton reeled off four straight wins to nab the championship. Four of the six games in the series were decided by one goal while three of the six went into overtime. Average attendance for the Final series was 1,945. 

The Vees now advance to the Western Canada Cup in Fort McMurray, AB. Penticton plays its first game of the tournament on Saturday, April 25 against either Brooks or Spruce Grove. The Saints lead the AJHL championship series 3-2.

Penticton wins the best-of-7 series 4-2
April 10 — Nanaimo 5 at Penticton 2 (2,341)
April 11 — Nanaimo 2 at Penticton 1 (OT) (2,203)
April 13 — Penticton 2 at Nanaimo 1 (OT) (1,716)
April 14 — Penticton 8 at Nanaimo 5 (1,654)
April 16 — Nanaimo 2 at Penticton 3 (2,349)
April 17 — Penticton 3 at Nanaimo 2 (OT) (1,405)







The Alberni Valley Bulldogs received a commitment from 17-year-old defenseman Max Daerendinger. The Vancouver native spent 2014-15 with the Burnaby Winter Club Academy Prep team, scoring nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 21 games. He added one assist in three playoff games for BWC. Daerendinger also skated in six games with the Bulldogs as an affiliate player, but didn’t post any points.







Eastern Washington University announced the commitment of forward Jesse Collins for the 2015-16 season. Collins, who’s from Spokane, WA, spent the fall semester with Weber State University in Ogden, UT, posting 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 19 games. Prior to attending Weber State, Collins racked up 319 points (92 goals, 227 assists) in 220 career KIJHL games with Spokane and Creston Valley.



Forward Jamie Waddington has committed to Simon Fraser University for the 2015-16 season. Waddington is from Coquitlam, BC and played the 2014-15 season with Drayton Valley. In two seasons with the Thunder, he posted 54 points (28 goals, 26 assists) in 104 career games. Waddington played 2012-13 with Cowichan of the BCHL and tallied 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 51 games as an 18-year-old.



Selkirk College secured a commitment for the 2015-16 season from defenseman Richard Gratz of the OCN Blizzard. The Surrey, BC native spent the last two seasons with OCN, scoring 21 points (three goals, 18 assists) in 107 games. Gratz started the 2013-14 season with Melfort of the SJHL and had one assist five games before joining the Blizzard. He played his junior B hockey with the PJHL’s North Delta Devils in 2012-13 and had three assists in 38 games.

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Vees One Win Away from Fred Page Cup, SilverBacks Acquire Gorgi, Smokies Recruit Tetteh, Four BCMML Players Commit to PG, Jandric to Join Vipers:


Penticton scored twice in a four minute span of the third period to win 3-2 over Nanaimo and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Fred Page Cup Final Series. Riley Alferd had the winner for the Vees as the home team claimed a victory for the first time in the series. 

Penticton leads the best-of-7 series 3-2
April 10 — Nanaimo 5 at Penticton 2 (2,341)
April 11 — Nanaimo 2 at Penticton 1 (OT) (2,203)
April 13 — Penticton 2 at Nanaimo 1 (OT) (1,716)
April 14 — Penticton 8 at Nanaimo 5 (1,654)
April 16 — Nanaimo 2 at Penticton 3 (2,349)
April 17 — Penticton at Nanaimo – 7 pm
x-April 19 — Nanaimo at Penticton – 6 pm







The Salmon Arm SilverBacks acquired 20-year-old centre Dustin Gorgi from Grande Prairie of the AJHL as future considerations from the January 10th trade that saw 19-year-old defenseman Karl El-Mir join the Storm. Gorgi, who’s from Red Deer, AB, had 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 58 games split between the Olds Grizzlys and Grande Prairie. He had 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists) in 60 games with Olds in 2013-14.


The Trail Smoke Eaters added 16-year-old defenseman Nii Noi Tetteh to their “New Recruits” on the BCHL website. The Revelstoke, BC product played for his hometown Grizzlies of the KIJHL in 2014-15, registering 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 49 games. He also played one game as an affiliate player with the Vernon Vipers this season, but didn’t register any points.



The Prince George Spruce Kings announced the commitment of four players following their spring camp last weekend. Heading to PG are three members of the BC Major Midget League champion Vancouver NE Chiefs, and one member of the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds. 17-year-olds Parker Colley and Nic Ponak, who are both forwards, along with 17-year-old goaltender Liam McCloskey join 16-year-old forward Kyle Johnson on the Spruce Kings.


Colley had 64 points (18 goals, 46 assists) in 40 games last season with the Chiefs while Johnson finished with 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists), also in 40 games. McCloskey started more than half of the Chiefs’ regular season games, finishing with a 15-2-3 record along with a 2.25 goals-against-average. Ponak notched 50 points (22 goals, 28 assists) in 37 games with the Thunderbirds.
The BC Major Midget League continues to have players commit to BCHL clubs as Cariboo Cougars forward Steven Jandric has committed to Vernon for the 2015-16 season. Jandric, who committed to Salmon Arm in March 2014 and played six games for the SilverBacks this past season, was second on the Cougars in scoring in 2014-15, with 54 points (18 goals, 36 assists) in 39 games.







Defenseman Scott Ford (Merritt, 1997-2000) has been released by Milwaukee of the AHL from his professional try-out so he can rejoin the South Carolina Stingrays for the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs. Ford played 12 games and recorded two assists with the Admirals since signing with the team on March 17th. He had five points in 40 games with South Carolina in 2014-15 before joining Milwaukee.

Vees Win Game Four Shootout, Smoke Eaters Looking for Assistant Coach, Buono Commits to UMass, Bloodoff Signs AHL Try-out:



Dakota Conroy had four assists as Penticton won 8-5 over Nanaimo to tie the Fred Page Cup Final playoff series at two games apiece. Three of the Vees goals came on the power play as part of a four goal second period. Penticton’s victory continues a trend in which the home team is winless in the series. Gabe Bast had a goal and two assists for the Vees while Sheldon Rempal and Nick Gushue each chipped in with three points for the Clippers. 

Best-of-7 series tied 2-2
April 10 — Nanaimo 5 at Penticton 2 (2,341)
April 11 — Nanaimo 2 at Penticton 1 (OT) (2,203)
April 13 — Penticton 2 at Nanaimo 1 (OT) (1,716)
April 14 — Penticton at Nanaimo (1,654)
April 16 — Nanaimo at Penticton – 7 pm
April 17 — Penticton at Nanaimo – 7 pm
x-April 19 — Nanaimo at Penticton – 6 pm

The Trail Smoke Eaters are looking to add to their coaching staff for the 2015-16 season. The Smokies have a posting on their website for a full-time assistant coach’s position which will complement head coach Nick Deschenes and current assistants Barry Zanier and Craig Clare. The posting indicates that defensive and goaltending knowledge along with NCAA experience is an asset. Interested candidates should email Trail president Tom Gawryletz at remax1@telus.net.






Powell River Kings defenseman Carmine Buono has committed to the University of Massachusetts. The 18-year-old announced the commitment on his own Twitter account. There’s no word whether or not Buono will head to the Minutemen this September or in September 2016. The Burnaby, BC product had 26 points (two goals, 24 assists) in 48 games with Powell River this season. Buono is ranked 188th among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s final draft rankings.








Forward Lucas Bloodoff (Trail, 2005-06) has signed a professional try-out with the AHL’s Adirondack Flames. He spent the season with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL, posting 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 44 games.

Vees Strike in Fred Page Cup Final Game Three, Scofield Released by Grizzly Adams, Ahlgren Commits to Bentley, Noonan Recalled to Milwaukee:



The home team continued to be 0-for-3 in the Fred Page Cup final series as Penticton won Game Three 2-1 in overtime against Nanaimo on Monday night to cut the Clippers lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven. Tyson Jost had the winner for the Vees just 57 seconds into the extra frame. The goal is Jost’s eighth in 18 playoff games this year with Penticton. Goaltender Guillaume Decelles, who was named BCHL Player of the Week for the second straight week, made 37 saves in goal for the Clippers.

Nanaimo leads best-of-7 series 2-0
April 10 — Nanaimo 5 at Penticton 2 (2,341)
April 11 — Nanaimo 2 at Penticton 1 (OT) (2,203)
April 13 — Penticton 2 at Nanaimo 1 (OT) (1,716)
April 14 — Penticton at Nanaimo – 7 pm
April 16 — Nanaimo at Penticton – 7 pm
x-April 17 — Penticton at Nanaimo – 7 pm
x-April 19 — Nanaimo at Penticton – 6 pm








Forward Tyler Scofield (Vernon, Prince George, Alberni Valley, 2000-04) wasn’t tendered a new contract for the 2015-16 season by Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg of the German Elite League. Scofield, who’s from Prince George, BC, had four points (one goal, three assists) in nine games with Wolfsburg this season. He also played 18 games with the ECHL’s Ontario Reign and eight games with the Graz 99ers of the Austrian League in 2014-15.



Forward Jake Ahlgren (Penticton, 2013-14) has committed to Bentley University for 2015-16. The 19-year-old spent the last season and a half with the NAHL’s Wenatchee Wild, tallying 59 points (25 goals, 34 assists) in 92 games.



Defenseman Garrett Noonan (Vernon, 2009-10) has been recalled by the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. Noonan posted nine points (four goals, five assists) in 38 games with the Admirals during his first professional season and added 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in 23 games with Cincinnati.

Vees Co-Captain DePourcq Out for Season with Jaw Injury, De Melo and Mitchell Commit to SilverBacks for 2015-16, MacMillan Signs with Habs:


Penticton tries to get back into the Fred Page Cup Final series on Monday as the Vees head to Nanaimo with the Clippers up 2-0 after a 2-1 win in overtime on Saturday. The Vees face the uphill climb without co-captain Cody DePourcq, whose jaw was broken in two places after being hit in the face by a puck early in the third period of Game Two. DePourcq is the lone Penticton player remaining on the team that won the RBC Cup in 2012. He is likely out for the remainder of the season with the injury. David Crompton of Penticton Herald has more.

Nanaimo leads best-of-7 series 2-0
April 10 — Nanaimo 5 at Penticton 2 (2,341)
April 11 — Nanaimo 2 at Penticton 1 (OT) (2,203)
April 13 — Penticton at Nanaimo – 7 pm
April 14 — Penticton at Nanaimo – 7 pm
x-April 16 — Nanaimo at Penticton – 7 pm
x-April 17 — Penticton at Nanaimo – 7 pm
x-April 19 — Nanaimo at Penticton – 6 pm






A pair of Okanagan Rockets players have committed to the Salmon Arm SilverBacks for the 2015-16 season. Joining Salmon Arm are 17-year-old defenseman Sam De Melo and 16-year-old forward Marcus Mitchell. Both players are from Kelowna and although they both played for the Rockets in the BC Major Midget League in 2014-15, their seasons were markedly different.

De Melo was injured after just one game and didn’t play at all for the remainder of the season as he rehabbed the injury. He was listed as an affiliate player by the SilverBacks, but didn’t get into a game with them. Mitchell was named the Rockets MVP after producing 46 points (22 goals, 24 assists) in 39 games. He played one game with Salmon Arm as an AP, but didn’t register any points.








Forward Mark MacMillan (Alberni Valley, Penticton, 2009-11) has signed a two-year, entry level contract with Montreal, which drafted him in the fourth round, 114th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. This past season with the University of North Dakota, the Penticton, BC product had 25 points (16 goals, nine assists) in 29 games. In four years with UND, MacMillan tallied 99 points (46 goals, 53 assists) in 151 games.


Defenseman Kyle Cumiskey (Penticton, 2002-04) has been recalled by Chicago from Rockford of the AHL for the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Abbotsford, BC native played seven games with the Blackhawks during the regular season, registering no points. He also had 20 points (two goals, 18 assists) in 54 games with Rockford in 2014-15.