There’s been a lot of talk over the last few days about the status of the Victoria Grizzlies as their lease agreement with West Shore Parks and Recreation for The Q Centre is up at the end of May. First came word on Wednesday that the situation was ‘dire’ and the Grizzlies may cease operations at the end of the month. Now, after two days of negotiations, it appears things are looking more like the two sides will be able to reach an agreement. Mario Annicchiarico from the Victoria Times-Colonist has more here.
Merritt Centennials defenseman Josh Teves was named the winner of the 2015 RBC National Junior A Scholarship on Thursday. Teves was chosen from 10 finalists – one from each of the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s member leagues – and will receive a $5,000 scholarship. He is just the second winner of the scholarship from the BCHL, Alberni Valley’s Kevin Ross was the first back in 2009. Teves, who played his first BCHL season in 2014-15, led all Centennials’ blueliners in scoring with 33 points (five goals, 28 assists) in 57 regular season games.
A week ago Thursday, the WHL held its annual Bantam Draft. Normally it wouldn’t be that noteworthy for my blog without a BCHL connection, but it turns out there is a BCHL connection. The Victoria Royals selected 18-year-old Penticton defenseman Gabe Bast in the 10th round, 211th overall in the draft. He is the oldest player chosen in this year’s draft – Bast has actually been eligible for it for three years. This season, Bast had 40 points (nine goals, 31 assists) and 38 penalty minutes in 49 games for the Vees. He’s committed the University of North Dakota for 2016-17. The Royals are hoping Bast forgoes his NCAA career to play with his brother Luke, who Victoria selected in the sixth round. I get that the WHL Bantam Draft is for those players who have graduated from bantam, but maybe it’s time to call it the WHL Entry Draft?
The Chilliwack Chiefs will have a new play-by-play voice in 2015-16 after Kraig Krause accepted an offer from York University Athletics in Ontario. His role with York includes play-by-play broadcasting and sports journalism in print, radio and online coverage of Lions hockey, football, basketball and all other varsity sports. Krause will also work towards his Honours BA in Communications. He spent one season in the booth in Chilliwack.
Chilliwack caused a buzz around the BCHL late last week when it committed to eight players who spent half of the 2014-15 season playing for the same team – the Connecticut Wolf Pack. Coming to the Chiefs are 18-year-old goaltender Matteo Esposito, 19-year-old defenseman Zach Giuttari, 19-year-old forwards Vimal Sukumaran, Ben Sharf, and Eric Benshadle, and 18-year-old forwards Kale Kane and Jake Smith. Despite being born in the US, neither Esposito nor Germain will be considered imports for Chilliwack as they hold Canadian citizenship. Giuttari, Benshadle, Sharf, and Smith are considered imports. The BCHL website appears to be a bit inaccurate in stating “Only American-born players are considered imports.” Meanwhile, the CJHL definition is: “No player having Canadian citizenship shall be classified as an import.”
According to Jeff Cox, a writer for the SB Nation College Hockey website, 18-year-old goaltender Max Prawdzik will play for the Trail Smoke Eaters in 2015-16. Prawdzik played US High School hockey for the last four seasons, leading Brooks School to two prep championships. Cox’s article, which contains tidbits about a few other players committed to BCHL teams for the upcoming season, is here.
Defenseman Andy Stevens had committed to the Powell River Kings for 2015-16. Stevens spent 2014-15 with the Western Canadian Junior B champion Campbell River Storm, posting 17 points (two goals, 15 assists) in 40 games. The 17-year-old also had one assist in eight games as an affiliate player with the Kings. Stevens even got into four playoff games with Powell River and had one assist. The Campbell River, BC, native was a fifth round selection, 98th overall, of the Kootenay Ice in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.
Forward Jordan Sandhu will play for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in 2015-16 after committing to the team. The 16-year-old spent 2014-15 with the Greater Vancouver Canadians of the BC Major Midget League. He had 27 points (three goals, 24 assists) with the Canadians and no points in one game as an AP with Alberni Valley. He’s also a WHL Bantam Draft pick after being selected by Kelowna in the fourth round, 88th overall last year.
Nanaimo solidified its goaltending for next season with the commitment of 19-year-old netminder Jonathan Reinhart. The Cambridge, ON, played the last two seasons with the junior B Elmira Sugar Kings of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, compiling a 42-9-6 record, a 2.34 goals-against-average, a .925 save percentage and six shutouts in 60 games played.
According to a number of sources in North Dakota, including the Grand Forks Herald newspaper, University of North Dakota recruits and former East Grand Forks Senior High players Dixon Bowen and Colton Poolman have committed to play for the Penticton Vees next season. Both players spent 2014-15 with the Fargo Force of the US Hockey League. Bowen, a 19-year-old forward, had three points (two goals, one assist) in 15 games with the Force. Poolman, a defenseman, is also 19-years-old. He had ten assists in 46 games with Fargo.
Brian and Joseph Drapluk will continue their hockey careers on the same team. The 21-year-old twin brothers have committed to the NCAA Div. III University of Wisconsin-River Falls for 2015-16. Joseph, who’s a forward, finished his two year BCHL career with 74 points (30 goals, 44 assists) in 109 games. Brian, a defenseman, finishes with 26 points (three goals, 23 assists) in 95 games. Both players spent their entire BCHL careers with the Surrey Eagles.
Cowichan Capitals forward Jesse Neher committed to NCAA Div. III SUNY-Plattsburgh for 2015-16. The 21-year-old is a veteran of 226 BCHL games, 82 with Nanaimo and 144 with Cowichan. He had 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 55 games this past season. Neher is the third member of the Caps to commit to college hockey for next season, joining Kyle Horsman (Robert Morris) and Julien Lepage (York).