The Surrey Eagles added a familiar name to their roster for 2015-16 with the commitment of 19-year-old Danny Eruzione. His uncle, Mike, was the captain and scored the winning goal for the US team at the 1980 Winter Olympics that beat the USSR in the “Miracle on Ice” game. Eruzione comes from the Cushing Academy prep school where he was played US High School hockey for the last two seasons. In 2014-15, the Winthrop, MA product had 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 33 games.
Penticton announced its fifth, sixth, and seventh recruits of the week on Thursday. I already covered the commitment of 16-year-old Griffin Mendel earlier this month, so I’ll focus on the other two players. Heading to the Vees are 17-year-old defenseman Sam Jones and 17-year-old forward Taylor Ward, who is the son of former Vancouver Canucks player Dixon Ward.
Jones, who’s from Birmingham, England, but has played all of his hockey in North America, had 31 points (seven goals, 24 assists) in 28 games last season for the Okanagan Hockey Academy Red Prep team. He also played five games with the junior B Summerland Steam as an affiliate player.
Ward played with the Okanagan Hockey Academy White Prep team in 2014-15, putting up 50 points (nine goals, 41 assists) in 28 games. He also got into two games with Penticton as an affiliate player and scored his first career BCHL goal. Ward was with the Vees during the BCHL Championship series vs. Nanaimo and also at the Western Canada Cup and RBC Cup.
The Victoria Grizzlies announced an astounding 14 player commitments on Thursday, but many of them I’ve already covered here as they were already added to the team’s “New Recruits” roster on the BCHL website. Joining Victoria are forwards Corey Iapalucci, Tyler Preziuso, Keyvan Mokhtari, Tyler Welsh and defenseman Drayson Pears.
Iapalucci is a 19-year-old from Kirkland, PQ. He spent last season with the Ogden Mustangs of the Western States (Tier III Junior A) Hockey League. Iapalucci finished second in scoring on the Mustangs with 53 points (18 goals, 35 assists) in 41 games. He hasn’t played junior A hockey in Canada before, but was taken in the second round, 21st overall by the Hawkesbury Hawks in the 2014 Central Canada Hockey League Draft.
Preziuso, from Burnaby, BC, played for the BC Major Midget League South Island Royals last season. He tied for third in team scoring with 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists) in 40 games. The 16-year-old was selected in the third round, 61st overall by Medicine Hat in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.
Mokhtari also hails from Burnaby. The 17-year-old spent 2014-15 with the Burnaby Winter Club Prep team of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League and posted 36 points (19 goals, 17 assists) in 22 games. He also got into three BCHL games with Trail as an AP and had one assist. Mokhtari was chosen by Everett in the seventh round, 136th overall in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.
Welsh, an 18-year-old from Whistler, BC played last season with the Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, where he had 75 points (17 goals, 58 assists) in 48 games. He played one game as an AP for the Grizzlies and scored a goal.
Pears is a hometown Victoria player for the Grizzlies. He skated with the VIJHL’s Westshore Wolves in 2014-15, tallying 24 points (six goals, 18 assists) in 47 games. The 17-year-old played the previous season for the BCMML South Island Royals, where he had six points (two goals, four assists) in 40 games.
It is interesting to note that in their media release, the Grizzlies announced that forward Kale Kane had committed to the team, but Chilliwack already announced his commitment to the Chiefs earlier this month. Word is that the 18-year-old University of Vermont recruit originally committed to Victoria, but changed his mind and decided to go to Chilliwack instead.
Forward Paul Kariya (Penticton, 1990-92) was among the inductees into the BC Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday night. Kariya, who put up 244 points (91 goals, 153 assists) in 94 career BCHL games, played 15 NHL seasons from 1994-2010 for Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville, and St. Louis, compiling 989 points in 989 games. He is a two-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly conduct and sportsmanship, was selected to the NHL first all-star team three times (1996, 1997, 1999) and second all-star team twice (2000, 2003), and represented Canada at 1994 and 2002 Olympic Games, helping Team Canada to silver and gold medals respectively.
Geoff Grimwood (Victoria, 1998-2000) is the new GM and Head Coach of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Kindersley Klippers. Grimwood has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach with the Victoria Royals of the WHL and head coach of the South Island Royals of the BCMML. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach for the Powell River Kings from 2010-12.
Forward Hunter Bishop (Vernon, 2005-08) has signed with the Krefeld Pinguine of the German Elite League for 2015-16. In 48 games with Olimpija Ljubljana of the Austrian League in 2014-15, the 27-year-old had 36 points (20 goals, 16 assists).
Forwards Adam Naglich (Victoria, 2002-05) and Ken Magowan (Vernon, 1998-2000) along with goaltender Matt Zaba (Penticton, Vernon, 2001-03) have all left the Vienna Capitals. Zaba is rehabbing an injury and didn’t think he’d be healthy to start the 2015-16 season, so he left the Capitals. In 38 games in 2014-15, the 31-year-old from Yorkton, SK had a 2.29 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage. Magowan only played 10 games for Vienna in 2014-15 and had four points (two goals, two assists). The 33-year-old from Kelowna, BC also skated in 17 games with Lowen Frankfurt of the German 2nd League, posting 17 points (nine goals, eight assists). Naglich, who’s from Las Vegas, skated in 21 games for Vienna last season, notching five points (four goals, one assist).
Brian Lebler (Penticton, 2004-06) signed a one-year contract with ERC Ingolstadt of the German Elite League for 2015-16. The 26-year-old played in the Austrian League in 2014-15 and had 53 points (35 goals, 18 assists) in 54 games with EHC Linz. He also represented Austria at the World Hockey Championships, where he had two goals in seven games.