The Penticton Vees have added Steven Cocker as the team’s Director of Hockey Operations & Analytics. The 24-year-old spent 2014-15 as Player Development Analyst with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and as Team Manager for the Lahti Pelicans in the Finnish SM-Liga U-20 league. In the past, Cocker has also worked for International Scouting Services and Cedar Rapids in the United States Hockey League. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports and Leisure Management from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Finland and wrote his thesis on the progression of analytics in hockey.
The Vees also solidified the future of a number of front office staff, including Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations Fraser Rodgers. The upcoming season is Rodgers’ fifth with the Vees in the same role. He’ll be joined once again by colour commentator Trevor Miller, calling Penticton’s games on EZ Rock AM 800.
Penticton also retained Goaltending Coach Kyle Hamaguchi, Skills Development Coach Ed Lebler, Strength and Conditioning Coach Brent Mosses, Video Coach Matt Miller, and in Corporate Sales and Marketing, Laura Carleton. Nick Fuher and Steve Cawley are back behind the bench for the Vees as Assistant Coaches for the 2015-16 season.
Wenatchee has hired James Meissner to be the play-by-play voice for the franchise’s first season in the BCHL. During his 35-year broadcasting career, Meissner has called hockey for the Billings Bulls (AWHL/NAHL), Alabama Slammers (WHA2), Kootenay Colts and Spokane Flyers (NPHL), Tampa Bay Juniors (USPHL) and Tri-City Storm (USHL). All Wild games in 2015-16 will be carried on KPQ 560 AM in Wenatchee.
Powell River welcomes back the 2014 winner of the BCHL’s Goaltending Award with news that Jeff Smith is leaving UMass-Lowell to play his final year of junior eligibility with the Kings. The 19-year-old played six games as a freshman with UMass-Lowell last season, finishing with a 3-3-0 record, a 3.02 goals-against-average, an .885 save percentage and one shutout. In his lone BCHL season in 2013-14, the Maple Ridge, BC product went 20-10-1 along with a 2.25 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage. His GAA led all BCHL netminders and his save percentage was second in the league. “I’m excited to come back to Powell River, play out my eligibility at the Junior level for the Kings and work my way back to the NCAA,” said Smith in a release.
Coquitlam has added defenseman Jake Brien for the 2015-16 season. The 18-year-old played the last three seasons with Ridley College, a prep school in St. Catharines, ON. In 99 games with Ridley, Brien notched 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) and served as co-captain in 2014-15. He also played nine games this past season with Cape Breton of the Nova Scotia Midget Hockey League and had one assist.
A pair of former BCHL players are part of the management team for Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland (Vernon, 1973-74) and Hockey Canada’s Vice-President of Hockey Operations and National Teams Scott Salmond (Vernon, Kelowna, Merritt, 1988-92) will aid GM Doug Armstrong in leading Canada’s National Men’s Team in the tournament, which runs from September 17 – October 1, in Toronto.
Defenseman Justin DaSilva (Powell River, 2009-11) has re-signed with the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors for 2015-16. After finishing his NCAA career with Ohio State this past spring, the Cambridge, ON product signed an amateur tryout with Greenville and played four games, notching one assist.