Month: December 2015

Canada West Opens WJAC with 7-3 Win, BCIHL Unveils BC University Hockey Showcase Details:

BCHL players combined for seven points as Canada West opened the 2015 World Junior A Challenge with a 7-3 win over the Czech Republic in Cobourg, Ontario on Sunday. Penticton Vees players Tyson Jost (one goal, one assist) and Dante Fabbro (two assists) each had two points for Canada West in the victory. Langley’s Justin Fregona along with Powell River’s Kyle Betts and Carter Turnbull each chipped in with a point as well. Canada West’s next game is Tuesday against the defending champion United States.

The BC Intercollegiate Hockey League announced the details of the 2016 BC University Hockey Showcase on Sunday. The event includes six regular season games between all five BCIHL teams over three days from January 15-17 at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre, which is the home rink for SFU Hockey. The Saturday that weekend also features a luncheon where the BCIHL All Decade Team will be unveiled and a coach’s Q&A session to give fans, parents, and prospects the opportunity to learn more about the league. Details are available on the BCIHL website here.

Bulldogs-Smokies Rescheduled, WJAC Opens Sunday, Grisdale Talks Red Bull, Caps Acquire Jones, Grizzlies Lose Hopkins, Eagles Lose Westgard:

Due to a wicked storm that forced BC Ferries to cancel sailings from the Mainland to Vancouver Island, the Trail Smoke Eaters weren’t able to travel to Port Alberni to face the Bulldogs Saturday night. As a result, the game is rescheduled for the Weyerhauser Arena on Monday night at 6 o’clock. The Smokies are set to face Cowichan Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan.

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.

Both Canada West and Canada East are coming off last year’s tournament where neither team finished with a medal. In the WJAC’s nine year history, Canada West has three gold medals, three silver medals, and one bronze medal. Canada East has never won gold at the tournament, but has claimed four silver medals and one bronze. The United States is gunning for its fourth straight title and seventh in the last eight years.

Earlier this week, the BC Hockey League announced that the U20 Red Bull Salzburg team from Austria will tour through the province next month. I chatted with BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale about the tour.

Grisdale and BCHL Communications Director Brent Mutis also joined former Abbotsford Falcons forward and current Global TV Sports Anchor Jay Janower on the Saturday Morning News to talk about the Red Bull tour along with the CJHL Prospects Game, which is in Surrey next month. That interview is available here.

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.

Forward Scott Jacklin (Cowichan, Trail, 2007-11) was traded in the ECHL on Saturday to Brampton from Elmira for future considerations.The Kimberley, BC product is in his first season in the ECHL. He had 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 16 games with the Jackals.

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.

Greenwell, who’s from Spokane, WA, signed on as head coach for the remainder of this season and through 2016-17. He played four seasons at Eastern Washington from 2010-14 and four seasons junior B in the KIJHL, where he was named Top Goaltender in 2009-10. The 26-year-old was hired as an assistant coach with EWU the same season Kellogg was chosen as head coach. The Eagles have retained associate coach Pat Hanlon in his current role.

BCHL December 1st Roster Deadline Details:

The December 1st Hockey Canada roster deadline arrives tomorrow and it’s one that’s seen BCHL teams be relatively busy.

BCHL teams started with 35 cards on June 1st, on October 1st that was reduced to 30. At that point, teams with 22 players signed were left with only eight cards to sign any players acquired.

As of December 1st, the number is cut to 25 cards or less, which includes carded players plus available unused cards. The norm is for teams to end up with a 22 player roster and 3 cards, but occasionally teams will go with less than 22 players and then have more cards available for use leading up to the January 10th roster deadline.

For example, if a team has 28 cards remaining of the 35 they started with on June 1st, (including the 22 players on their roster) and it reduces to 25 tomorrow night, it makes sense to trade now, rather than after December 1st. The idea being that the team uses cards 23 through 28 instead of losing them. This is assuming the team wants to make some changes.

Last season, there were four trades in the week leading up to the deadline, including just one on December 1st. In 2013, 12 trades were made, while in 2012, eight trades were made. In 2011, there were seven and in 2010, there were 16 deals.

So far this season, there have been two deals made in the week leading up to the deadline, both involving the Victoria Grizzlies. First the Grizzlies acquired 19-year-old forward Jared Virtanen from the Calgary Mustangs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for 18-year-old defenseman J.D. Falconer and future considerations. Then Victoria dealt 19-year-old forward Colby Livingstone to the OCN Blizzard of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for future considerations.

It remains to be seen if things get busier in the hours leading up to the deadline – and with the final roster deadline just five weeks away.

The other aspect of the December 1st deadline is that teams within the BCHL have until 7 pm Pacific time to make any deals with each other while they have until 6 pm Pacific time to make deals with CJHL teams outside of BC.

Here’s a look at the trades last season in the week leading up to the December 1st deadline:

– Salmon Arm acquired forward Branden Wagner (96) from Vernon for future considerations

– Prince George acquired forward Daniel Nachbaur (95) from Merritt for future considerations

– Prince George traded defenseman Valik Chichkin (94) to Camrose of the AJHL for future considerations

– Chilliwack acquired defenseman Bennett Morrison (96) from Salmon Arm for future considerations