The Trail Smoke Eaters and Langley Rivermen hooked up on the first trade of the BCHL off-season, with forward Cooper Leitch headed to Langley and defenceman Troy Ring and future considerations off to Trail.
TRADE: Rivermen acquire towering power forward @cooper_leitch in exchange for D Troy Ring.
Leitch, who is entering his final year of junior hockey, played the last season and half with the Smoke Eaters, after being acquired from Prince George during his rookie BCHL season of 2014-15. The 20-year-old from London, Ontario had 23 points (11-12-23) in 56 games with in 2015-16.
Ring is a year younger than Leitch and made his BCHL debut last season after playing half the year with the junior B North Van Wolf Pack of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. The Vancouver native is a veteran with North Van, having skated in 94 games since the 2013-14 season, his point totals increasing each year.
There always seems to be a trickle down effect when a hockey team at a higher level makes a geographic move within the Lower Mainland of BC.
It happened when the Western Hockey League expanded into Chilliwack and the BCHL’s Chiefs relocated to Langley. It also happened when the WHL’s Bruins left Chilliwack and the BCHL’s Quesnel Millionaires were purchased and moved into Prospera Centre.
And now with the Vancouver Giants nudging the Langley Rivermen out of the Langley Events Centre last month, the Riv jumped to the George Preston Recreation Centre, which left the junior B Langley Knights without a home arena.
Knights owner John Craighead announced on his Facebook page that the team is moving to Surrey.
The Knights will play out of the North Surrey Recreation Centre, which has two ice surfaces. Arena One was built in 1966 with a bench seating capacity of 1100 and Arena Two was added in 1989 with a capacity of 150. I would expect the Knights will play out of Arena One.
(Image: City of Surrey)
The move keeps the PJHL with five teams on the south side of the Fraser River (Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Delta, Richmond, Surrey) and five teams on the north side (Grandview, Mission, North Vancouver, Port Moody, Ridge Meadows.
Since this is the eve of the 2015-16 BCHL season, I caught up with a member of the staff for each of the 17 teams to preview the upcoming year. Although a number of the questions I asked were similar, if not the same, it is interesting to hear each team’s perspective or philosophy when it came to the answers.
I also spoke with BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale, that interview will be posted in this space tomorrow.
For the second time since the inaugural tournament three years ago, a BCHL team has claimed the Western Canada Cup championship. Connor Chartier scored 2:59 into overtime to give Penticton a 4-3 win over Portage to claim the title Saturday night. The Vees and Terriers were already guaranteed spots in the RBC Cup (Portage as host, and Penticton as one of the two finalists at the WCC), so both teams were playing to have their name engraved on the trophy. The Vees are the second BCHL team to win the Western Canada Cup after Surrey did back in 2013.
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: Penticton (BCHL) def. Melfort (SJHL) 3-1 (782)
Thursday, April 30: Portage (MJHL) def. Spruce Grove (AJHL) 4-2 (701) Fort McMurray (Host) def. Melfort (SJHL) 3-2 (OT) (1,154)
Saturday, May 2: Melfort (SJHL) def. Fort McMurray (Host) 4-2 (1,154) Penticton (BCHL) def. Portage (MJHL) 4-3 (OT) (943)
Sunday, May 3: Melfort (SJHL) vs. Portage (MJHL) – 3 p.m. PST
Langley announced the commitment of 18-year-old forward Ryan Barrow for the 2015-16 season. Barrow is from Cochrane, AB, and had 63 points (24 goals, 39 assists) in 31 games with the Banff Bears of the Heritage Junior B Hockey League. He added 65 points (25 goals, 40 assists) in 27 games with the Banff Hockey Academy Prep team, which plays in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.
16-year-old forward Darren Hards has committed to the Surrey Eagles for next season. The Prince George product had 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 34 games with the Cariboo Cougars of the BC Major Midget League in 2014-15.
Forward Ryan Roseboom is among the new recruits listed on the Chilliwack Chiefs roster on the BCHL website. The 18-year-old from Terrace, BC spent 2014-15 with the Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior B Hockey League. Roseboom had 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists) in 45 games with the Coyotes. He also had one goal in three games with the Chiefs as an affiliate player.