Merritt Centennials – Eligible Returnees and Graduating Players:

The Cents will have last year’s leading scorer Zach Risteau back in 2017-18.
The 19-year-old from Lakeville, Minnesota had 26-24-50 in 53 games with the Centennials as a rookie in 2016-17.
Photo credit: Ian Webster/Merritt Herald

Graduating Players
Zach Court (University of Nebraska-Omaha)
Cade Gleekel (St. Lawrence University)
Brett Jewell (Yale University)
Michael Regush (Cornell University)
Mike Faulkner (Hobart College)
Aaron Murray (Concordia University Wisconsin)
Stephan Seeger (aged out)
Nick Fidanza (aged out)

Eligible Returnees
(* indicates an open spot – assuming the team goes with 13 forwards and 8 defencemen)

Chase Bell (97)
Henry Cleghorn (97)
Zach Zorn (97)
Zach Risteau (98)
Nicholas Wicks (98)
Tyler Ward (99)
Rylan Van Unen (99)

Tyrell Buckley (97)
Zach Bleuler (97)
Zach Metsa (98)
Ethan King (99)
Michael Van Unen (99)

Jacob Berger (97)
Colten Lancaster (98)

Merritt Centennials – Graduating Players & Eligible Returnees:

Graduating Players
Scott Patterson (Lake Superior State University)
Shane Poulsen (University of Nebraska-Omaha)
Dane Birks (Michigan Tech University)
Sebastien Pare (overage)
Payton Schaefer (overage)
Tyler Martin (overage)
Jason Bird (overage)

Eligible Returnees
(* indicates an open spot – assuming the team goes with 13 forwards and 7 defensemen)

Sam Johnson (94)
Diego Cuglietta (95)
James Neil (95)
Jeff Wight (95)
Adam Tracey (95)
Zach Hartley (95)
Daniel Nachbaur (95)
Devin Oakes (95)
Rhett Willcox (96)
Gavin Gould (96)

Jake Clifford (94)
Wayland Williams (94)
Malik Kaila (96)

Devin Kero (94)
Jarrod Schamerhorn (95)

New Edition of Smart Hockey Magazine Released:

The latest edition (and first of the 2013-14 season) of Smart Hockey magazine was released on the BCHL website yesterday and it features two great stories on Merritt defenseman Dane Birks and former Penticton forward Joey Benik. In addition, the magazine has a preview of each of the 16 teams, including key roster departures and arrivals.

View or download a copy of the magazine at the link below.

If you’d like a copy of the magazine emailed directly to you for easier viewing on a tablet or smart phone, email BCHL Communications Director Brent Mutis at

Merritt Centennials – Where Are They Now?

Ryan Aynsley Baker Barr Bodger Bokenfohr Bokla Bourke Brears Brodie Campos Caron Chang Clark Collins Crawford Daoust Ford Forster Fratkin Fratkin Gannon Gedig Gehon Gemmell Goodship Hamilton Hardy Harrison Herold Hills Hobbs Hoffman Jones Jones Kang Kowalczyk L’Arrivee Leitch Lenz Lindros Lutz MacLeod MacMillan Marshall Martine Mazzarolo McEwan Menton O’Connor Ouellette Payne Pfeil Pierro-Zabotel Quessandier Riley Rogers Salekin Shinkaruk Short Simoes Soquila Stack Stanimir Tomassetti Tresierra Valenti Verheyden Waddell Willcox Witkop Wong Zalba Chimienti (G) Gordon (G) Groenheyde (G) Mainprize (G) May (G) Thiessen (G) Wall (G)

Reserve Roster – Merritt Centennials:

The Merritt Centennials have been relatively healthy thus far in the 2012-13 BCHL season and as such, haven’t had to rely on many affiliate players.

The lone instance came a week ago against Victoria when the Cents used two affiliate players in goal against the Victoria Grizzlies. 

Here’s a look at who Merritt features on its’ reserve roster:

G Jack Burgart (95) F Danton Heinen (95) F Kurtis Klinger (94) G Phoenix Logan-Hill (94) D Reilly O’Connor (93) F Devin Oakes (95) D Brett Perrine (93) G Jack Surgenor (93) D Jon Thompson (93)

The Only Thing You Can Count On In Life Is Change:

When I moved away from Merritt last December, I thought this day might come, I just didn’t know when. In case you didn’t see it on the Merritt Centennials website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed, I have officially resigned as the team’s Media & Communications Coordinator. Despite the fact that I lived far away from the Nicola Valley, a lot of the work I did for the Cents was behind the scenes and could be administered electronically. I also didn’t want to leave the Centennials in lurch to find someone to replace me.

Once I made the conscious effort to take this blog in a more general BCHL direction after leaving Merritt, I realized that I had to be more impartial than in the past and only post items here that presented the facts, with sources, etc. for your information and reading enjoyment. I figured that maintaining a position with the Centennials wouldn’t jeopardize that impartiality, and it wasn’t until now that I felt it could potentially be questioned.
The reason for my resignation is that I’ve been hired by TEAM 1040 to provide colour commentary along side Jeff Paterson for all 12 of their BCHL broadcasts during the 2012-13 season. As one radio station broadcasting games for 10 of the BCHL’s 16 teams, we approach our broadcast very similar to the way that Hockey Night in Canada does for the NHL. We try to be impartial and not cheer for either side, we feel that we call games even for both teams because we’re there to increase the exposure of not only the BCHL, but also both teams’ players, coaches, etc.

As a result, as I mentioned in the Cents media release: “Because my role on TEAM 1040 is to be completely impartial, I feel it’s best that I not be associated in an official capacity with any specific organization in the BCHL.”
I’m really excited about the opportunity this presents for me and my family and I am thrilled to be working with such a great group at TEAM 1040 and the level of hockey that I pay more attention to than any other – the BCHL.

Lastly, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted on the blog here, but it’s not for a lack of want. It’s unrelated to the situtation with this new gig… I simply haven’t had time between family life and work life, but I’ll strive to post more often going forward.
Thanks for reading,

Here’s the Media Release from the Centennials website:


Merritt, BC – September 28, 2012

The Merritt Centennials are disappointed to announce the resignation of Media & Communications Coordinator Brian Wiebe, effective September 30, 2012.

Wiebe has served on the Board or as a volunteer with the Centennials for nearly ten years in various roles. He’s resigned to focus on his position as colour commentary for the BC Hockey League radio broadcasts on TEAM 1040 in Vancouver.

“I truly cherish the time I spent not only in Merritt helping the Centennials, but also in the last ten months behind the scenes after moving away from the Nicola Valley,” said Wiebe. “Because my role on TEAM 1040 is to be completely impartial, I feel it’s best that I not be associated in an official capacity with any specific organization in the BCHL.”

Wiebe’s contacts, convictions and genuine love of the game has benefitted the Centennials throughout the years. The entire organization wishes him all the best in his future hockey endeavours.

An immediate replacement as Media and Communications Coordinator for the Cents has not been determined.

For further information, please contact Cents Secretary Heather Fader at 250-378-8344 or email

Cents Charity Golf Tournament Raises $1500 for Ronald McDonald House BC:

(Merritt Golf & Country Club)
With Alex Grebenyuk moving on to the Vancouver Giants, the Centennials are without a blogger right now (and who’s to say that the person that Q101 hires will even do a blog) so I thought I’d post the news coming out of Merritt here, since this blog used to be the home of it as “Making Cents”.
I had the chance to take part in the Cents first charity golf tournament on Friday at the Merritt Golf & Country Club and although the highlight of my day personally was sinking a birdie putt, the main highlight is the amount of money raised for Ronald McDonald House BC.
Next year’s tourney should be bigger and better!
Here’s the release regarding this year’s:

Merritt, BC – July 16, 2012
On Friday, July 13th, the Merritt Centennials hosted their first annual Charity Golf Tournament. The event was a huge success as $1500 was raised for Ronald McDonald House BC.

Golfers enjoyed the beautiful, sunny day spent at the Merritt Golf & Country Club. When taking a break from the scenery, the golfers were competing in the putting, longest drive, “score on the hockey net”, and hole in one challenges, followed by dinner and silent and live auctions.

A number of current and former Centennials were in attendance. Among the current players were Brendan Lamont, Tyler Steel, Payton Schaefer, Brent Fletcher and Sebastien Pare. Among the alumni were Kevin Rabbitt, Paul Barnes, Rich Brew, Todd Fletcher, Pat Rabbitt, Bobby Vermette, Rob Boyd and our current GM & Head Coach Luke Pierce – who played for the Cents from 2001-03.

“This was another great show of support from the community.” said Heather Poole, one of the organizers of the tournament. “We all had a great time over the course of the day and are already looking forward to next year’s event!”

“It was a great time putting it together,” added another one of the organizers, Shane Sanderson. “We really couldn’t have done it without our amazing sponsors and with almost 70 participants, the response was fantastic.”

“To help such a great cause like Ronald McDonald House BC really means a lot,” said Liz Brackenreed, who also helped with organizing the tournament. “We know there are families from our community who have had to use RMHBC while their children are at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and to make a difference like this is really special.”

We would like to thank our hole-in-one sponsors, Nicola Motorsports and Nicola Valley Outdoors, and our general hole sponsors, Pest Detectives and Kruger Foods. We would also like to thank everyone for their generous contributions of silent auction prizes and game prizes. Lastly, we would like to thank our three volunteers, Sara Poole, Mckenzie Gabara and Terrell Balan.

Ronald McDonald House British Columbia is a nurturing and magical home-away-from-home for sick children and their families where, together, their lives are enhanced through unconditional support, encouragement, friendship and love.

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 40 seasons as the BCHL’s longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

Merritt-Chilliwack Trade:

Less than a month after acquiring F Austin Plevy (94) from the Langley Rivermen, the Merritt Centennials have flipped him to the Chilliwack Chiefs along with the junior ‘A’ rights to G Keith Hamilton (92) for F Derek Huisman (92).
I’ve heard lots of rumours as to how this deal came about and I’m not going to speculate on them here, but the trade sees Plevy reunited with his 2010-11 coach, Harvey Smyl and a Chiefs organization he’s very familiar with. In Huisman, the Centennials acquire a bonafide first line centre who can not only score (he had 30 goals last season), but is also physical, plays well defensively and can play both the power play and penalty kill.
I mentioned at the time of Merritt acquiring Plevy that I thought he was poised for a breakout season in 2011-12 and I stand by that. However just like Jakob Reichert, Centennials head coach and GM Luke Pierce has smartly dealt him to a team in the opposite conference so any damage on the score sheet that Plevy could do to the Cents is only during two games – one in Chilliwack and one in Merritt.
The inclusion of Hamilton’s rights in the trade is curious as the Kelowna native has spent the last two seasons in the WHL and is set for his 20-year-old season with the Victoria Royals. If he comes back to the BCHL for whatever reason, I can’t see Hamilton being a back up to Mitch Gillam (92) so it’s likely the Chiefs would move his rights elsewhere. Chilliwack also has Bryton Udy (93) to consider as well although he’s no longer listed on their roster and I’m trying to figure where he’s gone.
To Merritt:
F Derek Huisman (92)
To Chilliwack:
F Austin Plevy (94)

G Keith Hamilton (92) Here’s the release from the Centennials website:


Merritt, BC – June 14, 2012

The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce the acquisition of forward Derek Huisman (92) from the Chilliwack Chiefs in exchange for forward Austin Plevy (94) and goaltender Keith Hamilton (92).

Husiman, who’s from Smithers, has 94 points in 116 career BCHL games, including 65 points in 58 games during the 2011-12 season. He was second on the Chiefs in scoring last season after finishing fourth on the Quesnel Millionaires in scoring as a rookie in 2010-11.

Prior to that, Huisman played with the Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League for parts of two seasons, compiling 49 points in 64 games.

The Cents organization looks forward to seeing Derek on the ice in training camp in August and wishes both Austin and Keith all the best in their hockey futures.

For further information, please contact Cents Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce at 250-378-3607.

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 40 seasons as the BCHL’s longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

Here’s the release from the Chiefs website: 

The Chilliwack Chiefs have acquired 18 year old forward Austin Plevy along with the playing rights to 20 year old goaltender Keith Hamilton from the Merritt Centennials in exchange for 20 year old forward Derek Huisman.

Plevy is entering year 3 in the BCHL and has tallied 17 goals and 28 assists in 111 career games, which included 43 points in 58 games last season in Langley.

He was also on Team West at the Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Game in November 2011 and played for the Chiefs in Langley two seasons ago. 

Head Coach and General Manager Harvey Smyl on acquiring Plevy, “Austin is a hard working, extremely skilled forward, who has a very high compete level, he will bring the effort and attitude we expect from a Chief.”

As for Plevy he is thrilled for the chance to play in Chilliwack, “I am so excited to get the opportunity to play for Harvey Smyl and the Chiefs again. Chiefs fans are amazing and Prospera Centre is one of the premier places to play junior hockey.” 

The Chiefs organization would like to thank Derek Huisman for his hard work on and off of the ice in Chilliwack.


Merritt-Langley Trade:

The Merritt Centennials and Langley Rivermen have hooked up on the biggest trade (thus far) of the BCHL off-season as Jakob Reichert (93) is off to the Fraser Valley while Austin Plevy (94) and Sebastien Pare (93) will play out of the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena in 2012-13.
The deal is a straight 2-for-1 move that sees the Rivermen add size and a hometown player to their roster, as well as make some room at least one of the new players they’ve recruited while the Centennials acquire some much needed offence following the graduation of Evan Stack and Chad Brears.
Although the trade hasn’t been officially approved by the BCHL, that’s the only stumbling block preventing the deal from going through. Commissioner John Grisdale is at CJHL meetings in Halifax and he rubber stamps each deal, so it’s expected that league approval is nothing more than a formality.

Here’s how it breaks down:

To Merritt:
F Austin Plevy (94)
F Sebastien Pare (93)
To Langley:
F Jakob Reichert (93) I had the chance to talk to Centennials Head Coach & GM Luke Pierce about the trade: