2016-17 West Kelowna Warriors Season Preview:

West Kelowna Warriors
Head Coach: Rylan Ferster (6th year)
2015-16 record: 38-17-2-1, 79 points (2nd in the Interior Division)
2015-16 leading scorer: Jonathan Desbiens (83 points)
2016-17 leading returning scorer: Connor Sodergren (30 points)
2016 playoffs: Won BCHL Fred Page Cup Championship, Western Canada Cup, and Royal Bank Cup
2016-17 Division: Interior
First regular season game: Friday, September 9 vs. Trail
Home opener: Friday, September 9 vs. Trail
Twitter: @BCHLWarriors

BCHL Alumni Schultz and Bennett Celebrate Stanley Cup Win:

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)


The Pittsburgh Penguins won their fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history on Sunday night with a 3-1 Game Six victory over San Jose.

Winning the biggest prize in hockey is special for all members of an organization, but it means a lot for the BCHL as well. Former West Kelowna (nee Westside) Warriors defenceman Justin Schultz and former Penticton Vees forward Beau Bennett helped continue a seven year streak which has seen a player who skated in the BCHL win Lord Stanley’s mug.

It remains to be seen if Bennett will get his name on the Cup. Rules stipulate that a player must have at least 41 games played with the club or one game played in the Stanley Cup Finals, neither of which Bennett meets. There was a stipulation enacted in 1994 that allows a team to petition NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman for permission to have players’ names put on the Cup if extenuating circumstances prevented them from being available to play. Bennett only played 33 games during the regular season and one game in the playoffs due to injury, we’ll see if the Penguins petition to have him included on the Cup – I’d bet they do.


Meanwhile, Schultz played 15 games in the Pens’ cup run, finishing with four assists and a +1 +/- rating.


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Both Bennett and Schultz are restricted free agents on July 1st and must be extended a qualifying offer from Pittsburgh for the Penguins to retain negotiating rights. Bennett’s qualifying offer must be at least a five percent raise over his 2015-16 salary of $800,000 while Schultz’s qualifying offer must be at least as much as his 2015-16 salary of $3.9 million. Any player who doesn’t receive a qualifying offer becomes and unrestricted free agent.

2015-16 BCHL Season Team Previews:

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.

Alberni Valley Bulldogs
 



Chilliwack Chiefs





Coquitlam Express




Cowichan Capitals




Langley Rivermen





Merritt Centennials





Nanaimo Clippers




Penticton Vees




Powell River Kings




Prince George Spruce Kings




Salmon Arm SilverBacks




Surrey Eagles




Trail Smoke Eaters




Vernon Vipers




Victoria Grizzlies




Wenatchee Wild




West Kelowna Warriors

West Kelowna Warriors – Graduating Players & Eligible Returnees:

Graduating Players

Jordan Masters (Arizona State University)
Jason Cotton (Northeastern University)
Andrew Johnson (aged out)
Bennett Huber (aged out)
Braeden Jones (aged out)
Tyler Kunz (aged out)
Andy Desautels (aged out)

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

Forwards 

Kylar Hope (95)
Brayden Gelsinger (95)
Liam Blackburn (96)
Josh Bly (96)
Jonathan Desbiens (96)
Brett Mennear (96)
Hunter Zandee (96)
Tanner Campbell (97)
*
*
*
*
*

Defensemen 

Kyle Marino (95)
Mac Ferner (95)
Nicholas Rutigliano (96)
Rylan Yaremko (96)
Kristian Blumenschein (97)
*
*

Goalies 

Scott Patton (96)
*

Nanaimo Signs USHL Veteran, West Kelowna Releases Suspended Michal Holub, MnJHL Top 5 Scorer to Surrey?

The BCHL trade deadline arrives Saturday evening at 6 pm for transfers with other leagues, 8 pm for transfers among BCHL teams, and midnight for rosters to be set.


The Nanaimo Clippers added 18-year-old forward Brendan Shane to their roster. The University of Connecticut commit comes to the Harbour City from Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL, where he had four points (two goals, two assists) in 21 games this season.

Shane is a veteran of 69 USHL games, with 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) during his career. The Rochester, New York native was drafted in the 15th round of the 2013 USHL Entry Draft by the Des Moines Buccaneers. He spent the 2013-14 season with the Bucs.

The addition of Shane puts the Clippers one over the BCHL roster limit of 22, but with Devin Brosseau on injured reserve, it creates a space.


According to his Twitter account, 19-year-old forward Tyler Harkins is one his way to join the Surrey Eagles. On Monday afternoon, the Rocky River, Ohio product tweeted the following:
Harkins had been playing with the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings of the Minnesota Junior Hockey League and led the team in scoring with 49 points (35 goals, 14 assists) in 31 games. He was drafted in the 25th round of the 2013 USHL Entry Draft by the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, but hasn’t played a game in the league.


West Kelowna released 18-year-old forward Michal Holub from its roster. The Mission native joined the Warriors at the end of October, but left the team after playing only three games and recording two assists. Holub joined his hometown junior B Outlaws while under suspension by West Kelowna and has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 14 games. 
Meanwhile, 20-year-old defenseman Ryan Ivey is also under suspension by the Warriors for leaving the team, but is still on West Kelowna’s roster. He played nine games this season, recording three points (two goals, one assist).


Here’s a list of trades since the December 1st roster deadline:

02-Jan-15: West Kelowna acquires D Braeden Jones (94) from Grande Prairie for future considerations

01-Jan-15: West Kelowna trades F Michael Buonincontri (94) and D Greydon Robinson (96) to Prince George for D Tyler Kunz (94)

01-Jan-15: Salmon Arm trades D Cole McCaskill (96) to Prince George for future considerations

16-Dec-14: Powell River trades D Jordan Burns (95) to Salmon Arm for future considerations

11-Dec-14: Alberni Valley trades D Jeff Rose (96) and future considerations to Drayton Valley for F Eric Therrien (94)

11-Dec-14: Trail trades D Sheldon Hubbard (95) to Grande Prairie for future considerations

02-Dec-14: Trail trades D Viktor Dombrovskiy (96) to Prince George for D Stephen Penner (95) and F Cooper Leitch (96)

02-Dec-14: Prince George trades D Taylor Allan (95) and future considerations to Lloydminster for D Tyler Kunz (94)

01-Dec-14: Vernon trades F Branden Wagner (96) to Salmon Arm for future considerations

BCHL TRADE TRACKER (since Dec. 1)
Trades Made: 9
Trades Made Within BCHL: 5
Trades Made With Teams Outside BC: 4
Players: 15
Future Considerations: 7

Canada West Posts Shootout Win at WJAC, Warriors Forward Jordan Masters Commits to ASU, Salmon Arm and Powell River Make Trade:







Penticton Vees forward Tyson Jost scored the deciding goal in the shootout as Canada West improved to 0-1-1-0 at the World Junior A Challenge in Kindersley, Saskatchewan with a 3-2 win over Russia.

BCHL players factored into all the scoring for Canada West as Jost and Demico Hannoun each assisted on Vees teammate Gabe Bast’s goal in the second period. Prince George Spruce Kings defenseman Viktor Dombrovskiy assisted on Jost’s first period marker.

The game summary is available right here.

The standings at the tournament are different from what you may be used to. It counts three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime/shootout win, one point for an overtime/shootout loss and no points for a regulation loss.

Canada West finishes second in the Group B preliminary round and faces Canada East in one of Wednesday’s quarterfinals. Canada East ends up last in Group A with an 0-1-0-1 record for just one point after a 3-2 loss Tuesday to the United States.

The game is first time Canada West and Canada East have ever met in the quarterfinals at the tournament. Overall, Canada West is 5-0 against its national counterpart.


West Kelowna Warriors forward Jordan Masters has committed to Arizona State University for the 2015-16 season.

ASU just received NCAA Div. I certification last month. 

Masters, from Rochester, New York, has 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 22 games for West Kelowna this season. He played in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game during the 2011-12 season as a member of the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks.

He also originally committed to the University of New Hampshire back in August 2011. The Warriors release on Masters’ commitment to ASU is here.

 








Although there’s a CJHL inter-league moratorium on player transfers until January 1st, there’s no stopping BCHL teams from dealing with each other, as Salmon Arm and Powell River connected on a trade Tuesday afternoon.

The deal sees defenseman Jordan Burns (95) head to the SilverBacks for future considerations. Burns, who’s committed to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks for next season, has 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 22 games with the Kings this season.

The move sees Burns head closer to home, as he’s from Vernon. The Salmon Arm side of things on the trade is here, while Powell River’s take is here.


With the BCHL Trade Deadline just under a month away, I’d like to re-introduce the BCHL Trade Tracker to the blog. As usual, stick tap to Gregg Drinnan and his WHL Taking Note blog for the inspiration.

On every post I make between now and January 10th, I’ll summarize any moves to date. In the effort of being accurate, I’ll only post trades I know are complete or are posted in the ‘Transactions’ section of the BCHL website. The Trade Tracker won’t include instances where a team has signed a player as a free agent.

Here’s a list of trades since the December 1st roster deadline:16-Dec-14: Powell River trades D Jordan Burns (95) to Salmon Arm for future considerations


11-Dec-14: Alberni Valley trades D Jeff Rose (96) and future considerations to Drayton Valley for F Eric Therrien (94)
 
11-Dec-14: Trail trades D Sheldon Hubbard (95) to Grande Prairie for future considerations
 
02-Dec-14: Trail trades D Viktor Dombrovskiy (96) to Prince George for D Stephen Penner (95) and F Cooper Leitch (96)
 
02-Dec-14: Prince George trades D Taylor Allan (95) and future considerations to Lloydminster for D Tyler Kunz (94)
 
01-Dec-14: Vernon trades F Branden Wagner (96) to Salmon Arm for future considerations

BCHL TRADE TRACKER (since Dec. 1)
Trades Made: 6
Trades Made Within BCHL: 3
Trades Made With Teams Outside BC: 3
Players: 10
Future Considerations: 5





Forward Travis Ouellette (Penticton, 2008-09) was traded in the East Coast Hockey League on Tuesday, going from the Indy Fuel to the Gwinnett Gladiators for forward Bobby Hughes. The 25-year-old from Windsor, Ontario played three games with the Fuel this season, registering no points. The Gladiators release on the deal is here.



Defenseman Jonathan Sigalet (Salmon Arm, 2002-03) left HC Slovan Bratislava in the KHL and has been released by the team. Sigalet, who’s from Vancouver, notched one assist in 38 games with Bratislava this season. No word where he’ll end up. Bratislava tweeted some encouraging words for Sigalet though.


The AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers signed forward Colton Gillies (Surrey AP, 2004-05) after he played the first 25 games of the season on a professional try-out contract. He had three points (one goal, two assists) with the Sound Tigers. The nephew of Islanders great Clark Gillies skated with the Rochester Americans last season. Bridgeport’s release on the signing is here.


Hartford of the AHL has returned goaltender Jeff Malcolm (Quesnel, 2007-09) to the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors. Malcolm played in one game for the Wolf Pack during his recall, posting a 5-3 victory vs. Worcester Friday night. So far this season in Greenville, the 25-year-old has an 11-4-0 record, a 2.13 goals-against average, a .929 save percentage and one shutout. Hartford’s release is here.

Penticton Netminder Hunter Miska Named Player of the Month, Smokies Defenseman Viktor Dombrovskiy Switches from Yale to Harvard:






The BC Hockey League announced the October Player of the Month on Twitter last night. Penticton Vees G Hunter Miska (95) received the honour after going 9-0 with three shutouts, a 1.08 goals-against-average and a .959 save percentage. Miska is now 12-1 on the season with a miniscule 1.55 goals-against-average and a .942 save percentage.


Trail Smoke Eaters D Viktor Dombrovskiy (96) also took to Twitter to announce his commitment to Harvard University for next season. Dombrovskiy previously committed to Yale University in September 2012.

The Canadian Junior Hockey League released the schedule for the 2015 Western Canada Cup on Thursday. The tournament, which features the host Fort McMurray Oil Barons along with the champions from the BCHL, AJHL, SJHL, and MJHL, opens on Saturday, April 25th.

The first game features the BCHL champions against the champs from the AJHL. The release from the BCHL website on the 2015 Western Canada Cup is available here. The defending champions are the Yorkton Terriers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.



The Alberni Valley Bulldogs made a trio of roster moves in the last 3-4 days, moving two players out while adding one. The Bulldogs dealt F Zach Funk (96) to the Nipawin Hawks of the SJHL for future considerations. Funk had two points (1-1-2) in 13 games with Alberni Valley this season, his third in the BCHL. Overall, the 18-year-old tallied 35 points (15-20-35) in 116 career games with the Bulldogs.

Alberni Valley also released F Josh Smith (95) and he is now a free agent. Smith was signed by the Dogs earlier this season after he was released by Coquitlam. He played just two games with the Express without registering a point. Smith got into six games with Alberni, tallying one assist.

Finally, the Bulldogs signed F Justin Marreck (96) as a free agent. Marreck, who’s from West Kelowna, had been playing with the Revelstoke Grizzlies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League after spending 2013-14 with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans. This season, he had three points (1-2-3) in five games with the Grizzlies.
A summary of the Bulldogs moves is available here.
D Ryan Ivey (94) left the West Kelowna Warriors and as such, the team has suspended him for doing so. Ivey played nine games for the Warriors this season, posting three points (2-1-3). He had six points (2-4-6) in 25 games for West-K in 2013-14 after joining the team from the Lincoln Stars of the US Hockey League. As a veteran of 42 USHL games, one has to wonder if Ivey, who’s from Orlando, Florida, will end up playing stateside once again.
Meanwhile, the Warriors signed WHL veteran F Michal Holub (96) after he was released by Lethbridge. The Mission, BC, product played eight games this year with the Hurricanes, failing to get on the scoresheet. Holub has nine points in 87 career WHL games with Lethbridge and Seattle.

Kerfoot and Mackie Commit to NCAA Schools, CJHL Top 20 Released, Express Deal Veteran:







Coquitlam Express F Colton Kerfoot (96) is off to the same school his brother, Alex, attends. Kerfoot committed to Harvard University starting in September 2016.

Alex Kerfoot, who’s also a former Express, is in his second season at Harvard after posting 14 points (8-6-14) in 25 games as a freshman in 2013-14. 

Colton has seven points (4-3-7) in 15 games with Coquitlam this season. He had 86 points (38-48-86) in just 40 games with the Vancouver NW Giants of the BC Major Midget League last season. Express play-by-play man Eddie Gregory has more on his blog here.


Victoria Grizzlies F Jay Mackie (95) committed to Holy Cross for next fall. Mackie is third in Grizzlies scoring this season with 13 points (5-8-13) in 14 games.

The 19-year-old from Kingston, Ontario, notched 28 points (9-19-28) in 57 games as a rookie in Victoria last season.

More on Mackie’s commitment to the College of the Holy Cross is available from Jeff Cox on the SB Nation College Hockey Blog here.


The BCHL released its player of the week late Monday night, bestowing the honour on West Kelowna Warriors F Jonathan Desbiens. The 18-year-old had five points in three games for the Warriors. The BCHL’s release is here.

As for the rationale behind putting out a media release on a Monday night at 9:30, I’ll leave that to Penticton play-by-play announcer Fraser Rodgers, who posted the following on Twitter and actually got a retweet from the league!

The BCHL has suspended Surrey Eagles D Nicholas Beck (95) for what appears to be two games for abuse of an official.

I haven’t seen video of what happened, but on the box score for the Eagles 8-2 loss to Nanaimo on Sunday, Beck was assessed a game misconduct, which one can only deduce was the penalty that triggered the suspension.

Under the league’s discipline on the BCHL website, it states the following: 

Surrey Eagles Nicholas Beck is suspended 1 game for receiving a game misconduct abuse of an official

Surrey Eagles Nicholas Beck is suspended 1 game for abuse of an official


Not sure if it’s just a double post, or if Beck is actually out for two games.

The Canadian Junior Hockey League released its weekly Top 20 rankings on Monday morning and three BCHL teams are represented.

The Penticton Vees are the top ranked BCHL team in third (up one spot from last week). Nanaimo is up three spots from 17 to 14 since last week while Chilliwack drops from 11th to 16th. Check out the release from the CJHL on the Top 20 Rankings here.

There’s a new blog on the BCHL scene as Victoria Grizzlies broadcasters Tyler Bennett and Clay Cochrane have jumped into the fray. Check out the blog right here.




The Coquitlam Express continues to tinker with its roster as it looks to gain ground in the Mainland Division. Express GM and Head Coach Barry Wolff sent veteran D Austen Bietenbeck (95) to the Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Bietenbeck, who’s from Langley, has one assist in 11 games this season with Coquitlam. Overall, he’s tallied four assists in 67 career BCHL games.

The Surrey Eagles made more changes with their roster, this time signing former West Kelowna Warriors F Cole Plotnikoff (97) as a free agent.

Plotnikoff spent five games this season with the Warriors before being released earlier this month. He had one goal with West Kelowna. The Valley West Hawks alum joined Surrey just before its three game set this past weekend and has one goal thus far with the Eagles.

Plotnikoff’s career stats are available here.






The Anaheim Ducks recalled D Josh Manson (Salmon Arm, 2009-11) from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League on Monday.

Manson has one assist through seven games with Norfolk this season. He’s never played in an NHL game. Anaheim’s release on Manson’s call-up is here.


The AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps inked F Brodie Reid (Surrey, Burnaby, Penticton, 2005-09) to a try-out. The 25-year-old was loaned to the injury-depleted IceCaps by the Elmira Jackals of the East Coast Hockey League, where Reid has four points (1-3-4) in seven games in 2014-15. 
He spent the last three seasons with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL.

The BC Intercollegiate Hockey League announced its player of the week on Monday and University of Victoria F Adam Klein received the honours.

The former Port Moody Black Panthers forward had two goals and two assists in the Vikes 8-3 romp over SFU on Friday and also had a goal in UVIC’s 6-5 loss to Trinity Western University on Saturday. He now has 11 points (7-4-11) in six games.

The BCIHL’s release on the Player of the Week is here.

Vees Rookies Off to World U17 Challenge, BCHL Releases Suspension Details, Rivermen Make Another Deal:


The Penticton Vees, who are unbeaten in ten, are now without the services of  F Tyson Jost (98) and D Dante Fabbro (98) for the next seven games. Both players are representing Team Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario.

Fabbro is a member of Team Canada Red while Jost is a member of Team Canada White. The super rookies are two of only three junior A players selected to play for Canada at the tournament.
The latest the two could return to the Vees lineup is Friday, November 14th in Vernon against the Vipers.

The BCHL has made official the details of the suspensions stemming from the October 18th shenanigans between Vernon and West Kelowna. Both sides appealed a number of the suspensions and the league clarified the results of the appeals today.

Vernon:
  • D Ryley Booth – Two games for participating in a fight at the end of a period
  • D Brandon Egli – Two games for participating in a multiple-fight situation and two games for participating in a fight at the end of a period
  • F Riley Brandt –  Two games for third man in a fight, two games for participating in a multiple-fight situation, and two games for participating in a fight at the end of a period
  • G Danny Todosychuk – Two games for participating in a multiple-fight situation, two games for fighting at the end of a period, and two games for goaltender involved in a fight. 
  • GM and Head Coach Mark Ferner – One game for his club participating in three fights during the same stoppage. 
West Kelowna: 
  • F Kyle Marino – Two games for participating in a fight at the end of a period
  • F Brett Mennear – Two games for participating in a multiple-fight situation and two games for participating in a fight at the end of a period
  • F Kade Kehoe – Two games for participating in a multiple-fight situation and two games for participating in a fight at the end of a period
  • GM and Head Coach Rylan Ferster –  One game for his club participating in three fights during the same stoppage.



Langley continues to reshape its roster as the Rivermen traded F Will Cook (94) to the Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League for future considerations. 
Cook had five points (3-2-5) in 10 games with the Rivermen this season after putting up 40 points (12-28-40) in 2013-14. 
The trade is a move closer to home for the 20-year-old, as Wellington is four hours from his listed hometown of Port Stanley, Ontario.
The Surrey Eagles have added another WHL prospect to their roster. The Eagles signed F Spencer Meyer (96) after he was released by the Spokane Chiefs two weeks ago.

Meyer, who’s from Surrey, has no points and 37 penalty minutes in 32 career Western Hockey League games with Prince Albert, Lethbridge, and Spokane. He has one goal through two games with the Eagles thus far this season.

Salmon Arm Picks Up Hometown Forward Shane Danyluk:

The Salmon Arm SilverBacks added a significant piece to their forward group on Wednesday, acquiring the Canadian Junior Hockey League rights to 20-year-old Shane Danyluk from West Kelowna.


Danyluk was placed on waivers in the Western Hockey League earlier this week by Prince Albert, where he played the last four seasons. Once he cleared waivers, the SilverBacks needed to pick up his Canadian Junior A playing rights, which were held by the Warriors.

Salmon Arm swung a deal with West-K, sending 19-year-old forward Michael Roberts and future considerations to the Warriors to get Danyluk. 

For Roberts, West Kelowna is the fifth BCHL team he’s suited up for after previously spending time in Vernon, Surrey, Trail and of course, Salmon Arm. He’s proven to be a big scorer at the junior B level, but has yet to translate those point totals to the BCHL, putting up 33 points (12g, 21a) in 117 career games.


Danyluk, who’s never played junior A hockey, jumped directly to the WHL from the BC Major Midget League in 2010. He put up decent numbers with the Raiders, posting 77 points (25g, 55a) in 248 career games.


To Salmon Arm SilverBacks:
F Shane Danyluk (94)http://www.eliteprospects.com/iframe_player_stats.php?player=59916To West Kelowna Warriors:
F Michael Roberts (95)http://www.eliteprospects.com/iframe_player_stats.php?player=125331+ Future Considerations

Here’s the release from the SilverBacks:

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club has made a significant acquisition today by acquiring the Hockey Canada playing rights for Salmon Arm local Shane Danyluk ’94. Danyluk is being acquired from the West Kelowna Warriors for Michael Roberts and future considerations.

“Shane has just completed 4 years at the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders and amassed 25 goals and 52 assists for a total of 77 pts in 248 games. Shane will be a dynamic forward for the ‘Backs this season,” states GM Troy Mick. “Shane wanted to play his last year of Junior eligibility in his hometown in front of family and friends.  We are absolutely thrilled that he will be wearing a ‘Backs jersey this year.  When you acquire a player of Shane’s caliber, you have to give up a good player. We wish Michael Roberts the best of luck this coming season.”


And from the Warriors:

The West Kelowna Warriors have acquired Michael Roberts (95) from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in exchange for the CJHL playing rights of Shane Danyluk (94) and future considerations.

Roberts, a native of Vernon, BC has played in 2 BCHL seasons, donning the uniform of the Vernon Vipers, Surrey Eagles, Trail Smoke Eaters, and lastly the Silverbacks.

In 117 BCHL Games, he’s scored 12 goals and added 21 assists for 33 points. Roberts also put up 49 points in 44 games, including 27 goals for the Revelstoke Grizzlies of the KIJHL in 2011/2012.

“In acquiring Michael we get a veteran player than can play in all situations,” said Head Coach Rylan Ferster, “I have known Michael for a number of years and know exactly the type of person we are bringing in.”