After a flurry of news last week, I took the weekend off and away to enjoy a stunning couple of days off here on the Sunshine Coast. But a couple of bits of news did cross my desk that I wanted to catch up on.

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Pritchard Named 2nd Team All-Star
Kings forward Jacob Pritchard has been named to the 2014/15 All-Star teams for the BCHL, the lone King to achieve the feat. The votes were based on the BCHL broadcasters views, with announcers voting for candidates, but not allowed to stuff the ballot box for their own players. Congrats to Jacob, who incidently celebrated his 20th birthday last Thursday. I would imagine that Kurt Keats and Jarid Lukosevicius probably polled fairly high as well, but I haven’t seen any final voting numbers. Here’s the release from the league:

The votes have been counted and the league is announcing its 2014-15 league-wide all-star teams. The all-stars were chosen after a survey of the BCHL’s play-by-play broadcasters. This season, there is an all-BCHL First Team, Second Team and Rookie Team.

There are 11 BCHL teams represented in the all-star teams and five of the all-stars will be competing for a BCHL championship in the Fred Page Cup.

BCHL 1st All-Star Team
F – Corey Mackin, Coquitlam Express
F – Dane Gibson, Victoria Grizzlies
F – Brett Supinski, Coquitlam Express

D – Andrew Farny, Salmon Arm Silverbacks
D – Kurt Gosselin, Alberni Valley Bulldogs

G – Hunter Miska, Penticton Vees

BCHL 2nd All-Star Team
F – Liam Blackburn, West Kelowna Warriors
F – Jacob Pritchard, Powell River Kings
F – Jake Lucchini, Trail Smoke Eaters

D – Yanni Kaldis, Nanaimo Clippers
D – Gabe Bast, Penticton Vees

G – Guillaume Decelles, Nanaimo Clippers

All-Rookie Team
F – Brett Supinski, Coquitlam Express
F – Liam Finlay, Vernon Vipers
F – Tyson Jost, Penticton Vees

D – Yanni Kaldis – Nanaimo Clippers
D – Dante Fabbro – Penticton Vees

G – Aidan Pelino, Chilliwack Chiefs

BCHL League Final Through 2 Games
Call it an upset, but the Nanaimo Clippers have stolen not 1, but 2 games on the road over the weekend in Penticton. The Clippers won handidly on Friday night in game 1, but teams needed overtime in game 2 before Brett Roulston scored 20 seconds into the extra frame to give the road team a weekend sweep. Nanaimo can hammer another nail in the coffin Monday night in Nanaimo, with a chance to close it out Tuesday. It should be noted that Nanaimo were up 3-0 on Alberni in round 1, and 2-0 on the Kings in round 2 and both series went 7 games. The big difference is in both those situations the Clippers had home ice advantage, something they didn’t going into this series.

Kings Alumni Strike Out at NCAA Frozen Four
Luke Nogard, Brian Rideout and Sean Maguire all came up empty at the NCAA Frozen Four over the weekend, as the title was taken out by Providence. The Friars defeated Boston University in the final 4-3. Nogard, Rideout and Nebraska-Omaha were bounced by the Friars in the semi-final on Thursday night.

 


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The Kings would like to thank, and wish good luck to outgoing Associate Head Coach and Assistant General Manager Chad Van Diemen, who has taken up the position of Head Coach for the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings.

The move ends a 6-year tenure with the Kings for Van Diemen. “Chad’s been a crucial part of our staff for a long time now” says Kings Head Coach and GM Kent Lewis. “He’s been excellent especially with the college aspect of the game, communicating with schools and ensuring our guys are getting a good look.”

Van Diemen is spending the weekend looking over Spruce Kings prospects, and then will return to Powell River and begin the process of moving up to BC’s Northern capital. “We’re going to miss Chad, his wife Laura and their two sons Dallas and Kyle” says Lewis. “We as a team and I wish them nothing but the best up north.”

In turn with van Diemen’s departure, the Kings have hired Brock Sawyer as a full-time Assistant Coach. Sawyer played with the club for 1 and a half seasons between 2007 and 2008 and joined the team as an Assistant Coach last season after a successful college career at Elmira University and pro-hockey afterwards.

Here is the release from the Prince George Spruce Kings:

The Prince George Spruce Kings are very excited to announce the hiring of Chad van Diemen as the team’s new head coach.

The 33-year-old van Diemen joins the Spruce Kings after having spent the last six seasons with the Powell River Kings, most in an associate head coach/general manager role.

During his time in Powell River the team compiled an impressive 205 – 122 – 35 record for a .632 win percentage. Other achievements in Powell River include 2010-11 BCHL regular season championship with 46-11-3 record, 46-36 Playoff record for .561 win percentage, 2010-11 BCHL single season record for least GA (115 GA in 60 GP), three-time Coastal Conference champions.

Chad played four seasons as a defenceman in the BCHL from 1998 to 2002 including stops in Nanaimo, Powell River and Quesnel. In 2001-02 he tallied 53 points in 56 games played for The Quesnel Millionaires. He then went on and played four seasons of NCAA hockey with Iona College and Manhattanville College, graduating from Manhattanville with a degree in business management.

“I’m very excited that we are able to bring in a young, energetic coach like Chad,” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes. “I have known Chad for a number of years and have always respected the way in which he helped build very good teams in Powell River and the way that he got the most out of his players.

“There are many parallels between our organization and Powell River’s organization. I think this will help with the transition and will allow us to hit the ground running and work towards building next year’s team.”

Chad is married to wife Laura and they have two young boys, Dallas (2) and Kyle (1). They are excited about the move to Prince George and look forward to becoming part of the Prince George community and culture.


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It’s semi-final day for Brian Rideout, Luke Nogard and their University of Nebraska Omaha team mates in Boston as the NCAA’s Frozen Four gets set this weekend. A sold out TD Garden (home of the Bruins) is guaranteed for UNO’s first trip to the National Championship tournament in program history.

UNO have been taking in the atmosphere since earlier in the week, and a handful of buses have made the long trek from campus to Boston featuring the school’s band, mascot and other students ready to cheer their school on.

As mention, former Kings Brian Rideout and Luke Nogard feature as freshmen on the team. I’ve been talking on and off with them over the last few weeks and Luke was kind enough to send through the above photo of he and Brian at the legendary Fenway. He commented “It (the Frozen Four) is an amazing opportunity, a dream come true. We’ve had police escorts to and from the rink, being treated like celebrities and playing in a sold out NHL building.”

The game will be broadcast live on TSN2 in Canada beginning at 2:00pm Pacific time (5:00pm eastern). I imagine it’s also available on ESPN down in the states for our out of town readers. To get you there, here’s a few bits of light reading. First, Sean Leahy from Puck Daddy has profiled the school’s run this season. Also, all four schools (U. North Dakota, Boston University and UNO’s opponent Providence) took part in practice earlier this week in Boston, that photo gallery is here. Finally, Hockey’s Future has a preview of the game.

Good luck Rides and Nogie!


Kings vs West Kelowna 01.24-0025

The Powell River Kings are proud to announce the commitment of local player Rylan Ball for the 2015/2016 season.

Ball, 20, is entering his final year of Junior eligibility, however comes with plenty of experience. In 2013/14, he played 30 games for the Cowichan Valley Capitals and registered 3 assists. This past season, he joined the Kings as an affiliate player from the VIJHL’s Westshore Wolves, putting up 2 goals and 5 assists in 16 regular season and playoff games in addition to the 12-19-31 in 28 games he recorded with Westshore.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to play Junior A hockey” says Ball. “I had a brief stint with the Capitals and now this coming season I’m looking forward to having a good year and build on what I did last season in Powell River with a great bunch of guys.”

“Rylan is a player we’re obviously very familiar with being a local kid, and last season as well” says Kings Head Coach and General Manager Kent Lewis. “He came in last year and filled a role for us down the stretch last season, playing some big minutes and contributing along the way. Because of that, he earned a spot on our team this year.”

The 6’0, 185lb mobile defenceman bought versatility to the Kings lineup last season as Ball has played both forward and defenceman at the Junior level, but it’s the simplicity of his game that shone through. “Moving up from Junior B to the BCHL there’s a lot more skill, but it’s the pace of the game that’s the biggest difference” says Ball on the challenge of moving up. “You have to think and react a lot faster, you can’t play the puck too much, you almost have to dumb down your game and just make the simple play because mistakes get converted more in the BCHL.”

“He gives us a lot of options both up front and on the blue line” says Lewis. “He came in down the stretch and into playoffs, and did really well. He went on the powerplay, he’s a good skater and will generate some good scoring opportunities from the point.” That post season experience is a big boost ahead of the 2015/ 2016 season according to Ball. “Playoffs was a bonus, playing 2 series with Westshore then getting to play in Powell River. It was a huge confidence booster coming into the end of the season, and I was excited to play with a great group of guys (in Powell River) and it’s a shame we didn’t go further.”

In preparation for the new season, Ball is taking a step back for the time being, before moving into full training ahead of camp in August and the season in September. “I’m enjoying time away from hockey for now” says Ball. “Between Westshore and Powell River last year, it was a lot of hockey and some big minutes, so I’m taking a short break before getting into my regular off-season program, training hard and getting ready for another tough season.”

The Kings will hold a pair of Spring Identification Camps in late May, one in Comox and the other in Kamloops. Main camp in Powell River will be at the end of August before the season begins again early September.


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The NHL’s Central Scouting Service has included Kings defenceman Carmine Buono in their final draft rankings for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, at 188th place out of the top 211.

The 1st year defenceman out of the lower mainland led all Kings rookies in scoring with 2 goals and 29 assists in 61 regular season and playoff games. Those numbers also placed the 6’1, 190lb blue liner in a tie for all defenceman with Jeremy LeClerc. In addition to his exploits in Powell River, Buono represented Canada West (with Kurt Keats) at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge in December.

Buono was one of just 5 BCHL’ers named to the list, ranked 2nd out of the 5. Langley’s Marcus Vela led the way at 131st, then Thomas Aldworth (Vernon – 195th), Liam Finlay (Vernon – 199th), and Vincent Desharnais (Chilliwack – 209th). Kings goaltender Stefan Wornig had been included on earlier versions of the rankings, but did not make the final edition.

The rankings were topped unsurprisingly by Erie Otters centreman Connor McDavid, followed by Boston University’s Jack Eichel. The draft takes place in Sunrise, Florida, June 26th and 27th.


This from the BCHL, released this morning:

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The quest to the Frozen Four begins today and 16 teams – featuring 72 BCHL alumni – will hit the ice at locations all over the NCAA map.

Of the 16 teams in the tournament, 15 of them have at least one BCHL graduate. Michigan Tech has the most with 12. The University of Miami-Ohio is lone school without a league alum. All 16 BCHL teams are represented with alumni in the NCAA tournament.

The No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, Minnesota State, has eight BCHL alums. They will face the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and their nine BCHL alums on Saturday.

NCAA Tournament Bracket

Prospects wise, 28 NHL teams have at least one draft pick in the tournament and 107 drafted players are include on the 16 rosters. Of those, nine are BCHL grads.

The complete list of BCHL players in the NCAA tournament is as follows (Notes if drafted in brackets):

Minnesota State
Nick Buchanan
Bryce Gervais
Sean Flanagan
Brad McClure
Jaden Schmeisser
Brett Knowles
Jon Jutzi
Cole Huggins

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
Brad McGowan
Matt Garbowsky
Brad Reid
Myles Powell
Garrett McMullen
Dan Schuler
Josh Mitchell
Alex Perron-Fontaine
Brandon Thompson

University of Nebraska-Omaha
Brock Crosswaite
Brian Rideout
James Polk
Kyle Mountain
David Pope – (Detroit, 2013)
Luke Nogard
Kirk Thompson

Harvard
Kevin Guiltinan
Luke Esposito
Brayden Jaw
Alexander Kerfoot – (New Jersey, 2012)
Seb Lloyd

Miami-Ohio
None

Providence College
Brandon Tanev
Josh Monk

Denver University
Danton Heinen – (Boston, 2014)
Joey LaLeggia – (Edmonton, 2012)
Adam Plant

Boston College
Destry Straight

Boston University
Connor LaCouvee
Sean Maguire (Currently injured)

Yale
Dan O’Keefe
Charles Orzetti
Patrick Spano

Minnesota-Duluth
Derik Johnson

Minnesota
Mike Reilly – (Columbus, 2011)
Ryan Reilly
Connor Reilly

North Dakota
Troy Stretcher
Wade Murphy – (Nashville, 2013)
Mark MacMillan – (Montreal, 2010)
Brendan O’Donnell – (Tampa Bay, 2010)

Quinnipiac
Brayden Sherbinin
Devon Toews
Canon Pieper
Bo Pieper
Jonah Renouf
Nathan Renouf
Landon Smith
Travis St. Davis
Michal Garteig

Michigan Tech
Dane Birks – (Pittsburgh, 2013)
Reid Sturos
Alex Gillies
Malcolm Gould
Mason Blacklock
Riley Sweeney
Shana Hanna
Alex Petan
Evan Anderson
Brent Baltus
Walker Hyland
Devin Kero
Jamie Phillips

St. Cloud State
Joey Benik
David Morley
Garrett Milan
Tim Daly


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The Kings season is over as they fell in a thrilling game 7 on Sunday night in Nanaimo by a score of 3-2, dropping the series 4-3.

  • Quite simply, what a series. It was 7 games of some of the most exciting, tense, skillful playoff hockey I’ve witness in the BCHL. It’s tough to say that “the best team won”, and that’s not to be a knock on the Clippers, but neither side really emerged as the clear “best” team. All 7 games were so even, if a team began to take control it was for a limited time only. At the end of the day the Clippers prevailed because they scored 1 more goal than the Kings when it mattered most.
  • From the outset we said this was a series where both teams knew each other so well and the term ‘familiarity’ was thrown around a lot during the 7 games. Both teams try to employ a similar style of game, relying on will over skill. That was on full display in a series with 5 1-goal games and a pair of 4-2 scorelines in the other 2 games.
  • Early goals certainly the story from game 7. 2:30 and 0:18 seconds into the 1st and 3rd periods were crucial goals and had the Kings chasing in a game that they never led in. Shots totals favoured the Clippers throughout as well, with the Kings closing the gap through much of the game an eventually turning it in their favour during a late 3rd push.
  • Looking back over the game, who stepped up the most for the Kings? The players without a tomorrow in their Junior careers. Stephen Hiff and Derian Hamilton both scored, both in their final seasons. JJ Coleshaw had another JJ Coleshaw-type game, while Kurt Keats, Jarid Lukosevicius and Jacob Pritchard all contributed at both ends of the ice. Brent Lashuk, who we learned in the post game show was playing pretty banged up, continued to battle in the corners, going to the tough areas of the ice.
  • 3rd period and the kitchen sink was thrown at the Clippers. The Kings sent wave over wave at the Clippers and it was pushed aside. The “big three” were united in a bid to find an equaliser, but it didn’t eventuate. A big key to that was the matchup of Coleshaw/Pritchard-Keats-Lukosevicius against Carrier-Maier-Roulston, something that Clipper coach Mike Vandekamp clearly wanted all series, and did hit best home or away to have out on the ice against the Kings top scorers.
  • How good was Brett Magnus this playoffs? I hope I’m not breaking the “fourth wall” here, but at the post-game meal Kent Lewis had no reservations naming Magnus as the team’s Playoff MVP which was met with an instant ovation from his team mates. 7-6, 2.38 GAA and .930sv% in the post season, and one of the team’s best down the stretch playing in all but 2 games in the 2015 portion of the schedule. He outdueled Michael Stiliadis in the first round with flashy highlight reel saves. In the 2nd round, he very nearly had Guillaume Decelles by being very technically sound. Sacred Heart has a very good freshman coming their way next season.
  • What a turn out from Kings fans in game 7. The entire section behind the Kings bench was jam packed, the large majority coming over from Powell River to take in the game. This on top of a great crowd at the Hap for game 6. “You could feel their support, it does mean something, not only your gate and your 50/50, financially it’s huge for our program but the main things is our kids sense it” said Kings Head Coach and GM Kent Lewis after the game. “To see the amount of people who came down, took holidays, to get that many people out on a Sunday night in Nanaimo, it’s special, it means a lot to our program to see that. We have a special program, a special community and it was great to see that support.”

Here’s what Brock Sawyer had to say in the post game show as we recapped the season and eulogised the 20 year olds who were ending their Junior careers.

So the season comes to an end, a 2nd round defeat for the 2nd straight year. The Kings finish a combined regular season and playoff record of 34-26-1-10, finishing a runner up for the Island Division Championship. The Clippers advance to the 3rd round along with Penticton and Chilliwack, as the three regular season divisional champions held serve through the opening two rounds of the playoffs.

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It’s a difficult job each year, but I do my best to thank everyone around the Kings for their contributions. Here is this year’s farewell as we put a bow on the 2014/2015 season.

Thank you all. We’ll talk through the off-season when the news dictates it. Enjoy your summer.

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