BCHL Bulletin: BCHL announces officiating staff, Vipers, Vees, and Silverbacks get new recruits, and more!

BCHL unveils officiating group for 2023-24

The B.C. Hockey League announced on Thursday the personnel who will make up the officiating staff for the 2023-24 season. The staff includes five officiating managers, 26 referees, and 24 linespeople.

The officiating managers, referees, and linespeople were selected by BCHL vice-president of hockey operations Brad Lazarowich. According to the league, more than 90 applicants put their names forward to join it as officials for the upcoming season.

Per BC Hockey’s non-sanctioned policy, any individual who participates in a BCHL game after Sept. 30 is not eligible for any BC Hockey-sanctioned programs, games, or league play for the remainder of the season. This includes the 50 officials announced by the BCHL on Thursday.

Vipers dip into the European recruiting pool to get Csabi

The Vernon Vipers have signed Czech import forward Adam Csabi for the 2023-24 season. He spent most of this past season with Saimaan Pallo U18 in the Finnish U18 league before joining HC Energie Karlovy Vary U20 of Czechia’s U20 league in late January.

In 28 games with Saimaan Pallo, the 2005-born forward had 16 goals and 31 points. He finished with 10 goals and 18 points in 16 games for HC Energie Karlovy Vary – junioři. Csabi also played one game at the U20 SM-sarja level with SaiPa.

Csabi skated with Czechia at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship, finishing the tournament with one goal in five games. In 27 games with Czechia’s national U18 team during the 2022-23 season, he had six goals and nine points.

Vees think Meier is a big plus for 2023-24

2005-born forward Simon Meier has signed with the Penticton Vees for the upcoming BCHL season. Meier, from Bülach, Switzerland, spent 2022-23 with Kloten U20 of U20-Elit, which is the top level of Swiss junior hockey. He had 10 goals and 37 points in 30 games for Kloten in 2022-23.

Meier represented Switzerland at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship, totaling one assist in five games. Over the course of 23 games for the Swiss national U18 team this past season, he had six goals and 15 points.

Grout and Nicolas take their games to Salmon Arm for this season

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks announced the signing of 2004-born forward Zach Nicolas and 2007-born goaltender Ryan Grout on Thursday.

Nicolas, who hails from Winnipeg, played 57 games with the Winkler Flyers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in 2022-23, earning 22 goals and 46 points. He is committed to playing NCAA Division I hockey for Colgate University for the 2024-25 season.

Grout, from Sturgeon County, Alta., played 11 games in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s U17 division with the Northern Alberta Xtreme Prep last season, where he went 10-1-0 with a 1.81 goals-against average, a .921 save percentage, and one shutout. He also played one game for the Xtreme at the U18 level, a 5-1 victory against Shawnigan Lake School U18 Prep where he made 31 saves.

The hockey world mourns the loss of Mike Hammond

The Nottingham Panthers of the Elite Ice Hockey League out of the United Kingdom announced on Thursday that 33-year-old Mike Hammond (82 goals, 117 assists in 159 games with Victoria, Cowichan Valley, and Salmon Arm from 2007-11) passed away in a car accident. According to reports, the crash occurred in the early morning on Wednesday near Shawnigan Lake, B.C.

Hammond, from Brighton, Great Britain, played for the Panthers in 2022-23. He also represented Great Britain at the 2023 IIHF World Championship Division I Group A. It was the fifth time he represented his country at a high-level tournament.

BCHLNetwork sends its condolences to the Hammond family, as well as friends of Mike and the Victoria Grizzlies, Cowichan Valley Capitals, and Salmon Arm Silverbacks organizations.

Grant goes from Disneyland to Switzerland

Forward Derek Grant (49 goals, 74 assists in 92 games with Langley from 2007-09) has signed a one-year contract with the ZSC Lions of Switzerland’s National League for the 2023-24 season. The Lions play out of Zürich, which is the largest city in Switzerland, with a metropolitan population of almost two million people.

Grant, 33, is a veteran of 427 National Hockey League games over the last 10 seasons with Ottawa, Calgary, Buffalo, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Anaheim. The product of Abbotsford, B.C. had five goals and 18 points in 46 games with the Ducks during the 2022-23 season.

Leivermann turns pro with the Hershey Bears

After a five-year NCAA career at the University of Notre Dame, 24-year-old defender Nick Leivermann (10 goals, 27 assists in 43 games with Penticton in 2017-18) has turned pro with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.

Leivermann, who calls Eden Prairie, Minnesota home, was the captain at Notre Dame in 2022-23. In 147 career NCAA games, he posted 23 goals and 78 points. Leivermann was selected 187th overall in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche.

Marlow commits to the University of Dubuque

2002-born forward Wyatt Marlow (seven goals, 10 assists in 115 games with Salmon Arm and Merritt from 2017-21) has committed to the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa to play NCAA Division III hockey.

The product of Cranbrook, B.C. spent the 2022-23 season with the Soo Thunderbirds of the Superior International Junior Hockey and posted 25 goals and 43 points in 40 games. He also got into three games with Portage of the MJHL and had two points.

Harris inks an extension in Jacksonville

Centre Brendan Harris (37 goals, 117 assists in 114 games with Wenatchee from 2015-17) has signed an extension with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen for 2023-24.

Harris, 27, is from Port Jefferson, New York. In 56 games with the Icemen last season, he finished with 15 goals and 49 points. He added three goals and three assists in a dozen ECHL playoff games for Jacksonville.

Matthews transfers from RIT to SFU

Vancouver product Kolby Matthews (14-18-2, 3.15 goals-against average, .897 save percentage, one shutout in 36 games with Coquitlam from 2015-19) has transferred from the NCAA’s Rochester Institute of Technology to the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League’s Simon Fraser University Red Leafs.

Matthews, a 24-year-old goaltender, had a 15-9-3 record, a 3.23 goals-against average, and a .895 save percentage in 28 NCAA Division I games over the course of the last four seasons with the Tigers at RIT.

Bellerive returns to Lehigh Valley for 2023-24

24-year-old forward Jordy Bellerive (one goal, one assist in three games with Penticton in 2014-15) has signed an extension for the 2023-24 AHL season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

The North Vancouver, B.C. native had eight goals and 20 points in 61 games with the Phantoms this past season, his fourth in the league.

Stadel moves from Germany to Poland for this season

27-year-old defender Riley Stadel (one game with Penticton in 2011-12) has jumped from HC Landsberg in Germany’s Oberliga to Zaglebie Sosnowiec of the Polska Hokej Liga, which is the first tier of professional hockey in Poland.

Stadel, a native of Surrey, B.C., had six goals and 19 points in 25 games with HC Landsberg in 2022-23. He is entering his seventh season playing overseas. Stadel is one of the lone active players who were selected in the BCHL’s only Affiliate Player Draft in 2011.

Johnson commits to the Wentworth Institute of Technology

2002-born defender Desmond Johnson (one goal, eight assists in 44 games with Vernon and Merritt from 2020-22) has committed to playing NCAA Division III hockey at the Wentworth Institute of Technology this September. Wentworth is located in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 2022-23, the Phoenix, Arizona native put up nine goals and 40 points in 53 games while suiting up with the Niverville Nighthawks of the MJHL.

Loo signs to play junior A with Trenton of the OJHL

2005-born defender Matthew Loo has signed with the Trenton Golden Hawks of the Ontario Junior Hockey League for the 2023-24 season. The Vancouver product ended 2022-23 with the Port Moody Panthers of the Pacific Junior Hockey League.

In 10 games with the Panthers, he had five assists. Loo started the season with the Langley Rivermen and put up a goal and three assists in 20 games. He also played one game as an affiliate player with the Coquitlam Express.