BCHL Bulletin: Smith commits to University of Toronto, Spruce Kings look to add an associate coach, and more!

Smith commits to the University of Toronto

2001-born Salmon Arm Silverbacks right winger Zack Smith has committed to play U SPORTS hockey at the University of Toronto this September.

Smith, who’s from Martensville, SK, had 10 goals and 17 points in 19 games with the Silverbacks this past season. He also added nine points in 12 playoff games.

He played 85 games for Regina in the Western Hockey League over the last three seasons and finished with 21 goals and 44 points before signing in Salmon Arm in January.

Spruce Kings look to hire an associate coach

The Prince George Spruce Kings announced Monday that they are looking for an associate coach to join head coach Alex Evin on their bench. Interested applicants are encouraged to send an application package to Spruce Kings general manager Mike Hawes at hawzy@shaw.ca.

LaFontaine inks a deal with Syracuse

24-year-old goaltender Jack LaFontaine (30-13-3, 2.19 goals-against average, .923 save percentage, and three shutouts with Penticton in 2018-19) has signed an American Hockey League contract for 2022-23 with the Syracuse Crunch.

LaFontaine, from Mississauga, ON, split the 2021-22 season between the University of Minnesota, the Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL, Chicago of the AHL, and Carolina. He was 0-1 with a 7.20 GAA and a .780 SV% in two National Hockey League appearances with the Hurricanes.

In 20 games as the captain with the Minnesota Gophers last season, Lafontaine was 12-8, with a 2.69 GAA, and a .900 SV%.

Galajda turns pro with Djurgårdens IF

Goaltender Matthew Galajda (43-32-0, 2.52 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, seven shutouts in 83 games with Victoria from 2015-17) has signed his first pro contract with Djurgårdens IF of HockeyAllsvenskan, which is the second-highest league in Sweden.

The 24-year-old from Aurora, ON finished his NCAA career after five seasons split between Cornell University and the University of Notre Dame. In 112 NCAA games, he was 78-23-9, with a 1.70 GAA, a .931 SV%, and an eye-popping 19 shutouts.

Ruddy signs a deal with the Manchester Storm

24-year-old defender Chays Ruddy (14 assists in 57 games with Prince George in 2017-18) has signed a contract for the 2022-23 season with the Manchester Storm of the U.K.’s Elite Ice Hockey League.

Ruddy hails from Cobourg, ON, and had six assists in 49 ECHL games split between the Fort Wayne Komets and Kansas City Mavericks in 2021-22.

Roberts leaves Basingstoke for Bristol

Forward Alex Roberts (one assist in 10 games with Coquitlam in 2011-12) will play another season in the National Ice Hockey League, but he’s switched from Basingstoke to Bristol for 2022-23. The NIHL is the second level of pro hockey in the United Kingdom.

The 28-year-old Burnaby, BC product put up 39 goals and 73 assists in 48 games for the Bison this past season. He added 10 points in six playoff games for Basingstoke.

Pierce tapped to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings

38-year-old Luke Pierce (25 goals, 48 assists in 162 games with Merritt and Vernon from 2001-04) was named head coach of the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings on Monday.

Pierce, who’s from Merritt, BC, was an assistant coach for the Oil Kings for the last four seasons. He previously served as head coach for the WHL’s Kootenay Ice from 2015-16.

He was hired as an assistant coach in Merritt in July 2009 and promoted to general manager and head coach by the Centennials in November of that year. Pierce was in that role for the Cents for five seasons.

Nelson leaves Coquitlam for Nanaimo’s junior B club

The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League have hired Rick Nelson as their assistant general manager and alternate governor. This past season, Nelson was the director of events for the Coquitlam Express.