BCHL Bulletin: Smokies, Bucks, and Express sign new players, Erickson commits to SFU, and more!

Trail signs Risteau for 2023-24

The Trail Smoke Eaters announced the addition of 2006-born forward Michael Risteau on Wednesday. Risteau, who calls Lakeville, Minnesota home, spent 2022-23 at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School playing prep hockey. In 27 games, he finished with 17 goals and 32 points.

He also played 18 games with Team SIT Financial Services in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League and tallied six goals and 11 points. Risteau is committed to Western Michigan University to play NCAA Division I hockey starting in September 2025.

Cranbrook locks up Green for the 2023-24 season

The Cranbrook Bucks have brought in veteran 2004-born forward Zion Green for 2023-24. Green played the 2022-23 season in the United States Hockey League split between the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and Des Moines Buccaneers. In 42 USHL games, Green had four goals and eight points.

Green, who hails from Birmingham, Michigan, is committed to Northern Michigan University for next September. He played 55 games with Maine in the North American Hockey League in 2021-22, posting 15 goals and 47 points in 55 games.

Express sign forward Lenton

After playing 59 games in the Western Hockey League with the Kelowna Rockets this past season, 2005-born forward Grady Lenton has signed on with the Coquitlam Express for 2023-24. He finished the year with four goals and eight points in 2022-23.

Lenton added one assist in four games with the Rockets during the WHL playoffs. The Delta, B.C. native’s WHL rights were traded from Kelowna to Seattle last month as part of the deal that saw the Rockets get 2006-born forward Tij Iginla.

Erickson commits to Simon Fraser University

2002-born forward Walker Erickson has committed to Simon Fraser University of the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League for this September. SFU is located in Burnaby, B.C.

The Surrey, B.C. product had 32 goals and 63 points in 147 games for Vernon, Merritt, Nanaimo, and Trail over the last five seasons. He also wraps his BCHL career with two goals and seven points in 21 Fred Page Cup playoff games.

Busby commits to the University of Arizona

Eden Prairie, Minnesota product Luke Busby has committed to the University of Arizona to start his college career this fall. The Wildcats are an American Collegiate Hockey Association team that plays out of Tucson, Arizona.

Busby, a 2002-born defender, had three assists in 18 games with the Cowichan Valley Capitals this past season. He played his last game of the season on Dec. 4.

BCHL preseason starts on September 3

The B.C. Hockey League announced on Wednesday the 2023-24 preseason schedule, a 13-day, 41-game slate played across 15 BCHL venues and one neutral-site venue across the province from Sept. 3 to Sept. 16.

The road to the 2024 Fred Page Cup begins the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 3, when Lower Mainland rivals Coquitlam Express and Surrey Eagles meet at Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre in Coquitlam. Preseason opening day also features the Trail Smoke Eaters visiting the Vernon Vipers.

The lone neutral-site preseason game on the schedule is on Sept. 4 when the Victoria Grizzlies welcome the Nanaimo Clippers to the Sooke Arena.

The regular season gets underway on Friday, Sept. 22. BCHL schedule information is available at https://bchl.ca/stats/schedule/all-teams/

Salo leaves Cowichan Valley for Anchorage

2003-born Cowichan Valley Capitals forward Oliver Salo has signed with the Anchorage Wolverines of the NAHL for the 2023-24 season.

Salo, who’s from Kaarina, Finland, finished the 2022-23 season with five goals and 11 points in 47 games as a rookie with the Capitals. He is the son of former National Hockey League defender Sami Salo.

Barton inks an AHL deal in Hartford

23-year-old defender Seth Barton (six goals, 27 assists in 51 games with Nanaimo and Trail from 2016-18) signed a one-year American Hockey League contract with the Hartford Wolf Pack on Wednesday. Barton was selected 81st overall in the third round of the 2018 NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings.

The native of Kelowna, B.C. notched two goals and five points in 36 games with Grand Rapids of the AHL in 2022-23. He also appeared in 10 ECHL games with the Toledo Walleye and finished with two goals and eight points.

Coatta to play in Italy this season

Forward Max Coatta (15 goals, 17 assists in 50 games with Penticton in 2013-14) has signed with the Rittner Buam SkyAlps of the Alps Hockey League for the 2023-24 season.

Coatta, a 27-year-old from Minnetonka, Minnesota, has 17 goals and 41 points in 72 games as an alternate captain with the Rapid City Rush of the ECHL this past season.

Crozier ventures to France for 2023-24

Defender Max Crozier (six goals, 23 assists in 49 games for Nanaimo in 2017-18) is heading to Cergy-Pontoise to play in Ligue Magnus, which is the top tier of pro hockey in France, during the 2023-24 season.

The 25-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C. finished the 2022-23 season with a goal and five points in 10 ECHL games with the Tulsa Oilers. He wrapped up his NCAA career at Merrimack College in March with two goals and 11 points in 38 games as a senior.