BCHL Bulletin: Wood and Nadeau taken at NHL Draft, Vipers, Eagles, and Rivermen get commitments, and more!

Wood selected 15th overall by Nashville

2005-born forward Matthew Wood (50 goals, 48 assists in 64 games with Victoria from 2020-22) was selected 15th overall by the Nashville Predators on the first night of the National Hockey League draft. He is the first player with B.C. Hockey League experience to be selected in this draft.

Related: The BCHL’s brief brush with Connor Bedard

Wood, who is from Lethbridge, Alta., played 35 games with the NCAA Division I University of Connecticut in 2022-23, earning 11 goals and 34 points as a first-year player. He was the fourth-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting heading into the draft and 16th ranked player by Elite Prospects.

Nadeau chosen 30th overall by Carolina

Straight out of the BCHL, 2005-born forward Bradly Nadeau was selected 30th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL Draft. The sniper is committed to the University of Maine for this September. He is the first BCHL player taken in the first round of the draft since forward Alex Newhook went to Colorado 16th overall in 2019.

Nadeau, who is from St-Francois-de-Madawaska, N.B., scored 45 goals and 68 assists in 54 regular season games in 2022-23, tying for the league lead in goals, assists, and points. He then added 17 goals and 18 assists in 17 playoff games as the Penticton Vees won the Fred Page Cup.

He wraps up his BCHL career with 65 goals and 94 assists in 103 games with Penticton. Nadeau is the first Vees player chosen in the draft since forward Massimo Rizzo went to the Hurricanes in the 7th round in 2019.

McCloskey heads to Vernon

2005-born defender Lukas McCloskey has committed to joining the Vernon Vipers for his sophomore season in the BCHL. The 6-foot-3, 201-pound blueliner was part of the BCHL Top Prospects game last season.

McCloskey, who is from Newport Beach, California, played the entire 2022-23 season with the Wenatchee Wild, earning a goal and 10 points in 46 regular-season games. He also chipped in three assists in 10 BCHL playoff games.

Phangura commits to Surrey

2004-born forward Jagjeevan Phangura has committed to the Surrey Eagles for the 2023-24 BCHL season. It is his second stint in the BCHL after he played 33 games during the 2021-22 season for Prince George without registering any points.

Phangura, who hails from Burnaby, B.C., spent the 2022-23 season with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League‘s Estevan Bruins, scoring 16 goals and 42 points in 49 regular-season games. He also added three goals and four points in seven SJHL playoff contests.

Balkovec signs with Langley

2006-born forward Cole Balkovec has signed with the Langley Rivermen for the 2023-24 season. He was an affiliate player for Penticton this past season, getting into one game with the Vees.

Balkovec, who hails from Mequon, Wisconsin, played a total of 81 regular-season games with the RINK Hockey Academy Kelowna U18 team of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League in 2022-23. He earned 17 goals and 79 points before scoring twice and adding two assists in five CSSHL playoff outings.

His dad Maco played 109 games in the BCHL split between Cowichan Valley and Merritt from 1989 to 1991.

Brooks make out like Bandits and sign Hicks

Merritt Centennials 2005-born goaltender Johnny Hicks has signed with the Alberta Junior Hockey League‘s Brooks Bandits for the 2023-24 season. Hicks, who is from Kamloops, B.C., played in 27 games for the Centennials in 2022-23.

As a sophomore, he compiled an 8-10-5 record, a 3.53 goals-against average, and a .917 save percentage. His career BCHL totals include an 8-26-10 record, a 4.28 goals-against average, and a .906 save percentage in 51 games with the Cents over the last two seasons.

Surrey retains the services of Celle

The Surrey Eagles have retained the services of 23-year-old Lucas Celle for a third season as colour commentator. Additionally, Celle has expanded his role with the Eagles and will serve as their broadcast and media coordinator for the 2023-24 BCHL season.