Jack Murray

BCHL extended training camp all-rookie team


Recently, I released the BCHL extended training camp all-star teams, recognizing the best individual performances during the pre-season. Now, in the true spirit of the exhibition season, I am going to form an extended training camp all-rookie team.

The requirements to be considered for the all-rookie team are the same as the all-star teams. Any player with rookie status is eligible, provided they played eight games for skaters, or five games for goalies.

There will also be three players considered as reserves for the all-rookie team. I’ll do this to include players other than the three rookie forwards already named to the extended training camp all-star teams.

Forward – Quinn Hutson (Penticton Vees)

Hutson was a critical piece to the puzzle for Penticton during the extended exhibition season, which ended with an Okanagan Cup championship. He scored 10 goals and added seven assists for 17 points in 14 games. He finished fourth among rookie forwards with 1.21 points-per-game.

The 2002-born rookie import out of Chicago joins the Vees from the North Jersey Avalanche 18U AAA. He tallied 31 goals and 51 points in just 23 games for the Avalanche last season and heads to Boston University next fall.

Forward – Matthew Stienburg (West Kelowna Warriors)

An unconventional rookie, Stienburg joined the Warriors after already playing one season in the NCAA with Cornell University. During the exhibition season, he scored seven goals and assisted on four others for 11 points in 10 games. His 1.10 points-per-game ranked fifth among qualified rookies.

Not only has the 20-year-old from Halifax, Nova Scotia already played an NCAA season, he is also 1.5 years removed from being drafted to the National Hockey League. Stienburg was selected in the third round, 63rd overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Stienburg won’t likely play a regular season game in the BCHL after breaking his leg in the Warriors 3-1 win against Salmon Arm on November 7. He had surgery on the leg in mid-November and faces a long road to recovery.

Forward – Nick DeSantis (Nanaimo Clippers)

DeSantis tallied six goals and 17 points in 16 games, a 1.06 point-per-game mark, which was sixth-best among BCHL rookies. He finished tied for the team lead in assists and ranked second on the Clippers in points and points-per-game.

The 18-year-old rookie from Collegeville, Pennsylvania joins the Clippers after spending most of last season in the North American Hockey League.

In the NAHL, he scored six goals and 21 points in 31 games with the New Jersey Junior Titans. DeSantis is committed to Miami University (Ohio) for the 2021-22 season.

Defenseman – Cole Assailly (Cranbrook Bucks)

Assailly narrowly missed making the extended training camp second all-star team. In fact, he matched Trail Smoke Eaters’ captain Cody Schiavon in both points and points-per-game. Where he fell just short was failing to find the back of the net himself, as all seven of his points were assists, in nine games played.

The 2003-born rookie joined the Bucks from Rink Academy’s U18 Prep team of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. He scored six goals and added 19 assists for 25 points in 36 games with Rink last season, and was named the CSSHL U18 top defenseman.

Defenseman – Joseph Messina (Langley Rivermen)

Messina finished the extended exhibition season with one goal and four assists in nine games played. His 0.56 points-per-game was second-best among qualified rookie defensemen and fourth-best overall on the Rivermen.

The 2002-born rookie spent last season with Selects Academy’s U18 AAA team, recording two goals and 18 points in 55 games played.

Goalie – Aaron Trotter (Prince George Spruce Kings)

Trotter finished the pre-season on quite a roll, giving up just two goals on 59 shots-against in his last two starts. He finished the exhibition season with a 1.52 goals-against-average, which ranked second among qualified goalies. His .920 save percentage was seventh in the BCHL.

The 2001-born rookie from Victoria spent last season with Shawnigan Lake School’s U18 Prep team in the CSSHL. He went 11-7-1 with a 2.57 GAA and a .905 SV% in 19 appearances.

Another rookie goaltender who deserves recognition, despite only playing four games, is Cayden Hamming of the Trail Smoke Eaters. Hamming went 2-1 with one shutout, a league-leading .954 SV%, and a 1.34 GAA which ranked second among all BCHL goalies.

Coach – Ryan Donald (Cranbrook Bucks)

Donald is not only a rookie coach himself, he is at the helm of an expansion team in its own inaugural BCHL season.

Still, Donald established a strong culture during the pre-season, with his team being a difficult opponent every night. The Bucks played a hard-nosed style built around speed and determination, and their resiliency continually frustrated opponents.

Donald joined the Bucks after five seasons as an assistant coach at Yale University. He has also spent time as head coach and assistant general manager of the Woodstock Slammers of the Maritime Junior Hockey League. There was also a brief stop as an assistant coach and assistant general manager of the Trail Smoke Eaters before heading off to Yale.

Despite a 3-5-1 record for the Bucks during the pre-season, Donald’s team has bought in to a fast-paced, relentless game. Although this is his first head coaching gig in the BCHL, Donald seems ready to lead his expansion team.

All-rookie team reserves

Dane Dowiak — The Cranbrook Bucks rookie was named a first-team all-star, after leading his team in goals and points. It took Dowiak just eight games to record eight goals and seven assists for 15 points. His 1.00 goals-per-game and 1.88 points-per-game were both tops in the BCHL among skaters with at least eight games played.

Dowiak, a 2002-born Wexford, Pennsylvania product, joined the Bucks from The Gunnery of the United States High School Prep league. He is off to Penn State University next fall, after his first and only BCHL season.

Ellis Rickwood — Rickwood tallied nine goals and 12 assists in 15 games, earning second-team all-star honours. The 2002-born rookie ranked fifth among qualified forwards with 1.40 points-per-game.

Hailing from Brantford, Ontario, Rickwood is coming off a 62-point season with the Hamilton Kilty B’s of the greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Briggs Gammill — The first captain in the history of the Cranbrook Bucks franchise, Gammill was a strong leader during the pre-season. Scoring four goals and 11 points in eight games, his 1.38 points-per-game were sixth-best in the BCHL, earning him a second all-star team nod.

The 2001-born rookie from New Canaan, Connecticut put up 45 points last season, while playing for Berkshire School of the USHS-Prep. He will attend Yale University next season.