BCHL Network: Capitals sign netminder Despatie, Sonne joins Express as assistant coach, and more!

Capitals sign Despatie for 2023-24

2003-born goaltender Emerik Despatie has signed with the Cowichan Capitals for the 2023-24 B.C. Hockey League season. He attended training camp in 2021 with the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets.

Despatie, who is from Gatineau, Que., played 26 games with his hometown Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, earning a 16-6-3 record, a 3.35 goals-against average, and a .873 save percentage. He is a veteran of 87 QMJHL games with Gatineau and the Québec Remparts.

Sonne joins Express as an assistant coach

34-year-old Brett Sonne has joined the Coquitlam Express as an assistant coach to head coach Patrick Sexton for the 2023-24 season.

Sonne was an assistant coach with the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s Ridge Meadows Flames during the 2022-23 season, helping the team to a 31-14-2-1 record and a game-seven loss to the Delta Ice Hawks in the Stonehouse Cup championship final.

Rihela accepts head coaching position in Alberta

Following five seasons with the Chilliwack Chiefs, 33-year-old Brad Rihela (no points in seven games with Langley from 2007-09) has taken a head coach position with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Lloydminster Bobcats.

Rihela, who is from Aldergrove, B.C., was the Chiefs’ associate coach for the last two seasons. He has also been an assistant general manager, associate head coach, and director of player personnel with Chilliwack.

Weatherby signs with the Predators

25-year-old forward Jasper Weatherby (49 goals, 57 assists in 104 games with Wenatchee from 2016-18) has signed a one-year, two-way contract worth $775,000 with the Nashville Predators for the 2023-24 season.

Weatherby, who hails from Portland, Oregon, split the 2022-23 season between the American Hockey League’s San Jose Barracuda and the Grand Rapids Griffins, earning six goals and 11 assists in 70 total games.

Mendel signs entry-level contract with Hurricanes

24-year-old defender Griffin Mendel (four goals, 20 assists in 106 games with Penticton from 2014-17) has signed a one-year, entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. The deal is worth $790,000 for 2023-24.

Mendel, who hails from Kelowna, B.C., played 72 games for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves this past season, earning nine goals and 19 points. It was his first full season of professional hockey.

Four players with BCHL ties at Predators development camp

The Nashville Predators announced their development camp roster late on Sunday, which included four players with BCHL ties on it.

18-year-old forward Matthew Wood (50 goals, 48 assists in 64 games with Victoria from 2020-22), 21-year-old defenders Luke Reid (two goals, 16 assists in 54 games with Penticton from 2017-18) and Trey Taylor (eight goals, 31 assists in 125 games with Vernon from 2018-21), and 24-year-old defender Jake Livingstone (22 goals, 82 assists in 185 games with Merritt and Langley from 2016-20) are among the attendees of the Predators camp.

From Lethbridge, Alta., Wood posted 11 goals and 23 assists with the University of Connecticut during the 2022-23 NCAA season. He is committed to returning to the Huskies in the fall.

Hailing from Warman, Sask., Reid played 35 games for the University of New Hampshire last season, where he earned five assists. It was his third season with the school.

Livingstone, who hails from Creston, B.C., played 39 games at Minnesota State University-Mankato, scoring eight goals and 35 points. He also got into five regular season games with the Predators, earning one assist.

From Richmond, B.C., Taylor posted three goals and eight points in 36 games as a rookie with Clarkson University during the 2022-23 season. Clarkson is located in Potsdam, New York.

Red Wings announce development camp, two with BCHL ties on roster

The Detroit Red Wings announced their roster for their development camp and it included two players with BCHL ties.

25-year-old forward Nick Granowicz (32 goals, 27 assists in 58 games with Merritt in 2018-19) and 21-year-old defender Samuel Duerr (one goal, three assists in 16 games with Vernon in 2020-21) have both been invited to participate in the development camp that began on Saturday in Detroit.

Granowicz, who is from Macomb, Michigan, played 36 games with the University of Michigan in 2022-23, earning four goals and 10 points. He has transferred to UMass-Lowell for the 2023-24 NCAA season.

From Chicago, Illinois, Duerr spent the 2022-23 season at the University of Maine, where he earned three assists in 22 games. The Maine Black Bears play out of Orono, Maine.

Jandric, and Airey head to Sabres development camp

The Buffalo Sabres announced their development camp roster on Saturday and it included two players with BCHL ties.

20-year-old goaltender Nathan Airey (44-32-12, 2.77 goals-against average, .912 save percentage, and six shutouts in 88 games with Cranbrook from 2020-23) and 24-year-old defender Chris Jandric (six goals, 45 assists in 106 games with Vernon from 2015-18) have been invited to the development camp which began on Sunday.

Airey, who hails from Cochrane, Alta., was a member of the Bucks during the 2022-23 season, playing 36 regular-season games. He had a 23-9-3 record, a 2.44 goals-against average, a .925 save percentage, and two shutouts. He also made six appearances in the playoffs, earning a 2-4 record, a 3.34 goals-against average, and a .891 save percentage. He is committed to the University of Minnesota for the 2023-24 season.

Jandric, who calls Prince George, B.C. home, played 39 games at the University of North Dakota in 2022-23, scored four goals, and had 33 points. He also played one game with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, earning one assist.

De Jong joins Oilers development camp roster

23-year-old forward Ethan De Jong (22 goals, 73 assists in 102 games with Prince George from 2015-18) has been invited to the Edmonton Oilers development camp that began on Monday.

De Jong, who hails from North Vancouver, B.C., completed his fifth season at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, in 2022-23. In 41 games, he scored 19 goals and added 21 assists while claiming a national championship with the Bobcats.

Black heads to Avalanche development camp

The Colorado Avalanche released their development camp roster on Sunday and 22-year-old goaltender Cooper Black (24-7-1, a 2.62 goals-against average, .924 save percentage, and two shutouts in 33 games with Nanaimo in 2021-22) was the lone player with BCHL ties on it.

Black, who hails from Alpena, Michigan, played 30 NCAA Division I games with Dartmouth College in 2022-23, earning a 5-23-1 record with a 3.07 goals-against average, an .899 save percentage, and three shutouts.

More BCHLers at Jets camp

Winnipeg Jets development camp begins on July 5, and three more players with BCHL ties were invited to participate.

They include 20-year-old forward Carson Golder (two goals, one assist in 16 games with Vernon and Trail from 2018-19 and 2020-21), 18-year-old forward Connor Levis (no points in one game with Coquitlam in 2019-20), and 21-year-old defender Josh Zinger (two goals, one assist in 13 games with Salmon Arm from 2019-20).

Golder, who is from Smithers, B.C., played 24 regular-season games for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League this past season, earning eight goals and 15 assists. He also played 40 regular-season games for the Kelowna Rockets where he scored 23 times and added 17 assists. In four WHL playoff contests with the Rockets, he had three assists.

Levis, who calls Vancouver home, scored 27 goals and added 40 assists in 68 regular season games with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. He also scored one goal and six points in 14 WHL playoff games. Levis added a goal and three assists in the Memorial Cup tournament.

Zinger, who hails from Red Deer, Alta., played 38 NCAA Division I games with Northern Michigan University, where he had three goals and 13 assists. NMU is located in Marquette, Michigan.

Update: Vegas also invites Komzak

The Vegas Golden Knights announced their development camp on Friday, June 30 and 21-year-old defender Tanner Komzak (five goals, seven assists in 58 games with Langley and Cowichan Valley from 2019-21) was also on the roster.

Related: BCHL Bulletin: Cents, Warriors, Rivermen, Silverbacks add new players, BCHL alumni get NHL qualifying offers, and more!

Komzak, who calls North Vancouver, B.C. home, played 60 regular-season games with the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines in 2022-23, where he scored 12 times and had 52 points. He also added one goal and six assists in nine AJHL playoff games. He is committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2023-24 season.

Rockwell heads to Marseille

27-year-old defender Tyler Rockwell (13 goals, 34 assists in 102 games with Wenatchee from 2015-17) has signed with Spartiates de Marseille of Ligue Magnus in France, the country’s top tier of professional hockey.

Rockwell, who hails from San Jose, California, played 44 games with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL in 2022-23, earning four assists. 2023-24 is his first professional season overseas.