BCHL Today: Grizz name captains, BCHL alumni sign NHL deals, and more


Grizzlies unveil 2020-21 captains

The Victoria Grizzlies announced on Wednesday the four players who will serve as captains for the upcoming 2020-21 season.

2000-born defenseman Brady MacDonald is the captain, while 2000-born defenseman Jake Veilleux, 2000-born forward Eddie Yan, and 2001-born forward Chase McInnis will each have an ‘A’ on their jersey this season.

MacDonald is entering his third BCHL season, all with the Grizzlies. Veilleux and Yan are also going into their third seasons in Victoria while McInnis is starting his sophomore campaign.

BC government announces funding for amateur sports

The BC government announced the development of a $15-million relief fund on Wednesday, with the goal to “help amateur sports leagues and teams with operational costs, such as salaries, administrative costs, personal protective equipment, and the development of COVID-19 safety plans to ensure the safety of athletes and staff.”

There is no direct reference to the BC Hockey League in the government’s news release, but the circuit’s 17 BC-based teams would certainly fit the bill.

The BCHL and Western Hockey League collaborated in January to reach out to the provincial government for funding to help franchises financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kawaguchi inks contract with the Dallas Stars

University of North Dakota forward Jordan Kawaguchi (120 goals, 122 assists in 215 games with West Kelowna and Chilliwack from 2013-17) has signed a one-year, entry-level contract with the Dallas Stars as an NCAA free agent.

The contract is for the 2021-22 NHL season and Kawaguchi has subsequently signed an amateur tryout with the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars for the remainder of this season.

Kawaguchi, who’s from Abbotsford, BC, spent the last four seasons at UND and put up 40 goals and 126 points in 136 games.

Newhook turns pro with Colorado

Boston College forward Alex Newhook (60 goals, 108 assists in 98 games with Victoria from 2017-19) has forgone his last two years of college and turned pro by signing a three-year, entry-level contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

The St. John’s, Newfoundland product was the Avs first-round pick, 16th overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft. He had seven goals and 16 points in a dozen games with Boston College this season after notching 42 points in 34 games as a freshman a year ago.

Newhook will report to the Colorado Eagles of the AHL to kickstart his pro hockey career.

Fogarty nets first career NHL goal

Forward Steven Fogarty (33 goals, 48 assists in 60 games for Penticton in 2011-12) scored his first career National Hockey League goal on Wednesday as the Buffalo Sabres snapped an 18-game winless streak with a 6-1 win over Philadelphia.

Fogarty, who hails from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, now has a goal and three points in four games with the Sabres this season. The 27-year-old also has five goals and eight points in 10 games with the AHL’s Rochester Americans in 2020-21.

Tufto signs with Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning

Quinnipiac University forward Odeen Tufto (25 goals, 40 assists in 57 games with Vernon in 2015-16) has signed his first professional hockey contract, a one-year pact for 2021-22 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Congruent to his contract with the Bolts, Tufto also signed an amateur tryout with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch and will join them for the remainder of this season.

Tufto played the last four seasons at Quinnipiac, amassing 39 goals and 168 points in 139 games.

Christopoulos joins Rochester on a pro tryout deal

Goaltender Billy Christopoulos (22-22-0 with a 3.05 GAA, a .906 SV%, 3 SO in 46 games with Alberni Valley in 2014-15) has signed a professional tryout with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.

The 27-year-old from Raleigh, North Carolina is 6-4 with a 2.13 goals-against-average, a .918 save percentage, and one shutout in 11 games with the Indy Fuel of the ECHL this season.

Christopoulos signed pro tryouts with the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights as well as the Hershey Bears earlier this season but didn’t play any games for either team.

Cotton goes from Fort Wayne to Chicago of the American Hockey League

Forward Jason Cotton (50 goals, 67 assists in 108 games for West Kelowna from 2013-15) was recalled by the Chicago Wolves of the AHL from the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old from Parker, Texas has four goals and six points in 17 games with the Komets this season. He’s also played one game with the Wolves in 2020-21, going scoreless in a 4-2 win over Grand Rapids on Feb. 11.

Emmerson returns to Valley West U15 AAA Giants in 2021-22

Riley Emmerson (one goal, six assists in 57 games with Chilliwack from 2003-04) was announced as the head coach for the Valley West Giants U15 AAA for the 2021-22 season on Tuesday.

Emmerson, who is a native of Abbotsford, BC, is entering his third season behind the bench for the U15 AAA G-Men.