BCHL Today: Express part ways with coaching staff, Bucks add two more for 2020-21, and more

Express and coaching staff part ways

The reigning BCHL coach of the year won’t be back with the Coquitlam Express. Jason Fortier, who was general manager and head coach, couldn’t come to terms with the Express on a new contract.

Fortier took over when Barry Wolff was fired in November 2017 and signed a three-year contract through the end of the 2019-20 season. He had an 87-51-11 record with the Express.

“I’m thankful for Express owner Fayaz Manji’s support to chase a championship this past season after he bought the team last fall. He allowed us to go for it and was really supportive, we just couldn’t come together on a new contract,” explained Fortier from the road on Monday as he drove back to Ontario.

As for Fortier’s replacement, Express President Dave McLellan mentioned that the team is working on it. “Look for the announcement soon,” he said.

Assistant coaches Sam Waterfield and Jamie Jackson also had their contracts run out with the Express and won’t return to the team. Jackson was brought on board in November 2017 while Waterfield was with Coquitlam since June 2019.

Bucks add forward Vasko and goalie Zacharewicz for 2020-21

The Cranbrook Bucks signed the first goalie in franchise history on Monday. Joining the team is Riverhead, NY product Jacob Zacharewicz from the Islanders Hockey Club of the NCDC.

In 22 games, the 19-year-old had a 13-5-2 record with a 2.43 goals-against-average, a .930 save percentage and four shutouts.

He was also an affiliate player for the Northeast Generals of the North American Hockey League and is committed to attend Brown University in September 2022.

The Bucks also signed forward AJ Vasko for next season. The 17-year-old from La Salle, Manitoba scored 15 goals and 41 assists in 31 games this past season as captain of the Rink Hockey Academy Midget Prep team.

He also made his junior A debut as an affiliate player for the Winnipeg Blues of the MJHL last September.

Grizzlies alum Galajda in the final five for 2020 Mike Richter Award

Matt Galajda (43-32-2, 2.52 GAA, .918 SV%, seven shutouts in 83 games with Victoria from 2015-17) is among the five finalists for the Mike Richter Award as the NCAA’s top collegiate goaltender.

Galajda is a junior for Cornell University. He had a 23-2-4 record in 2019-20 with a 1.56 GAA, a .931 SV% and five shutouts.

Former Wild forward Christensen signs pro deal with Bakersfield

Forward Blake Christensen (16 goals, 20 assists in 52 games with Wenatchee in 2015-16) has signed a one-year contract with the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League.

Christensen is coming off a four year NCAA career with American International College where he put up 48 goals and 71 assists in 142 games.

Former Vernon forward Ferster named head coach of Philadelphia Hockey Club

Rylan Ferster (11 goals, 10 assists in 28 games with Vernon in 1989-90) is the new head coach for the Philadelphia Hockey Club that begins play in the US Premier League’s National Collegiate Development Conference next season.

Ferster also has ten years of coaching experience in the BCHL with Trail, Salmon Arm, Victoria, and West Kelowna. He was the GM and head coach of the Warriors from 2011-17 and won a Canadian national junior A championship in 2016.

Three Stars of the Night ⏪ March 31, 2015

First Star: Penticton forward Cody DePourcq had a pair of assists for the Vees in a 5-2 win over Chilliwack.

Second Star: Vees forward Tyson Jost scored the winning goal against the Chiefs.

Third Star: Penticton forward Dakota Conroy notched two assists in the Vees win.

Honourable Mentions: Forward Mason Boh had a goal to bring the Chiefs within one in the third period. Vees forward Connor Chartier posted a goal and an assist.