BCHL Today: Rizzo is headed to Denver, Sweeney resurfaces in NCDC, Barzal re-ups on Long Island, and more


Rizzo commits to University of Denver

Chilliwack Chiefs forward Massimo Rizzo announced via Twitter on Saturday his commitment to the University of Denver.

The 2001-born centre from Burnaby, BC joined the Chiefs via trade from Coquitlam in October and had one assist in the lone game he played during the BCHL’s training season.

Rizzo, who was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, was previously committed to the University of North Dakota, but last July requested a release from his letter of intent.

Sweeney leaves Trail to join Islanders in the NCDC

Although it happened last month, I noticed on Saturday that Trail Smoke Eaters forward Connor Sweeney was on the roster of the Islanders Hockey Club of the National Collegiate Development Conference.

Sweeney, a 2000-born commit of the University of New Hampshire, played his first game for the Islanders back on Dec. 11 and has five points in six games with them.

He was set to be an alternate captain for the Smoke Eaters this season and led Trail in the training season between September and December with four goals and six assists in nine games.

Barzal signs new contract with the New York Islanders

Forward Mathew Barzal (two assists in six games with Coquitlam in 2012-13) has signed a three-year, $21-million contract with the NHL’s New York Islanders.

The Coquitlam product was a restricted free agent who was tops among all Islanders scorers last season with 60 points in 68 games. Barzal, 23, added 17 points in 22 playoff games.

St. Denis inks American League deal with Binghamton

Forward Travis St. Denis (99 goals, 126 assists in 203 games with Trail and Penticton from 2008-12) signed an American Hockey League deal for the 2020-21 season with the Binghamton Devils on Saturday.

St. Denis, a 28-year-old from Trail, spent the last four seasons in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In 259 career AHL games, he has 65 goals and 71 assists.

Poolman assigned to AHL Stockton by Calgary

Defenseman Colton Poolman (three goals, 37 assists in 57 games with Penticton in 2015-16) was assigned by the Calgary Flames to the Stockton Heat of the AHL on Saturday.

The 25-year-old from East Grand Forks, Minnesota signed with the Flames as a college free agent last March after a four-year career at the University of North Dakota, including as captain in 2019-20.

Gropp joins Swedish club Västerviks IK

Forward Ryan Gropp (16 goals, 24 assists in 62 games with Penticton from 2011-13) has signed with Västerviks IK of HockeyAllsvenskan, which is the second tier of pro hockey in Sweden.

The 24-year-old Kamloopsian spent time in both the AHL and ECHL in 2019-20, with 18 points in 46 games between the Hartford Wolf Pack and Maine Mariners.