BCHL Today: Vees recruit Maine commit Hopkins, Johnson invited to Canada development camp, and more!

Vees add Hopkins for 2021-22

The Penticton Vees announced the commitment of 2004-born defenseman Ryan Hopkins for the 2021-22 BC Hockey League season.

Hopkins, who’s from Lunenburg, NS, was the captain at Stanstead College in 2020-21 but didn’t play any games because the season was cancelled due to the pandemic.

He had eight goals and 31 points in 58 games as a rookie for Stanstead in 2019-20. Hopkins is committed to the University of Maine for Sept. 2023.

Tanev and Cholowski selected by Seattle

The NHL held its expansion draft to stock the roster of the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday night. The draft saw Seattle pick an eligible player from each of the NHL’s 30 teams. Vegas was exempt from the proceedings.

Of the 30 players chosen by the Kraken, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Dennis Cholowski (16 goals, 51 assists in 106 games with Chilliwack from 2014-16) and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brandon Tanev (11 goals, 22 assists in 58 games with Surrey in 2011-12) are the two who are BCHL alumni.

Johnson invited to Canada’s summer development camp

University of Michigan forward Kent Johnson (61 goals and 86 assists in 112 games with Trail from 2018-20) has earned an invitation to Canada’s summer development camp in preparation for selecting the team to wear the maple leaf at the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championship.

Johnson, a sure-fire first-round NHL Draft pick from Port Moody, BC, had 27 points in 26 games as a freshman for Michigan this past season. Canada’s camp runs from July 28 to Aug. 4 in Calgary, AB.

Princeton BCHL alumni named to ECAC All-Academic Team

22 players from the Princeton University men’s hockey team were named to the ECAC All-Academic Team on Wednesday.

10 of the 22 named are former BCHL players, listed with the team they last played with in the league.

Sonne takes over behind the bench in Saskatoon

Brennan Sonne (20 goals, 35 assists in 79 games with Coquitlam, Burnaby, and Surrey from 2004-06) was unveiled as the new head coach of the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old from Maple Ridge, BC served as the head coach of Angers, which plays in the France-based Synerglace Ligue Magnus, for the last four seasons.

MacNevin named assistant coach in Kelowna

The Kelowna Rockets of the WHL announced the addition of Josh MacNevin (15 goals, 63 assists in 107 games with Vernon from 1994-96) as an assistant coach on Tuesday. The 44-year-old from Calgary, AB spent the last six seasons as an assistant with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

In Kelowna, MacNevin takes over from Vernon Fiddler who stepped down last month to spend more time with his family.

Lohan inks an extension with Orlando

Defenseman Kevin Lohan (five goals, 18 assists in 54 games with Merritt in 2012-13) has signed an extension with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears for 2021-22.

Lohan, who hails from Cold Spring Harbor, NY, has played 161 ECHL games with Orlando and Toledo over the last three seasons. The 27-year-old has four goals and 29 points during that span.

DeHaas moves from Norway to Italy

Defenseman James DeHaas (five goals, 19 assists in 53 games with Penticton in 2012-13) has signed with HC Bolzano of the ICE Hockey League for the 2021-22 season.

The Mississauga, ON native posted seven goals and 23 points in 21 games with Stjernen of Norway’s Fjordkraft-ligaen. It was the 27-year-old’s first season in Europe after bouncing between the American Hockey League and ECHL for three years.

Grimwood takes over Kamloops junior B team

Geoff Grimwood (one goal, three assists in 29 games with Victoria in 1998-99) is the new head coach of the Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

The 40-year-old takes over from Steve Gainey, who is now the Storm’s director of hockey operations. Grimwood coached in the BCHL with West Kelowna during the 2018-19 season.

He joined the Cowichan Valley Capitals as general manager and head coach before the 2020-21 season but resigned last October. At the time, Grimwood said he left the Caps due to “ethical and philosophical differences with ownership.”