BCHL Today: Baird buries his first BCHL goal, Weight transfers to Colorado College, and more!


Baird snipes his first BCHL goal

2001-born Alberni Valley Bulldogs defenseman Matthew Baird scored his first BCHL goal on a power play at 15:53 of the second period in a 5-4 shootout win over the Nanaimo Clippers on Tuesday.

Baird’s marker gave the Bulldogs a 4-3 lead heading to the third period. The Cowichan Bay, BC product notched the goal in his 12th career BCHL game after starting 2020-21 with the Kerry Park Islanders of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.

Weight transfers to Colorado College

Forward Danny Weight (25 goals, 35 assists in 58 games with Penticton in 2019-20) has transferred from Boston College to Colorado College for the 2021-22 NCAA season.

The 20-year-old from Edmonton had a goal and an assist in 19 games with Boston College this past season as a freshman.

Benwell commits to Wilfrid Laurier University

Forward Evan Benwell (nine goals, nine assists in 31 games with Nanaimo and Merritt in 2019-20) has committed to Wilfrid Laurier University for the 2021-22 season.

The 2000-born right wing had nine goals and 17 points in 16 games with the Fredericton Red Wings of the Maritime Junior Hockey League in 2020-21.

Downing returns to Esbjerg for 2021-22

Forward Grayson Downing (65 goals, 64 assists in 131 games with Westside from 2008-11) has signed a contract for the 2021-22 season with Esbjerg Energy of Metal Ligaen, which is the top level of pro hockey in Denmark.

The 29-year-old from Abbotsford, BC had 13 goals and 28 points in 41 games with HC Detva of Tipos Extraliga in Slovakia. Downing played for Esbjerg in 2019-20 and notched seven goals and 17 points in 23 games.

Card and Kozek released by Ravensburg

Defenseman Mike Card (four goals, 17 assists in 50 games with Penticton in 2001-02) and forward Andrew Kozek (67 goals, 71 assists in 118 games with Surrey from 2003-05) were both cut loose by the Ravensburg Towerstars, who play in the second tier of German hockey.

Card, 35, split 2020-21 between the Towerstars and EC Bad Nauheim and posted a combined six assists in 27 games. The Kitchener, Ontario product is a veteran of eight seasons in the DEL2.

Kozek, a 34-year-old from Revelstoke, BC, finished this past season with five goals and 10 points in 15 games with Ravensburg after joining from the Black Wings 1992 of the ICE Hockey League in Austria.

Three Stars of the Night ⭐⭐⭐

First Star: Alberni Valley forward Ethan Hersant had a pair of assists in the Bulldogs 5-4 shootout win against Nanaimo.

Second Star: Clippers forward Tristan Fraser posted a goal and an assist.

Third Star: Bulldogs defenseman Matthew Baird tallied a goal – his first in the BCHL – and an assist.

Honourable Mentions: Clippers defenseman Jack O’Brien put up a goal and an assist. Bulldogs goaltender Luke Pearson made 39 saves, including all three in the shootout. Nanaimo netminder Jordan Naylor stopped 45 shots, including all 14 he faced in the third period.