BCHL Today: Express name captain, Cristall is back in West Kelowna, Capitals get two WHL players on loan, and more


De La Durantaye to lead the Express

The Coquitlam Express announced on Tuesday that 2000-born defenseman Noah De La Durantaye will serve as the team’s captain for the 2020-21 season. He takes over the captaincy from Drew Cooper, who is currently a freshman at Ferris State University.

De La Durantaye had 25 points in 41 games with the Express as a rookie in 2019-20. He’s chipped in a goal and seven assists through 10 games during this season’s extended training camp.

The Beaconsfield, Quebec product is committed to play NCAA Division I school at Princeton University starting in September 2021.

Cristall returns to West Kelowna, Stienburg suffers injury

The West Kelowna Warriors had a good news/bad news announcement on Tuesday.

The good news is the Warriors welcomed 2002-born forward Tyler Cristall back into the fold after he started the season in training camp with Sioux Falls of the US Hockey League.

Cristall had 41 points in 53 games split between Chilliwack and West Kelowna in 2019-20 but averaged nearly a point a game with the Warriors.

The North Vancouver product is committed to attend St. Lawrence University for the 2021-22 season.

The bad news is the Warriors are without 2019 Colorado Avalanche draft pick Matthew Stienburg until the end of December due to a lower body injury.

The 2000-born forward from Halifax, Nova Scotia had seven goals and four assists in 10 games during the Warriors’ extended training camp.

Rivermen forward Wetsch to miss three games

2002-born forward Connor Wetsch of the Langley Rivermen has been suspended for three games by the BC Hockey League. He received a major kneeing penalty and game misconduct at the 9:30 mark of the third period of the Rivermen’s 6-0 loss to Surrey on Saturday.

The penalty was upgraded to a match penalty and the three game suspension comes along with it.

Because the Rivermen are part of the pause on indoor contact sports per the Provincial Health Officer until November 23, Wetsch will definitely sit out Langley’s game on November 26 at home against Surrey. In addition, he will likely also miss the first two games of the Rivermen’s regular season.

Smokies’ Ross to sit for two games

The BCHL has also suspended 2001-born Trail Smoke Eaters forward Justin Ross for two games. He received a major penalty and game misconduct for a blow to the head during the Smokies 4-1 win over Cranbrook on Friday.

The game report shows that Ross was called for a check from behind major with 40 seconds left in the second period and then a blow to the head minor 3:20 into the third period. There’s no record of him getting a game misconduct, so it must have been determined after the game.

He already sat out Saturday’s game between the Smoke Eaters and Bucks and will also miss Trail’s game on Thursday in Merritt.

Capitals receive two WHLers on loan

The Cowichan Valley Capitals have added 2002-born forward John Little and 2002-born defenseman Aidan De La Gorgendiere on loan from two different Western Hockey League teams.

Little is from Parksville, BC. He had a goal and four assists in 52 games split between the Vancouver Giants and the Tri-City Americans in 2019-20. He also played 53 games with Salmon Arm in the BCHL in 2018-19 and had 26 points.

De La Gorgendiere hails from Langley and is entering his third season with the Saskatoon Blades. He has four goals and 29 assists in 111 career WHL games.

Both players are expected to be with the Caps until December 20 when they will join their respective WHL clubs.

Hirose named WCHA pre-season rookie of the year

Defenseman Akito Hirose (20 goals, 102 assists in 208 games with Salmon Arm from 2016-20) is the pick for pre-season rookie of the year in a poll of Western Collegiate Hockey Association coaches.

The 1999-born Hirose is entering his freshman season at Minnesota State University (Mankato) after being named top blueliner in the BCHL last season.

Barber retires after three year pro career

Forward Jacob Barber (27 goals, 38 assists in 94 NAHL games with Wenatchee from 2011-13) has retired from professional hockey.

The 28-year-old from Dardenne Prairie, Missouri spent the last two-and-a-half seasons with the Birmingham Bulls of the Southern Professional Hockey League.

In 154 career SPHL games with the Bulls and Peoria, he posted 144 points.