BCHL Today: Spruce Kings trade Cunningham to Trail, Bulldogs make a pair of deals, and much more!


Spruce Kings send veteran Cunningham to Trail

The Prince George Spruce Kings announced a shocker on Friday evening, sending Merrimack College and 2001-born forward Corey Cunningham to the Trail Smoke Eaters for future considerations.

The Prince George, BC product played four seasons in BC’s Northern Capital, compiling 39 goals and 73 points in 160 games. He was the last remaining player with the Spruce Kings who won a BCHL championship in 2019.

“Any time a player in Corey’s position, who has been with us for four seasons, comes forward and proposes this idea, I am going to respect and honor the decision,” said Spruce Kings general manager Mike Hawes in a news release.

Grizzlies add Smith for the upcoming season

The Victoria Grizzlies announced the signing of 2004-born forward Cameron Smith ahead of next week’s start of the 2021-22 BCHL season.

Smith, who is from Victoria, BC, had three assists in five games with the Yale Hockey Academy U18 Prep of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League in 2020-21.

He was selected by the Spokane Chiefs in the 11th round of the 2019 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

Bulldogs swing a pair of trades

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs made a pair of trades on Friday, sending 2001-born forward Adam Jeffery to the Cowichan Valley Capitals and 2002-born defenseman Cameron Newson to the Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Jeffrey, a native of Leamington, ON, put up eight goals and 19 points in 20 games with Alberni Valley during the 2020-21 pod season.

Newson is from Surrey, BC, and put up a goal in 13 games with the Bulldogs in 2020-21, his second in the BC Hockey League.

Both deals see future considerations go back to the Bulldogs.

Express add hometown blueliner for 2021-22

2005-born defenseman Brody Juck has signed with his hometown Coquitlam Express for the 2021-22 season.

The blueliner was with the Vancouver NE Chiefs U18 AAA of the BC Elite Hockey League in 2020-21 but COVID-19 restrictions halted the regular season. He did play five exhibition games with the Chiefs and didn’t hit the scoresheet.

Juck posted four goals and 19 points in 30 games with Shawnigan Lake School U15 Prep of the CSSHL in 2019-20.

Vees bring in a pair of rookies for 2022-23

Despite the fact that the 2021-22 season hasn’t even started, the Penticton Vees have already added two recruits for next season in 2004-born forwards Callum Arnott and Eli Sebastian.

Arnott is a native of Toronto, ON, and attended St. Andrew’s College prep school in 2020-21. He didn’t play any games for St. Andrew’s due to COVID-19 shutting down hockey in Ontario last season.

He spent 2019-20 with the Toronto Marlboros U16 AAA and posted 13 points in 32 games. Arnott made his junior A debut that season, playing one game as an affiliate of the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Sebastian, who hails from Burlington, ON, was also at St. Andrew’s last season. He played on the same Marlboros U16 AAA team as Arnott in 2019-20 and posted seven goals and 19 points in 27 games.

Both players were chosen in the 2020 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, Arnott by the Oshawa Generals and Sebastian by the Peterborough Petes.

Park suspended two games by the BCHL

Trail Smoke Eaters forward Zach Park was suspended two games by the BCHL Department of Player Safety on Friday after a minor penalty and misconduct he received in a recent game was elevated to a major penalty and a game misconduct.

The penalties were assessed at the 13:48 mark of the third period of Thursday’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Wenatchee Wild.

The 2002-born Penticton, BC native had a goal and an assist as a rookie for the Smokies during the 2020-21 pod season. Park is eligible to return to Trail’s line-up for the first game of the 2021-22 season.

Croucher joins the Cowichan Valley Capitals

2004-born defenseman Mason Croucher has signed with the Cowichan Valley Capitals for 2021-22 after starting the season with the South Island Royals of the BC Elite Hockey U18 League.

The Victoria, BC native had one assist in two games with the Royals thus far this season. He was with South Island in 2020-21 as well and got into a trio of exhibition games.

Bulldogs name captains for 2021-22

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs unveiled their leadership corps on Friday, including a captain and three alternates. Donning the ‘C’ for the Bulldogs this season is 2001-born forward Stephen Castagna.

Alternate captains for Alberni Valley in 2021-22 are 2001-born defenseman Ryan Nause and 2001-born forwards Josh Zary and Josh Van Unen.

Vees set to pay homage to the 1986 Penticton Knights

The Penticton Vees announced plans to honour the 1986 Knights when the curtain lifts on the 2021-22 season. The Vees host Vernon on Oct. 8 and during the game will don special Knights jerseys to help commemorate the 35th anniversary of the team winning the Centennial Cup.

The Vees will also host a handful of players from the 1986 Knights team and conduct a ceremonial faceoff to mark the occasion.

Finley returned to the WHL by Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Lightning have assigned 2002-born forward Jack Finley (one goal in two games with Penticton in 2017-18) to the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League.

Finley played two games with the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch in 2020-21. He also played one game for the Chiefs before suffering an injury.

The St. Louis, MO product notched a goal and an assist in three games with the West Kelowna Warriors during the 2020-21 BCHL training season last fall.

Forward Nick Jermain (29 goals, 25 assists in 54 games with Merritt in 2015-16) has signed with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL for 2021-22.

The 25-year-old from Cos Cob, Connecticut had a goal and 13 points in 13 games for the Coventry Blaze in the Elite Ice Hockey League’s mini-season this past spring.

Defenseman Max Crozier (six goals, 23 assists in 49 games for Nanaimo in 2017-18) and forward Kohen Olischefski (38 goals, 87 assists in 124 games with Chilliwack from 2014-17) have been named alternate captains by the Providence College Friars for the 2021-22 NCAA season.

Crozier is a junior at Providence this season. The 21-year-old from North Vancouver, BC has 24 points in 50 NCAA games for the Friars over the last two seasons.

Olischefski calls Abbotsford, BC home. He is a senior at Providence after playing the last four seasons at the University of Denver. He was captain for the Pioneers in 2020-21 and has 53 points in 134 career NCAA games.

Kehler heads to Idaho for 2021-22

Port Coquitlam, BC’s Colton Kehler (25 goals, 14 assists in 93 games with Cowichan Valley and Langley from 2013-15) has signed with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL.

In 2020-21, the 24-year-old forward played with Herner EV 2007 of Oberliga, which is the third tier of pro hockey in Germany. He finished with 38 points in 35 games.