With the offseason in full swing, the Langley Rivermen continue to announce new commitments for the 2020-21 season. There is a total of nine players moving on from last season, so there will be a fair amount of open roster spots to be filled. On Sunday, they announced the commitment of Ontario native Joseph Messina.
The 18-year-old is excited about coming to Langley to play for the Rivermen. “I was talking to a couple of other BCHL teams but Langley was where I wanted to be. (I am impressed with) the location, the fans, the organization and most importantly the coaches and where they saw me. When I first talked to coach (Bobby) Henderson I immediately knew it was where I wanted to play.”
Messina is a 5’10”, 170-pound defensemen from Woodbridge, Ontario who suited up for the Selects Hockey Academy U18 team this past season. In 54 games with his U18 team in 2019-20, Messina finished with two goals and 15 assists.
Before joining the Selects Academy, Messina played for The Hill Academy U16 Prep team in the 2018-19 season where he racked up 25 goals and 40 assists in 74 games. He finished the season as the team’s top-scoring defensemen and in the top five overall.
“Fans can expect me to bring a dynamic fast-paced, puck-moving game from the back end. I love to jump in the play and make things happen,” he explained.
CHA family member Joseph Messina scoring a beauty GWG for the Hill Academy U16 to send his team to ECEL Finals. Great effort Joseph and good luck playing for the Championship! @TheHillAcademy #chahockey #gamewinner #skill #sniper #smooth #hockey #goal pic.twitter.com/9jDvdeTaEX
— CompleteHockeyAcademy (@HockeyComplete) February 11, 2019
Since the departure of key defencemen Jake Livingstone, Ryan Helliwell, and Brian Scoville the Rivermen have some open spots on the back end they need to fill. They desperately need to find someone who can fill an offensive defensemen role left behind by Livingstone. It is especially key if the Rivermen want to see themselves as a top team in the BCHL next season.
Big shoes to fill on Langley’s blueline
If Messina is able to find his offensive game early he could potentially help in part to fill the role that Livingstone once had on the blueline. He describes himself as a fast puck-moving defenceman who likes to jump into the play, so there is a chance that he could even help with the Rivermen’s powerplay.
Obviously this is not a guarantee, I’m not saying he will come in and light up the league right away. Once the roster for next season starts to take shape it will become clear on where Messina fits in on the depth chart. As of right now, the Rivermen have four returning defencemen in Colten Kovich, Will Dow-Kenny, Stephen Sielsky, and Tanner Komzak. They are all expected to return and have key roles on the team.
With this latest announcement, Messina is the fifth player and first defenceman to commit to the Rivermen this offseason. He joins Brandon Milberg, Morgan Winters, Seamus Campbell, and Mark D’Agostino as the newest recruits set to play at the George Preston Recreation Centre this fall. Out of all of Langley’s commitments announced thus far, four out of the five players have already committed to attend NCAA Division I schools after their time in the BCHL is done.
The Rivermen are expected to announce more players over the next few weeks simply due to the fact that teams are unable to hold spring prospect camps due to COVID-19.