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More major junior transplants in the BCHL

Previously, I wrote about a handful of players with major junior experience who came to play in the BC Hockey League. These players joined BCHL teams for several reasons, but a big motivator was the opportunity to get playing time or they were squeezed out by the Western Hockey League’s rule that allows only three 20-year-old players per team.

During that article, I said there would be more major junior players on the way and indeed, several major junior players found their way to the BCHL.

For this article, I’ll profile several more major junior transplants. These players played a minimum of one major junior game and like in my previous article, I’ll divide them by position.


For this section, I’ll profile three goalies. They are Jordan Fairlie, Cole Schwebius, and Kaeden Lane. All three of these goalies played at least one game of major junior hockey before joining their respective BCHL teams.

Fairlie played three seasons at the Okanagan Hockey Academy starting in 2016 before joining the Cariboo Cougars U18 squad for 2019-20. That same season, he played one WHL game for the Swift Current Broncos. He had previously signed a WHL Standard Player Agreement with them in August 2018. The Prince George Spruce Kings recruited Fairlie in October 2020 and the Fort St. John product has donned their jersey for the last two seasons.

Schwebius came to the Victoria Grizzlies in a trade with Salmon Arm. Previously, I wrote about Schwebius being released by the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets last October. He had a three-year major junior career with the Rockets and Seattle Thunderbirds. The Kelowna, BC native signed with the Silverbacks for the BCHL’s extended training camp in 2020 but didn’t play for them during the pod season. The Grizzlies acquired Schwebius from Salmon Arm on Nov. 2, 2021, for future considerations.

As for Lane, he played for the Burnaby Winter Club from 2014-18 and signed a WHL Standard Player with the Medicine Hat Tigers in September 2017. During the 2017-18 season, Lane played two games for the Tigers. Afterward, the product of Burnaby, BC joined the Grand Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Lane’s spent the last two seasons with the Penticton Vees after being acquired from the Storm in June 2020.


For this section, I’ll profile three forwards. They are Kjell Kjemhus, Copeland Fricker, and Salvatore Collara. Like before, all three forwards played major junior before joining their respective BCHL teams.

Before starting his junior career, Kjemhus played at the Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna, BC. During the 2016-17 season, he made his WHL debut with the Regina Pats. After moving to the Prince George Cougars, Kjemhus made his BCHL debut with the Vernon Vipers in 2018-19. Kjemhus then went back to the WHL with the Cougars, then Moose Jaw and Saskatoon. He rejoined the Vipers in September 2020.

Pre-junior hockey, Fricker played for the Selects Academy in Hartford, CT in 2018. Fricker joined the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs in 2020 and played 45 games over the course of a season and a half before being released this past January. He remains on Spokane’s 50-player protected list. After being cut loose by the Chiefs, Fricker joined the Vipers.

As for Collara, he played for the Seattle Jr. Thunderbirds 16U AAA team, getting into 13 games during the 2019-20 season. That same season, he debuted the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes. Collara played a dozen games in Lethbridge in 2020-21 and two games this past season before signing with the Wenatchee Wild in early November.


For this section, I’ll profile three defenders. They are Braden SmithLuke Rybinski, and Brendan Pentecost. These defenders played on WHL teams before coming to the BCHL.

Smith started with the Thompson Blazers BC Elite Hockey League program. After playing a few games with the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Kamloops Storm over the course of two seasons, Smith joined the Victoria Royals full-time for the WHL’s 2020-21 season. For 2021-22, Smith signed with the Vipers before being shipped to the Merritt Centennials in a blockbuster trade last December.

Before junior hockey, Rybinski skated at St. George’s School for three seasons. He started 2020-21 with the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s Delta Ice Hawks, playing one game before going to the Medicine Hat Tigers for the WHL season. Rybinski wound up splitting 2021-22 between the Tigers and Victoria Royals in the WHL and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in the BCHL.

Finally, Pentecost spent three years at the Delta Hockey Academy. After playing for the PJHL’s Port Moody Panthers in 2020-21, he joined the Vancouver Giants for the 2021 WHL pod season. After starting the 2021-22 season with Vancouver, he split his time between the Giants and the Coquitlam Express from mid-January until the end of the season.

An update on past major junior players highlighted

I’ll briefly cover three players I profiled in my last article on major junior players. These players are Carter Woodside, William Poirier, and Colin Campbell.

The Victoria Grizzlies traded Woodside to the Coquitlam Express for future considerations on Jan. 4. The 2001-born netminder played the remainder of his junior career with the Express.

After finishing his junior career in Salmon Arm in 2020, Poirier went to McGill University to play U SPORTS hockey.

Finally, Campbell wrapped his junior career with the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the end of this past season and is committed to Wilfred Laurier University for the 2022-23 season.