Powell River Kings update: New partnerships and roster changes

As the regular season progressed, the Powell River Kings made several changes. A new partnership resulted in new players joining the roster and several more players departing the team.

On Nov. 9, the Kings announced a partnership with the Birch Group as their new managing partner. Stephen Seeger Sr. is now the Kings’ President and Assistant General Manager, overseeing business and hockey operations.

The Kings also announced the hiring of a new General Manager, as former National Hockey League player and six-time Stanley Cup champion Glenn Anderson took the helm. This month, Anderson became the Kings’ new Head Coach. Meanwhile, Aaron Reid is the new Director of Business Operations.

As for the roster, several players left Powell River and the Kings welcomed many new players to the roster. One of those players is related to the Birch Group. This article is about the changes off and on the ice, starting at the top.

New partners from Connecticut

The Birch Group are owners of the Eastern Hockey League’s Connecticut Roughriders. The Roughriders are affiliates of the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the United States Hockey League.

According to the Powell River Kings, the relationship with the Birch Group began this past March. The Powell River Kings Society was seeking potential new ownership for the team and also looking to restructure the organization’s operations.

What followed was the formation of a working relationship that saw Seeger Sr. appointed as President. While doing so, he continues to serve as the Roughriders’ General Manager and Assistant Coach.

Before the partnership was announced, Roughriders defender Henryk Lasky joined the Kings roster. He’s not the first player to make his way to Powell River from Cedar Rapids.

A legend comes to Powell River

On Nov. 18, as part of the Kings’ announcement regarding the management restructuring, Chad Van Diemen was moved from General Manager to Vice-President. In his place, Anderson will serve as GM.

During his NHL career, Anderson won five Stanley Cups — four with the Edmonton Oilers and one with the New York Rangers. Before starting his professional career, the Vancouver product played junior A hockey in the British Columbia Hockey League with the Bellingham Blazers. He also made appearances in the Western Hockey League with the New Westminster Bruins and Seattle Breakers.

According to the Kings’ website, Anderson has known Seeger for over 20 years and it’s that connection that brought the Hockey Hall of Famer to Powell River.

As mentioned above, Anderson also now serves as Powell River’s bench boss after head coach Brock Sawyer and assistant coach Kyle Bodie were relieved of their duties on Dec. 11.

New Kings’ players

As I wrote above, Lasky has signed with the Kings after playing the last two seasons with the Roughriders. Across 85 games, Lasky scored two goals and 11 assists in Cedar Rapids.

Also joining Powell River’s roster is defender Zach Rizzo, who the Kings acquired in a trade with the Chilliwack Chiefs. In return, the Chiefs received future considerations.

Both players were acquired to strengthen the Kings’ defense. Lasky has two years of junior A experience from his time with the Roughriders and as for Rizzo, he’s a heavy physical player who was brought in to help the Kings defensive play.

Also coming from Chilliwack is defender Vit Beran for future considerations. He is a Czechian defender who is in his first BCHL season. He played 10 games with the Chiefs before the trade.

Departing Kings players

On Nov. 16, the Kings announced a roster update to announce the departure of four players from the team.

Forward Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero has joined the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers after playing 36 games in Powell River and totalling 17 goals and 17 assists.

Returning to Brunswick School Greenwich, Connecticut are forward Brendan Giles and goaltender William Baker. Giles played 17 games for the Kings, notching one assist. Meanwhile, Baker played five games for the Kings as the third goalie rotating in with Owen Crudale and Tresor Wotton.

Finally, defender Kieran Chung was released from Powell River. Like Lasky, Chung also played for the Connecticut Roughriders before coming to the BCHL. In 10 games with the Kings, he didn’t register any points.

What’s next?

With all these changes, I wonder what will come next. When the Kings announced the Birch Group partnership, there was a quote regarding the team’s restructuring and how it will “facilitate the goal of transforming the Kings into a marquee BCHL franchise”.

Related article: Powell River Kings: Always a bridesmaid, never the bride

Several Kings’ teams over the years have had regular season and playoff success. From 2009 to 2012, Powell River made it to the BCHL Fred Page Cup final series four consecutive times. With Anderson and Seeger Sr. at the helm, it’s a return to glory that fans on the Sunshine Coast are hoping for.