Merritt Centennials
Q101 is the Home of the Cents!

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Day 2 of Main Camp saw a return to the traditional team practices with an intrasquad game to cap off the night. 

In the Intrasquad game it was Team White who ran up the score with a 10-3 victory over Team Red. 

Returning player Brad Cocca led the way for Team White with 3 goals on the night, and got plenty of help from linemates Mathieu Gosselin and Brendan Schneider. Gosselin had 2 goals and an assist, while Schneider provided 2 helpers.

On the blueline, Colten Gerlib had a stand out game with 2 goals and 3 assists. 

Overall, Team white saw 8 of their 10 goals come from returning players save for one a piece by newcomers Brett Pfoh and Bud Johnson. 

Team Red saw all their contributions come from the blueline as two returning veterans lit the lamp: Mike Van Unen and Mattias Dal Monte to go along with Preston Strafford. 

Head Coach and General Manager Joe Martin said other than the scoreline there was plenty to like out there.

"I saw some chemistry starting to develop, especially between that top line for Team White of Cocca, Gosselin and Schneider. Saw some good things from Team Red too despite the score, it will make for some hard decisions for sure."

Martin adds that he expects some decisions to be made following the final intrasquad matchup on Wednesday night, but urges players to work their way onto the team before putting their skills on display. 

"These guys may be the best players on their teams, but to make this team they need to put that aside and just bring a simple game plan."

The final game of Main Camp goes Wednesday night before the first exhibition game against the Vernon Vipers on Friday. 

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The Merritt Centennials have shifted their exhibition schedule to include an extra home game.

Originally, the Cents had planned on partnering with the Prince George Spruce Kings to host a hockey camp and exhibition game in Burns Lake, but due to wildfires in the area and the need of the arena for an evacuation facility the teams had to find a new venue.

The teams have agreed to move the game scheduled for Friday August 31st at 7pm to the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena in Merritt with all the details remaining the same except for the location.

The change means that along with a home game against the Vernon Vipers this Friday August 24th, there will be an additional chance to watch the Cents wrap up their preseason at home on the 31st.

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Merritt Centennials began Main Camp with something new. 

The Cents were the first to use the new gymnasium and fitness facilities at NVIT for their fitness tests. The 40 players attending camp were split into two groups, Red and White, and pitted against eachother in a series of physical challenges: the grueling beep test, a steady bench press to a metronome, standing long jump, and a last man standing V-up competition. 

Standouts in the beep test were veteran Nick Wicks and Brett Pfoh, who each were the last men standing for their respective teams. 

Head Coach and General Manager Joe Martin says he was happy with the results of the fitness testing.

"The top 3 finishers were all Centennials, and there were some new players that were sprinkled into the top 10 in each exercise which is nice to see."

The day was capped off with some 3v3 hockey. Team Red topped Team White 11-6 with goals coming from all over the lineup in the test of skill and speed. Former affiliate player Frazer Dodd was among the most impressive with 3 goals on the night. 

Martin adds that he will be looking for  his players to be living in the moment. 

"3 on 3 practice was more about getting their feet and hands working together. A lot of these guys have been on the ice but haven't been on the ice together. Red vs White again tomorrow, and hopefully there's a little more structure."

Day 2 will see both teams practice in the morning followed by a full intrasquad scrimmage at 7pm.  

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Main camp set to begin with 40 players vying for 23 spots on the Merritt Centennials.

Of the 40, 14 players represented the Centennials last season. Nick Wicks, Rylan Van Unen, Christian Sabin, Brad Cocca, Mathieu Gosselin, Brendan Schneider and Matt Kopperud are carry overs from the forward core. Joey Berkopec, Mike Van Unen, Mattias Dal Monte, Jackson Munro, and Colten Gerlib will once again man the blueline. In net, the Cents will lean on Austin Roden and Vincent Duplessis between the pipes.

There are 3 Merritt locals, all defensemen, who will have a chance to impress the coaching staff: Atreyu Johnny who plays with the Merritt Midget program, Talon Zakall who plays with the Yale Elite, and the youngest is Chase Cooke who plays with Thompson Bantam. All 3 were also at the Centennials Spring Camp.

Other names of note include forward Frazer Dodd, who was an affiliate player with the team last season, Brett Roloson who registered over a point per game at Shawnigan Lake School Prep last season, and is the son of former NHL goaltender Dwayne Roloson, and Josh Van Unen, younger brother of Rylan and Mike, who also posted over a point per game at Shawnigan Lake last year.

Whether a returning player, or someone looking to fight his way onto the team, Head Coach and General Manager Joe Martin says he expects the veterans to lead the way.

"I think it's going to be a fast, skilled camp, but super competitive. It's led by our veterans, that's the hope, that's the desire, it's led by our veterans and you look for them to set the bar, and it starts Monday morning with fitness testing."

Camp begins with registration and opening remarks at 10am Monday morning at the NVMA.

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Six of the seven BCHL players selected at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft in Dallas play for Interior Division clubs.

Penticton Vees defenceman Johnny Tychonick was picked 48th overall by the Ottawa Senators.

The Detroit Red Wings selected Trail Smoke Eaters defenceman Seth Barton 81st.

League champion Wenatchee Wild had two players drafted 3 picks apart; Defenceman Slava Demin at 99th to the Vegas Golden Knights, and BCHL MVP Jasper Weatherby to the San Jose Sharks at 102nd.

Two Vernon Vipers were also selected; Forward Brett Stapley went 190th overall to the Montreal Canadiens, and Ty Taylor was chosen 214th by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The only non-Interior Division player selected was Langley Rivermen Forward Angus Crookshank, picked 126th by Ottawa.

Seven BCHLers selected in one NHL Entry Draft ties a league record.

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