The Merritt Centennials announced today that they've committed to defender Alek Erichuk (01) for the upcoming season.
The hulking Kamloops native standing at 6'4" and 210 pounds is poised to join the Cents after spending the last two seasons with the Nelson Leafs of the KIJHL. The right handed D-man was relied upon in all situations last year with the Leafs putting up 7 goals and 18 assists for 25 points in 29 games. He was also able to add 4 points in 6 games before the playoffs were suspended.
Head Coach and General Manager Derek-Sweet Coulter says that Erichuk has a lot of different abilities that will make him a good defender in this league.
"Alek is a solid puck moving defenceman, he is able to take away time and space quickly from opponents with his long reach and keeps the play in front of him. He has great awareness with the ability to read the play and make the high percentage decision. He sees the ice very well, and had success as the QB on his teams power play last season where he excelled at getting his shot through from the point."
Erichuk says that he's excited to join a storied franchise that's close to home.
"There's a long hockey history in Merritt which shows how much support this team has from the community. I'm proud to get to play for the Cents and be a part of that history. I'm also really happy to play close to home. I live in Knutsford and Merritt is only 45 minutes away. My family will be able to come to all of our home games, which my mom is very excited about."
Erichuk adds that he likes to get into the action at both ends of the ice.
"I see the ice well so I think I play a two-way game. I know when to support the rush from behind and defend with my stick and body. But I'm also a passer who can join the rush and make plays."
During the off-season Erichuk plans to do what he can in the limited capacity to be ready for camp.
"This summer I'm working on increasing my foot speed, building up my endurance, and getting bigger and stronger."
Coach Sweet-Coulter is excited to not only add the skills that Erichuk can bring to the team, but the character.
"Alek is a high end character person who understands our family first culture, and is extremely grateful and excited to be a part of the Merritt Centennials."
The Centennials would like to welcome Alek and his family to the team and the Nicola Valley community.