The Merritt Centennials have announced the acquisition of two players ahead of the 2019-20 season.
In a pair of moves, the Cents have acquired defenseman Olson Werenka (99) from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and forward Tanner Mortenson (00) from the Notre Dame Hounds of the SJHL for future considerations.
A Calgary, Alberta native standing at 6'2" and weighing 220 pounds, the left shot Werenka compiled 6 goals, 14 assists, and 102 penalty minutes while playing with Salmon Arm last season. He spent the majority of the previous year with the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the AJHL where he had 5 goals, 11 assists and 226 penalty minutes.
Head Coach and General Manager Barry Wolff says that Werenka is more than just a big body.
"Olson brings a 200 ft game, he has a high end compete, is hard to play against, and doesn't mind playing a more tough and rugged game. We're also hoping he can continue to build on his offensive totals from last season."
Mortenson, also a Calgary native, is 6'0 and 180 pounds and has spent 5 seasons at the prestigious Notre Dame School. Last season with the Hounds Mortenson went pointless in 14 games with 25 penalty minutes.
Coach Wolff says that Mortenson will bring some much needed character to the team.
"Tanner is a high end character kid, he plays hard, and finishes every hit."
Both will report to main camp in August.
The BCHL has announced changes to it's Showcase format, but the Centennials will have some familiar adversaries on the ice.
The league has made a number of adjustments to it's showcase which include:
The Showcase schedule will begin at Prospera Centre in Chilliwack with games on Oct. 2 and 3 and will shift venues for the weekend action at South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton on Oct. 4 and 5.
The Centennials are one of the only teams to split time between the two venues. They will head down to Chilliwack to play on Thursday October 3rd against Former Head Coach Joe Martin and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at 4:30pm, and will follow that up by playing last years first round opponent, the Trail Smoke Eaters at the SOEC in Penticton at 4pm on Friday October 4th.
The game at the showcase will be the first meeting for Head Coach Joe Martin against his former club.
The Merritt Centennials have announced their schedule for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
The pre-season will see the Cents host two home games. One on August 24th against the Penticton Vees, and the other on August 30th against the Prince George Spruce Kings.
The season kicks off with the Murray GM Home Opener against the Wenatchee Wild on Friday, September 6th and will feature some new exciting incentives to keep fans coming back for more.
Parent's Weekend and the Ice Breaker will be on the weekend of October 25th - October 27th. On the 25th the Cents will face off against the Langley Rivermen, the Ice Breaker will be on the evening of the 26th, and the Penticton Vees will visit on Sunday afternoon on the 27th.
The reigning champion Prince George Spruce Kings visit the NVMA on November 22nd.
Teddy Bear Toss night will be December 21st, and the new year kicks off with a game against first round opponents of 2018-19 Trail Smoke Eaters on January 3rd.
The Cents Mental Health Night will be on February 22nd against the Trail Smoke Eaters.
Full schedule of home and away games are available here: https://bchl.ca/stats/schedule/15/40/all-months/homeaway?league=1&gametype=-1
Season Tickets are still available at the Marketing Office across from Canada Post!
The Merritt Centennials have a strong contingent of Alumni attending development camps across the NHL.
Getting his first taste of an NHL development camp is Kamloops native Diego Cuglietta who will suit up with the Dallas Stars this week after signing an ATO with their AHL Affiliate Texas Stars. Finishing his senior year at Lake Superior State University, Cuglietta led NCAA Division I Men's Hockey in goals scored (25), while ranking second in faceoff wins (501), he set career highs in goals and points (41) this season, tied his career high in assists (16), and led the Lakers with a +24 rating this season. Cuglietta played for the Centennials from 2012 -2015 and amassed 128 points in 149 games played over 3 seasons of hockey in the BCHL. His best offensive year came in 2013-14 where he scored 19 goals and added 37 assists for 56 points in 53 games played.
Former Cent, and now former Providence College Friar, Brandon Duhaime signed a two-year, entry-level contract that starts next season with the team that drafted him in the 4th round of the 2016 draft - The Minnesota Wild. In 42 games with Providence this past season, Duhaime was among their leading scorers tallying 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points. All three categories were career-highs for the 6-1, 200-pound forward. Duhaime also led the Friars in penalty minutes (53), tied for second in game-winning goals (three) and ranked third in scoring. The 21-year-old finished with 72 points (22 goals and 50 assists) in three seasons with Providence. This will be Duhaime's 3rd development camp with the Wild.
Former Centennials defender Josh Teves is looking to find a spot on the Vancouver Canucks blue line in years to come after signing a one year entry-level deal earlier this spring. Teves last played for the Centennials in 2014-15 where he put up 5 goals and 28 helpers in 57 games played. He was also exceptional in the classroom receiving the RBC National Junior A Scholarship for $5000 which is only awarded to one player in the whole CJHL.
Playing a season with the Centennials in 2015-16 goaltender Cole Kehler will be attending LA Kings Development camp. He was signed as a free agent out of the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL and got time with the AHL's Ontario Reign.
More former Cents could be involved in upcoming NHL development camps hosted in July.
Derek Sweet-Coulter has been named Assistant Coach and Assistant GM for the 2019-20 season.
Sweet-Coulter was formerly the Head Coach and GM of the Red Lake Miners of the SIJHL for the past 4 seasons. Derek had a record year, as he was awarded Coach of the Year in the SIJHL, as well as getting recognized with an honorable mention for the CJHL's Coach of the Year for his efforts this past season. Behind the bench last season, he lead the Miners to a 38-15-3 record, good enough for 2nd place in the league. In the playoffs, his Miners fell to the Thunder Bay North Stars in the league finals in 5 games. Sweet-Coulter has also been on the coaching staff for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challange as an assistant coach in 2017 and 2018 winning gold and bronze medals respectively.
Head Coach and General Manager Barry Wolff says Sweet-Coulver will bring a wealth of experience to the organization.
"Derek's professionalism, passion, and experience was something that we felt would be a strong asset to our Assistant Coach and Assistant General Manager Position."
The new Assistant Coach will get his first chance to evaluate talent at Cents main camp in August.