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.
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.
After 3 rounds of NHL playoff action, it's down to 3 Q101 listeners for the game-worn Merritt Centennials jersey.
At the start of the playoffs, we asked listeners to fill a Stanley Cup playoffs bracket, picking winners all the way to the Cup Final.
Courtney, Richard, and Debbie can now get their hands on the jersey, but we'll still need a tie-breaker after the Cup is awarded to either Vegas or Washington!
Round 1 is in the books, and 2 listeners went a perfect 8 for 8!
At the end of the playoffs, the participant with the most correct selections will win a game-worn Merritt Centennials jersey!
The offseason has begun in earnest and the Merritt Centennials will host their first camp of the year with 80 invitees who will split into 4 teams.
There will be some locals who have a chance to make the squad: Defenseman Atrayu Johnny, Goaltender Colton Macauley, and Forwards Anthony Tulliani and Liam Kelly all hail from the Merritt Midget program. Other locals who have gone abroad for their midget years include: Goaltender Brendan Culbertson from Atlanta in the USPHL (United States Premier Hockey League), Defenseman Talon Zakall from Yale Elite Prep, and Holden King from Niagara in the GMHL (Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League).
Also of interest there will be two younger brothers of current Centennials who will get a chance to crack the roster. Garrett Wicks younger brother of Nick Wicks has impressed with the Greater Vancouver Canadians this past season putting up 41 points in 40 games. Then there's the possibility of having a trio of brothers on the team with local Joshua Van Unen trying out to join twins Rylan and Michael. Joshua registered 40 points in 34 games with Shawnigan Lake last season.
Among the 80 players, there will also be two Affiliate Players who got action with the Centennials this season: Frazer Dodd and Yewta Plamendon. Dodd contributed 4 points over 7 games for the Cents, and 47 points over 40 games for the 100 Mile Wranglers of the KIJHL. Plamendon got into two games this season with the Cents against the Wenatchee Wild, but was unable to find the scoresheet, but with the Kamloops Storm he was able to add 23 goals and 40 points.
Spring Camp will start this Friday with fitness testing, small area games and scrimmages before wrapping up on Sunday.