Merritt Centennials
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The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce they’ve recruited Jacob Dewitt (04) of the Pursuit Of Excellence Hockey Academy and Hunter Brown (03) of the Cariboo Cougars to play with the team for the upcoming season.

Despite his young age, Dewitt is a big body at 6’4″, 200 pounds. The 16 year old from Sicamous, is a draft pick of the Regina Pats of the WHL, and spent last season at the POE Hockey Academy where he tallied 4 goals and 10 assists in 36 games. He impressed throughout the Fall Evaluation Camp and the coaching staff decided to add him to the roster.

Assistant Coach Levi Stuart says that Dewitt’s size and skill will help him fit in with the team and the BCHL.

“We are extremely excited to add Jacob to our group. He comes from a great family and fits into our team first culture perfectly. He’s a big kid and uses his long stick to his advantage and can be a physical presence for us.”

Stuart adds that he also expects Dewitt to be able to help in the attacking zone.

“Jacob also can contribute offensively with his skill and shot, as well as his ability to use his smooth skating to escape situations breaking the puck out and jumping into the rush when given the right opportunity. Along with his natural talent, we think Jacob’s Hockey IQ is very high for his age. We couldn’t be happier about adding him to our group.”

Hunter Brown hails from Fort St. John, and played for the Cariboo Cougars of the BC U18 League last season. In his first year on the under 18 team, Brown put up 16 goals and 14 assists in 39 games. Another young forward who doesn’t lack for size, Brown is 6’1″ and 195 pounds and brings a power forward mentality to the ice.

AC Stuart says that Brown is another kid who is going to fit in well with the culture of the team while bringing a lot of potential.

“We are so excited to be adding Hunter to our Cents family. He is an outstanding person and team mate and will be a perfect fit for our dressing room. He has all of the intagibles to be an all around high end player. He is an outstanding skater and keeps his feet moving at all times. He has an elite shot with a pro release and knows how and when to use it. He is a big body and a strong kid who has the potential to be an elite new age power forward at whatever level he plays.”

The Cents would like to welcome Jacob, Hunter and their families to the team and the Nicola Valley.

Look for more announcements of additions to the Cents roster before the start of the teams extended training camp.

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The Merritt Centennials have acquired defender Liam Visram (00) from the Nanaimo Clippers in exchange for future considerations.

A Langley native, Visram thinks defense first on the back-end. Spending the season with a deep Clippers team last year Visram got into 41 games and supplied 1 assist on the campaign, but is known more for his ability to keep the offense at bay than provide it. In addition to his play on the ice, last season Visram won the Shaw Community Hero award for his charitable work off the ice. A type 1 diabetic, Visram has inspired other young athletes to follow in his footsteps despite the challenges.

Director of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager John Stuart says that Visram will be a welcome addition to the d-core and to the locker room.

"Liam is a player we have talked about over the last few months on trying to obtain. Visram is a stay at home dman that takes extreme pride in his defensive play, but more than that Liam brings outstanding character, heart, and leadership. I have known Liam and his family for about 12 yrs and I know how great a person he and his family are. With the culture we are trying to build here Liam is a perfect fit. He has been honored as Shaw community hero award and is huge supporter of Salvation Army and other charitable organizations. I cannot say enough good things about this young man , we are very happy to have him in Centennial family."

Visram joins Grayson Valente as 20 year olds on the blueline.

Merritt continues to add to its roster ahead of the beginning of their extended fall training.

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The Merritt Centennials have committed to two new players after finishing up development camp this week at the NVMA.

Josh Olson (01), sent the past three seasons in the KIJHL with Sicamous, Revelstoke, and Princeton.

Olson is a big body for the Cents standing 6’1 195 lbs. Last season the Salmon Arm native suited up in 41 games registering 16 goals and 19 assists. He also played six games with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks adding two assists.

“A kid who has some BCHL experience with Salmon Arm last year as an affiliate. A heavy player, physical, and good skills,” said Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter.

The second player joining the squad in Nolan Wall (02). He spent the past three seasons with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the BC U18 AAA league.

Nolan will also bring size to the roster at 6’0, 195. Last season he played in 37 games recorded 10 goals and 12 assists.

“Great kid, he played about 10 games with Coquitlam (BCHL) last year. Plays a real hard 200-foot game, he’s physical, and he’s a right-handed shot which is something we’ve been looking for,” added Sweet-Coulter.

With camp wrapped up, the Cents will be returning to the NVMA in a couple of weeks to begin their extended preseason which will run until December.

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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The Merritt Centennials announced this morning that they've committed to defender Lucas Lundy (02) for the upcoming season.

The Delta, BC native suited up last season for the Nanaimo Bucaneers of the VIJHL after a short stint with the Delta Ice Hawks of the PJHL to begin the year. Through 44 games, Lundy put up 2 goals and added 13 assists for 15 points along with 46 penalty minutes. Standing at 6'0" and 195 pounds, the right-handed defenseman is hoping to bring an all around game to the Centennials.

Director of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager John Stuart says that Lundy's play and character forced the Cents to tip their hand early.

"Our coaching staff has seen lots of video on Lucas, but wanted to see him in person and meet him. After coming to our Abbotsford and Merritt camp and seeing him compete on the ice and getting to meet him off the ice, he made the decision easy. We decided to commit to him now and not wait until our Fall Evaluation camp. He's an amazing young man with a tremendous work ethic, attitude and compete level. He's exactly what we want in an incoming player."

Lundy says that he's looking forward to being a part of the history in Merritt.

"I am very excited to be joining the Centennials. They are the longest operating team in the BCHL. It's a great organization with a lot of history. I am really looking forward to being a part of it, and contributing to the team's success however I can."
 
He adds that despite the challenging summer, he changed his approach to continue to get better.
 
"I had to adjust my off-season training a little bit due to Covid restrictions. But overall I put in lots of work both on and off the ice to improve my game and prepare for the season. I focused a lot on skating and cardio this off-season."
 
As for what Lundy thinks he will bring to the team, he says he will bring some tools to the table, but is willing to do anything he can to help the team win.
 
"I believe I will bring good size and strength to the back end. I try to play smart all over the ice and I have a very solid defensive game. I am looking forward to working with the coaches and my teammates and helping the team any way I can this season."
 
The Centennials would like to welcome Lucas and his family to the team and the Nicola Valley and look forward to having him join the community.
 
The Cents will look to add a few more players to the final roster after their Fall Evaluation Camp which begins next Monday.
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The Merritt Centennials concluded their Merritt ID camp on Sunday afternoon after a weekend of ice times at the NVMA.

Due to COVID-19, there were no parents or fans allowed entry into the building, but the Centennials coaching and support staff were able to get an uninterrupted look at some potential candidates for the team this year and in the future. Split into 3 groups of 17 and again into two teams from there, aspiring Cents faced off against each other in multiple ice sessions a day. The first few ice times were allotted to drills designed to emulate coaching philosophies in the defensive, neutral, and offensive zones: breakouts, break-ins, and preferences. From there the teams broke into 3-on-3 sessions where the players got to put their skill on display with all the open ice.

Director of Hockey Operations John Stuart says that there was a dozen players that impressed enough to get the invite to Fall Evaluation Camp.

"I was verry happy with the talent at camp. Plaers left camp exhausted and happy with how everything was run. Coaching and scouting staff did a tremendous job organizing and running the camp. We plan to take 12 players from this ID camp right onto our Fall Evaluation Camp which will be the last chance to impress before we select our final roster."

With an age group varying from 2001 born to 2005 born players, the coaches and evaluators had their hands full combing through the talent that graced the ice. A couple familial connections to the Centennials organization also got a look, and perhaps a glimpse into the future. Younger brother to current Cent Ben Ward, Sam Ward (05) skated with team Black. Cousin of incoming forward Walker Erickson, Merik Erickson (04) was between the pipes for the duration of camp. Nephew to broadcaster Jared Thomas, Oliver Melnychuk (05) suited up with a veteran laden team White. There was talent from all over the BC with players from the KIJHL, PJHL, BC Major Midget, the CSSHL and beyond all represented.

Head coach Derek Sweet Coulter says the camp was a success and was a team effort from everyone involved.

"We are grateful for every player who travelled to Merritt to be here for this camp. The weekend was a complete success because of all the humble people involved. We are looking forward to an incredible year with great selfless people who are giving themselves to this great organization and making it better every day."

The Merritt ID camp was a last chance to get a look at some outliers before the invite only Fall Evaluation Camp that will take place at the NVMA from  August 31st to September 3rd.

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