The off-season makeover of the West Kelowna Warriors continued Monday.
The Warriors completed their third deal in 10 days, Monday, snagging 20-year-old forward Garrett Forster from the Victoria Grizzlies in exchange for overage forward Brayden Gelsinger.
The Warriors also receive future considerations from the Grizzlies in the deal.
Forster, a native of Delta, has played four seasons in the B.C. Hockey League with four different teams. In Victoria last season, he recorded 17 goals and 45 points in 45 games.
“We are very excited to be adding a player with this experience level and offensive ability,” said head coach and GM Rylan Ferster.
In Gelsinger, the Warriors give up a player who put up 37 points, including 12 goals, in 39 games after he was acquired Nov. 3 from the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
Last week, the Warriors added 19-year-old defenceman Tyler Anderson in a deal that saw forward Josh Bly go to the Kindersley Klippers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
Prior to that, West Kelowna sent 19-year-old goaltender Scott Patton to Oakville of the Ontario Junior Hockey League in exchange for overage netminder Daniel Mannella.
The Warriors open up training camp at the end of August.
They open the regular season with a home-and-home series with Merritt Sept. 11 at Royal LePage Place and Sept. 12 in Merritt.
The West Kelowna Warriors have beefed up their back end.
The Warriors announced Wednesday the acquisition of 19-year-old defenceman Tyler Anderson in a two player deal with the Kindersley Klippers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
The Warriors gave up 19-year-old forward Josh Bly in the deal.
Anderson, who hails from Niverville, Manitoba, had three goals and eight assists in 48 games this past season. The 6’4, 200 pound rearguard also picked up 95 penalty minutes.
“We’re adding a quality defenseman with Tyler,” said head coach and general manager Rylan Ferster.
“He is a big body who will play some quality minutes for our team.”
Bly will be returning to Saskatchewan where he lit up the midget league in 2013-2014. He registered 65 points in 41 games that season, while putting up 40 points the year prior.
The Klippers are also familiar with Bly, as he played one game as an affiliate three seasons ago.
“We would like to thank Josh for his time with the hockey club, and wish him the best of luck in the SJHL,” added Ferster.
Bly finished with 9 goals and 7 assists for the Warriors last season.
Anderson will be in town when the Warriors open up training camp at the end of August.
The West Kelowna Warriors have gotten older between the pipes.
On Friday The Warriors announced the acquisition of goaltender Daniel Mannella (95) from the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League in exchange for goaltender Scott Patton (96).
Mannella, who played the last three seasons in the OJHL, finished this past season with a 17-14-1 record, posting a 2.08 GAA and a .927 save percentage.
He finished second in the league in goals against average and save percentage.
In 122 games with the Blades Mannella was 53-53-1 with a 2.82 GAA.
"I'm excited to be joining a quality organization like West Kelowna. I feel that I'm ready to take the next step and play at the highest junior level possible." Mannella said recently.
"I've also heard lots of positive remarks about living in Kelowna and look forward to joining the community and helping the team win hockey games."
Patton was set to enter his second season with the Warriors. As a rookie he appeared in 20 games last season posting a 10-2-0-5 record with a 3.65 goals against average.
Injuries hampered him for much of the second half of the season and parts of the playoffs.
"We would like to thank Scott Patton for his time with the Warriors," said head coach/GM Rylan Ferster.
"He is a great kid and stepped up throughout the season with great efforts between the pipes. He always gave us a chance to win and we wish him the best of luck."
Meantime, the Warriors have also made a change behind the bench.
Shea Naka has rejoined the club. He will serve as assistant coach replace Brent Gough who is moving on to a position with the Arizona Bobcats AAA program.
Gough spent five seasons as assistant coach/assistant general manager with the Warriors.
"Brent is one of the hardest working guys in the BCHL,” said Ferster.
“I’ve always maintained that he could be a great head coach in this league, and I know he will do great things in Arizona.”
Gough will remain a member of the Warriors organization as the assistant GM and director of player personnel.
Naka was an assistant coach with the Warriors two seasons ago before moving on to the Pursuit of Excellence program last season.
“Shae is so good when it comes to video,” said Ferster.
"We have done a lot of video analysis work with our players in the past, and that will continue to be a strong component of what we do. He is also an excellent teacher of the game, and I look forward to working with him again.”
West Kelowna will open training camp Aug. 24.
UPDATE 3:30 P.M.
The Wenatchee Wild will join the BCHL as its 17th franchise starting with the 2015-16 season, the team and league announced Monday at a media conference held in the central Washington city.
“The BCHL is gaining a strong franchise in the Wenatchee Wild and we value the passion and professionalism they bring to our league,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale. “The Wild will quickly develop rivalries with our existing franchises and I believe they will be a big draw in opposing buildings.”
The Wild had been a member the North American Hockey League (NAHL) since the 2008-09 season. They have had a winning record in each of their seven seasons of existence and this past season, they had six players on their roster committed to NCAA Div. I programs. Playing out of Wenatchee’s Town Toyota Center, the team averages about 3,000 fans at home games.
Head coach Bliss Littler, a native of Minot, N.D., is entering his 22nd year as a Junior hockey coach.
“We could not be more excited or humbled to be joining the BCHL,” said Littler. “Knowing the history and reputation of the league, be it sending players to play NCAA Division I hockey, NHL draft picks or the professionalism of the member teams and league have, we look forward to being a good league member on and off the ice.”
As a U.S.-based club, the Wild will be allowed to roster a maximum of four Canadian players.
With today’s announcement, they become the first U.S.-based franchise in the BCHL since the Bellingham Ice Hawks, who operated from 1990 to 1995.
The long-rumoured addition of an American team into the B.C. Hockey League appears to be upon us.
A news conference is being held in Wenatchee, Wash., this afternoon to announce a franchise for that city.
Rumours have swirled for several years that the Wentachee Wild, a team in the North American Hockey League, would make the jump to the BCHL.
BCHL commissioner John Grisdale is in Wenatchee for today's announcement.
Prior to the 2011-12 season, Wenatchee played a series of exhibition games against BCHL opposition.
There's no word yet as to which division the Wenatchee team will compete in, or whether the divisions will be realigned to accommodate the extra team.
Players who once donned the maroon and gold of the West Kelowna Warriors will gather next weekend for their 3rd annual charity golf and hockey weekend.
Dozens of current and former players led by Edmonton Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz and current forward Liam Blackburn will head the list of those in town for the event.
Players will tee up at Two Eagles Golf Course and Academy 1 p.m. Friday, May 29 then don the blades for a charity hockey game against members of the West Kelowna Fire Department at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 30 at Royal LePage Place.
The local chapter of Kid Sport and Tim Hortons Camp Day will will be the beneficiaries of proceeds from the golf tournament.
Tickets are $125 each and some spots are still available.
Cost includes dinner and a silent auction.
There will also be on-course prizes including a chance to win $10,000 for a hole-in-one courtesy of Tim Hortons.
Contact the Warriors office at 250-769-7051 to reserve a spot in the golf tournament.
The following day players will gather out front at Royal LePage Place for a courtyard party with a Justin Schultz autographed jersey up for grabs.
At 6 p.m., local firefighters will lace up skates and trade hoses for hockey sticks as they face off against the Warriors alumni in what has become an annual tradition in West Kelowna the Shutout Sports Challenge Cup.
While each year teams play for bragging rights, something even more important is on the line, explains Alex Draper, Warriors Director of Business Operations.
“Obviously, from a fan standpoint it’s great fun to come out and watch former players take on our local fire fighting heroes, but the game is also an important fundraiser for the Food Bank here,” Draper explains.
“Admission to the game is by donation and while we all want fans to have a great time and enjoy the event, we also want to encourage everyone to come out and support the important work being done by our local Food Bank.”
Schultz says the weekend is something the players look forward to.
"We love it. We look forward to it every year. We get to see all the guys we used to play with and we're doing it for a good cause which is awesome. We can't wait for that weekend."
Schultz just completed his third season with the Oilers in the NHL.
And, while it was another disappointing season for the team on the ice the off season has been anything but.
The Oilers introduced a new head coach in Todd McLellan Tuesday. In seven seasons behind the bench in San Jose McLellan took the Sharks to the post season six times before missing out this past season.
"This will be my third or fourth coach now so it will be nice to maybe get a coach for more than a year and hopefully start winning," said Schultz of the coaching change.
The Oilers also brought in a new general manager in Peter Chiarelli who had previous success in Boston and, as luck would have it, will select first in this summer's entry draft and get first crack at Connor McDavid.
"It's exciting. All the guys are excited because it was something that was unexpected for us to get that pick. It's a great time to be an Oiler. I was in shock," said Schultz.
"That type of player only comes around once every-so-often. He's definitely a game changer and it's going to be exciting to have him."
"I was in shock. I didn't watch it, I was golfing and somebody told me. I was in awe. It's great.
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