Merritt Centennials
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Tristan Allen

The Merritt Centennials have committed to defender Tristan Allen (03) of the Thompson Blazers of the BC U18 AAA league for the upcoming regular season.

A native of Kamloops, Allen has spent the past few years in his hometown system growing as a player. In the 2019-20 season, Allen suited up for 40 games with the Blazers and scored a goal while adding 21 assists. Allen also snuck into 4 games in the CSSHL this season, scoring one goal this season before play was suspended due to COVID. The 5’10”, right-handed shot, stands at 170 pounds and looks to join former teammate Dylan Sydor on the Centennials.

Head Coach and General Manager says that Allen will be ready to make the jump to the BCHL.

“Tristan is a special player and person, he plays a very smart game and does everything with his head up. He comes from a great development program in Thompson with the Blazers led by Head Coach Chris Murray and his transition to our program will be seamless.”

Allen says that he’s been keeping his skills sharp and is excited to join the Cents.

“I have been on the ice and working out 4-5 times a week in order to keep my skills as sharp as possible with my past team. I’m super excited to join the Centennials because I’ve seen many great players pass through their organization onto college and even the NHL. I’m also excited to meet the players and the team staff as I’ve heard they are a really close group.”

Allen adds that he will bring some mobility to the Centennials blueline.

“The skills that I will bring to the Centennials are my hockey sense, competitiveness, skating ability, and my puck-moving skills.”

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Photos: Garrett James, Kyle Balzer

The Merritt Centennials are extremely proud to announce that hometown defenseman Talon Zakall has committed to Dartmouth College for the 2022-23 season.

After joining the Cents as a 16 year old, Zakall did more than play sheltered minutes as he got into 45 games as a rookie and contributed a goal and 10 points. Last season Zakall saw his ice time and responsibilities grow especially as the season wore on and veterans were traded for future pieces. He grew into a top pair option, and had to anchor the Centennials defense core through the latter half of the season and thrived under the pressure recording 6 goals and 24 points. His strong showing during his sophomore season garnered him some darkhorse consideration in the NHL Draft, but his name went uncalled. In the extended exhibition this fall, Zakall gathered 2 goals and 5 points through 7 games.

Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says that of all Zakall’s qualities it’s his willingness to endure and put the work in that’s most impressive.

“Talon persevered last season and took advantage of every opportunity that our program offers. Whether he was playing well or struggling he showed up and put in the work to get better every day as a hockey player and person. I am extremely proud to be his coach and to have played a small part in his future.”

Zakall says that he isn’t sure yet what he will focus on in college, but he will bring the same attitude to the classroom and to the locker room that he’s done with the Cents.

“I’m undecided on what I want to major in, but I’m just going to work hard to get good grades in my classes and continue to develop my hockey skills everyday.” He adds that the coaching staff at Dartmouth sold him on the program. “The coaching staff really drew me to Dartmouth, they have a great history of developing players and I’m extremely excited to work with them. Also the education there is unbelievable.”

Zakall says that the steps he’s taken wouldn’t have been possible without Merritt and the Cents.

“The Centennials have played a major part in getting me to where I am today. Can’t say enough good things about the organization and the people who have helped me along the way.”

In playing for Ivy League Dartmouth, Zakall will be going up against former team mates in Brad Cocca, Jackson Munro, and Mathieu Gosselin in the seasons to come.

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Cents News Graphic

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the inability to allow spectators in the NVMA, the Merritt Centennials are offering their fans with season tickets three options.

Option 1: A full refund. If you paid through the Showpass portal online your money can be refunded back to your card or account that you paid with. If you paid in the office. The Centennials will need your name and mailing address so that a cheque can be mailed to you. All additional Showpass fees will be refunded as well.

Option 2: Rollover. If you’d like to keep your money with us until next season, we are happy to hold your tickets, your seats and your payment until the 2021-22 season.

Option 3: Donation. There is no question that this year has been a difficult one for the whole community, and the Centennials are no different. For the first time, players are being charged to play and due to the pandemic team sponsorship is down. We know that some of our fans are well aware of the challenges the team faces from year to year, and if you’d like to help out, we would gladly accept a donation to the club. Your contribution will help ensure the players can pay a reduced fee in the coming months and continue to bring you entertaining hockey.

If at any point this season fans are allowed back into the arena, the Cents will be offering tickets on a game by game basis.

Email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Call or text – 250-378-3604

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The Merritt Centennials finished their preseason with a win against the Cranbrook Bucks after a complete game effort from the net out led to a 4-2 victory.

Early on it was goaltender Josh Dias leading the way as the Cranbrook Bucks were keeping the pressure on and firing everything on net. The Cents did a good job of keeping the Bucks to the outside and bided their time until a Cranbrook mistake. Rookie goalie Nathan Airey went out to play the puck and Walker Erickson picked the puck off in the right side corner before throwing it out front to a wide open Marlow and the Cranbrook native opened the scoring to make it 1-0. Noah Leibl was able to get the equalizer in the first period. After 1 shots were 23-7 in favour of the Bucks.

In the second period, the Cents started to get their legs underneath them and it was an end to end affair. Chances were good in both zones, but it was the goaltenders who were stealing the day. Walker Erickson stayed red hot and broke the deadlock by scoring a goal of the preseason candidate. Skating off the wall, Erickson chipped it up and over the Bucks defender, juked around the body, then gloved the puck down to his stick and fired it five-hole to make it 2-1. That would be the only goal of a penalty-less 2nd frame. Shots after 2 were 32-23 Bucks.

In the third period the Centennials got into some penalty trouble but were able to weather the storm with some solid defensive play. On one of their first chances in the offensive zone the Cents were able to capitalize after Wyatt Marlow kept the Bucks hemmed into the zone with the body, retrieved the puck and found Liam Visram who fired top corner glove side to make it 3-1 Cents. The Bucks were looking poised to pull the goaltender before they took a penalty for tripping, and the Cents made good on the powerplay. Brandon Dent fired one low blocker with a quick release from the high slot to make it 4-1. The Bucks got one back with 10 seconds left on a man advantage of their own but it wouldn't be enough as the Cents held on for the 4-2 win. Final shots were 43-32 Cranbrook.

After the game Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter said the team continues to build to prepare for the regular season.

"The team is definitely continuing to build off the momentum, they're bonding on the road, and we are starting to figure things out."

The Centennials preseason has been suspended due to the most recent provincial health order. Keep track of the BCHL and Cents social media for the latest developments.

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The Merritt Centennials announced this morning that they've acquired forward Deegan Mofford (01) from the West Kelowna Warriors in exchange for future considerations.

Hailing from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Mofford is built like a Rocky Mountain House at 6'3 and 220 pounds. The right hander has a heavy shot that can find the back of the net at even strength and on the powerplay. Last season in the regular season and playoffs after coming over from the Kelowna Rockets, Mofford tallied 11 goals and 9 assists in 33 games. Of his 11 goals last season 3 came with the man advantage and 1 came shorthanded. Through 5 games of the extended exhibition with the Warriors, Mofford has scored 1 goal and added 3 assists through 5 games.

Head Coach and General Manager Derek Sweet-Coulter says that Mofford is a piece that can fit anywhere in the Cents lineup.

"Deegan is a big, powerful, right handed forward that will fit our home rink very well. He brings a wealth of experience and can play up and down the lineup. He will make our forward group instantly better and we look forward to his contributions on and off the ice in Merritt."

Cents fans could see Mofford in the lineup as early as this Saturday against the Spruce Kings.

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