The Merritt Centennials have announced two new additions to their bench staff: Levi Stuart and Jason Purpur.
Stuart will join Head Coach and GM Derek Sweet-Coulter as an Assistant Coach. Stuart has worked primarily as a video coach since 2011 with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, the Vernon Vipers, and the Centennials last season. He has also been serving as an amateur scout for the Centennials.
Coach Sweet-Coulter says that he's excited to officially add Stuart to the staff.
"In his role as video coach last season Levi Brought professionalism, passion, energy, and a tireless work ethic to our group. He works extremely hard day to day and invests in building relationships with our players. Our players know he is a genuine person who cares about them and wants to help them reach their goals. Levi has earned the opportunity to join our staff as our full time assistant coach and I look forward to working with him on a daily basis."
Purpur joins the staff as the teams new Athletic Therapist. The Kamloops native worked with his hometown Blazers during the 2019-20 season, but before that was the Assistant Athletic Therapist with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. Purpur also served as a Medical Liaison for the Winnipeg Jets during the NHL Heritage Classic in 2019.
Director of Hockey Operations John Stuart says adding a person of Purpur's caliber to the team will help improve player support across the board.
In addition to the new hires, the Cents will also have Merritt locals Paul Barnes and Zach Wright return behind the bench for the 2020-21 season as Assistant Coaches.
The Merritt Centennials announced today they've committed to forward Jacob 'Cubby' Myers ('02) of the Vancouver North East Chiefs in the BCMML for next season.
The Port Moody, BC native is a power forward who stands at 6' and weighs 185 pounds and brings a right handed shot to the group. Myers goes by the nickname of Cubby, a moniker he's had since he was two years old. Playing with the Chiefs last season he was able to compile 11 goals and 7 assists through 38 games while also adding 132 penalty minutes.
Head Coach and General Manager Derek Sweet-Coulter says Myers is a team first player that's willing to use everything in his arsenal to help the team win.
"Cubby has a high compete level and plays with tremendous heart and goes to the hard areas of the ice. He embraces battling for the good ice and is physical when he needs to be especially in open ice. He skates well and has a very good skill set that we will look to continue to develop this season. He understands sacrificing himself for the better of the team is extremely important to our group. I believe he will fit in well with what we are building for this season."
Myers says that the team mentality the Centennials are building is what has him excited to join the club.
"I am super excited to join a program that has such a great structure, culture and community supporting the organization. A team that is dedicated to battling for eachother."
He adds that the biggest thing he will bring to the club is that he's prepared to do whatever it takes to help the team win.
"I believe that I bring a team first mentality, I am prepared to do whatever it takes on and off the ice."
While this seasons off-season is like no other, Myers says he's training in some unique ways to be prepared for next season.
"I have been constantly striving to stay prepared during these trying times by training with whatever I can get my hands on , the neighbours are starting to get tired of the banging."
The Centennials would like to welcome Cubby and the Myers family to the organization and the Nicola Valley.
Early Bird pricing is still available for season tickets, get them today here: https://www.showpass.com/o/merritt-centennials/
(Photos: Garrett James)
The Centennials are announced today that goaltender Ryan Winter (99) has committed to the MacEwan University Griffins (USPORTS) for next season.
Winter was a warrior in the blue paint for the Centennials this season as he routinely faced 40+ shots a night. Playing the lone year in Merritt he posted a 6-20-1 record with an .892 SV%, a 4.36 GAA, and 1 shutout. Despite missing some time due to injury, Winter still managed to get into 30 games over the season.
Head Coach and General Manager Derek Sweet-Coulter says that Winter is not just technically sound, but also has the desperation to make key saves.
"Ryan is a great goaltender and person. Calm and confident presence in the net. He's not only positionally sound and moves well, but he never gives up on a play and it led to some spectacular saves."
Winter says it's the ability to stay cool under pressure that caught MacEwan's eye.
"Coach Mike Ringrose liked my calmness in net, but I think what I've learnt most here in Merritt is mental toughness."
Coach Sweet-Coulter adds that the Griffins will be getting a motivated goaltender on their roster for next year.
"MacEwan is getting an ultra competitive goaltender who is hungry for success. He's a great person who is very deserving of the opportunity as he continues his education and hockey at the next level."
Early Bird season tickets are on sale now at https://www.showpass.com/o/merritt-centennials/ or call 378-3604 for more information.
The Merritt Centennials announced today that they've committed to defender Alek Erichuk (01) for the upcoming season.
The hulking Kamloops native standing at 6'4" and 210 pounds is poised to join the Cents after spending the last two seasons with the Nelson Leafs of the KIJHL. The right handed D-man was relied upon in all situations last year with the Leafs putting up 7 goals and 18 assists for 25 points in 29 games. He was also able to add 4 points in 6 games before the playoffs were suspended.
Head Coach and General Manager Derek-Sweet Coulter says that Erichuk has a lot of different abilities that will make him a good defender in this league.
"Alek is a solid puck moving defenceman, he is able to take away time and space quickly from opponents with his long reach and keeps the play in front of him. He has great awareness with the ability to read the play and make the high percentage decision. He sees the ice very well, and had success as the QB on his teams power play last season where he excelled at getting his shot through from the point."
Erichuk says that he's excited to join a storied franchise that's close to home.
"There's a long hockey history in Merritt which shows how much support this team has from the community. I'm proud to get to play for the Cents and be a part of that history. I'm also really happy to play close to home. I live in Knutsford and Merritt is only 45 minutes away. My family will be able to come to all of our home games, which my mom is very excited about."
Erichuk adds that he likes to get into the action at both ends of the ice.
"I see the ice well so I think I play a two-way game. I know when to support the rush from behind and defend with my stick and body. But I'm also a passer who can join the rush and make plays."
During the off-season Erichuk plans to do what he can in the limited capacity to be ready for camp.
"This summer I'm working on increasing my foot speed, building up my endurance, and getting bigger and stronger."
Coach Sweet-Coulter is excited to not only add the skills that Erichuk can bring to the team, but the character.
"Alek is a high end character person who understands our family first culture, and is extremely grateful and excited to be a part of the Merritt Centennials."
The Centennials would like to welcome Alek and his family to the team and the Nicola Valley community.
The Merritt Centennials are announcing that the Early Bird Deadline for season tickets is being extended to May 31st effective immediately.
The Deadline was set to expire on April 30th, but due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Cents want to ensure that season ticket holders can renew their seats at the discounted rate.
Business Operations Manager Jared Thomas says that despite having tickets available online this season, not all fans are able to take advantage.
"We know that some of our fan base may not be able to navigate the online purchasing procedure. We are extending the deadline until fans will get a chance to purchase tickets at the Marketing Office. If restrictions don't relax by May 31st, we'd look into extending the deadline once more."
The Cents would like to thank all the fans for their patience and support during this time.