Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rollheiser Interview

I'm still in Ottawa continuing my well earned vacation in the beautiful nation's capital. If you've never had a Beaver Tail you've got to try one. Hope you're enjoying Overtime with Jeff, I hear things are going well.

Mountain FM's Greg Nesteroff had a chance to talk to former Smokies goaltender Grant Rollheiser just a couple of hours after he was drafted over the weekend by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Trail's Co-MVP in 2007-08 is understandably thrilled, but still looking at things in a very practical way. You get the sense that the draft hadn't even sunk in by the time Greg talked to him.


I've had the chance to talk to him a bit myself since it all went down. The Leafs will be bringing Rollheiser a Toronto jersey with his name on it down to Boston University. I think that's a nice trophy for any drafted player. Clearly the journey isn't over, but this moment in and of itself is a giant accomplishment for any hockey player. Six players from the BCHL got drafted this season. Our league continues to develop more NHL and NCAA players than any Junior A league in Canada. Keep up the good work! Everyone in the BCHL should be proud of guys like Justin Schultz (Anaheim), Zac Dalpe (Carolina), Derek Grant (Ottawa), Taylor Stefishen (Nashville), Brett Hextall (Phoenix) and Rollheiser (Toronto).

I did an interview with a Hockey News Leafs blog on Rollheiser. You can check that out by clicking on this link. Pretty cool to see the Smoke Eaters name and Grant's name all around different spots of the internet.

Congrats again, Grant!


Just a note, Dallas Drake is bringing the Stanley Cup to Rossland for a parade on July 16th. Mountain FM is proud to be a part of this event that is being put together by Drake's family, the city and the local chamber. Hopefully many of you can come join us in Rossland that day to celebrate a wonderful achievement in a local man's life.

Talk to you all soon! Keep listening to Overtime with Jeff from 6pm to Midnight and to Mountain FM for your sports news every hour from 6am to 6pm.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Grant Rollheiser Drafted

Today is a great day for the Trail Smoke Eaters and the Nelson Leafs. However, above that today is a great day for Grant Rollheiser and his family. Just about two yeas ago Rollheiser was sitting in the back of a truck in Nelson wondering if he was doing the right thing leaving home to play for the Leafs in the KIJHL. A player who had nothing guaranteed to him earned the starting job in Nelson. He earned the starting job in Trail. He earned a scholarship to Boston University. Today Grant Rollheiser earned himself a ticket to the NHL.

The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted the Chilliwack native in the 6th round, 158th overall.

I'm in Calgary right now starting my vacation, but I had to get something up here. This is a wonderful achievement for Grant. To think how far he's come from not making his town's midget team to getting drafted by an original six NHL franchise. He's got perfect size for a goaltender. However, I believe his most impressive attribute is his ability to stay focused and emotionally controlled in a very stressful job. His poise is incredible I don't know how goaltenders do it. That could carry him a long way. Someday I truly believe it'll carry him into a Leafs jersey in the NHL.

For now it's just back to work trying to win the starting job at Boston University.

Congratulations to Rollheiser, his family, his long time coach Pasco Valana, the Trail Smoke Eaters and the Nelson Leafs. This is great news for all of them.

A sixth round draft pick is often considered a long shot to make the pros. That's just the way Grant Rollheiser likes it. Count him out and he'll prove you wrong every time.

Congrats to all the young men and especially the BCHL players who got drafted today. They're a credit to the league. We'll have more on this later. Watch for a story on Mountain FM news Monday morning and Overtime with Jeff on Monday night. Now I have to catch a plane!

Friday, June 20, 2008

More Trade Details and Audio! Audio! Audio!

Coach Jim Ingram called me again tonight to let me know there was more to the Trail/Merritt deal than originally reported. In addition to Cameron Brodie, the Smoke Eaters also gave up hard nosed 88 forward Brad Davis. In exchange, Trail gets skilled 88 forward Chad Gehon and defencemen Tyler Johns (89) and Shane Oatway (90).

Ingram waited on announcing the full deal so he could contact Davis directly. It's clear in talking to him that moving Davis was one of the last things the coach wanted to do. Brad was loved in the locker room and will do anything for his teammates. However, Merritt saw those same characteristics and made sure they got their man. The Centennials lost some serious skill, but they just became a lot tougher to play against. Cam Brodie and Brad Davis are going to punish road teams in that small barn.

I don't know a tremendous amount about Johns and Oatway. Johns is a 19 year old listed at 6' and 200 pounds. He apparently plays a solid game in his own zone with a physical element. He scored 11 points last year and 10 the season before so he's not going to put up huge numbers. Oatway is 6'1 and 180lbs at 18 years old. He scored 11 points in his rookie BCHL season. There should be room for him to grow and add some muscle there. Both guys hover at around 50 penalty minutes so they clearly aren't goons. Ingram likes the depth and size these guys bring to the Smokies. Hopefully they can help the team replace some of the things they lose with a talent like Brodie.

Interesting note about Gehon; he played Junior B hockey in the KIJHL with Smokies Captain Ryan Bulach. Playing on a line together in Sicamous in 05-06, Bulach put up 1.4 points per game while Gehon scored at 1.5 points per game clip. Kevin Walrod was also a part of a dangerous group of forwards that took Sicamous to the KIJHL title. Maybe Bulach and Gehon can find that magic together again.

Another question that will come out of this trade is how the Smokies will address toughness. Davis, Brodie and Patrick Martin probably accounted for 90% of Trail's fighting majors last year. With Brodie and Davis in Merritt who is going to pick up that slack? Ingram says he's got some irons in the fire on that front. He also believes they've added a lot of size and grit in their recruiting this off season. However, he is looking to bring in some tough guys to battle for a spot on the team.

This is the second trade Ingram has made with Merritt. The Smokies also sent Dylan Herold to the Cents as the future considerations for Kevin Koopman. There will be some familiar faces in the line-up when Trail takes on Merritt a early next season.

  • New York Rangers Coach Tom Renney on the Smokies banquet, the Rangers and his history in Trail (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
  • Smokies Goaltender Coach Pasco Valana on Grant Rollheiser's draft chances and his strengths (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
  • Smokies Coach Jim Ingram on their trade with Merritt (Part 1, Part 2)
  • New Smokies forward Chad Gehon on the trade from Merritt (Part 1)
  • Smokies President Tom Gawryletz on the new schedule and the banquet/golf tournament weekend (Part 1, Part 2)
  • New Smoke Eater Andrew Pickering discusses the trade from Victoria (Part 1, Part 2)
  • New Smokies gaoltender Marco Raimondo discusses the trade from Cowichan Valley (Part 1, Part 2)
  • Jim Ingram Interview (re: Andrew Pickering trade, re: Steve Ourosov to WHL, re: Stefan Decoss Div 3)
  • Former NHLer from Trail, Ceasar Maniago dicusses the Smokies banquet on July 11th and his career (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
  • Former NHLer from Nelson, Pat Price discusses the induction of his one time Oilers teammate Glenn Anderson into the Hockey Hall of Fame (Part 1, Part 2)
  • Castlegar Rebels Coach Brent Heaven discusses Tony Johnston's return, retaining his coaching staff, a new deal with Selkirk College and players moving on (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
  • Beaver Valley Nitehawks GM Terry Jones on their coaching change and new players (Part 1, Part 2)
  • Trail's Travis St. Denis on U17 try outs and joining the Beaver Valley Nitehawks (Part 1, Part 2)
  • Trail's Ashton Florko gets drafted by MLB's Chicago Cubs (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

...Just received word that Dallas Drake will be bringing the Stanley Cup to Rossland on Wednesday, July 16th. Mark that down! There will apparently be a parade. I'll let you know when I hear more.

...From the BCHL website: "The Quesnel Millionaires Hockey Club transfer the playing rights of Tanner Hlookoff (88)(F) to the Souix Lookout Flyers Hockey Club of the SIJHL for future considerations." Hlookoff is a West Kootenay native so the SIJHL is a long way from home. Hopefully he finds a good place there.

...No Dalpe in the first round. That surprises me a little given what I think is his enormous potential. Someone will have a nice pick in the second round that's for sure. Consider the leaps he's made from Junior B in Ontario to the World Jr A Challenge gold and a BCHL championship. That shot could make him famous.

...A lot of trades in the NHL today. Most of them felt like minimal impact moves. We'll see. Tanguay to the Habs sure seems to limit their hopes of landing a big name free agent this summer, but at least they have someone.

...Everyone cross your fingers for Grant Rollheiser. Lets hope he gets picked up tomorrow. That being said, being a free agent at the end of his college career wouldn't be a bad thing necessarily. You can pick the right fit in that case. We'll see what happens. For those at Boston U who were wondering about Rollheiser's talents the audio above with Pasco Valana gets into it. I'll make a seperate post later.

...Another reminder that if you want tickets to the banquet you can get them at Re-Max All Pro Realty, AM Ford and Gerick Cycle. Get on that fast because you don't want to miss this. Brian Burke, Tom Renney, Ceasar Maniago, Danny Gare, Harold Snepts, Pat Price, the list goes on and on!

...Season tickets on sale Monday!

...With Decosse getting a Div 3 scholarship we're now up to seven guys from last year's team locking up spots to play at school. That's a great compliment to the organization and mostly to the players and young men themselves. Great job guys and good luck at the next stage of your lives. College goes by way too fast so enjoy it.

...I'm going on holidays for a couple of weeks and Jeff Sargeant will be filling in. He'll keep you up to date on everything in local sports and everything Smokies related. I should still be able to put a couple of posts up here when I'm away though.

Smokies trade Brodie for Gehon

The Trail Smoke Eaters have traded 88 defenceman Cam Brodie to Merritt for 88 forward Chad Gehon. Brodie was a key player on last year's blue line for Trail. He brings a mix of physical strength, intimidation, defensive awareness and puck moving skills that is rare in the BCHL. However, Brodie asked to be moved after the season. I know Brodie had hoped to find a school last year, but his season ending ankle injury limited his options and forced a return to the BCHL this season. I can only imagine that Brodie will be a leader on the Merritt blue line and a key component of their dressing room leadership next year.

Brodie is one of the toughest men in the league. Just ask Penticton's Elias Grossmann who had to miss a game because of the number Brodie did on him in a fight last season. He can also play on both special teams units. He's a very valuable player and Merritt got a good one.

In Chad Gehon the Smokies have picked up another scorer for their top 6. He scored 11 goals, 37 assist and 48 points in 45 games last season. When talking to Coach Jim Ingram, Gehon was apparently very enthusiastic about becoming a Smoke Eater with plans of taking his game to the next level. The 6'0, 190lbs Kelowna native was Merritt's top scorer in a year when that team had trouble putting up points. With a better supporting cast he can hopefully take things up a notch.

It's sad to see Brodie go. Trail will miss his leadership and his strength. However, Gehon could be a big part of the offensive puzzle on a team that did add a lot of defensive depth so far this off season. The addition of Clarke to the Corcoran trade makes a lot more sense in light of Brodie moving on. A lot more will be asked of the other veterans returning next season now that Brodie is gone.

We'll have more on this deal tonight on Mountain FM's Overtime.


...Also tonight we'll talk to New York Rangers Coach Tom Renney. The former Smoke Eaters Coach will be back in Trail for the Smokies banquet on July 11th at the Cominco Gym. He'll be joined by the likes of Brian Burke, Danny Gare, Ceasar Maniago, Harold Senpts, Pat Price and many more. Get your tickets at AM Ford, Gerick Cycle and Re-Max All Pro Realty.

...Trail recently picked up forward Andrew Pickering from Victoria for future considerations. There's audio with Pickering up on the Mountain FM website. He was a scoring machine in Junior B before making the jump up to the BCHL. Pickering scored 46 ponits in 27 games for Abbotsford. He spent most of his time with Victoria on the third or fourth line and put up 6 points in 18 games. Victoria is going to load up on proven talent as they host the Royal Bank Cup this year, and as a result there wasn't room for Pickering to play the offensive role he can with his skill set. He'll get the opportunity to earn top minutes in Trail.

...Season tickets go on sale Monday. This season's schedule is now available at the Smoke Eaters website. Trail starts at home against the defending league champion Penticton Vees.

...Smokies goaltending Coach Pasco Valana will also join me on Overtime tonight. We'll be discussing Grant Rollheiser's chances of being picked at the NHL Entry Draft tonight and tomorrow in Ottawa. Good luck to Grant, any team would be lucky to get him. We hear there's a Canadian team looking at him very seriously.

...Again my apologies for the lack of activity on the blog lately. There's lots to talk about but I've been extremely busy. Keep watching the Mountain FM website for more news and audio clips from the Smokies. I'll be updating more regularly soon. However, today I'm leaving for two weeks of holidays. Overtime will still be on with great local sports content... just without my ugly mug for a couple of weeks. I'll be back in time for the banquet and golf tournament. That should just be an absolute blast. Hopefully I'll be able to update some during my holidays as I'll have more free time.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rossland's Drake Wins Stanley Cup

Congratulations to Rossland's Dallas Drake and the Detroit Red Wings. The 16 year veteran looks pretty happy there doesn't he? Hopefully he'll bring the Cup back home to the Kootenays this summer. From the Rossland Warriors to the Red Wings his hard work and gritty play got him this far. If he does retire he has a lot to be proud of.

Sorry for the lack of updates recently I've been very busy in and out of work. The Smokies picked up Andrew Pickering from Victoria for future considerations. I'll have more on that soon. There's often good new audio and news over the Moutain FM website. You can always stay in touch by listening to Overtime. I'll be back with updates on Raimondo, Pickering, Grant Rollheiser, Stef Decosse, Pasco Valana, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, Castlegar Rebels and more very soon. I've got a ton of stuff to talk about, but I also have a girlfriend going away to Italy for the summer that I have to spend as much time with as I can before she's gone! Thanks for your patience.