Boston native Phil Tresca commits to Warriors for 2020-2021

Forward commits to Warriors

While the on-ice product is in limbo, the West Kelowna Warriors continue the business of assembling a roster for 2021.

The Warriors Thursday announced they have a commitment from 18-year-old forward Phil Tresca.

Tresca, a native of Boston, had 10 goals and 28 points in 28 games with USHS Prep, The Rivers School.

“We are very excited to have Phil join the Warriors,” said Warriors head coach Simon Ferguson. 

“Phil is a highly touted prospect. He brings  a solid 200 foot game, great IQ and speed up front”. 

Tresca is committed to Yale University(NCAA) and was ranked 210th in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings. 

“I chose the BCHL because of the league’s great reputation for development and I feel that it’s fast, offensive style will complement my game,” said Tresca.

He'll join teammate and defenceman Pat Lawn, who committed to the Warriors earlier this spring.

“Pat is a good friend of mine and a great defenseman. We first started playing together years ago with the Boston Junior Eagles, where I also got to know Connor Joyce and Jack Cronin.

"Pat and I have played a lot of hockey together over the past four years at Rivers and I can’t wait to pick up right where we left off in West Kelowna.”  

Djurasevic commits to Vees for next season

Vees sign big blueliner

Defenseman Frank Djurasevic has committed to the Vees for the 2020/21 season.

Djurasevic, 18, began this past season patrolling the blue line with the North Jersey Avalanche U-18 squad, playing in 28 total games and compiling six goals and 13 assists for 19 points.

Djurasevic helped his North Avalanche team to an American Youth Hockey League U-18 Premier championship.

The 6 foot two, 190-pound rearguard completed the 2019/20 campaign with Trinity-Pawling School in the USHS-Prep league, amassing four goals and 16 assists for 20 points in 21 games.

The New Rochelle, New York native, who is a dual citizen to both the United States and Canada, played two seasons at the Selects Hockey Academy before making his way to U-18 hockey last season.

Djurasevic played in 93 total games with the program, scoring 12 goals and adding 46 assists for 58 points during his two seasons.

Vees player signs with university, eyes 2021 season in Penticton

Vees player eyes 2021

Penticton Vees forward Tristan Amonte has committed to Boston University for the 2021/22 season, but is looking forward to a second chance at Vees glory in 2021.

Amonte, 20, finished up his first season in Penticton with 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 points in 56 regular season games, playing a versatile role offensively and defensively, including on the penalty kill. The 6’0”, 167-pound forward added a goal and an assist in the Vees five-game opening round playoff series victory over the West Kelowna Warriors.

He also scored 6 goals in his first 8 games with the Vees, including a pair of goals in first game on September 6th, 2019 against the Trail Smoke Eaters. Amonte follows in the footsteps of his brother, Ty, who currently plays his collegiate hockey at Boston University with Vees forward Jay O’Brien slated to play with the Terriers in the fall.

“I am very pleased for Tristan and his family,” said Vees president, general manager and head coach Fred Harbinson.

"Tristan has come a long way through sheer determination and hard work to achieve this outstanding opportunity. I am real proud of what Tristan has accomplished and I am confident BU is getting a great player and person.”

Amonte is excited about his future in Boston.

“There were a couple of factors that played into my decision in that BU is a great school and is located close to my home. The possibility of playing with my brother made it an easy decision as well.”

While Amonte is looking forward to the future and joining the Terriers, returning to Penticton for his 20-year-old season is at the front of his mind. 

“After how last season came to a close, I knew I wanted to come back and help this team compete for a championship,” Amonte explained. “I’m looking forward to getting back to Penticton and continuing what we had from last season.”

Trail's Kent Johnson named CJHL's top forward

Smokie nation's top forward

Kent Johnson of the Trail Smoke Eaters has been named the CJHL’s top forward for 2019-20.

Johnson, from Port Moody, B.C., led the BCHL in scoring this year with 101 points, becoming just the second player since 2015-16 to reach the 100-point plateau. His 41 goals and 60 assists were also tops in the league.

Over his two-year career in the league, the 17-year-old totaled 147 points in 111 regular-season games.

On top of leading the BCHL in scoring, Johnson also won the Vern Dye Memorial Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player as well as the Bob Fenton Trophy for Most Sportsmanlike.

Johnson led the Smoke Eaters to a second-place finish in the Interior Division and a first-round sweep of the Prince George Spruce Kings before the playoffs were cancelled. He had seven points in those four games.

Due to a late birthday, Johnson isn’t eligible for the NHL Draft until 2021, but is expected to be a high first-round pick, with many projections having him in the top-five. He is committed to the University of Michigan next season.

Other finalists for the award include Sherwood Park Crusaders forward Carter Savoie (AJHL), Summerside Western Capitals forward Brodie MacArthur (MJAHL), Blind River Beavers forward Caleb Serre (NOJHL) and Oakville Blades forward Harrison Israels (OJHL).

Earlier this week, Johnson was also named a finalist for the CJHL’s Most Valuable Player Award, which will be announced next week.

BCHL teams have lost collectively about $3M due to COVID-19

BCHL seeks gov't assistance

Collectively, the 17 B.C.-based teams within the BC Hockey League have lost about $3 million in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league, along with most others around the world, was forced to shut down as a result of the pandemic.

Teams lost out on playoff revenue, money from spring and summer development camps, and are looking at the prospect of lower than normal ticket and sponsorship revenues for a 2020-2021 season that may, or may not be played.

League commissioner Chris Hebb, in an interview with Castanet News Wednesday morning, says the league has reached out to Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Baere, asking for provincial assistance.

Hebb says the league sent a letter to the minister requesting a phone meeting.

"What we are asking for is to have a call and explain the dilemma the league is in. Hopefully there is a recognition of the value the BCHL brings to the province," said Hebb.

He says league teams spend approximately $750,000 each within their communities each year, as well as on travel.

The Wenatchee Wild have already received some financial support through U.S. government stimulus programs.

The league has already dipped into its contingency fund to help teams in the meantime.

"We did write the teams cheques to take some of the sting out of it, but they were small cheques. It certainly doesn't come anywhere near what we need."

Financial stability of each of the league franchises is only one part of an ever evolving equation. There is also the question of when it will be deemed safe enough for the game to return.

There has been talk that, even as the curve continues to flatten, that social distancing and measures around gathering size could remain in place until a vaccine has been created, which could put a return to hockey, at least with fans in the building, in jeopardy for the upcoming season.

But, Hebb is optimist a season will be played, and teams are making those preparations.

"We intend to play. Whether we start on time is going to depend on them (Hockey Canada).

"We're not sure how the return to hockey is going to be managed, but we feel strongly there is going to be Junior A hockey and the BCHL will be there.

As for the prospect of playing without fans in the building for at least a portion of the season, Hebb says it certainly wouldn't be the first choice of players and ownership, but, "anything is possible."

Hebb also threw cold water on some earlier reports that some teams were close to folding.

He said the league remains strong, but reiterated there is the need for government assistance.

The league, he says, will also be approaching the federal government about a $500 million for arts, sports and cultural sectors affected by COVID-19.

Municipal governments have also been approached to support local teams in their efforts for government funding.

The bottom line, says Hebb, is they want to see the kids return to the ice.

And, he believes when that happens, the league will be as strong as ever.

"We're a resilient league. We've been around almost 59 years, and nothing is going to take us down."

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