Thursday, 14 June 2018

President Bill Ohlhausen steps down...or retires

So the big news out of the KIJHL AGM last weekend was that longtime  President Bill Ohlhausen has stepped down after 17 years and the league is now actively looking for a new President... or a Commissioner . The difference, a President for the most part does what the Governors want and a Commissioner has a longterm vision and leads the league in that direction. 

We do know that Ohlhausen (sometimes unfairly)  took a lot of heat from the owners, GM’s, coaches and referees over the years and because he was the  President he was the guy who dealt with BC Hockey. Therefore he was right in the middle of the new face mask conspiracy (some think that word is appropriate) that ignited a firestorm throughout the league  because it was never voted on by the Governors. (Remember the difference between a President and a Commissioner )


Every year there are, and always will be, all kinds of player and carding issues that fans never hear about and the President is always right in the middle of it. He is constantly putting out fires and even gets justifiably angry once in a while... at one time he even called what we do here trash, one of my finest moments. For the record, he isn’t the only one with those values ... nothing personal here I’m good with it.



Anyway I wouldn’t be expecting an old school hockey guy like Bill Ohlhausen to spill his guts and tell the public exactly why he stepped down. But if he did it would be an interesting read.

The league had a great thing going with Bill and his wife/secretary  Mary who did a ton of paperwork for the league. That's another thing that the average fan knows nothing about, and they did both of those jobs for about  thousand a month... it’s two full time jobs for christ’s sakes.

So the betting here is the new guy will have to set up an office (guess where the office is now?) and hire a secretary. That will cost way way more than 1000 a month...maybe as much as $5000 per team, certainly $3000.

In other news...
Sixteen year Secretary/Treasurer John Surovy has also retired, another job to fill.

So at the moment Vice President and former Nelson President Larry Martel (another big fan of this column, or not) has taken over until the KIJHL decides what exactly they want to do and Eddie Mountain VP Kathy Merkel (a tireless volunteer) is filling in for Surovy.

I wish Bill and Mary and John all the best in the future, that was a very trying job.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The KIJHL’s AGM is this weekend... and the usual drivel

The KIJHL will be holding their AGM this weekend May 9th in Kamloops where they will likely finalize some sort of a hybrid crossover schedule with 49 games  (up from 47) and a “Showcase" featuring all teams just minutes after the Christmas break. 

I think these changes will make it through the AGM... but I’ve seen stranger things happen over the last 14 years that I've been covering the Riders in the KIJHL. 

If I had my way I’d add a few more changes.

1/  The “Media Time Outs” would be optional, if a team's local media doesn't need or want the buzz killing time out... then don’t have it, make it optional. 

2/ And, because they are paid and are forever preaching discipline to their players, the coaches suspensions should be listed along with the player suspensions on the KIJHL’s “Transaction Page” Especially the abuse of officials ones. Cause it’s hard to recruit new young officials and screaming and threatening never seems to help keep them in the game. It’s been tried before...

3/ Get Hockey Canada to do their job and use their powers to either make full face shields mandatory for all Jr B across the country or none, not just in BC... funny how BC Hockey wouldn’t dare even suggest that to the Jr A  BCHL... who would end up giving  them the old "Three Stooges” slap in the face and poke in the eyes . Nuk Nuk Nuk



New Ghostrider head Coach and General Manager Jeff Wagner was at the Alberni Valley Jr A camp in Cranbrook a few weeks ago then sent this out last week.

COMMITMENT ALERT: The Fernie Ghostriders are pleased to announce the KIJHL commitment of Defenceman Sawan Gill. Sawan played 24 games for the CNHA Canucks last year scoring 3 goals and adding 12 assists. Welcome to the organization @SGill71 !! #RiderPride

At the end of last season Grayson Neufeld  was picked by the coaches as the top defenceman and most inspirational player. Last week Neufeld was offered a chance to play at Minot State.

This from the Minot team website
"We are excited to add Grayson to our back end this upcoming season." Said Head Coach Wade Regier. "He is a player who has always prided himself on playing well in the defensive end. If you look at his numbers the last three seasons, they have continued to climb. We feel his best is still in front of him and will push him to improve each season.”


The Osoyoos Coyotes have hired former Melville Millionaire assistant coach Mark Chase as their Head Coach     read all about that here 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Rider AGM and Round the league... the usual drivel

The Fernie Ghostriders held their Annual General Meeting Thursday May 17th, here are the results of the meeting.

First off the public was addressed by Team President Barb Anderson and she, to make a long story short, had this to say. 

1/ The Ghostriders lost money everywhere, tickets, beer sales, 50/50 advertising you name it everything was down.
2/ The damage ended up being $78,382
3/ The team was kept alive because of what was in the team bank  and contingency fund accounts.
4/ The team has enough money to start the season.
5/ The team played out the season last year because of the generosity of the City of Sparwood and Community Services assistant Sheri Taylor.  Sheri was instrumental in helping us get set up in Sparwood and ensured that our team was looked after and welcomed.

Next up was the election of officers, well election is a stretch, how about the acclamation of officers.

President Barb Anderson- (now in her 6th year as President)
Vice President - Mike Causalt
Treasurer- Tom Murdoch

Billet Co-odirnator Ashley Charette
Booster- Booth Ruth Murdoch
Secretary- George Hurlbut... hands down the ugliest secretary in the Province

Board Members
Lynda Moulton
Gail Knee
Earle Price
Daryl Hutchinson
Mark Charette
Rose Mangone
Jon Levesqe 
Rocky Feregotto

Team Accountant (not a board member but one of the most valuable volunteers the Riders have)
Jason Traska


So there you have it, the Ghostriders lost a ton of money and if anything goes wrong next season... like say... the rink doesn’t open the team will fold.

On that front Anderson says that a contract was awarded and the contractor has started building a new non- ammonia fuelled plant. The plant is scheduled to be put in service around August 1st and the ice should be in use by September 1st. 

There are lots of skeptics out there mostly because the inside of the arena isn’t finished yet and there doesn’t exactly appear to be a hive of worker bees flying around stingin stuff either. Plus from what I've seen these big projects never seem to finish on time. I hope the skeptics are proven wrong.

Long time assistant goalie coach Gerry Pang was recognized for his contributions to hockey in Fernie and awarded the George Majic Spiritus award. Full story here Congratulations Gerry... I still think he won’t be able to help himself and will show up at practice once in a while. * George Majic was one of the founding fathers of the Ghostriders back in 1991.
Hey what’s with all the empty Perrier cans Panger... you mixing good rum in that swamp water 
 

Fernie’s Tyler Palmer was drafted by Chris Moulton and his Spokane Chiefs in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft . Tyler’s dad Mark played 5 years of junior here in Fernie with the old Jr A Ghostriders in the Rocky Mountain, and America West leagues a few years ago.

Round the League

Longtime head coach of the Osoyoos Coyotes Ken Law was not rehired last month but has landed on his feet as the HC in Kelowna Read that story here    In Kelowna he will team up with former head coach Jason Tansem and GM Grant Sheridan who has recruited some really skilled players over the years and at one time his warriors led the league in PIM too... but it hasn’t translated into playoff success. Im betting the Lawyer will make a difference.

There will be no Prospects of a long Christmas break this year because the league will hold a showcase for the college scouts with all teams participating, instead of the January prospects game. 

The KIJHL bosses say that despite what you may have heard the scouts will show up at the showcase even though the Mac’s tournament in Calgary is at the same time.

Great idea for some teams but the Riders who have money problems will lose. The games are at Christmas time December 27-29 and that is when the Riders have their biggest crowds and beer pyramids with the rival Dynamiters and Creston in attendance. Sometimes these games are a make or break for the team. 

Beaver Valley’s HC and GM Terry Jones had this to say in the local paper . "It is unnecessary. Any player who is a solid player in our league can play in the ACHA or Div 3 NCAA hockey league. The individual cost for each player is what determines whether they can go or not”. 
 “Tuition fees for these schools range in the 50K per year amount, with scholarships and bursaries amounting to about half of this amount. With the American dollar as it is, it leaves a 30K per year allotment per student.” FULL STORY HERE

Here in Fernie I know several players have been offered one of these partial scholarships but have turned them down because of money. Terry has a point but I love the showcase idea, just not the timing... 


Crossovers
We will be seeing more teams this season, apparently the governors have decided that maybe the crossover schedule was not costing the teams all that much money. As we stated right here way back then, you still have to travel to games anyway, just more within your division...is it such a big deal to go a few hundred extra miles, don’t you think your fans will get sick of the same teams over and over again. 

Anyway the Riders will play the Okanagan Division  on the road and the Doug Birks Division will play games in  Fernie. This is a win win for the fans and for the players who like going to different towns. 
This was me a couple of years ago trying to get the “Crossover Schedule” back .










Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Ghostrider May 16th update and BC Hockey head hunters


Ghosrider Head Coach and GM Jeff Wagner was part of the three team (Fernie, Creston and Okotoks)  prospects camp in Edmonton last weekend and the "Three Amigos "will be holding yet another camp in Calgary this weekend.

Last week's camp featured around 85 players including a few returning KIJHL'ers  to help increase the overall level of competition. 

In other words, see how the new players stack up against guys who you know can play in the league. Sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly how good the new players are when your camp is filled with only rookies.

Anyway, Wagner was impressed with the experience: “This weekend was a great opportunity to see what Northern Alberta has to offer with regards to prospects for the Junior level. Players came out and put together a competitive camp that was high paced, physical and creative.”

Wagner
 adds “There were definitely some guys that separated themselves from the rest of the group. With this camp and our camp coming up in Calgary, I expect that our Main Camp will push the envelope for our returning players and players trying to make the Ghostriders come September.”

Translation... last years players better be ready.
Also the Main Camp could have 3 or 4 teams. The location of Main is still up in the air as the Fernie arena may not open until September 1st. When I know you’ll know.
The Ghostriders Calgary Spring Camp begins Friday, May 18th. 

GM Jeff Wagner has picked up David Sanchez (listed at 5’10”180) from the Nelson Leafs for a development fee.  Wagner says "David adds a lot of speed to our roster up front. He's a player who has the offensive tools to make an immediate impact for us and he also brings key qualities that make him affective away from the puck. He's a guy you hate playing against but love having on your side of the ice and we're very excited to have him."

In Other News

BC Hockey says they are going to track concussions this season and they want all teams to report them or something. There are questions about just who wants the information. We will have more on this development in the next few weeks.


What I can tell you is that the Ghostriders Athletic Therapists Heather Lewis and Kayla Neufeld are the ones who decide if a player can play after a concussion, not the Coaches.

All players are tested when they start with the Riders, they have to do quick hand eye coordination moves like open a beer in .2 seconds or light a cig... oh wait a minute that was the writer's test,  I got 98% .
Anyway, all players have to do their tests at the pre-concussion levels before they get back on the ice. They are well looked after here in Fernie so do we need BC Hockey to stick their noses in it, or do they just want to suspend players like like they do after a few fights?

And Finally

The Ghostrider’s AGM is Thursday at 7:00 in the Community Centre . We will have a report on that Friday sometime along with the always popular to no one Round’ the League featuring crossover Ken Law ? huh the prospects of a no Christmas break, media time outs, $cholarshipz  

Friday, 20 April 2018

Ghostriders 4/20 update hahah 4/20... ya whatever

The Fernie Ghostriders just announced that their Annual General Meeting will be on May 17th at 7:00 in the Fernie Community Centre.

At the AGM any interested fans can come out and see how the team did off the ice last season...  a little hint... it wasn’t very good.

The Ghostriders are a community owned team, that means at the AGM they will have to tell you how much they lost last season, it was around $60,000. But it may be more... there are still some bills to pay.

If you haven’t guessed it already, the Riders are near the edge of the financial cliff and if they don’t get some help and especially if the Fernie arena isn’t open for next season, they will be pushed off the edge.

The team also needs billet families advertisers and some more volunteers to help out on game-days. 

At the AGM there will be an election of officers. President, vice president, secretary, treasurer  and a board of directors. 

If you are interested in hearing about the health of the team all you have to do is show up and listen. If you want to vote on or run for any of the positions you will need a membership and they will be sold at the door for $20.00. 

You do not need a membership to attend the meeting, you can come out and just listen. 

Round’ The League

The Ghostriders ( Jeff Wagner ) were not the only team to make changes, here is what we know so far.

The Columbia Valley Rockies President Graeme Anderson and his wife Noelene will not be back next season.

Graeme Anderson ran the junior hockey team for six years with his wife Noelene who handles marketing and social media. I’m told they turned the team around financially so their departure will hurt the Rockies. Full story here


The Golden Rockets and Jason Stephens have parted ways and the Rockets have hired Jeremy Blumes as their new head coach and general manager. Full story on Blumes here

In Kamloops longtime head coach Ed Patterson says he will not be back next season. No reason was given and so far we have not heard if owner and GM Barry Dewar has hired anyone else for the job. 

In Spokane the  Braves announced  that Head Coach, Gary Redding, and General Manager/Assistant Coach, Nick Redding, will be moving on for the 2018-2019 season. Head Coach Gary Redding has accepted a head coaching position with the Coeur d'Alene Hockey Academy of the CSSHL and Nick Redding has accepted a position with the WHL Seattle Thunderbirds as Hockey Operations Coordinator. 
Nice to see these two get a chance at another level. 

Spokane then announced that Mike Bay will be back coaching the team next season.

And finally the big shock in the KIJHL was in Osoyoos where Ken Law was fired, or not re-signed, Im not sure. Law has been there for the last 8 seasons.  Read that here 

The Coyotes have been one of the premier franchises (won the KIJHL championship in 2011) and were always in the mix for first place since rejoining the KIJHL after winning a Championship in 2005 with owner Barry Dewar (who then moved the Storm to Kamloops). Osoyoos took a 4 year absence after that then Randy Bedard brought the Coyotes to Osoyoos. 

CAMPS and RECRUITING  INFO HERE

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Rider Jr Camps

 Well new Rider GM Jeff Wagner sure ain’t wasting any time getting started.

The Fernie Ghostriders are excited to announced that they have partnered with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats and the Okotoks Bisons for a Junior Prep Showcase that will be held on May 11-13, 2018 in Edmonton, Alberta.
Registration for camp is now open. For more information, please email wagner.ghostriders@gmail.com, or click HERE to be redirected to the registration page. If it is your first camp with either team, you will need to take 5 minutes to create an account.
The camp is open to all players born between 1998 and 2003. It will include four games and an exit interview with Ghostriders, Thunder Cats and Bisons coaches. The cost of the camp is $175 for skaters and $200 for goalies.
All ice times will take place at the Clareview Recreation Center in Edmonton, AB.
“I’m very excited to continue working with both the Thunder Cats and the Bisons to present a camp for Northern Alberta players.” Says Ghostriders Head Coach and General Manager, Jeff Wagner. “Alberta has always provided a solid foundation for recruiting, especially in our division. Teaming up with the Thunder Cats for this camp has the potential to provide each player with multiple Junior options, where most camps would only provide the option of the hosting team”
For the 2018/19 season, Alberta residents born in 2000 or earlier are eligible to play junior hockey in British Columbia. Younger players who are interested in being evaluated by junior-level coaches for future seasons are also welcome.
For more information on the Ghostriders Junior Prep Showcase, click HERE. To register, click HERE
______________________________________________________________________________
The Fernie Ghostriders are excited to announced that they have partnered with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats and the Okotoks Bisons for a Junior Prep Showcase that will be held on May 18-20, 2018 in Calgary, Alberta.
Registration for camp is now open. For more information, please email wagner.ghostriders@gmail.com, or click HERE to be redirected to the registration page. If it is your first camp with either team, you will need to take 5 minutes to create an account.
The camp is open to all players born between 1998 and 2003. It will include four games and an exit interview with Ghostriders, Thunder Cats and Bisons coaches. The cost of the camp is $175 for skaters and $200 for goalies.
All ice times will take place at the TRICO Centre in Calgary, AB.
“I’m looking forward to partnering with the Thunder Cats and the Bisons for our Junior Prep Showcase in Calgary.” Says Ghostriders Head Coach and General Manager, Jeff Wagner. “Alberta has always provided a solid foundation for recruiting, especially in our division. Teaming up with the Thunder Cats for this camp has the potential to provide each player with multiple Junior options, where most camps would only provide the option of the hosting team”
For the 2018/19 season, Alberta residents born in 2000 or earlier are eligible to play junior hockey in British Columbia. Younger players who are interested in being evaluated by junior-level coaches for future seasons are also welcome.
For more information on the Ghostriders Junior Prep Showcase, click HERE. To register, click HERE

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Ghostriders hire a new Head Coach and General Manager



The Ghostriders search for a Head Coach and General Manager is over now and Jeff Wagner is the guy... he was selected from about 20 applicants.

Sounds like the team is in good hands.

Press release...eerily similar to this story 

Wagner was in Creston last season but Rider fans have probably never heard of him and that’s mostly because the KIJHL does not actively promote their coaches. If I had my way when you went to the KI site and clicked on a team’s stats, all the players along with the coaching and training staff would be listed. I just don’t get it...

Anyway... Wagner was with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats for the last two seasons, first as an assistant coach then last year he was an associate coach and assistant general manager.

Jeff started his coaching career in Calgary a few years ago as an assistant coach with the AA Calgary North Stars then moved up to become the Head Coach of CBHA Blackhawks in the Calgary Buffaloes Hockey Association. 

Jeff also doubled as Creston’s Southern Alberta scout during the 2015-16 season and if you remember Creston was loaded with talent that Wagner helped bring to Creston when they were hosting the Cyclone Taylor Cup two years ago.

Jeff is 28 years old and from Calgary where he has recruited several players, so he should have a good read on many of the the upcoming players that end up in the KIJHL in the next few months.

When Jeff was in Creston he coached with former Thunder Cat Head Coach and GM Jeff Dubois. So I asked Dubois, who is now coaching in the Jr A BCHL with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs about Wagner.

Jeff Dubois
"Jeff has all the qualities to be a tremendous Head Coach in the KIJHL and lead a winning program. He’s a very hard worker who will put everything into the job."

"Jeff is an excellent recruiter who develops genuine relationships with players and earns their trust and respect. He was a huge part of our success in Creston when we hosted the Cyclone Taylor Cup and I think he’s a great choice to run his own team!"

I also asked Lee Stone who is the HC and GM of the Campbell River Storm, they are perennial VIJHL Jr B Champions and will be playing in the Cyclone Taylor Cup this weekend.

Lee Stone

"I got to know ‘Wags’ while he was working with Jeff Dubois in Creston Valley during the 2016-2017 season. Seeing his effort to produce a top flight Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament showed me that he was willing to do whatever it took. His Alberta connections will fit in perfectly in Fernie in an area where cornering the market in Alberta prospects is so key
Above and beyond everything he brings the organization on the ice, off the ice he is just a really good guy. Wants to do good by the kids, see them succeed. I know I wish him the best of luck and hope to see him take the program to high levels of success.

And finally... Kimberley, Delta, Campbell River and the host team Richmond are all in the Cyclone Taylor Cup this weekend. Im told this year’s tournament will feature some of the best teams this tournament has seen in a while.