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BCHL Next Generation: Alberni Valley Bulldogs

In the weeks leading up to the start of the 2022-23 season, we will be going team-by-team to profile new players coming in for the upcoming year. This will include recaps of offseason commitments and acquisitions, as well as scouting reports from the coaches.

We have moved into the Coastal Conference. Next up is the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.


The Alberni Valley Bulldogs were the 2021-22 Coastal Conference leaders in the regular season with a record of 35-15-3-1, their first conference title in over a decade. The team relied on scoring by committee with an array of forward depth providing the offence each night, as well as workhorse goaltender Hobie Hedquist who played the most minutes of any netminder in the BCHL and was named a Second-Team All-Star at season’s end.

Head coach and general manager Joe Martin has firmly put his stamp on the roster since taking over in 2019-20 and has led the team back to contention in just three seasons. Although Hedquist is returning to the Dawg Pound in the fall, along with a group of other important players, Martin has been busy recruiting and adding to the roster to help Alberni Valley continue their winning ways in 2022-23. He breaks down each move for us below.

New recruits

Raoul Boilard (2006, F)

  • Hometown: Sherbrooke, Que.
  • Previous team: Magog Cantonniers (QM18AAA)
  • College commitment: University of Nebraska-Omaha

Boilard led his U18 team in scoring last year, despite playing the first half of the season as a 15-year-old. He put up 44 points in 39 games on 17 goals and a team-best 27 helpers, helping his U18 team get all the way to the national championship game. Boilard was a part of Canada’s Under-17 Development Camp in July.

Martin’s scouting report:

“He’s a scorer. He can shoot the puck from any area. It’s always difficult for young players to join the BCHL and do really well, but I think his transition won’t be a long one. He’s excelled in school, so he’s a smart kid as well. He’s very driven. He’s a player that can play any forward position. We’re looking forward to him being here and helping us for a few years.

Cam VanSickle (2004 ,F)

  • Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Previous team: Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
  • College commitment: University of Denver

VanSickle played the past two seasons in the USHL, first with the Green Bay Gamblers and then with Waterloo. He had 11 points in 46 career games.

Martin’s scouting report:

“He’s an experienced player, having already played two years of junior prior to this. He’s got good hands and does a good job of getting himself into scoring areas.”

Matthew Kursonis (2004, F)

  • Hometown: Worcester, Mass.
  • Previous team: St. George’s School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: College of the Holy Cross

Kursonis led his prep school team with 21 goals in 23 games last season. He added 10 assists to give himself 31 points, good enough for second in team scoring.

Martin’s scouting report:

“He’s a big, lefthanded forward. We moved on two 20-year-olds from the left side after last season and I think Matt will have an opportunity to come in and take one of their spots. He’s a bit of a rink rat too, so we’re super excited to see what he can do.”

Jules Boilard (2004, F)

  • Hometown: Sherbrooke, Que.
  • Previous team: Magog Cantonniers (QM18AAA)
  • College commitment: University of Nebraska-Omaha

Playing alongside his younger brother Raoul, Jules Boilard netted 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points in 33 regular-season games for Magog.

Martin’s scouting report:

“Jules had a great end of the season with his U18 team, especially in the playoffs. They went the distance and he was a huge part of it. He’s coming off his best hockey. There’s obviously a step up coming in to play junior, but I believe he’ll do well over his junior career. He’ll be a big scoring guy for us eventually.”

Brady McIsaac (2004, F)

  • Hometown: Prince George, B.C.
  • Previous team: Port Alberni Bombers (VIJHL)

McIsaac led his Junior B team in points per game during the 2021-22 regular season, compiling 44 points in just 26 games. He managed to score 23 times to finish two back of the team lead in goals, despite having played 23 games less than the team leader. McIsaac brings some BCHL experience, having played the 2020-21 pod season with the Bulldogs where he had a goal and an assist in 17 contests.

Martin’s scouting report:

“He practiced with us a ton last year and he knows our program inside and out. He’s got a sneaky amount of skill and he’s a very dedicated kid. He’s a hockey player through and through. Players just love playing with him.”

Tristan Taylor (2004, D)

  • Hometown: Anmore, B.C.
  • Previous team: Vancouver Northeast Chiefs U18 AAA (BCEHL U18)

Taylor spent the past two seasons with the U18 Chiefs. Last year, he was their highest scoring defenceman with 29 points in 34 games, including 22 assists, which was the second most overall on the team. He enjoyed team success as well as the Chiefs won the provincial title and played in the national championship tournament. He affiliated with Alberni for two games last year.

Martin’s scouting report:

“He was a recommendation from a good friend and an ex-coach in this league. We think one day he will be a leader on the back end for us. He had a lot of success this year with his team and individually.”

Will Elger (2004, F)

  • Hometown: Westerville, Ohio
  • Previous team: Jersey Hitmen (NCDC)
  • College commitment: Providence College

Elger had four goals, 11 assists and 15 points over 42 regular-season games for the Hitmen in 2021-22. Come playoff time, he averaged a point per game with seven assists in seven postseason contests.

Martin’s scouting report:

“He’s a highly competitive player who likes to get to the net. He also has a great work ethic.”

Logan Walker (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Courtenay, B.C.
  • Previous team: Kerry Park Islanders (VIJHL)

Walker led Kerry Park in scoring during the 2021-22 campaign with 50 points in 43 regular-season games.  His 21 goals and 29 assists were also team bests. Walker kept things rolling in the postseason, notching 12 points in 10 games during the Islanders run to the divisional finals. He played with the Bulldogs during the 2020-21 pod season where he scored twice in 16 games.

Martin’s scouting report:

“Logan is a big, strong kid. He’s also very difficult to play against on the forecheck. That’s something that I really like about him. He’ll come up behind Chase Klassen, learn a little bit and make us difficult to play against.”

Callum Tung (2003, G)

  • Hometown: Port Moody, B.C.
  • Previous team: Port Alberni Bombers (VIJHL)

Tung made 29 regular-season appearances for the Bombers last season, finishing his first year of junior with a .917 save percentage. In the postseason, he raised his level considerably, posting a .951 save rate and a 2.49 goals-against average in a seven-game defeat in the first round, averaging over 56 shots against per game.

Martin’s scouting report:

“Callum and Brady [McIsaac] were big reasons that they went to seven games with Campbell River. He had some nights in that series where he faced 60-plus shots and he held them in. I saw him this summer and he looks very healthy, even better than he did during the season. We’re excited for him to get a year of experience here before he hopefully takes the reigns.”

Mateo Sjoberg (2004, F)

  • Hometown: Surrey, B.C.
  • Previous team: Kerry Park Islanders (VIJHL)

Sjoberg had 33 points in 48 regular-season games playing Junior B with Kerry Park last year, but really stepped his game up in the playoffs. In 10 postseason games, he put up eight goals and eight assists for 16 points. He also played one game with the Bulldogs as an affiliate last season.

Martin’s scouting report:

“He’s got a ton of speed. He’s arguably one of the fastest players on our team already. He’s a workhorse in the gym. Getting on the forecheck and being difficult to play against with his speed will be his best assets. We saw him lots in practice, so we’re happy to bring him along.”

Acquired via trade

AJ Vasko (2002, F)

  • Hometown: La Salle, Man.
  • Previous team: Cranbrook Bucks (BCHL)

Vasko had been with the Bucks since their inaugural season in 2020-21 before being acquired by Alberni Valley in an offseason trade. He totaled 17 points in 54 regular-season games over two years with the Bucks.

Martin’s scouting report:

“Vasko reminds me of Josh Van Unen who I had the last few years. He’s difficult to play against and he has a great shot. He’s had some great coaching there in Cranbrook, so we know he’s going to come in and be ready to go structurally. As a 20-year-old, he provides some leadership for us and some experience.”

Photo credits: Louis Walker Photography (Kursonis), Chaisson Creative (McIsaac, Tung), Alasdair Allchin (Walker, Sjoberg), Garrett James Photography (Vasko)