BCHL Next Generation: Cowichan Valley Capitals

In the weeks leading up to the start of the 2021-22 regular 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.

Next up is the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

The Caps finished last season with an 7-11-2-0 record competing in the Island Pod, which put them in fourth place in the standings.

Heading into a new year, the team boasts a strong list of new recruits and trade acquisitions who are ready to help the team bounce back in 2021-22.

Last year’s head coach Brian Passmore is back for a second year in a row and third overall season with team over the past five years. He breaks down all the team’s acquisitions and commitments this offseason.

New recruits

David Jacobs (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Needham. Mass.
  • Previous team: Noble & Greenough School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Princeton University (2022-23)

His prep school did not play regular-season games last year, but the year before, he was the team’s second-leading scorer with 45 points and top assists man with 30 helpers.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He can play either wing. He has a right shot, but he likes to play his off-wing. He’s really going to help our power play. He has great vision and poise with the puck. He’s good around the net and he has a good shot. He’s just really a heads-up player with all-around great character.”

Nick Marciano (2002, D)

  • Hometown: Greenwich, Conn.
  • Previous team: Kent School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Princeton University (2022-23)

Marciano split game action with his prep school and with the Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League in 2020-21. He had a goal and nine assists for 10 points in five games for Kent and chipped in a pair of assists in four games with Minnesota.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He’s a big left-shot defenceman. He’s very offensive. He joins the rush and he’s quick to move the puck in transition. He has a big body and he throws it around. He’s a physical presence. He’s just a really smart player.”

Eli Pilosof (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
  • Previous team: Northern Cyclones (NCDC)
  • College commitment: Brown University (2022-23)

Pilosof had a goal and six assists for seven points in nine games for the Cyclones last year. He also has Junior A experience in the Ontario Junior Hockey League where he spent two seasons with the Pickering Panthers from 2018 to 2020.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He’s a smart two-way player that can contribute offensively. He’s an offensive player and will be an energy guy in our lineup. He’s able to play top-six or a checking-line role. He brings a lot of speed and skill to our lineup. He has a lot of hockey smarts and a good IQ.”

Zachary Brault (2002, D)

  • Hometown: St-Lambert, Que.
  • Previous team: Shawnigan Lake School U18 Prep (CSSHL U18)

Brault most recently put up 21 points in 32 games for Shawnigan in 2019-20, finishing second in team scoring among defencemen.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He’s a puck-mover that gets up and down the ice. His best attribute is his skating ability, joining the rush and making that good first pass.”

Luke Haymes (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Ottawa, Ont.
  • Previous team: Ridley College (CISAA)

In his last full season in 2019-20, Haymes totaled 31 points in 29 games for Ridley to finish second in team scoring.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“Luke is a good-sized centre out of Ridley College. He’s a nice skater and good on the forecheck. He is a really puck-hungry type of player and he distributes it really well. He’s a playmaker. We’re expecting him to have a good season with us.”

Sebastian Hamming (2003, D)

  • Hometown: Edmonton, Alta.
  • Previous team: St. George’s School U18 Prep (CSSHL U18)

Hamming had one goal in four games last year at St. George’s before getting shut down, but had 17 points in 33 games in 2019-20.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He’s a smaller defenceman. He’s a great skater. He does all the simple things really well. He reads the play. He’s smart and he’s really good on the penalty kill and just at defending in general.”

Maguire Ratzlaff (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Abbotsford, B.C.
  • Previous team: Shawnigan Lake School U18 Prep (CSSHL U18)

Ratzlaff has spent several years in the Shawnigan Lake program, starting with the U15 team in 2017-18. In his most recent full season, he split time between the U17 and U18 teams, leading the U17 squad in goals with 12 and finishing third in points with 22.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He’s very fast and has a terrific shot. He’s an identity line type of player. He’s a two-way forward. He’s good on the forecheck and responsible in his own zone.”

Acquired via trade

Owen Simpson (2003, D)

  • Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
  • Previous team: Boston Jr. Bruins (NCDC)
  • College commitment: University of Connecticut (2022-23)

Simpson played his hockey with the Jr. Bruins last year in the NCDC where he put up four points in 13 games. In 2019-20, he suited up for the Whitby Fury of the Ontario Junior Hockey League and had 16 points in 45 games.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He’s a great skater. One of the things we’re focusing on is we want all of our defencemen to be able to skate really well. He’s another guy that likes to chip in offensively and play in the top-four pairings. He wants to come to our league to further develop before going to college.”

Gabe Schovanek (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Comox, B.C.
  • Previous team: Surrey Eagles (BCHL)

Schovanek played the last two years with the Eagles before being acquired by Cowichan in an offseason trade. So far in his BCHL career, he has amassed 51 points in 67 career regular-season games.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“Gabe is a proven goal scorer. As a 20-year-old, he’ll be relied upon to play power play and top-six minutes. He’ll be a leader for us who can contribute with some offensive production.”

Colin Campbell (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Mississauga, Ont.
  • Previous team: Guelph Storm (OHL)

Campbell spent the last two season with the Storm, but did not get any game action in last year due to COVID restrictions. In 2019-20, he had one assist in 27 games played. Cowichan acquired his Junior A playing rights from the Surrey Eagles in a trade earlier this month.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He’s a terrific player. He’s a fantastic skater. He was playing on that Guelph Storm team a couple years ago that was probably going to the Memorial Cup before they got shut down. It looks like they won’t be bringing him back, so he’s a player that we’d love to have come play for us this year, if it works out. He would be a go-to top-pairing defenceman for us. From the video I’ve seen, he can really make smart decisions, play offensively with the puck and transition well.”

Will Gurski (2002, G)

  • Hometown: Duncan, B.C.
  • Previous team: Winnipeg Freeze (MJHL)

The Duncan, B.C. native comes back to play for his hometown team after being acquired by the Caps this offseason from Winnipeg of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Last year, he had a .903 save percentage in four games with the Freeze. The year prior, he spent time in both the MJHL as well as the WHL with the Winnipeg Ice.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He was a member of Winnipeg’s WHL team, but didn’t go into their shortened season last year. He was an odd man out there this year and didn’t want to continue playing in that league, so we had the opportunity to acquire him. He’s a big goalie. He’s extremely athletic and has a great work ethic.”

Photo credits: Dan Hickling (Jacobs, Marciano, Pilosof, Simpson), Garrett James Photography (Schovanek)