BCHL Next Generation: Salmon Arm Silverbacks

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 will start with the Interior Conference. Next up is the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

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2021-22 was a banner season for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. With a record of 36-12-4-2, the team finished second overall in the league standings.

Naturally, with team success came individual success. ‘Backs forward Simon Tassy won league MVP after finishing third in scoring and the team’s netminder Owen Say took home the recently renamed Michael Garteig Trophy for best goaltender.

Despite a disappointing second-round exit in the postseason, Salmon Arm’s head coach and assistant general manager Tyler Shattock is looking to build on last year’s success. The team has made a handful of trades this summer and also recruited talent from across the continent to help the Silverbacks contend once again in 2022-23.

New recruits

Reid Varkonyi (2006, F)

  • Hometown: Sherwood Park, Alta.
  • Previous team: Northern Alberta Xtreme U18 Prep (CSSHL U18)
  • College commitment: University of Denver

Despite being 15-years-old for the first half of last season, Varkonyi was his U18 team’s second leading scorer with 56 points in 34 games. His 23 goals tied for the most on the team and his 33 helpers tied for second.

Shattock’s scouting report:

“We’ve been talking to Reid for a long time. His family lives out in Sicamous, so he knows the area. He’s a really talented kid. He’s going to be able to come in and contribute right away as a 16-year-old. We’re super excited to get him. He was drafted second overall in the USHL and was a third-rounder in the WHL. There were a lot of different options for him, but he chose to come to Salmon Arm, so we’re looking forward to helping him with his development before he goes to Denver. He’s going to be a big producer for us for a couple years.”

Connor Foley (2004, D)

  • Hometown: Hanover, Mass.
  • Previous team: Thayer Academy (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: College of the Holy Cross

A four-year player at Thayer Academy, Foley was the team’s overall leading scorer as a defenceman last year, putting up nine goals and a team-best 22 helpers to total 31 points.

Shattock’s scouting report:

“He’s highly talented. He’s a right-shot guy, which is important because we lost two righthanded defencemen from last year. He can run a power play and make a good first pass. Everybody in that area spoke very highly about him transitioning to the BCHL. We thought that he would be a guy that could push the pace and add some offence to our lineup.”

Ryan Buckley (2004, D)

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

Buckley played four seasons at St. George’s in Rhode Island. In 2021-22, he was the team’s leading point getter among defencemen with 17 points in 23 games. His 16 assists were the third most overall on his team.

Shattock’s scouting report:

“He’s a really good defender and a really good character kid. He’s a right shot, so we thought he would fit in really well with the returning guys we have. His skillset fits our group nicely.”

Hayden Stavroff (2004, F)

  • Hometown: Dublin, Ohio
  • Previous team: Culver Military Academy Prep (USHS-Prep)

Stavroff spent the past three years in Culver’s program. He had a massive season for the prep team last year, finishing second in team scoring with 64 points in 48 games on 32 goals and 32 assists.

Shattock’s scouting report:

“Hayden is probably the first guy we committed to for this season. He has some ties to B.C., so he was looking to come out this way. He’s another very offensive-minded player. We’re excited to add him to our forward group as we lost Simon Tassy and some other important offensive guys. We’re looking forward to him coming in and transitioning quickly to make an impact on our team.”

Acquired via trade

Ryan Gillespie (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
  • Previous team: Omaha Lancers (USHL)
  • College commitment: Clarkson University

Gillespie’s Junior A rights were acquired by Salmon Arm in a June 17 trade with the Brockville Braves of the Central Canada Hockey League in Ontario, but he played last season with Omaha of the USHL. In 56 games with the Lancers, Gillespie recorded three goals and 12 assists for 15 points.

Shattock’s scouting report:

“He was a guy that we tried to bring in last year, but he ended up going to the USHL. We’ve been talking to him for a few years now. We’re losing some scoring up front in our lineup and we think that he can provide us with that. He should be a guy that brings instant offence to our group. He’s someone that’s going to play on the power play, facilitate the puck and play in our top six.”

Barret Joynt (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Kingston, Ont.
  • Previous team: Wellington Dukes (OJHL)

Joynt is the team’s most recent acquisition after they received him in a trade with Wellington of the Ontario Junior Hockey League where he spent the past three years. The 19-year-old scored 22 goals and added 19 assists for 41 point in 2021-22.

Shattock’s scouting report:

“He’s another really high character guy. We brought him in to add some depth to our forward group. As we got into the playoffs last year, we realized quickly that we needed more depth. He’ll bring some scoring. He works hard. He plays in all situations. His style kind of mimics Daniel Panetta who was our captain last year. He’ll work hard, play every situation for us, lead our young guys and push our team in the right direction.”

Photo credits: Dave Watling (Varkonyi), Dan Hickling (Foley, Stavroff, Gillespie), Louis Walker Photography (Buckley), Ed McPherson/OJHL Images (Joynt)