Alberni Valley Bulldogs Chilliwack Chiefs Coquitlam Express Cowichan Capitals Cranbrook Bucks Langley Rivermen Merritt Centennials Nanaimo Clippers Penticton Vees Powell River Kings Prince George Spruce Kings Salmon Arm Silverbacks Surrey Eagles Trail Smoke Eaters Vernon Vipers Victoria Grizzlies Wenatchee Wild West Kelowna Warriors
Team Sites
Follow the BCHL

BCHL Next Generation: Surrey Eagles

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 Surrey Eagles.

+++

The Surrey Eagles finished two games above .500 in 2021-22 and locked up the number-six seed in the Coastal Conference before running into a buzz saw in the first round in the form of the Nanaimo Clippers who swept them in four games.

Change is in the air in Surrey with a new ownership group and a long list of new players added by head coach and associate general manager Cam Keith through recruitment and a few trades. Heading into his fourth season behind the Eagles bench, he tells us about every roster move the team made this offseason.

New recruits

Rylan Bonkowski (2006, D)

  • Hometown: Richmond, B.C.
  • Previous team: Burnaby Winter Club U18 Prep (CSSHL U18)

Playing U18 hockey as a 15-year-old, Bonkowski had a goal and 10 assists for 11 points in 20 games for Burnaby Winter Club. He also got a chance to play three BCHL games with the Eagles as an affiliate, including two playoff contests. He is the younger brother of current Surrey forward Jacob Bonkowski.

Keith’s scouting report:

“Rylan is a different player than his older brother. He’s smaller in stature, but he’s a very dynamic offensive player. We used him last season at some crucial times of the year. He’s a kid that was able to help us at 15 years old, so we’re expecting big things from him even though he’s still only 16.”

Zachary Wagnon (2004, F)

  • Hometown: Red Bank, N.J.
  • Previous team: New Jersey Rockets 18U AAA (18U AAA)
  • College commitment: Yale University

Wagnon was a huge scorer for New Jersey’s 18U program last year. He led the team in scoring with 94 points in 79 games across all competition. He also spent time with Christian Brothers Academy in New Jersey where he also finished as the top scorer with 74 points on 24 goals and 50 assists.

Keith’s scouting report:

“Zachary is a kid that’s going to be an every-situation player. He’s responsible in his defensive zone. He’s good on draws. He can play a hard-nosed game, but can also play in transition. He’s really smart. He’s mature beyond his years and he’s a natural leader. He’s been the captain on pretty much every team that he’s played on, so we’re hoping he jumps in as a first-year kid and takes on a leadership role and can be comfortable in a playoff scenario.”

Ewan Rennie (2005, F)

  • Hometown: White Rock, B.C.
  • Previous team: White Rock Whalers (PJHL)

Despite only playing 25 games last season, Rennie managed to finish second in team scoring with 41 points. His 19 goals were second on the team, while his 22 assists were third. He also played in one game with Surrey as an affiliate.

Keith’s scouting report:

“Ewan is a scrappy, junkyard dog type of player and is really good around the net with good puck protection. We see him as someone who can grow with our program. He’s also a local kid, which is nice. In two or three years, I think he’s going to be one of the better players in our league.”

Alex Sanhu (2005, F)

  • Hometown: Delta, B.C.
  • Previous team: Delta Hockey Academy U18 Prep (CSSHL U18)

Sandhu was Delta’s top scorer last year, finishing his campaign with 48 points in 33 games, including a team-best 23 goals.

Keith’s scouting report:

“He’s a very skilled kid, but at first, we weren’t sure if he had the sandpaper to back it up. He came to our camp in the summer and really proved that he’s ready to play with some older guys. He’s 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds at only 17 years old. He could be one of the fastest skaters on our team with a high-end IQ. I think he’s going to be one of the top 17-year-olds in our league next year.”

Ryden Evers (2005, F)

  • Hometown: Burnaby, B.C.
  • Previous team: Burnaby Winter Club U18 Prep (CSSHL U18)

Evers had 13 goals and 23 assists for 36 points in 24 games last season. He has one game of BCHL experience when he affiliated with the Vernon Vipers last season.

Keith’s scouting report:

“Ryden could be one of the smartest kids I’ve ever recruited. He has a cerebral way of making the right plays all of the time. There’s not a lot of flash to his game, but he’s a kid that we’re expecting to play higher up in our lineup, even though he’s only 17.”

Aaron Schwartz (2004, F)

  • Hometown: Parkland, Fla.
  • Previous team: Islanders Hockey Club (NCDC)
  • College commitment: Brown University

Schwartz was an assist machine for his NCDC club last year, finishing the season with a team-best 39 helpers in 48 games. He added six goals to give him 45 points, also the most on the team.

Keith’s scouting report:

“When we were looking at import players, we wanted to follow suit from successes we’ve had previously. [Current Eagle] Jake Bongo was a kid that had success in the NCDC at 17, so we dipped back into that league and found Aaron who has a very similar playing style, very similar numbers at that age and is committed to a prestigious academic school. He’s very smart and he has some junior experience playing against some older player. We’re expecting his transition to the BCHL to be very smooth.”

Landen Hilditch (2005, D)

  • Hometown: Surrey, B.C.
  • Previous team: Valley West Giants U18 AAA (BCEHL U18)

Hilditch was the top scoring defenceman on his team in 2021-22, finishing his year with 19 points in 35 games. His 17 assists were also most among blueliners and tied for second most among all teammates. He played in four games with the Eagles last year as an affiliate, including two in the playoffs.

Keith’s scouting report:

“He’s a big, strong, meat-and-potatoes type of defenceman. He’s very physically mature for his age and he’s extremely disciplined at how he plays the game. We’re expecting him to be in more of a shutdown role his first year, but there is some offensive upside there.”

Liam Hunks (2004, D)

  • Hometown: Beaumont, Alta.
  • Previous team: Leduc Oil Kings U18 AAA (AEHL U18)

Hunks spent the past four seasons in the Oil Kings program and the last two on the U18 squad. He had 24 points in 36 games last year to finish third in team scoring and first among defencemen. He also played in six Junior A games as an affiliate with the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Keith’s scouting report:

“Liam is a player we were fortunate to get after a recruiting battle with a couple of good Alberta programs. He’s an extremely fast, efficient skater who is really good on his edges. He defends really well with his stick and with his feet. On the Olympic ice in Surrey, I want our defencemen to be able to move and play with pace and Liam does all of the things that lead to fast-paced hockey.”

Blake Cotton (2004, F)

  • Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.
  • Previous team: St. George’s School U18 Prep (CSSHL U18)

Cotton is coming off a highly productive season at St. George’s where he piled up 40 points in 36 games to finish second in points among teammates. His 19 goals were also second on the team, while his 21 assists were third. He played three games last year with Surrey as an affiliate.

Keith’s scouting report:

“Blake is an in-your-face kind of player. After losing to Nanaimo last year in the playoffs, we knew we needed to get a little more grit. Blake is a kid that finishes every hit and enjoys playing the rougher style of hockey, but he also has really good hockey sense and can play with more skilled players.”

Savek Brar (2004, F)

  • Hometown: Surrey, B.C.
  • Previous team: Delta Hockey Academy U18 Prep (CSSHL U18)

Brar posted a goal and an assist playing Junior B for the Abbotsford Pilots of the Pacific Junior Hockey League early in the season, but also spent time with Delta Academy where he got into 13 games.

Keith’s scouting report:

“Savek is a blue-collar, high-energy type of player who likes to produce offence from below the dots. He’s very scrappy and likes to play a physical game. He will bring a lot of positive energy to our group.”

Michael Sochan (2002, G)

  • Hometown: Redwood City, Calif.
  • Previous team: Seacoast Spartans (EHL)

Sochan played for several different teams in 2021-22. He started the season with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL, then had stops with the Utica Jr. Comets of the NCDC, the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, the Amarillo Wranglers of the North American Hockey League and finally Seacoast of the Eastern Hockey League.

Keith’s scouting report:

“We knew we needed a backup for [returning goalie] Eli [Pulver], possibly someone with a little experience to give him some good support. Michael has high character. We’re expecting him to come in here and compete for games. We’re really hoping he can find his way within the BCHL and be a really good supporting piece for Eli this year.”

Acquired via trade

Jacksenn Hungle (2004, F)

  • Hometown: Victoria, B.C.
  • Previous team: Merritt Centennials (BCHL)

Hungle totaled five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 35 games with Merritt last year in his first full season in the BCHL. He was traded to the Eagles on June 21.

Keith’s scouting report:

“Looking at our lineup, we figured we needed to get more size and grit. Jacksenn is a new-age power forward who likes to mix it up, finish hits and create some energy through his passion, but he also has the ability to play on a power play and play in a top-six situation. If you need him to, he can also play on a bang-and-crash type of line. He’ll be a kid that we can use in a lot of different spots and will be a very crucial player in the playoffs.”

Logan Lorenz (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Consort, Alta.
  • Previous team: Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL)

Lorenz should be very familiar with the BCHL having played for two other teams before joining the Eagles. He made his debut in the league with the Vernon Vipers during the 2020-21 pod season and finished with 10 points in 20 games. The following season, he started with the Vipers, then was dealt to the Prince George Spruce Kings and ultimately found a home with Camrose late in the season and produced 11 points in 14 regular-season games and another four points in seven postseason contests. He was acquired by Surrey in a trade on June 3.

Keith’s scouting report:

“Logan is a kid that I tried to recruit when he was younger and followed him closely throughout his career. He’s bounced around a little bit due to some tough, unlucky circumstances, but he’s got a high hockey IQ combined with high character. I expect him to have a pop year as a 20-year-old. He’s the type of player that is much needed in terms of his leadership and experience and we’ll be able to lean on him to play in all different spots. He can do whatever you need.”

Photo credits: Dan Hickling (Wagnon, Sochan), Garrett James Photography (Rennie, Hilditch, Hungle, Lorenz), Laurie O’Connell (Hunks)