BCHL Next Generation: Wenatchee Wild

All summer we’ll be going team-by-team to profile new players coming in for the 2019-20 season with recaps of offseason commits and acquisitions. We will also have interviews and scouting reports from the coaches.

Next up is the Wenatchee Wild.

The Wild are two years removed from the franchise’s first Fred Page Cup and are coming off a year where they made it to the third round of the playoffs. The BCHL’s only team from south of the border is looking to a group of new players to gel with a handful of returning veterans to get them back to that championship level.

Wenatchee’s associate head coach and director of recruiting Leigh Mendelson has been busy recruiting players from across the continent, and in one case across the world, this offseason. He believes that a player’s attributes on the ice are just as important as those off it.

“It’s not that we just want good people, we’re only taking good people,” said Mendelson. “We do a lot of research and take our time when it comes to recruiting. A lot of our guys, it took a two-year process, so we want to make sure we’re bringing good people into our locker room that are all like-minded and who all have the same goal of developing into good hockey players and good citizens.”

2019-20 commits

Tyler Young (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Lancaster, Mass.
  • Previous team: Lawrence Academy (USHS-Prep)
  • Commitment: Providence College (2020-21)

The son of former NHL player Scott Young, the 18-year-old was Lawrence Academy’s second-leading scorer last year with 39 points in 28 games.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“We’ve been watching Tyler for a couple of years now at his prep school at Lawrence Academy and at USA Hockey festivals. He’s a dynamic offensive player who thinks the game very well. He has a nice energy level that fits our mold really well. He’s also really good person off the ice.”

Jerrett Overland (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Hoodsport, Wa.
  • Previous team: Anaheim Jr. Ducks 18U (TIEHL U18)
  • Commitment: Air Force Academy (2020-21)

Overland led the Ducks in scoring from the back end in 2018-19, putting up 22 points in 27 games.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“He’s a highly-skilled defenceman who is going to be a good power-play guy in our league. He’s a high-character kid, obviously being committed to a school like Air Force Academy. He’s got a good personality and good energy.”

Nick Cafarelli (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Middleton, Mass.
  • Previous team: Cushing Academy (USHS-Prep)
  • Commitment: University of New Hampshire (2020-21)

The 17-year-old led Cushing Academy in goals (18), assists (27) and points (45) in 33 games last year.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“Nick is a highly-skilled centreman. He’s dynamic skater and a hard worker with a really bubbly personality that can light the room up. We feel like he’ll bring some life into our locker room and some fun, but he’ll compete and work really hard on the ice and should be pretty productive offensively.”

Drew Bavaro (2000, D)

  • Hometown: Sarasota, Fla.
  • Previous team: Lawrence Academy (USHS-Prep)
  • Commitment: Bentley University (2020-21)

The 19-year-old put up six goals and 10 assists for 16 points in 27 games for his prep school last year.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“He’s a bigger offensive defenceman. It will be nice to have another right shot besides Overland to work with on our power play. Drew played with Tyler Young at Lawrence Academy, so we got to see quite a bit of those guys. We expect him to contribute right away offensively.”

Jack Bayless (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Minnetonka, Minn.
  • Previous team: Minnetonka High (USHS-MN)
  • Commitment: University of Massachusetts-Lowell (2020-21)

Bayless led all forwards in scoring for his high-school team last season with 33 points in 25 games.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“He’s a goal-scorer who has a lot of offence and a lot of competitiveness in his game. We know the program he came from very well and his coaches spoke very highly of him as a person. Over our two years watching him, we got to know him and we think he fits in well with the type of people we want here.”

Nicholas Chmelevski (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Huntington Beach, Calif.
  • Previous team: Belle Tire U18 (T1EHL U18)

Chmelevski had 41 points in 24 games last year to lead his U16 team, then finished the season with the U18 team where he had a goal and an assist in 12 contests. His older brother Alexander was a sixth-round draft choice of the San Jose Sharks in 2017 and played for Team USA at last year’s World Junior Hockey Championships.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“Nico is a really smart, hard-working hockey player. He’s a great young man with a great family. He’s got a lot of traits that fit with the way we like to play as far as speed and skill and the quality of a person. He was an absolute homerun for us with all of those attributes.”

Noah Altman (2000, G)

  • Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Previous team: Shattuck St. Mary’s Midget AAA (Midget)

Altman posted an impressive .933 save percentage and a 1.39 goals-against average in 23 games last year.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“I’m going to have to guess he’ll be one of the biggest kids in the league this year at 6-foot-7. This is only his fifth year of organized hockey. He’s made dramatic improvement over the last two years in terms of coordination and athleticism. Coming into his first year of junior, we think he’ll be a good compliment to [expected starting goalie] Daniel Chenard. We expect him to push Daniel this year and to be our number-one next year.”

Noah Etter (1999, F)

  • Hometown: Sunnyvale, Calif.
  • Previous team: Genève-Servette U20 (U20-Elit) (Switzerland)

The Swiss-born forward who calls California home had 21 points in 42 games for his U20 team last year. He also played for Team Switzerland at the 2019 World Junior Championships.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“Noah is a really hard-working, experienced winger. He played three years of Swiss Junior A hockey and won two championships. He’s a strong skater and is physically strong. He can finish and he has a lot of character. He’s got a U.S. passport and his family lives in California, so that’s how he’s eligible for us. We brought him in and he’s a super kid, so we expect a lot from him.”

Brett Chorske (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Edina, Minn.
  • Previous team: Edina High (USHS-MN)

Chorske had 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points in 22 games last season.

True Crowe (2002, D)

  • Hometown: Greeley, Colo.
  • Previous team: Rocky Mountain Roughriders 18U (NAPHL 18U)

Crowe put up nine points in 16 games last year to tie for the team lead in points by a defenceman.

Blake Emerson (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Manhattan Beach, Calif.
  • Previous team: Los Angeles Jr. Kings U18 (T1EHL U18)

The 18-year-old led all Kings blueliners in scoring last season with 14 points in 30 games.

Quinn Emerson (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Manhattan Beach, Calif.
  • Previous team: Los Angeles Jr. Kings U18 (T1EHL U18)

The twin brother of Blake Emerson, he had eight goals and seven assists in 2018-19.

Tanner Main (2000, D)

  • Hometown: Welland, Ont.
  • Previous team: St. Catharines Falcons (GOJHL)

Main totaled 26 points in 44 games playing Junior B last season.

Julien Ménes (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Montreal, Que.
  • Previous team: St. Paul’s School (USHS-Prep)

Born in Montreal, Ménes moved to Finland to play his youth hockey, before moving to New Hampshire to attend St. Paul’s where he played the last three seasons. Last year, he had 25 points in 28 games and led the team in goals with 18.

Acquired via trade

Daniel Chenard (1999, G)

  • Hometown: Waterloo, Ont.
  • Previous team: Chilliwack Chiefs

After returning from injury midway through last season, Chenard posted a .913 save percentage and a 2.70 goals-against average in 18 regular-season games. The 19-year-old also won a national championship with the Chiefs in 2018 where he was named the tournament’s Top Goaltender after finishing with a .937 save percentage and a 1.77 goals-against average in five games.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“He comes in with great experience having been in an organization like Chilliwack for a couple of seasons. He’s coming off an injury, so you have a little bit of a question mark in terms of when does he get back to 100 per cent, but we think he’s pretty close. He has a ton of poise. He’s athletic. He competes hard and he’s a really good kid in the room. He’s been great so far with the guys and he fits in well. We expect a lot out of him. Again, the way we play, being as offensive as we are, sometimes we leave our goalies exposed at times, so he’s going to have the opportunity to bail us out and we have every confidence that he will.”

Dallas Farrell (1999, F)

  • Hometown: Roseneath, P.E.I.
  • Previous team: Coquitlam Express
  • Commitment: University of Maine (2020-21)

In his first BCHL season last year, Farrell put up 41 points in 51 games with the Express.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“We only played Coquitlam twice last year, but we remembered him in terms of his skill level and his creativity. We’re known as an offensive team and we think he fits right in with that dynamic. He’s slippery, experienced and we feel like he’s a great addition.”