BCHL Next Generation: Wenatchee Wild

All summer we’ll be going team-by-team to profile new players coming in for the 2020-21 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.

After winning the Fred Page Cup in 2018 and making the Interior Division Finals the following season, the Wenatchee Wild proved that their crop of talent can compete with the best teams in the BCHL and across Canada.

As the lone American team in the BCHL, the Wild are in a unique position when it comes to recruiting.

“Our under-agers can come from Arizona, California, Colorado or Washington, whereas they wouldn’t be eligible to play for a team on the north side of the border,” said Leigh Mendelson, the team’s Associate Head Coach and Director of Scouting. “Just like Canadian under-agers can’t come down and play for us. There are a lot of good young players in our region and we try to do our best to find the ones that we feel we’ll have for a few years and develop them into good players and hopefully move them along to college.”

This year’s new recruits are mostly forwards and that’s because a large number of the team’s defencemen from last season are eligible to return to the team in 2020-21.

“It’s a good feeling knowing we’ve got a lot of experience and good hockey players back there,” said Mendelson. “At the same time there’s potential to lose just about all of them at the same time, so we’ve got to do some planning to make sure we don’t get caught with seven or eight new defencemen the following year.  We have to make sure we add a good mix of some younger guys back there and make sure that we don’t just load up for one year, but keep this thing going and keep developing guys and have them work their way into the lineup.”

New Recruits:

Sullivan Mack (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Anchorage, Ala.
  • Previous team: Kimball Union Academy (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Cornell University (2021-22)

Mack played last season at Kimball at a pace of over two points per game, with 70 in 34 contests. He also potted an astonishing 44 goals to lead his team, which was 26 more than the second-leading sniper.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“He’s a dynamic player with really good speed who is creative off the rush. He’s a smart hockey player who competes at both ends of the rink. We expect him to be a go-to guy right away. He’s very responsible at both ends of the ice, but also very creative at the offensive end. He was one of the better players in New England prep last year in terms of production.”

Cy Leclerc (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Brentwood, N.H.
  • Previous team: Islanders Hockey Club (NCDC)
  • College commitment: University of New Hampshire (2021-22)

Leclerc topped all Islanders players with 55 points last season, including a team-best 22 goals and was named the NCDC’s Rookie of the Year at 17-years-old.

“Cy is an extremely talented, highly-skilled forward. He’s got a really good nose for the net. He scored a lot of goals from within 15 feet of the net last year. He’s very creative with the puck and has a really high skill level. He’s a competitive young man as well. We’re excited to have him in our program and help him get ready to go to UNH and be a productive college player.”

Aidan Cobb (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Ridgefield, Conn.
  • Previous team: Kent School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Cornell University (2021-22)

Yet another player who led his team in scoring last year, Cobb notched 30 points in 26 games for Kent, including a team-high 21 assists. He also played six games for the Yale Jr. Bulldogs last season and scored three goals.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“Aidan is very dynamic. He’s really competitive and good on the forecheck when he’s hunting the puck down. We think he’s going to be a guy we look to in all situations, whether it’s 5-on-5, powerplay or penalty kill. He’s going to produce for us through his hard work and his relentlessness on the forecheck.”

Peter Lajoy (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Evergreen, Colo.
  • Previous team: Shattuck St. Mary’s Midget Prep (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: University of Denver (2021-22)

The 18-year-old moved through the Shattuck St. Mary’s program over the last four seasons, finishing up his final year with 26 points in 46 games for the prep team.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“He’ll bring a lot of energy to our lineup and he’s not afraid to stir it up a little bit. He’s got some good tools, but I think his biggest asset as a first-year player will be bringing energy to the ice and energy to our dressing room. He’s a really infectious young man and we’re really excited about having his personality in our locker room.”

Aidan Carney (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Paradise Valley, Ariz.
  • Previous team: Phoenix Jr. Coyotes U18 (T1EHL U18)

Carney, who is the son of former NHL defenceman Keith Carney, led the Jr. Coyotes in goals with 10 and points with 14 last season. He also played another 12 games for Chaparral High in Arizona alongside his brother Kade, where he put up 17 points in 12 games. Carney already has some brief BCHL experience, having played one game with the Wild last season as an affiliate and registering one assist.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“He’s a guy we’ve had at camp the last couple summers. He has a big body and he’s a very smart player. We feel he’ll grow into a really good two-way centreman. We anticipate him being on our penalty kill and playing a regular shift right off the bat. He’s strong on the puck down low and he thinks the game well.”

Dawson Milliken (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Canmore, Alta.
  • Previous team: Okanagan Hockey Academy Red Prep (CSSHL)

The 2002-born forward had 26 points in 32 games for the Okanagan Hockey Academy in 2019-20. Milliken also played one game for the West Kelowna Warriors last year as an affiliate.

Mendelson’s scouting report:

“As a young guy on our roster, we expect him to play with a ton of energy and bring some physicality. His brother played in Wenatchee a few years back as well. They’re a really good family – real quality people. We expect him to be a good piece of the puzzle. He’s a player we can have for a few years and help develop into a Division I college hockey player.”

Photo credits: Dustin Meltzer (Mack), Dan Hickling/Hickling Images (Leclerc, , Cobb, Lajoy)