BCHL Next Generation: Cowichan Valley Capitals

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 Cowichan Valley Capitals.

After finishing with the second-worst record in the BCHL last season and qualifying for the playoffs as the 16th seed, the Capitals pulled off the biggest upset of the season as they beat the Interior Division champion Penticton Vees in six games in their first-round series. They went on to push the defending Fred Page Cup champions the Wenatchee Wild to six games before bowing out in the second round.

Although the team is starting fresh again in 2019-20, head coach Mike Vandekamp believes that late-season success can rub off on the players returning this year.

“I think that having some success like that gives the team some real confidence,” said Vandekamp. “The core group coming back experienced a pretty neat playoff run there and I think it’s something we can build on to start the season this year.

“Our team last year was better than our record. We lost 16 games by one goal and we were never healthy. As the year progressed, we got everybody back in the lineup. We still really believed in ourselves as a team. The attitude was really good.”

2019-20 commits

Andres Bridgewater (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Calgary, Alta.
  • Previous team: Calgary Mustangs (AJHL)

Bridgewater joins the Capitals from the Calgary Mustangs who will be inactive for the 2019-20 season. The 19-year-old had 33 points in 51 games last year.

Vandekamp’s scouting report:

“It was a rare opportunity to add a guy that had already played Junior A hockey and we were able to add him without giving up any assets. He brings a tenacious type of game. He’s a fast, hard-working, two-way, gritty kind of player, so I think he’ll fit nicely into what we’re looking for.”

Ben Howard (2000, G)

  • Hometown: Calgary, Alta.
  • Previous team: Calgary Mustangs (AJHL)

Howard played two years in the AJHL prior to joining Cowichan in the offseason. Last year with the Mustangs, he had a .905 save percentage in 28 games.

Vandekamp’s scouting report:

“He’s a big goalie. He’s pretty consistent and steady and he has really good character. That was important to us as well. Just knowing, from speaking to his old coaches, he was a quality person too. He’ll compete for the starting role. We’ve got a couple of other goalies in the mix too. It will be something that will play out through training camp and exhibition and into the early portion of the season.”

Maxime Dumas (2000, D)

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

The Quebec native spent the last two years playing high-school hockey in New Hampshire. Last season he had seven points in 27 games.

Vandekamp’s scouting report:

“He’s a good skater and he’s a right-shot defenceman. We were specifically looking for that. He’s a big, thick, strong kid who plays physically. He’ll be a defence-first kind of a guy. That’s another thing we were looking for. We believe it was a really nice fit for what we were looking for in that spot.”

Clark Webster (2000, D)

  • Hometown: Kensington, P.E.I.
  • Previous team: Boston Jr. Bandits (NCDC)

Webster’s hockey career has taken him from Prince Edward Island, to Boston and now to Cowichan. He had two goals and 10 assists in 50 games last year with the Bandits.

Vandekamp’s scouting report:

“He played in a good league in the States last year, so we were able to creatively add a guy who’s got some junior experience without having to give up assets. He’s a big guy with really good character again and he skates well.”

Cullen Ferguson (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Binbrook, Ont.
  • Previous team: Hamilton Kilty B’s (GOJHL)

Ferguson joins the Caps after spending last season playing Junior B in Ontario where he had 19 points in 41 games.

Vandekamp’s scouting report:

“He’s a defenceman that has a lot of potential. He could potentially become a really good player in our league. The reason why we’re excited about Cullen is because of his skating ability. That’s obviously a really important part when you’re trying to build a defence core, you’ve got to have mobile guys.”

Zach Borgiel (2000, G)

  • Hometown: Fort Gratiot, Mich.
  • Previous team: Leamington Flyers (GOJHL)

Borgiel put up some impressive numbers last year playing Junior B, finishing the year with a .924 save percentage and a 2.25 goals-against average in 28 games.

Johnny Howie (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Carp, Ont.
  • Previous team: Renfrew Timberwolves (CCHL2)

The third player on our list to come from a Junior B program, Howie had 23 points in 43 games last year to finish second on his team in defencemen scoring.