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Next Generation: Merritt Centennials

Presented by Chevrolet.

In the weeks leading up to the start of the 2023-24 season, we will go team-by-team to profile new players entering the league for the upcoming season, including scouting reports from the coaches.

This year, we will go in reverse order of how the teams finished last season, starting with the two clubs that missed the playoffs and ending with the two league finalists. Next up is the Merritt Centennials.


The Centennials were one of two teams to miss out on the postseason last year, ending their 2022-23 campaign with a 12-37-3-2 record.

Having not made the playoffs since the 2018-19 season when they finished second in the Interior Division, the team made another coaching change this summer and brought in former Cowichan Valley Capitals coach Brian Passmore. This will be his fifth season as a head coach in the BCHL, so he is already quite familiar with the league.

In an effort to bounce back and make the playoffs for the first time in four years, Passmore has made several moves this offseason, including trades for players with BCHL experience, as well as bringing in a new group of recruits who will make their debuts in the league this fall.

New recruits

Kiernan Poulin (2006, D)

  • Hometown: Norwell, Mass.
  • Previous team: Lovell Academy (16U AAA)
  • College commitment: University of Massachusetts

Poulin led his Lovell Academy team in scoring last year, putting up 36 points in 39 games on eight goals and a team-best 28 assists.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“Kiernan is a smaller right-shot defenceman who is crafty and offensive minded. With his strong skating ability, he’s able to do so many things out there. He’s got a good hockey mind and he shows a lot of confidence in his game. We look forward to having him in our lineup.”

Trent LeDrew (2005, D)

  • Hometown: Windsor, Ont.
  • Previous team: Brockville Braves (CCHL)

In his second year in the Central Canada Hockey League, LeDrew was the top scoring defenceman on his Brockville team with 33 points in 55 games, good enough for third overall in team scoring. His 25 assists were tied for second most on the Braves.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He’s a really smooth skating defenceman who can provide offence with his great shot. He’s a player whose style will really fit nicely with us. I compare his style to Zach Whitecloud with the Vegas Golden Knights. He likes the physical play and can contribute offensively.”

Zach Losier (2005, F)

  • Hometown: Niagara Falls, Ont.
  • Previous team: Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL)

Losier had 12 goals and 12 assists in 40 regular-season games for Ottawa in 2022-23. He also played in 10 postseason contests to help his team to a league championship.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“Zach is a left-winger who is a hard forechecking player. He’s coming off a championship, so he’ll bring that winning experience. He’s got a bit of offensive prowess as well. He likes to finish checks and plays a hard style.”

Sam Grabner (2004, D)

  • Hometown: Ottawa, Ont.
  • Previous team: Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL)

Another player from the Jr. Senators program in the CCHL,  Grabner played in 45 regular-season games and contributed three goals and 10 assists. He also had four assists in 17 postseason contests en route to the championship.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“We really liked Sam’s character and what he brings with his defensive game. Scouting him with Ottawa in the Centennial Cup, he matched up against other teams’ top lines. He’s a really responsible defenceman that keeps it simple and has a good stick.”

Luke Melnik (2006, F)

  • Hometown: Red Bank, N.J.
  • Previous team: Little Caesers (16U AAA)

Melnik was a key contributor for his 16U team in Detroit, Mich. last year. He piled up 19 goals and 28 assists for 47 points in 59 games.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“Luke is a really nice skating forward. He’s smaller, but he’s a really shifty, playmaker type. He likes to come off the rush and be a threat. He’s not afraid to go into traffic. He’s a little water bug out there and might catch a lot of people off guard.”

Beau Lane (2004, G)

  • Hometown: Pembroke, Mass.
  • Previous team: Thayer Academy (USHS-Prep)/Cape Cod Whalers (18U AAA)

Lane split his time last year playing prep hockey at Thayer Academy, where he had a save percentage of .936 and a goals-against average of 2.09, and the Cape Cod Whalers 18U program where he went 8-7-3 in 20 appearances and posted a 2.93 GAA.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“Beau is a nice sized goalie who is calm in the net. He has a big presence in there, which we like. We signed him out of our Boston import camp in June. He’s a first-year goalie, but we figured he is ready as a 19-year-old.”

Sammy May (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Richmond, B.C.
  • Previous team: Vancouver Giants (WHL)

May brings a wealth of junior hockey experience from several different leagues. Over the past three years, he has suited up in Western Hockey League games for the Saskatoon Blades and Vancouver Giants, played in the BCHL for the Langley Rivermen and also skated in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Dratyon Valley Thunder. He played the entirety of the 2022-23 campaign with the Giants and had nine points in 63 games.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“Sammy is an experienced, smart and intense player. He plays the game with speed and tenacity. We feel that he has good creativity and a is a player that will rise up in big game situations. We look for him to have a breakout in offensive production.”

Isaac Deveau (2004, D)

  • Hometown: Lorraine, Que.
  • Previous team: North Iowa Bulls (NAHL)

Deveau played his rookie season in junior hockey last year for North Iowa in the North American Hockey League. He put up five assists in 30 regular-season games.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“We saw him in Boston and we really liked his skating ability and size. He plays a physical game, which is what we want from him. He used his stick well, defended his zone and advanced pucks nicely in the camp that we had, so that’s why we signed him.”

Easton Ryan (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Nepean, Ont.
  • Previous team: Boston Jr. Bruins (NCDC)

Ryan was the captain and leading scorer for the Jr. Bruins last season. He notched 57 points in 50 games, tying for the most goals on the team with 22 and leading his club in assists with 35.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“As a 20-year-old, he’s ready to come into our league and be a top-six forward on our team and be relied upon for offence. He’s really hungry to show NCAA schools how well he can do and also to help with the turnaround we’re going to have here in Merritt.”

Ocean Fancy (2004, D)

  • Hometown: Orleans, Mass.
  • Previous team: Boston Advantage (NCDC)

Fancy was a point-producing blueliner for Boston of the NCDC last year, putting up five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 35 regular-season contests.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He’s a really nice skating defenceman with some good size. He likes to be on the offence and join the attack. He’s confident and plays a physical brand.”

Acquired via trade

Michael Stenberg (2004, F)

  • Hometown: Needham, Ont.
  • Previous team: Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL)
  • College commitment: Providence College

Stenberg joined the Chiefs midway through the 2022-23 campaign and notched four goals and 13 assists in 27 games. Prior to moving to the BCHL, he played for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“Michael is a great character kid with good size. He’s a leader who finishes checks and plays the game the right way. He goes to the net and just does anything he needs to do for the team – killing penalties, playing on the power play, he can do a little bit of everything.”

Nic Leggett (2005, D)

  • Hometown: Kamloops, B.C.
  • Previous team: Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL)

Leggett was one of two pieces acquired from Salmon Arm as part of future considerations from a January trade. In his rookie year in the BCHL last season, he played in 31 regular-season games and another 14 in the postseason.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He’s a young defenceman who only got better throughout the season. He played a lot in the playoffs for Salmon Arm last year, so he will bring that experience over with him. He’s also somewhat local, so he can still play close to home.”

Lynden Hanvold (2004, D)

  • Hometown: Kelowna, B.C.
  • Previous team: Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL)

Hanvold played the past two seasons with Salmon Arm and was another player acquired by Merritt this offseason as part of future considerations. In 2022-23, he had seven points in 41 games during the regular season.

Passmore’s scouting report:

“He’s an experienced defenceman that only got better as the year went on. We identified him as a strong skating blueliner that moves pucks well.”


Photo credits: Dan Hickling (Poulin, Melnik, Lane), Darren Francis (Stenberg), Pure Life Photography (Leggett), Garrett James Photography (Hanvold)