Pod Preview: Port Alberni

Photo credit: Garrett James Photography (Pearson, Naylor, DiPaolo)

We continue our look around the five BCHL pods and put the focus on the Port Alberni Pod, featuring the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, Cowichan Valley Capitals, Nanaimo Clippers and Victoria Grizzlies.

Alberni Valley Bulldogs

Record:

2019-20: 26-28-2-2
2020-21 exhibition: 6-7-1-1

Key returning players:

G Luke Pearson
F Stephen Castagna

Key additions:

F Josh Van Unen
F Brandon Buhr
D Ryan Nause
D Emanuelson Charbonneau
F Finn Brown

Outlook:

The Bulldogs don’t have many players returning from last season, but do have an experienced goaltender in Luke Pearson who they will rely on to keep things steady in their own end. Stephen Castagna is another returning player who led the team in scoring during the exhibition season, so look for him to provide a spark on offence.

Cowichan Valley Capitals

Record:

2019-20: 35-16-5-2
2020-21 exhibition: 2-5-0-1

Key returning players:

N/A

Key additions:

F Jacob Brockman
F Brett Fudger
F Kahlil Fontana
F Sam Schofield
F Adam Grenier
D Tanner Komzak
D Stephen Sielsky
G Jayden Schull

Outlook:

Last year was a huge year for the Caps as they battled all year long for top spot on the Island and won their first-round playoff series over Powell River in dramatic fashion. After graduating the majority of their 2019-20 team this offseason, Cowichan has added a mix of BCHL veterans from around the league, as well as fresh young faces looking to make an immediate impact.

Nanaimo Clippers

Record:

2019-20: 37-17-2-2
2020-21 exhibition: 11-5-0-0

Key returning players:

G Jordan Naylor
D Trevor Ledonne
D Jack O’Brien
F Liam Ryan

Key additions:

F Thomas Maia
F Keighan Gerrie
F Tristan Fraser
D Michael Palandra

Outlook:

The Clippers won the Island Division title last year and also took home the Island Cup exhibition tournament in the fall. Nanaimo’s key returning player is goaltender Jordan Naylor who broke out as a top netminder in the league last year, finishing second in save percentage and goals-against average and leading the league with six shutouts.

Victoria Grizzlies

Record:

2019-20: 24-33-1-0
2020-21 exhibition: 8-4-2-1

Key returning players:

F Alex DiPaolo
F Chase McInnis
F Henri Schreifels
F Andrew Amousse
D Isack Bandu
D Brady MacDonald
D Jake Veilleux

Key additions:

F Ellis Rickwood
F Devon deVries
G Carter Woodside

Outlook:

The Grizzlies appeared to be one of the most improved teams in the league during exhibition play and they return one of the stronger groups of players from last year, including Alex DiPaolo, who led the BCHL in scoring during the preseason. New addition Ellis Rickwood also impressed during exhibition, notching 21 points in 15 games to finish third in scoring.