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Blazers, Royals sign 2015 draft picks

Lots of WHL training camp notes
By Gregg Drinnan
August 29, 2015 10:14 P.M.
The Victoria Royals signed F Eric Florchuk, pictured here with his younger brother Spencer, to a WHL contract. (Victoria Royals photo)

F Dominik Volek (Regina, Red Deer, Vancouver, 2011-14) has been assigned by Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). Last season, with Sparta Prague, he had three goals and six assists in 42 games; he also had two goals and six assists in 23 games with Litom??ice (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). . . .
F Joel Broda (Tri-City, Moose Jaw, Calgary, 2004-10) signed a one-year contract with Bolzano (Italy, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, Broda had seven goals and three assists in 53 games with the Hershey Bears (AHL). . . .
Czech-ELHF Marcel Hossa (Portland, 1998-2001) signed a one-year contract with Plze? (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Dynamo Riga (Latvia, KHL), he had 16 points, including seven goals, in 38 games. He was the team captain when he was released on Dec. 20 for financial reasons. He had two goals and two assists in four games with Dukla Tren?ín (Slovakia, Extraliga), and three goals and three assists in 11 games with MODO Örnsköldsvik (Sweden, SHL). . . .
F Layne Ulmer (Swift Current, 1997-2001) signed a one-year extension with Asiago (Italy, Serie A). Last season, in 36 games, he had 20 goals and 28 assists. Ulmer, who is going into his seven season with Asiago, led the league in playoff scoring, with 29 points, including 10 goals, in 18 games.

The Victoria Royals have signed F Eric Florchuk, their first-round selection in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., he was the 13th overall pick. The 5-foot-10, 140-pounder had 46 points, including 24 goals, in 33 games with the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers of the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League last season. He had 20 points, 11 of them goals, in 14 playoff games.
The Kamloops Blazers have signed D Luke Zazula, who was a fourth-round selection in the 2015 bantam draft. From Surrey, he had 11 points, two of them goals, in 17 games with the bantam prep team at the Delta, B.C., Hockey Academy last season. Zazula, 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds, is an offensively gifted player who is a terrific skater. I watched a Friday night scrimmage in which he was easily the most noticeable player.
F Jack Barnes, the son of former NHL/WHL F Stu Barnes, was in the Tri-City Americans’ rookie camp this week. Of course, Stu also is a part-owner of the Americans. Jack was a fifth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft, out of Plano, Texas. He will play this season at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C. . . . Annie Fowler of the Tri-City Americans has that story right here.
Alan Caldwell, over at Small Thoughts At Large, continues his work compiling WHL training camp rosters. He now has them all except for the Brandon Wheat Kings, who haven’t yet opened camp, Kelowna Rockets, Kootenay Ice, which opens Monday, and Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Caldwell’s site is right here.
Len Rhodes is the CEO and president of the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. He also is the survivor of a childhood that was wracked by domestic abuse. Rhodes recently told his story to Chris O’Leary of the Edmonton Journal. That story is right here.
Got a tip or some information you feel could be useful to me, feel free to email me at

Yes, it’s early. Some teams have been in camp for only a few days; others have yet to start. But there have been reports of some players finding early chemistry together. For example, in Medicine Hat early scrimmages, the Tigers have liked the play of a line that features Chad Butcher, Mason Shaw and Dryden Hunt. . . . Andy Eide, who covers the Seattle Thunderbirds for 710 AM ESPN, has been singing the praises of a line that features Jamal Watson, who was acquired over the summer from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Scott Eansor and Nolan Volcan. “The Watson-Scott Eansor-Volcan line was strong again on Friday,” Eide writes, “and is going to be a fun line to watch moving forward. All three players are fast, play hard and already seem to have formed a great chemistry.” . . .
F Ryan Chyzowski scored his first goal of the Medicine Hat Tigers’ camp in a Saturday afternoon scrimmage. The 17th overall pick in the 2015 bantam draft, he is the son of former Kamloops Blazers star Dave Chyzowski and the younger brother of Nick, a forward going into his third season with the Blazers. . . . F Tyler Chyzowski, a 15-year-old nephew of Dave’s from Surrey, B.C., was in the Blazers’ rookie camp but wasn’t held over to main camp. . . . F Luka Burzan struck for three goals in the final three minutes of a game in the Moose Jaw Warriors’ camp as his Team Red beat Team Grey, 7-3. According to Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald, Burzan had a fourth goal “wrongfully disallowed.” . . . From Surrey, B.C., Burzan was the sixth overall pick in the 2015 bantam draft after putting up 131 points, including 80 goals, in 62 games with the North Shore Winter Club bantams. He has signed with Moose Jaw. . . .
F Ben Duppereault, who spent the previous two seasons with the Warriors, is in camp with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He had 18 points, six of them goals, in 65 games in 2013-14, but just five points, including one goal, in 34 games last season. The Hurricanes placed him on their list shortly after the Warriors dropped him just before the bantam draft in May. Duppereault, 19, scored a shorthanded goal in a Saturday game, as his Team Blue dropped a 6-4 decision to Team WHite. . . . Duppereault is a grandson of the late Kelly Lovering, who meant so much to hockey in Canada and Saskatchewan. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds continue to sit F Ryan Gropp and F Keegan Kolesar, not allowing them to scrimmage. Both have what the team says are minor injuries. . . .
In Prince George F Logan Mazerolle scored three goals as Team Byfuglien dumped Team Hamhuis, 7-2, in a Saturday evening scrimmage at the Cougars’ camp. Mazerolle, 16, is from Grande Prairie, Alta. He was an eighth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . Meanwhile, F Erik Miller scored three times to help Team Doan to a 6-5 victory over Team Recchi on the final night of the Kamloops Blazers’ rookie camp. From Sherwood Park, Alta., Miller was a third-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . The Blazers are down to 59 players as they open main camp Sunday morning. That includes nine of their 10 selections in the 2015 bantam draft, none of whom are eligible for full-time duty this season. The roster breakdown: 30 players from B.C., 14 from Alberta, 11 from Saskatchewan, two from Manitoba, one from the Czech Republic, and one from Slovakia. That includes D Marc McNulty and F Quinn Benjafield, both of whom will be out for another week or so with injuries. . . . The Blazers had 19 players from Kamloops on hand Friday. They are down to six going into main camp, including twins Mike and Rylan Van Unen. Mike is a defenceman, Rylan a forward.


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