A week after helping the Surrey Eagles to a third-place finish at the RBC Cup, Demico Hannoun and Jordan Klimek learned they will get a second crack at the national junior A hockey championship in 2014.
Hannoun, a forward, and Klimek, a defenceman, both 1995-born players, will be joining the Vernon Vipers for the coming BCHL season. As the 2014 national tournament hosts, the Vipers are guaranteed a berth.
However, still buzzing from his RBC joyride in Summerside, PEI, Klimek has no intention of settling for host-team status.
“It was incredible, the feeling of accomplishment you get from all the hard work you put into it,” said the Langley product. “Obviously, we didn’t win there, but making it to a national championship is pretty impressive in my mind.”
The Eagle duo comes to the Viper den as future considerations in a five-player deal that sent centre Adam Tambellini to the Fred Page Cup champion Eagles at the January carding deadline. Vernon picked up ‘94-born forward Mason Blacklock at the time of the trade. They sent second-year forward Michael Roberts, a Vernon native, to Surrey this week to complete the transaction.
Roberts, who had four goals and 10 points in 53 games as a rookie, was unavailable for comment.
Surrey head coach Matt Erhart told Black Press: “It is a tough day as a coach and GM when you have to part with three quality young men that all have bright futures in the game of hockey.
“In order for the Eagles to push through and capture the Fred Page and Western Canada Cups, we felt that the moves were necessary at the time the trades were made.”
Klimek, who turns 18 in August, plans to let his work ethic do the talking in setting an example for his new teammates. He pocketed six goals (four of them were game-winners) and 17 assists in 52 regular-season games, and followed that with six assists in 17 BCHL playoff tilts.
“I just know what it takes, and having been there before I’ll be a little bit less nervous,” said the offensive-minded d-man. “And hopefully I can provide some leadership to the guys who haven’t been there before.”
Klimek is committed to the Northern Michigan Wildcats for the 2014-15 season.
Said Vernon head coach Jason Williamson, of Klimek: “He’s already a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenceman, and his best years are yet to come in our league. It bodes well for our already strong d corps.”
Hannoun, a Delta product who is committed to the Michigan Tech Huskies, stepped up his game in the post-season, improving on a 33-point regular season by racking up 14 points (5-9) in 16 playoff tilts.
“He was a top-line guy in Surrey,” said Williamson. “Right winger, right shot – you can play him in all situations, but he’s an offensive threat every time you put him on the ice.”
Williamson knew he was getting three quality players in the Tambellini trade. With Surrey reaching the RBC, it made the deal all the sweeter.
“In a tournament like that you need a little experience,” he said. “We have Ryan Renz and Colton Sparrow who have been to an RBC before, and now we have two more. They were two pretty integral parts of Surrey’s run.”
With the recent influx of talent (Vernon recently reaped 20-year-old d-man Josh Bryan and 19-year-old forward Michael McNicholas from the Nanaimo Clippers to complete the Aaron Hadley deal) they have a roster surplus. That includes nine returning 20-year-olds (BCHL teams are allowed six) – d-men Jason Bird, Geoff Crisfield, Renz and Bryan, forwards Brendan Persley, Sparrow, Liam Board and Braedan Russell, and goalie Austin Smith.
“My guys knew that,” said Williamson. “They realize there’s probably some good players coming in a trade like that. That’s one of the things that has to happen when you’re trying to build a championship-calibre team.”
SNAKE BITES: Tambellini will join David Pope of the West Kelowna Warriors as the lone BCHLers to participate in the NHL scouting combine, May 27-June 1 in Toronto. Tambellini is listed at No. 42 for North American skaters heading into the NHL Entry Draft, June 30, in New Jersey. Pope is rated at No. 67… Eagles rookie forward Kevan Kilistoff, 18, was sent to the Langley Rivermen to complete a three-team deal that, earlier this season, saw the Eagles pick up 20-year-old defeneceman Troy Paterson from the Cowichan Valley Capitals.