Vipers open season Sept. 9

The Vernon Vipers will open the 2016-17 B.C. Hockey League season Friday, Sept. 9 against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at the Shaw Centre.

The B.C. Hockey League's 2016-17 season schedule has been released.

The B.C. Hockey League's 2016-17 season schedule has been released.

Morning Star Staff

The Vernon Vipers will open the 2016-17 B.C. Hockey League season Friday, Sept. 9 against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at the Shaw Centre.

The two heated rivals meet again the next night at Kal Tire Place.

The regular season concludes on Sunday, Feb. 26. The 2017 playoffs start on Friday, March 3.

The Bauer BCHL Showcase is in Chilliwack again and runs Sept. 21-25 with Vernon facing the Nanaimo Clippers on Sept. 23 and the Wenatchee Wild the next day at Prospera Centre.

The Christmas schedule break will be from Dec. 19- 28.

The Vipers will hold their main camp starting Monday, Aug. 22 at Kal Tire Place.

Vernon will play 11 Saturday night home games with a 6 p.m. start. The Vipers will have nine Friday night tilts and three Sunday matinees.

The Snakes have a strong returning list of forwards, including captain Colton McCarthy, alternate Riley Brandt, Jagger Williamson, Christian Cakebread, Steven Jandric, Jimmy Lambert, Hunter Zandee, Brett Stapley and Nick Rasovic.

Vernon opens the exhibition season Friday, Aug. 26 against the Merritt Centennials.

Head coach/GM Mark Ferner is holding a Michigan camp, July 29-Aug. 1 at the Arctic Edge Arena in Canton.

Meanwhile, Troy Mick and the Salmon Arm Silverbacks have added former Vancouver Canuck draft Darrell Hay to their coaching staff.

The son of Kamloops Blazer head coach Don Hay, Darrell, 36, coached and played in Sheffield, England last year.

“I am thrilled to be joining a first class organization and a premier league like the BCHL,” said Hay, who played four seasons with the WHL Tri-City Americans.

“I look forward to helping Salmon Arm fulfill the vision they have for the team on the ice and in the community. I am anxious to get to work at reaching our goals of winning a Royal Bank Cup and developing all the fantastic young athletes that will wear a Silverbacks uniform.”

The Hockey East conference has announced its All-Academic Team for the 2015-16 season and 21 BCHL alums made the grade.

Players needed to achieve a grade-point average of 3.0 or better on the 4.0 scale in each of the previous two semesters to earn the recognition.

Jace Hennig, who played for Coquitlam and Prince George from 2011 to 2014, received the additional recognition of being a Hockey East Top Scholar-Athlete by recording a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.

Vermont:

Drew Best (Surrey Eagles)

**Travis Blanleil (West Kelowna Warriors, Penticton Vees)

Mitch Ferguson (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)

Providence:

Josh Monk (Salmon Arm Silverbacks, West Kelowna Warriors)

New Hampshire:

Dylan Chanter (Merritt Centennials, Vernon Vipers)

**Adam Clark (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)

**Cameron Marks (Coquitlam Express)

Michael McNicholas (Nanaimo Clippers, Vernon Vipers)

Notre Dame:

**Steven Fogarty (Penticton Vees)

***Chad Katunar (Penticton Vees)

Merrimack:

****Matt Cronin (West Kelowna Warriors, Surrey Eagles, Langley Chiefs) – Distinguished Scholar as four-time winner

**Jace Hennig (Coquitlam Express, Prince George Spruce Kings)

**Mathieu Tibbet (Chilliwack Chiefs)

UMass-Lowell:

Chris Forney (Langley Rivermen)

Massachusetts:

Carmine Buono (Powell River Kings)

**Marc Hetnik (Vernon Vipers)

***Evan Stack (Merritt Centennials)

Maine:

**Mark Hamilton (Vernon Vipers)

Justin Rai (Prince George Spruce Kings)

Connecticut:

Jesse Schwartz (Victoria Grizzlies)

**Jeff Wight (Merritt Centennials)

New Hampshire:

Dylan Chanter (Merritt Centennials, Vernon Vipers)

**Adam Clark (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)

**Cameron Marks (Coquitlam Express)

Michael McNicholas (Nanaimo Clippers, Vernon Vipers)

Massachusetts:

Carmine Buono (Powell River Kings)

**Marc Hetnik (Vernon Vipers)

Maine:

**Mark Hamilton (Vernon Vipers)

Other important dates on the Junior A calendar include:

– The World Junior A Challenge (WJAC), Dec. 11-17 in Bonnyville, Alta.

–  Junior hockey roster deadline, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017

–  RBC Cup national championship, May 13- to 21 in Cobourg, Ont.