Friday, May 23, 2014

Vikich Commits To Eagles, Sandler to Detroit Camp

The Eagles announced Thursday that local product Ben Vikich has committed to the team for 2014-15. Vikich (94) comes back to Surrey after beginning last season with the Eagles before spending the majority of the year in Portland, Maine with the Junior Pirates of the USPHL.

Vikich was one of Surrey's "black aces" in their run to the 2013 RBC Cup semi-final, and in chatting with him briefly earlier this week, is extremely excited to again be donning Eagles silks this coming winter.

Welcome home Ben! The full press release from the team follows:

SURREY – The Surrey Eagles Hockey Club are pleased to announce the commitment of forward, and Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Association alumnus Ben Vikich for the 2014-15 BCHL season. 

Vikich, 20, spent the majority of the 2013-14 season with the USPHL’s Portland Pirates after beginning the year in Surrey. In 26 games with the Maine club last season, Vikich recorded seven points from four goals and three assists, adding 36 minutes in penalties. 

Vikich set career highs in goals (13) and points (35) during the 2012-13 season with the PJHL’s North Delta Devils. He then joined the Eagles for their 2013 RBC Cup run. 

“I’m excited to come back to Surrey for my 20 year-old season,” said Vikich. “as a kid I regularly attended Surrey Eagles games hoping to one day represent my home-town team.” 

“We’re very excited to include Ben in our group this coming year,” said Blaine Neufeld, the Eagles’ Director of Hockey Operations, “he’s a player that we can trust in all three zones of the ice and will lead by example.” 

“Ben’s character will enable him to be a real influence on our younger players on and off the ice. He’s a born leader and we love that aspect about him as well,” Neufeld added. 

Further player announcements will be made in the coming weeks. 

Welcome, Ben, to the Eagles family!

Sandler To Attend Wings Camp: The BCHL announced yesterday former Eagle Luke Sandler will attend the Detroit Red Wings development camp this summer. Sandler played out his junior eligibility with Nanaimo this past spring after a trade from Surrey at the January 10th deadline, totalling 18 points and 90 penalty minutes in 30 games with the Clippers and Eagles. Luke and I spent the 2012-13 season together in Trail before our short stint together in South Surrey, and while I'm not entirely sure how quickly the lifelong Blackhawks fan will adapt to wearing Detroit colours, I hope he has a great camp. Good luck Sandy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Heinen To Begin NCAA Journey Early

The Eagles announced this afternoon captain Danton Heinen, who committed to the University of Denver in March, will attend the NCAA Division I school beginning this fall. Surrey's 2013-14 scoring leader, fresh off a sensational freshman campaign in the BCHL that saw him win league Rookie of the Year and Most Sportsmanlike Players honours, had an option to defer his scholarship to 2015-16, but elected to join the Pioneers this fall and kickstart the next phase of his promising career.

As good as Danton Heinen was on the ice this past season for Surrey, he was just as professional, if not more so, off it. And while I'm sure Eagles fans would have loved to see him in Surrey silks for another season (or two!), it's certainly a feather in the club's cap to be able to celebrate him as a perfect example of "Smart Hockey."

The full release from the Eagles is available here.

In the absence of recording technology, a transcript of my conversation with Heinen from this past Friday follows:

What influenced your decision to leave for Denver this year as opposed to next?
I originally had the option to leave this fall or next. It was a very difficult decision to leave the Eagles and I had a lot of fun playing close to home, but everything I’ve heard about Denver is that they’ll have a pretty competitive team next season and I want to be a part of it.

What factors helped you make your decision to commit to the Pioneers in March?
I went down there on a visit at the end of the season and I knew right away it was somewhere I wanted to be. I had a real comfort level with the campus and the people there are great.

What are your plans for the summer?
Right now, I’m training locally, but I’ll leave for Denver in mid-June. I’m planning on taking courses for about a month and a half to help me settle in. It’ll be a good adjustment since I’ve been away from school for a year now.

Are you a bit nervous to be living away from home for the first time?
For sure, but I think it’s probably natural to be a bit nervous to move away for the first time. It’s a new adventure for me, though, and I’m excited for it.

What will you take from your time with the Eagles and in the BCHL?
I really enjoyed my time in Surrey and it was a lot of fun to be able to play close to home. I can’t say enough about my coaches and teammates last season, I’ll definitely miss them and again, it’s a very tough decision on my part to leave early.

Are you a bit surprised at how quickly things have happened for you over the past year?
For sure, you never really expect things to happen as quickly as they have for me. But I got a great opportunity last summer to come to Surrey and play for the Eagles, and I am really thankful for it.
All the best in the Mile High City "Heinz," we'll be watching!