Story and Photos By Christian J. Stewart

The VIJHL has announced its All-Star and Young Prospects teams for the 2012 All Star Classic on January 15, 2012 at Pearkes Arena in Saanich.

Saanich, BC – The 2012 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) All-Star Classic and Prospects Game will take place on Sunday January 15, 2012 at Pearkes Arena in Saanich and judging by the players who will be participating in both, it is shaping up to be an excellent day of hockey.
The All-Star Classic will feature twelve of the top twenty scorers in the VIJHL this season including the top four – Brody Coulter (Victoria), Jackson Garrett (Comox), Ty Jones (Saanich) and Steve Axford (Victoria).
IMG 1782VIJHL leading scorer, Victoria’s Brody Coulter, will lead the South in the 2012 All Star Classic.
IMG 9834Saanich’s Ty Jones has moved up to third in VIJHL scoring and will play for the South in the All-Star Classic.
The game format will pit the North Division All-Stars (Comox, Campbell River and Oceanside) vs the South Division All-Stars (Victoria, Saanich, Peninsula and Kerry Park).  Early odds would seem to heavily favour the South, who will be stacked with ten of the twelve leading scorers mentioned above.
In addition to Coulter, Jones and Axford, the South snipers will include Cole Thomson (Kerry Park), rookie and Brandon WHL prospect Jack Palmer (Saanich), Josh Wyatt (Victoria), Dane Gibson (Peninsula), Jake Bryan (Peninsula), Connor Morgan (Kerry Park) and Tyler Porteous (Peninsula).
IMG 1488 - CopyVictoria’s Steven Axford
IMG 8065Peninsula’s Dane Gibson
IMG 9841Saanich rookie and WHL Prospect Jack Palmer
Additional South forwards will include Saanich’s hard working Sam Johnston, Peninsula’s Josh Bloomenthal, and Kerry Park VIJHL veteran Trevor Yee.
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Saanich’s gritty Sam Johnston has worked his way on to the south All-Star squad.
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VIJHL veteran and Kerry Park Islander Trevor Yee will play in the All-Star game in his final season.
For the North, Garrett will be supported by his Comox team mate Garrett Brandsma and a cast of supporting players that include Campbell River’s Alex Grupe and Alex Benjestorf (first and third respectively in team scoring), and Oceanside’s Travis Briggs (third in team scoring) and Conor Enright.
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Comox Captain Jackson Garrett will lead the North squad in the 2012 All-Star Classic.
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Campbell River’s Alex Benjestorf (9) sits third in scoring for his team and will play in the 2012 All-Star Classic.
Rounding out the forward lines for the North will be Campbell River’s Chase Haley and Brett Willsie, Oceanside’s Luciano Sommerville and Connor Allison and Comox’s Jordan Kamprath and Lee Orpen.
On the defensive side, the South will be led by Peninsula’s Bryan and Victoria’s Trevor Chown who sit first and second respectively in league scoring by defencemen.  Additional rearguards will include Victoria’s Rhys Williams, Saanich’s Jaden Schmeisser and Hayden Long and Kerry Park’s Josh Garneau.
IMG 8026Peninsula’s Jake Bryan will lead the defence against the North.
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Saanich’s Jaden Schmeisser’s solid play has earned him a spot on the South All-Stars.
For the North, the defense will include Campbell River’s Jesse Spooner and Joel Wheeldon, Oceanside’s Keenan McConnell and Noah Russi and Comox’s Tyson Arnholtz and Brian Rideout.
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Comox’s Brian Rideout will be one of the defenceman trying to shut-down the South snipers in the 2012 All-Star Classic.
The goaltending battle should also be entertaining as the South will feature Victoria’s Evan Roch and Saanich’s Tanner McGaw, while the North goes with Campbell River’s Nick Babich and Comox’s Cameron Large.
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Saanich’s Tanner McGaw
IMG 9652Comox’s Cameron Large

Coaching the All-Stars will be, for the South, Victoria’s Mark Van Helvoirt, and for the North, Comox’s Jordan Butcher.
The Prospect Game also promises to be an exciting affair and will feature some of the finest young talent in the VIJHL this season.  The game also features the North Prospects vs the South Prospects and the four-on-four format for the game will allow for an entertaining and high scoring game for the fans.
The South Prospects will include: Victoria’s Mark Walton, Kyle Richter-, Jacob Stolz and Robert Zadra; Saanich’s Connor Krupa, Matt Biagioni, Shawn Mcbride, Brandon Parmar and goaltender Bowman Rutledge; Kerry Park’s Dayne Ellison, Clay Carson, Eric Mansuetti, Colton Burt and goaltender Jackson Jane; and Peninsula’s Wade Bartlett, Fraser Sutherland, Iver Oedegaard and Kayle Ramsay.
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Victoria’s Mark Walton will be one of the speedy Prospects playing for the South.
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Saanich’s Shawn McBride has made a good impression in his first VIJHL season.
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Saanich’s Matt Biagioni is another Saanich Prospect to keep an eye on. 

The North Prospects will include:  Comox’s Adam Robertson, Garrett Halls, Keegan Fletcher, Tyson Arnholtz, Mitch Ball, Jed Martin and Rylan Ball; Campbell River’s Dane Feeney, Dixon Wing, Josh Cook, Wyatt Trumbley, Max Crawford and goaltender Andy Salazar; and Oceanside’s Taylor Grabowski, Justin Polischuk, Daylin Ohs, Nathan Dyell, Dylan Haugen and goaltender Michael Gudmandson.

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Comox’s Garrett Halls will play for the North Prospects
IMG 2603Keegan Fletcher is another Comox player who will be showcasing his talents in the Prospects Game.
The action kicks off on January 15th with the Prospects Game at 1:00 pm.  This will be followed by a Skills competition at 2:30 pm and the the All-Star Game at 3:30 pm.  
Tickets for the event can be purchased at the door or at any Saanich Brave home game between now and then.