The Merritt Centennials announced today that 18-year-old defenseman Joey Berkopec has been acquired from the Burlington Cougars of the Ontario Junior Hockey League for future considerations.
“We expect Joey to be a significant piece on our blueline this season,” said Centennials General Manager and Head Coach Joe Martin. “He is a solid, two-way defender who should excel in the BC Hockey League.”
Berkopec is entering his second season of junior hockey. The Oakville, Ontario product played 48 games for Burlington in 2016-17, putting up four assists and 40 penalty minutes. He went pointless in ten playoff games for the Cougars.
He was named to Team OJHL Oates at the 2016 Eastern Canada Cup All-Star Challenge. Last fall, Berkopec was also named to the NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch List for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Within Central Scouting’s ranking system, he earned a ‘C’ rating.
The 6’1″, 190 lb. defenseman came out of the Oakville Rangers Midget AAA program in 2015-16, having played the 2014-15 minor midget season as a member of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens AAA. In two midget seasons, Berkopec finished with 31 points (seven goals, 24 assists) in 60 games. He also got into two OJHL games with his hometown Oakville Blades in 2015-16 as an affiliate player.
Berkopec was also selected by Owen Sound in the 9th round, 178th overall of the 2015 OHL Priority Selection Draft.