The Merritt Centennials have 7 new faces that will don a Cents jersey for the first time this season.
Yesterday, the Centennials announced the signing of local talent Talon Zakall, today the Cents are proud to announce the signings of 5 more players, and one more new face, Jaydon Fetter, who was signed just before camp began.
Daniel Tkac has the distinction of being Slovakian/American and can claim roots in Presov, Slovakia despite being born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Tkac spent last season playing with the Omaha Lancers of the HPHL, but he also participated in the World Junior Under 18s for Slovakia where he put up 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points. During the regular season with the Lancers, Tkac split time with the Midget team and the under 18 team, but combined for 32 goals, 33 assists and 65 points in 72 games played.
Tkac says that this season he will be looking for his team mates.
“I think I’m a play maker, a bit of a skill guy, I think I can bring a lot of chances to the team, a lot of goals and assists, and help the team win.”
Tkac adds that in his brief experience with Merritt, it’s the people that are standing out so far.
“A lot of nice people that’s for sure. Everywhere I go people just say Hi, and the scenery is gorgeous too.”
Nic Granowicz is the most experienced of the Centennials signings out of camp having played 3 years of Junior hockey already in his career. Hailing from Macomb, Michigan, Granowicz joins the Cents after a split campaign with the Toledo Roadrunners of the NAHL and the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the USHL. He served as Captain of the Roadrunners before moving to the Roughriders, but produced 39 points in 53 games played combined with the two clubs adding 15 goals and 24 assists over the year.
Granowicz says that he has a lot of weapons, but they all centre around speed.
“I play with a lot of speed, hard and fast and on the puck. I think I can contribute in the offensive and defensive zones, and overall be a good help to the team. This is my third year of junior, I’ve been in a lot of different situations so I think I will be a good resource for the rookies, and when we’re in a tough situation in a game hopefully help out and bring us to a win.”
Granowicz adds that so far he’s enjoying the relaxed pace of Merritt.
“It’s a change for me, but I think it’s a nice little town. You can get where you need to go very quickly, and everyone is really nice.”
The name Frazer Dodd may not be new to die hard Centennials fans, and that’s because the Hazelton, BC native was an Affiliate Player with the Centennials last season getting into 7 games and supplying 4 assists. Dodd spent the majority of the regular season with the 100 Mile House Wranglers of the KIJHL where he supplied plenty of offense with 25 goals, 22 assists, for 47 points in 42 games played. In camp he supplied plenty of fire, and got under the skin of opponents, a role he’ll look to continue into the regular season.
Dodd says that his all around skills will serve the Cents well.
“I think my work ethic is one of my strengths, my offensive game is at the strongest it’s been, but I’m also pretty aware of my defensive zone.”
Dodd adds that it’s the people that make Merritt great.
“I just think everyone’s so friendly. The people are friendly, the billets are friendly, everyone you meet is always just… super friendly.”
Brett Roloson possesses a last name some NHL goaltender buffs may recognize as he is the son of Dwayne Roloson, but the Victoria native has been making a name for himself in the CSSHL where he’s impressed at Shawnigan Lake School Prep putting up over a point-per-game pace with 15 goals, 31 assists, for 46 points in 35 games played last season.
Roloson says that he possesses two things you can’t teach that he will bring to the team.
“My speed is at the top speed I can reach, my hands are pretty good, and those skills combined with my work ethic will be a big help to the team.”
Roloson echoes the sentiments of his new team mates in regards to Merritt.
“It’s the people, they’re really heartwarming, and help you move in and stuff. It’s a small town so everyone knows each other, so it’s nice to know that people are keeping an eye on you.”
Ben Ward didn’t have to travel far for camp as he hails from Kamloops, BC, but he did have to work his way onto the team by impressing in camp. Ward last played in the CSSHL with the Delta Hockey Academy and put up 19 goals along with 8 assists for 27 points in 31 games played. He will be the smallest Centennials forward on the roster, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in heart.
Ward says that his game doesn’t allow for much time and space.
“I think a big part of my game is to put as much pressure on the D-men as I can, and at the end of the day I want to be able to produce offense out of that too.”
Ward adds that he thinks Junior ‘A’ belongs in Merritt.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here a lot. I think this is the perfect town for a Junior ‘A’ club, not too big, not too small, all the people come together in the community and it’s perfect.”
Jaydon Fetter was the lone signing that the Centennials announced ahead of camp, but he will be a new face on the team nonetheless. Hailing from Windsor, Ontario, Fetter spent last season with the Leamington Flyers of the GOJHL where he had 10 goals, 21 assists and 31 points in 45 games played and also served as an Assistant Captain.
Fetter says that he will bring a combination of offense to his defensive game.
“I bring a strong right handed shot that will hopefully bring some offense from the back end. I also like to bring grit to win battles in the corners and have no problems blocking shots.”
Fetter adds that Merritt has been awesome so far.
“Coming from Windsor it’s definitely a change of pace, but it’s awesome that everyone is so close in the community.”
The Centennials will put their new players to the test tonight when they take on the Prince George Spruce Kings in Prince George at 7pm.