Thursday, June 7, 2007 - Submitted by Merritt Herald
Cents pick up four more to score
By Colin Oswin - Merritt Herald
Jun 06 2007
The Merritt Centennials haven’t let up in their off-season charge to build a contender for next season.
The team announced the acquisition of four new players on June 4, including forwards HT Lenz from Vienna, VA and Jordan Grant from Ladysmith, defenceman Justin Thomas from Saratoga, CA and goaltender Anthony Manfredi from Prince George. Speaking on behalf of the team, Keegan Goodrich says the Cents plan to ice a strong team next season.
“We’re going to compete hard and hopefully surprise a few people,” he says.
Manfredi stood out in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League last year, with a 23-13 win-loss record and 91.92 save percentage.
“That was a big get for our team,” Goodrich says.
Manfredi is looking forward to the move up to Junior A. Having subbed in for a game last season for the Prince George Spruce Kings, he feels he can compete in the BCHL.
“I played one game last year, so I won’t be too far out of it.”
HT Lenz will bring good speed at forward, along with hard work in the corners. Both Lenz and Thomas are coming from Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep School in Minnesota, a program that spawned young NHL great Sidney Crosby, among many other strong players.
With the 6’3”, 190 pound Thomas, the Cents have made a big addition to the blueliner corps.
Goodrich is particularly excited to have Grant join the team. Coming off a great year playing for Cowichan’s Kerry Park Junior B team, Grant will bring pure scoring ability to the Centennials. He scored 67 points in 66 games last year, standing out as a 16-year-old on an older, more developed team.
Goodrich says head coach and general manager Al Glendinning’s record has made younger players take notice. With the Centennials averaging between four and seven university hockey scholarships each year, the team has become a popular destination for strong prospects.
“When you’re moving that many kids on, it’s pretty good numbers,” he says.