Sports

Langley Rivermen name next captain

The BCHL junior A hockey season is still months away from even hitting training camp, but the Langley Rivermen continue to shape their roster for the 2012/13 campaign.

The club announced defenceman Thomas Nitsche as its campaign, as well as the signing of eight new players.

Nitsche was a BCHL rookie last year, scoring four goals and 15 assists in 55 games.

The North Carolina native is entering his final season of eligibility.

Head coach Bobby Henderson feels Nitsche emulates everything he looks for in a captain.

"Thomas is a guy (who) competes game in and game out and has a very strong desire to win, which will rub off on the other players," Henderson said.

"We look for him to provide the group direction and demand accountability on a nightly basis."

"I am a guy (who) will lay it out on the line every night and I hope to be respected not only on the ice, but off the ice in the community as well."

"I just really hope to lead by example for everybody who is part of the organization."

Nitsche feels he learned a lot from captain Ryan Bakken, who is done his eligibility.

"I learned a lot from him, especially staying level-headed on the bench as he always seemed to be at an even keel emotionally and never got to high or too low and did a great job of keeping us relaxed in the toughest of times."

Nitsche has already returned to Langley to gear up for the upcoming season.

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The club has also been busy signing new players throughout the off-season.

The two most recent additions are defenceman Viktor Dombrovskiy and forward Ben Butcher

Dombrovskiy is a five-foot-ten, 170-pound defender from Coquitlam while Butcher, who is from Bellingham, is six-foot-two and 190-pounds. He is also the son of former NHLer Garth Butcher and older brother Matt was a BCHL standout, spending three seasons with the Chilliwack Chiefs and winning the Coastal Conference MVP in 2006.

The 16-year-old Dombrovskiy played last season in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League with the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs, recording one goal and eight assists in 24 games.

He was in camp with the Rivermen last year and the team's coaching staff has kept him on their radar.

Butcher, 17, played last season with Kelowna's Pursuit of Excellence U18 program, where he had eight goals and 14 assists in 42 games.

"He skates very well and has a good skill set to go along with a very creative mind," said Langley associate coach Jordan Emmerson.

"He is still very young and we feel the sky is the limit for him."

The Rivermen have also received commitments from forwards: James Robinson (Cochrane, Alta.), Trevor Cope (Michigan), Luke Dietch (Minnesota), Mitchell McLain (Minnesota), Jack Petrino (Michigan) and Josh Belmont (Washington).

The club has also traded forward Jackson Playfair — who won the Rivermen's most improved player award in 2011-12 —  to the Nanaimo Clippers for future considerations, as well as another trade which netted them Langley's Jakob Reichert in exchange for another local hockey player, Austin Plevy, as well as Sebastien Pare. All three players are forwards.

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