BC HOCKEY ANNOUNCES 2023 MALE U16 PROGRAM OF EXCELLENCE STAFF
For Immediate Release
April 18, 2023
Saanichton, B.C. - BC Hockey is proud to announce the Male U16 hockey staff for the 2023 Program of Excellence (POE) season.
Jason Becker has been named the head coach and will lead BC Hockey's U16 Male Team BC for the first time during the 2023 season. He will be joined by assistant coaches Craig Bedard, who returns to the Team BC bench for the third time, and Riley Emmerson, who will make his debut behind the Team BC bench.
Video coach Tim Knight, who helped the Female U18 Team BC to a gold medal at the 2023 Canada Winter games as their video coach, joins the U16 Male POE staff for his first season. Equipment manager & trainer Les Cleverly also returns for his fourth season with the POE squad.
"We are very excited to have Jason Becker as the head coach of our U16 Male POE Program for this season" Commissioner, Program of Excellence Fred Zweep said, "We believe that Jason, along with his staff, will bring a lot of experience and do a tremendous job in developing the players and preparing them for the upcoming WHL Cup and where ever else their career takes them afterwards."
With Regional Camps now complete, a selection of players have been invited to move onto the BC Cup, which will be hosted April 20-23, 2023 in Salmon Arm, B.C. After the BC Cup, those selected will move on to the Provincial Camp stage that will take place July 24-27, 2023, in Chilliwack B.C. More information will be released as it becomes available.Ultimately, 20 players will be selected to represent Team BC at the WHL Cup in Red Deer, Alberta.
Hometown: Saskatoon, Sask.
2022-23 Team: Pacific Coast Hockey Academy U17 Prep (CSSHL)
Background: Jason Becker assumes the head coaching position of Team BC for the first time this upcoming season, after spending the last four seasons as BC Hockey’s Program of Excellence (POE) Male U16 Lead Evaluator. He has been with Pacific Coast Hockey Academy for the last three seasons where he now works as the Manager of Hockey Operations, and head coach of the U17 Prep team. The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native has been behind the Male U16 Team BC bench twice, as an assistant coach in both 2017 at the WHL Cup, and in 2019 at the Canada Winter Games.Becker was the assistant coach of the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League from 2016-19, and assistant coach of the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League (WHL) from 2010-14. Before his time behind the bench, Becker played for four WHL teams from 1991-95 (Saskatoon Blades, Red Deer Rebels, Kamloops Blazers and Swift Current Broncos), and progressed to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Men’s Hockey team, where he played five seasons and earned a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in Regional and Urban Development.
Hometown: Cranbrook, B.C.
2022-23 Team: Okanagan Hockey Academy U15 Prep (CSSHL)
Background: Craig Bedard returns to the Male U16 Team BC for the third time in his career. In 2007 he was the head coach at the 2007 Canada Winter Games, and led the team to a fourth-placed finish. Bedard was also the assistant coach for the 2003 Canada Winter Games, where the team also finished fourth. He has been behind the bench with Team Pacific at the Hockey Canada World U17 Hockey Championship three times, once as a head coach (2006), and twice as an assistant (2004 & 2011).Bedard has been a head coach with Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton since the 2012-13 season, and has coached multiple teams in the program over that span. He has also coached in the Western Hockey League (Prince Albert Raiders – 2007-12), British Columbia Hockey League (Penticton Vees – 2004-07), and Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (Osoyoos Heat – 1997-01).
Hometown: Abbotsford, B.C.
2022-23 Team: Fraser Valley Thunderbirds U15 AAA (BCEHL)
Background: Riley Emmerson joins the Team BC bench for the first time this season. Emmerson has been a head coach in the British Columbia Elite Hockey League (BCEHL) for four seasons and spent last season with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds’ U15 AAA team (2022-23), and the previous three seasons with the Valley West Giants’ U15 AAA team (2019-22).The Abbotsford, B.C. native began his coaching career as a player-coach with the Edinburgh Capitals in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) in the United Kingdom. Before Emmerson started coaching, he carved himself out a successful playing career. He played 10 seasons of professional hockey. In 2005 he was drafted to the National Hockey League by the Minnesota Wild and went on to play in the American Hockey League, ECHL, Central Hockey League, and the EIHL.
Hometown: Squamish, B.C.
2022-23 Team: Vancouver North East Chiefs U15 AAA (BCEHL)
Background: Tim Knight returns as a video coach with Team BC for his second season, after he played a key role in the gold medal victory of the Female U18 Team BC at the 2023 Canada Winter Games in P.E.I. as their video coach. Knight has been involved in programs throughout the Lower Mainland and Sea to Sky area for the past 25 years. He has been a volunteer in the Program of Excellence for the last 11 years.Coach Knight has served behind the bench for multiple U18AAA/U15AAA clubs in the British Columbia Elite Hockey League (BCEHL), most recently as the head coach of the Vancouver NE Chiefs' U15 AAA team for the last three seasons. He is the founder of three high school hockey academies in the Sea to Sky region and was a part of establishing the BC Hockey High School Championship Pilot.
Equipment Manager & Trainer
Hometown: Hope, B.C.
2022-23 Team: Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL)
Background: Les Cleverly has been with BC Hockey’s POE program over the last four years where he has worked as the Equipment Manager & Trainer for the U16 Male Team, and the Equipment Manager with the Female U18 team. He was a member of the Female U18 team that claimed a gold medal at the 2023 Canada Winter Games and the Male U16 team that captured the 2021 WHL Cup title.Cleverly is the trainer with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the British Columbia Hockey League and has been a paramedic for the past 30 years. He currently oversees and manages the Clinical Air Operations program for BC Emergency Health Services, which provides Critical Care Air Ambulance for patients throughout B.C.