Leafs Jamie Vlanich stands his ground against Beaver Valley's Fraser Stang earlier this season. Vlanich had his first game in the BCHL Wednesday night after being called up this week.

Nelson Leafs leader called up to Langley

League leading scorer Jamie Vlanich has been called up to the BCHL’s Langley Riverman.

League leading scorer Jamie Vlanich has been called up to the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen after being noticed on the Leafs weekend road trip to the Okanagan.

The chance to play in the BC Hockey League has been earned by Vlanich, said his former coach Frank Maida.

“Jamie has been a leader on the ice and off the ice,” Maida said. “He’s been one of the best players in the league and he’s been given an opportunity that I feel he’s worked very hard for and deserves.”

Vlanich sits atop the scoring standings with 37 points and, along side Travis Wellman, has been instrumental in the Leaf’s winning record so far this season. The 20-year-old from Trail native goes to another hot team. Langley leads their division.

Vlanich said on the Rivermen’s official website, “Obviously the team’s been doing great and I’m looking forward to adding to the progress that they have made already in what is going to be a successful season and hopefully a long playoff run.”

The 5’9” 160 lb Vlanich played his first game Wednesday night in Chilliwack against the Chiefs and the Rivermen came away with their third win in a row.

Maida is happy for his offensive player’s leg up despite the gap it leaves in the Nelson team — such is the nature of the game, he said.

“We believe in the KIJHL as being a development league and we are extremely happy and excited for Jamie’s prospects to play at a higher level and advance his hockey career,” said Maida.

The Leafs have a big weekend with travel to Spokane on Friday evening to take on the Braves and a game at home against Osoyoos Coyotes on Saturday. Maida said now is the time for the team to rise to the occasion with Vlanich leaving some big skates to fill.

“This creates an opportunity for someone to step up and play a different role — play some more minutes,” he said. “It’s going to be a challenging weekend for us.”

Spokane has been playing well as of late and Osoyoos sits second in the Okanagan Division.

“It’s going to be a good contest for us,” said Maida.

The puck drops at the NDCC at 7 p.m. Saturday.