Gwinner grateful for chance with Penticton Vees

Veteran defenceman helps Vees fill temporary void on blue line

It helps to have friends in hockey, just ask Shayne Gwinner.

The Penticton Vees’ newest defenceman got in touch with his former teammates Connor Chartier and Dakota Conroy, asking them to put in a good word with coach-general manager Fred Harbinson.

Prior to joining the Vees in mid-December, Gwinner had played a couple of junior B games with the Three Hills Thrashers in the Heritage Junior Hockey League.

“I just kind of wasn’t into hockey, then realized I made a big mistake,” said Gwinner. “Freddy gave me this opportunity to get out here. I’m just planning on making the most of it.”

With three points in five games, the Drumheller, Alta. product is showing he can put up points and brings physicality, and is not afraid to stand up for teammates. In his second game against the Chilliwack Chiefs, he fought Eric Roberts. With fighting being a part of his game, Gwinner said he feels that’s a reason Harbinson added him.

“There is not too many fighters on the team to begin with,” said Gwinner, adding he likes to contribute in any way.

“He’s been great,” said Harbinson, who added the defenceman to fill in a gap when Dante Fabbro and Gabe Bast played for Canada West in the World Junior A Challenge Dec. 14-20 in Kindersley, Sask. “For someone to come in mid-season while everyone is in mid-season form and he only played a couple of junior B games, I thought he has fit in real well.”

“It’s awesome,” said Gwinner of the chance to play in the BCHL. “Compared to junior A in Alberta, I find it a little more skilled here. That’s my style of game.”

To add Gwinner, 20, the Vees placed injured forward Matt Serratore on injured reserve.