Penticton Vees
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LIAM BOARD of the Vernon Vipers fights it out against Penticton Vees defenceman Rob Mann March 8 at the Wesbild Centre. The Vipers spoiled the Vees’ chance to win the Ron Boileau Trophy by defeating the Interior Division winners 3-2.
Lisa VanderVelde/Black Press

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RBC Cup-winning Vees named B.C.'s team of the year

The 2011-12 Penticton Vees have earned one more accolade since winning the 2012 RBC Cup.

They have been named Team of the Year by Sport B.C. Vees captain Troy Stecher, who was named this season’s BCHL’s Interior Conference best defenceman, said the recognition the champs have been given is obviously special.

“Last year’s group was a special group,” said Stecher, who will be chronicling the Vees’ playoff run for the Western News. “It’s just another award no one can take away from us. We worked so hard last year. We went through so many ups and downs. We stuck with it and believed in our coaches. Believed in each other. It starts with our coaching staff and our captain last year, Logan Johnston. They did a great job leading the way.”

The Vees won the honour against Trinity Western University men’s volleyball team and University of British Columbia women’s swim team. The award was handed out during the 47th annual Athlete of the Year Awards in Richmond. It’s the first such honour for the Vees and they are the first BCHL team to win it since 2009.

Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said in a release the award is not just for the Vees to embrace.

“Winning such a prestigious award as this should be rewarding not only our players and staff, but is a reflection on our league and the community of Penticton as well,” said Harbinson.

The 2012 Vees rewrote the record book, setting league and national records en route to their second national championship and first in 26 years. The Vees set a new Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) consecutive wins record by rattling off 42 straight victories in the regular season. They also set new records in the BCHL for most wins with 54, points 110,  and winning percentage at .917.

In April, the Vees won their second Fred Page Cup in five years sweeping the Powell River Kings in the BCHL final. They then went on to defeat the Brooks Bandits in the Doyle Cup and capped off a remarkable season by winning the Royal Bank Cup in May in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.

The Sport BC Athlete of the Year Awards are Canada’s longest-running sport recognition event and honour’s BC’s best athletes, coaches and officials in 17 different categories.

 

They have been named Team of the Year by Sport B.C. Vees captain Troy Stecher, who was named this season’s BCHL’s Interior Conference best defenceman, said the recognition the champs have been given is obviously special.

“Last year’s group was a special group,” said Stecher, who will be chronicling the Vees’ playoff run for the Western News. “It’s just another award no one can take away from us. We worked so hard last year. We went through so many ups and downs. We stuck with it and believed in our coaches. Believed in each other. It starts with our coaching staff and our captain last year, Logan Johnston. They did a great job leading the way.”

The Vees won the honour against Trinity Western University men’s volleyball team and University of British Columbia women’s swim team. The award was handed out during the 47th annual Athlete of the Year Awards in Richmond. It’s the first such honour for the Vees and they are the first BCHL team to win it since 2009.

Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said in a release the award is not just for the Vees to embrace.

“Winning such a prestigious award as this should be rewarding not only our players and staff, but is a reflection on our league and the community of Penticton as well,” he said.

Weekend road trip

The Vees lost their chance at the Ron Boileau Trophy as the top team in the BCHL when the Vernon Vipers defeated them in Wesbild Arena.

Stecher said they played hard and competed well, but three mental errors were costly.

“Moving forward we definitely got to learn off that one,” said Stecher. “In playoffs everything is a bit tighter, teams are going to capitalize on your mistakes.”

“Friday was obviously disappointing giving up a goal in the last 27 seconds,” said Harbinson. “You get a point there then you are playing for the Ron Boileau Trophy on Sunday. That’s all in the past now. We just worry about Salmon Arm.”

Against the Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday, Harbinson elected to scratch Stecher, Thomas Nitsche, Sean Flanagan,  John Siemer, Sam Mellor, Wade Murphy, Brad McClure, Louie Nanne, Travis Blanleil and Jedd Soleway.

Stecher said the effort the group put together with affiliate players Brett Harris, Daylan Robertson and Michael Winnitoy was incredible. Jordan Boultbee and Harris both scored their first career BCHL goals.

“He’s the hardest working guy in practice,” said Stecher of Boultbee. “Every single guy on the team couldn’t be happier for him.

BCHL award winners

The league today announced its award winners for the 2012-13 season, and four members of the Vees took home hardware. For the second consecutive season, a Vee was awarded Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy as Ryan Gropp was named the Interior Conference Rookie of the Year; Mario Lucia won last year’s award. Gropp was the highest scoring 16 year-old and youngest player in the BCHL. In 50 games, Gropp tallied 12 goals and 31 points.

Stecher took home the Interior Conference Best Defenseman Award. Stecher tied for second in scoring by a defenseman in the BCHL with 47 points. He led all BCHL defenseman in assists with 39. Stecher’s former teammate and defensive partner Mike Reilly took home the award last season.

For the first time since 2008, the Vees were awarded the Wally Forslund Memorial Trophy as having the BCHL’s Top Goaltending tandem. The trophy is handed out to the goalies posting the lowest goals-against average in the regular season. Chad Katunar and Nic Renyard combined for a 2.33 goals-against average. The last Vees tandem to win the award was Alex Evin and Bryan Mountain five years ago.

 

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