Vees lace up with kids at McLaren

Members of the Penticton Vees will skate with kids Wednesday at McLaren Park Arena

Former Penticton Vee goaltender Olivier Mantha talks with a young fan during a previous Skate with the Vees event. The team will be at the regular public skate at McLaren Park Arena again Wednesday.

Former Penticton Vee goaltender Olivier Mantha talks with a young fan during a previous Skate with the Vees event. The team will be at the regular public skate at McLaren Park Arena again Wednesday.

Young hockey fans will have a chance to get up close and on ice with their favourite Penticton Vee this Wednesday.

Members of the BCHL junior hockey team will be at McLaren Park Arena from 7 to 8:15 p.m. skating and playing some shinny with the kids.

Related story: Vees in the community

Organized three years ago by Shelie Best of the Penticton Parks and Recreation Department, the event is an opportunity for the community and team to come together on a more social level.

“I was looking to get a program that we could get the kids out on the ice with the team and an opportunity so the community to get to know the players a little bit better,” said Best. “The biggest thing with the Vees organization is they do a lot of community service so it’s kind of a good way for them also to kind of connect and build fan bases.

“The kids just love it, they idolize them (players) they look up to them and it is also a good way for the parents to know that the players, you know they’re young adults, are young at heart too.”

During the 75-minute session (regular public skating admission fees apply) the ice will be sectioned into two parts, with some of the team members playing hockey with the youngsters and others skating with the public.

Parents are advised if their children want to play hockey they must have CSA approved headgear, gloves and a stick.

“We hear from lots of the parents sitting in the stands who are just loving it and I like to go just because it’s fun to watch the connections,” said Best. “It’s just a great opportunity to get an autograph and hang out with your favourite player.”