Among the blue that colours the inside of the South Okanagan Events Centre, a bit of red has been visible.
A handful of Brooks Bandits fans have blended in among the crowds of 3,006 and 2,986 that have taken in Games 3 and 4 of the Doyle Cup. The backs of their jerseys read Semenok. One of those supporters is the mother of Bandits defenceman Colton Semenok.
“It’s been exciting,” said Charis Semenok, wearing a red and blue No. 2 sweater. “This is quite the opportunity for us, especially with Colton’s last year playing junior hockey. Obviously Penticton has a lot of skilled players, but it’s nice that we have this opportunity to come and show what we can do in Alberta, too.”
While Bandits supporters made an 11-hour journey to watch their team, the Semenok’s only had to travel seven hours. They live in Banff, Alta. The Semenoks said Penticton is beautiful.
“It’s so friendly, coming into the rink and being welcomed,” she said. “That’s kind of a new thing for us. It’s nice to be here.”
Colton said it’s special to have their supporters.
“They come a long way to watch us play and they have been supporting us all year,” he said. “It’s pretty important to have fan support coming in. They cheer for you and get you going.”
While being in Penticton, Charis was hoping to see the Bandits win at least one game. That became a reality in Game 3 as the Bandits edged the Vees 4-3. The victory was sweeter because it was Colton who scored the winner.
“That was pretty exciting,” Charis said. “It was pretty cool. We were all pretty excited.”
“It was pretty amazing actually,” said Colton, who as an 18-year-old played with Vees forward Travis St. Denis as an affiliate player for the Trail Smoke Eaters. “I didn’t even know it went in until our guys started celebrating. It was exciting, it felt pretty good.”
Colton said it’s a little different facing his old teammate, who he hasn’t seen in a couple of years.
“He’s a pretty chippy little bugger,” he said.