Former NHL d-man joins Penticton Vees as assistant coach

The Penticton Vees will have a new face behind the bench for the 2021/22 season.

Former NHL defenceman Cam Barker will join the team as an assistant coach next season.

Barker spent 15 years playing professionally, most recently in France where he played two seasons from 2019 to 2021 and won the league championship in his final year.

This will be Barker’s first job behind the bench. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native played in 310 NHL games with four teams over eight seasons.

Barker played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks during his NHL career. The third overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft is also a two-time World Junior Hockey Championship gold medalist as well as a Spengler Cup winner in 2012/13.

Barker will join a handful of returning Vees coaching staff next year, including Vees president, general manager and head coach Fred Harbinson returning for his 15th season at the helm.

Under Harbinson’s watch in Penticton, the Vees have posted a record of 562-163-15-38-4 including four Fred Page Cup championships, five BCHL Interior Division championships, a Doyle Cup championship, a Western Canada Cup championship, and an RBC Cup National Championship during in 2012.

Back for his eight season with the program is assistant coach and assistant general manager Steve Cawley, who oversees the team’s scouting and recruiting departments.

Assistant coach Patrick Sexton returns behind the bench for his third season with the club, responsible for running the defence and penalty killing.

Video coach Matt Miller will also return to the fold for his seventh season with the team, while goaltending coach Jesse Plewis comes back for his sixth season with the club.

Assistant coach Matt Fraser returns for his sixth season with the team and will be moving into a more specialized role for the upcoming season, working full time with the team as the program’s skill development and strength and conditioning coach.

Ed Lebler will continue with the Vees in his 15th season in an advisory role.

“I have been extremely fortunate over the years to have a dedicated and experienced support staff,” said Harbinson. “This upcoming season, I feel as though we have a strong a staff as we have ever assembled.”

“I have always believed that continuity in our staff has played a major role in our success on and off the ice.”

“In addition, I believe we have a staff that will give everything they have into developing our players as individuals and help us achieve our goal of bringing another championship to Penticton.”

The 2021/22 season should see fans back in the building to cheer on the Vees. For information on season ticket memberships visit

The Vees open their season with a matchup against the Vernon Vipers on Friday, Oct. 8 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

READ MORE: Penticton Vees announce 2021/22 schedule, hope to welcome back fans

READ MORE: Penticton Vees players, staff reflect on a winning season full of uncertainty and challenges

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Jesse Day

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