Lakers O’Connor honoured by league

Lakers defenceman Reilly O'Connor named Player of the Month

PENTICTON LAKERS goalie Joel Wilson has no chance on this shot by Osoyoos Coyotes forward Colin Chmelka

PENTICTON LAKERS goalie Joel Wilson has no chance on this shot by Osoyoos Coyotes forward Colin Chmelka

Reilly O’Connor received a text message from his coach Robert Dirk Wednesday morning.

It said congratulations. The thing was, he didn’t know what the Penticton Lakers coach was commending him for.

Dirk broke the news that O’Connor was chosen as the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Player of the Month for November in the Okanagan Conference. Former Laker Colten Schell is the recipient in the Kootenay Conference with the Nelson Leafs.

His response to Dirk? “That’s pretty cool.”

“I was pretty surprised,” said O’Connor, following his team’s 6-4 loss to the Osoyoos Coyotes Wednesday night in the community rink of the South Okanagan Events Centre. “I have been working pretty hard and it’s nice to see it pay off.”

In the nomination sent to the league, the coaching staff wrote that their co-captain has taken on a key leadership role.

“He consistently leads by being a positive influence with our team and in the community on and off the ice,”  wrote the Lakers, which was published on the KIJHL website with the other nominees. “He maintains his strong character by setting a great example of hard work and commitment. He demonstrates consistent effort in the gym, practice, games and always strives to be a positive player with his teammates that sometimes go unnoticed.  Reilly is a dedicated leader and role model.”

The league commended O’Connor for being a team leader despite a tough month of hockey. The Lakers won once in 10 games.

During November, O’Connor, who leads Lakers defenceman in scoring with four goals and 13 points, collected a goal and five assists in 10 games. The Penticton product said he plays the way he always does —hard and keeps things simple.

While the honour gives O’Connor the confidence in believing he’s a good player, he won’t focus on his personal success while the Lakers are in the midst of a nine-game losing streak.

Dirk said it’s phenomenal for his player to be recognized and added it’s well deserved. Playing over 30 minutes a game and in every situation, Dirk described his defenceman as a “warrior.”

“He never complains, he shows up, he leads by example, plays hurt,” said Dirk. “He goes out and does what is asked. His attitude is phenomenal. He is a tremendous person. Every coach would want 20 Reilly O’Connors.”

During their loss to the Coyotes, the Lakers erased a 4-2 deficit on goals by Joey DiCaire, who finished with two on the night, and Nick Landry. Brandon Watson score the winner two minutes after Landry tied it, when he was allowed to cut through the front of the crease and go around Lakers goalie Joel Wilson. Watson then scored again with 36 seconds remaining. Wilson finished with 41 saves and is winless in 10 starts. He has a .911 save percentage.

The Lakers next action is Friday in Summerland and then they host the Chase Heat Sunday at 2 p.m. The Lakers are still without the services of six players, including Dale Nerland, who was injured Wednesday. Dirk said he plans on using a forward on defense as none of their affiliate players are available for call-up.


Just Posted

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
5-storeys still too tall for Penticton’s downtown, votes city council

Vote against new development leaves one councillor questioning validity of city’s zoning restrictions

Spiritleaf, Penticton’s first cannabis retailer opened in 2019. (Western News File)
Penticton expands cannabis store hours to match liquor stores

Cannabis stores are now allowed to operate until 11 p.m. in Penticton

(Jennifer Smith/Black Press file photo)
Poll: Should Penticton hold Canada Day celebrations this year?

The spotlight on residential schools has caused the rethinking of Canada Day

A committee held its first meeting on June 9 to consider opionions for incorporation of the community of Okanagan Falls. At present, Okanagan Falls is the largest unincorporated community within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. (Contributed)
Study begins for Okanagan Falls incorporation

Committee held first meeting on June 9

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Hot and cold water have different pouring sounds

Your morning start for Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

Old growth in the Columbia Valley, in the Kinbasket area. (Photo submitted)
Wildsight: Old-growth forests are being logged in Golden

Wildsight says that Canfor has been logging old growth at the Blaeberry headwaters

The Dixie Fried Hep Katz recorded a promotional video at the Kettle Valley Steam Railway station featuring the railway’s steam locomotive. The young band from Enderby plays Canadian Rockabilly, with Porter Johnson, 20, writing, lead guitarist and vocals; sister Kyndra on drums; and Logan Bannick on bass. The band is using the locomotive to promote their song Spooky Train and help shed light on the Kettle Valley Steam Railway’s drive for donations. (Tom Burley photo)
Donations help with repairs of Summerland steam railway

Kettle Valley Steam Railway put out earlier call for railway ties, tires for locomotive

Elias Carmichael #14 and Ethan Ernst #19 of the Kelowna Rockets check Gage Goncalves #39 of the Everett Silvertips during a game at Prospera Place on February 28, 2020, in Kelowna. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
Fans expected to be back in the stands for Kelowna Rockets 2021-22 season

The Rockets haven’t played in front of a crowd since March 2020

The Okanagan Forest Task Force uses a Ford F350 pick-up truck to gather back country garbage. (Okanagan Forest Task Force/Contributed)
Kelowna Canadian Tire steps in to support Okanagan Forest Task Force

The volunteer group has removed over 351,000 pounds of illegally dumped garbage to date

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News file)
Man found dead at Kelowna orchard

Police say the man was working in the orchard at the time of his death; criminality not suspected

Most Read