With a group of diehard fans in the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame, the Penticton Vees announced their ticket packaging for the 2017 Western Canada Cup and the addition of defenceman Jonathan Tychonick.
Vees coach-general manager and president Fred Harbinson described the Calgary product as a great young talent, who reminds him of former Vees and Minnesota Wild blue liner Mike Reilly.
“I honestly didn’t see that one coming,” said Tychonick, considered one of the best 2000-born prospects with a commitment to the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks. “Mike Reilly is an outstanding player. Fred mentioned that when I was here in January. He’s an unbelievable player.
“I’m going to try to be my own player, try to make my own stamp like that,” continued Tychonick, who was selected 12th overall by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2015 Western Hockey League bantam draft.
Tychonick lists Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson as his favourite players. Karlsson, the Ottawa Senators captain, impressed him by racking up 82 points.
“Hopefully someday I can be similar to him,” he said.
Tychonick expects to go through the adjustments of making the jump from midget AAA to junior A. When the opportunity presents itself, he wants to jump up in the rush.
“It’s going to be a big jump. I’m going to look forward to it,” said Tychonick, who enjoys working on his skills during his spare time. “Once I get more comfortable I’ll probably start to contribute to the offence and keep the goals out of my net.”
Harbinson said he’s a spectacular skater with the skill to be elusive on the back end.
“He’s a player that I’m sure will have some growing pains going from midget hockey to junior hockey,” said Harbinson. “He’s a very competitive kid. He wants to become better. He’s going to a program after he’s done with us that just won a national championship. He’s a player that can bring offence.”
When it came to deciding to joining the Vees, Tychonick weighed his options of going to the WHL or National Collegiate Athletic Association. After spending a week in Penticton in January in which he met the players, talked about colleges, scholarships and the Frozen four, he said, “that’s just where my heart was set on.”
When it comes to the packages for the WCC, the Vees announced options for season ticket holders and the general public to take advantage of early bird deals. Season ticket holders can from now to Dec. 31 which is $129. For the general public, it is $149 from July 1 to Dec. 31.
There will be no change in the price of regular season and playoff tickets next year. Playoff packages for adults is $168 and $140 for seniors. For the third straight year, students 18 and under get in free because of the generosity of Peters Bros. Construction. The renewal period for season ticket holders expires after April 22. The Vees are holding a season ticket relocation period from April 25 to May 6 and season tickets go on sale to the public on May 9.
Installment plans of four payments are available for all three packages, while bundling the three packages will save fans on tickets.
“We need this to be a partnership as far as our fans and our program. The quicker they get involved in it, the cheaper it’s going to be. I don’t want to ever diminish, make something sound like it’s financially easy,” said Harbinson, emphasizing the option of combining the three.
The Vees also unveiled a commemorative alternate logo to be used on a special third jersey next season. It incorporates every logo used in the franchise’s history and was designed by Luke Fraser, the son of Vees majority owner, Graham Fraser.
Vees notes: A “Ring of Honour” will be launched at the Western Canada Cup next year.
Vees director of player personnel and corporate sales David Michaud said fans will be thrilled with the first group of honourees. “We wanted a legacy piece around the WCC and by creating the ‘Ring of Honour’ inside the SOEC, it will provide a special reminder of all the great players and builders who came before us,” said Vees director of player personnel and corporate sales in a team statement. “We can’t wait to unveil the newest members during the WCC week, the fans will be so thrilled with who’s coming back to celebrate with us.”
In other news, the Vees coaching staff is being restructured. Steve Cawley has decided to step down from his position as assistant coach and assistant general manager to spend more time with his family in Kelowna. Cawley will remain with the Vees as a head scout. Assistant coach Nick Fuher as well as director of hockey operations Steven Cocker and Michaud will take on expanded roles as they will not search for a replacement.
Forward Tyson Jost is ranked 16th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting for the upcoming NHL Draft in Buffalo on June 24-25. Former teammate Dante Fabbro is two spots behind at 18.