Penticton Vees coach branches out with NHL team

Penticton Vees coach Fred Harbinson returns from guest coaching gig at the Toronto Maple Leafs Development Camp.

Penticton Vees coach Fred Harbinson.

Penticton Vees coach Fred Harbinson.

No rest for the wicked.

It should be the motto for Penticton Vees coach Fred Harbinson whose summer vacation was cut short with a guest coaching gig at the Toronto Maple Leafs Development Camp (July 7 to 12).

“I would have been lounging around, so it cut into my pool time with my family,” joked Harbinson. “When a great opportunity comes like this you can’t say no.”

So instead of casting out on a floatie he was picking the minds of high-level coaches.

“That was one of the greatest things. The first night all the coaches got together for an informal meeting presenting on different topics. This hour-long thing turned into five,” said Harbinson, who shared his knowledge on defensive zone structure. “I picked up new ways to do things and it reaffirms what you are doing. No matter who you are, you are always learning. It doesn’t matter how many years you have been doing this, no one has it all figured out. It was a fun environment to be in.”

A reputation for producing elite players in junior hockey in his eight seasons with the Vees precede Harbinson. Add to that the three BCHL championships, an RBC Cup national championship, Doyle Cup and Western Canada Cup to his record — it is no wonder Harbinson was the only junior A coach at the camp. The invite to the Leafs camp came from the NHL teams assistant general manager Kyle Dubas, on recommendation from another guest coach Norm Bazin (Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks/NCAA) who Harbinson is a long time friend of.

Humbled by the invite, Harbinson said it all comes down to one thing.

“It’s just hockey. Everything they do, we are doing the same here,” he said of his week at the camp. “The biggest thing I noticed was that they go into more detail because they have the manpower. Also, being an outsider in Toronto you get to see how tough it is for them. You could see the shift at camp. They are making a lot of changes to get the organization back on track. The tone that was presented there, you can see good things happening.”

It is not the first time the Vees coach has walked among high-level coaches. Seminars are held at the NHL draft that he has attended, it was however the first time he met the Leafs new coach Mike Babcock.

“He is very approachable and has all these great ideas. He is very energetic and has a great hockey mind,” said Harbinson. “Anyone that has coached in the NHL, won Stanley Cups and led Team Canada to championships — it would be crazy to not watch them closely and try to emulate them.”

Now back in Penticton, Harbinson is preparing for the Vees training camp which is slated for Aug. 22 to 24.

“I have been staying in touch with the boys and they are training hard and really excited to get back to the ice,” he said.



Just Posted

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

The RCMP are asking for assistance regarding the death of Kathleen Richardson of Naramata, pictured here. Her death is believed to be related to two homicides in Naramata in May. (RCMP)
Suspected Naramata homicide victim identified by police

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday

(File photo)
Reports of aggressive deer in Penticton prompt warning from city

Expect female deer to be more aggressive over the next two months

(File photo)
Mobile drop-in vaccination clinic coming to Oliver

All those in the Oliver area who have not yet received their first dose are eligible for the vaccine

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a summary of this week’s biggest stories from the Okanagan-Shuswap

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

The rainbow flag flies beside the Canadian flag outside the University of the Fraser Valley’s Chilliwack campus on June 26, 2020. Monday, June 14, 2021 is Flag Day, and also June is Pride Month. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Fair-goers take a ride at the 120th annual Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2019. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)
Armstrong’s IPE not eligible for COVID-19 grant designed for major attractions

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo criticized the rigidity of the provincial program’s criteria

Two e-scooters parked on the sidewalk along Water Street in downtown Kelowna on Monday, May 3. Scooters parked on walkways are causing accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Kelowna General Hospital clinicians observe increase in e-scooter injuries

A report is set to go to city council next week on how the e-scooter pilot has gone thus far

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Most Read