A trio of recruits will be relied upon to help fill the void up front on the Penticton Vees roster left by graduating forwards next season.
With 10 of 13 players moving on, the Vees announced forwards Ben Brar, Jason Lavallee and Owen Silinger have committed to the hockey club next fall.
“(The Vees) are an organization that has a great history of winning,” Brar told the Penticton Western News. “I look forward to coming there and being a goal scorer that can get in the dirty areas as well.”
Brar, who doesn’t turn 17 until November, just completed a very successful season at the Yale Academy in his hometown of Abbotsford. Brar and the Yale Academy Prep Lions were runners-up in the Canadian Sports Schools Hockey League (CSSHL) playoffs which were held in Penticton recently. In the regular season, he finished third on the team in scoring and inside the top five in the CSSHL with 29 goals and 59 points in 28 games. His 29 goals were a team-best and he finished with the third-most in the CSSHL. The Vees said Brar is another recruit who brings a nice compliment of size and skill to their line-up and was a standout out at the Vees recently completed spring camp. Brar is committed to play at Denver University.
“They saw me play in the (Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament) and I committed after that,” said Brar of being recruited by the Vees. “They said they liked the way I could put the puck in the net and get the puck to others.”
17-year-old Owen Sillinger chose to play in Penticton after receiving heavy interest at both the junior A and Major Junior level. Sillinger captained the Regina Pat Canadians to a bronze medal finish at the Telus Cup Midget National Championship in April. The Regina, Sask., product was the Telus Cup MVP, Top Scorer and Top Forward after amassing six goals and 17 points in just seven games. Sillinger led the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League (SMAAAHL) in playoff scoring, totaling 17 points in 10 games, as the Pat Canadians knocked off Battleford in the Provincial Championship. Sillinger was fifth in the SMAAAHL scoring race in the regular season, putting up 25 goals and 64 points in 42 games.
The Vees said Owen is another recruit with strong bloodlines, as he’s the son of former NHL player Mike Sillinger. He played over 1,000 games in the NHL with 11 different teams and now is the director of player development for the Edmonton Oilers.
Lavallee follows in the footsteps of former Vee Olivier Mantha. The 19-year-old comes from the Sorel-Tracy Rebelles of the Quebec College Hockey League (QCHL), the same league Mantha played in before landing in Penticton.
Lavallee, who hails from Thetford Mines, Que., helped lead the Rebelles to the QCHL championship this spring. In nine playoff games, the right-winger recorded five goals and 11 points, as the Rebelles lost just twice on their run to the championship. In the regular season, Lavallee finished with 28 goals and 50 points in 31 games.
Brar, Sillinger and Lavallee will join the rest of their new teammates in late August for the start of the Vees main camp.