Penticton Vees Teddy Bear Toss night

Game is on Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre against the Nanaimo Clippers

In his 181-game junior hockey career Penticton Vees centre Dakota Boutin is no stranger to the Teddy Bear Toss game.

“This is my fourth year playing junior, so yes, I have been in a few and none of them have been on the losing side,” said Boutin.

That is a good omen for the Vees, who host the big game on Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre against the Nanaimo Clippers at 6 p.m.

Even better news for the Vees is that Boutin has pretty much mastered the duck and dive when the teddy bears come raining down to the ice from the stands.

“My last three years I played hockey for the Melfort Mustangs and I scored the Teddy Bear Toss goal all three years, so I have been on the ice for a few,” said Boutin. “Yeah, there is a bit of dodging.”

The centre has collected 12 goals for the Vees so far this season, just behind team leader Owen Sillinger who has 13. With Jonny Tychonick playing with Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge and Grant Cruikshank out with a broken ankle, it bumps Boutin as the third most likely suspect to ignite the lamp and crowd first. Defenceman Nicky Leivermann currently sits second overall in points with 27 (seven of those have been goals).

Boutin also has the reputation of scoring big goals behind him, he buried the puck in overtime in his final year of midget at the Telus Cup to win it all.

“I hope it will be me,” said Boutin. “I have a knack for scoring big goals and I take pride in it too.”

If not himself, Boutin suspects the goal will come off the stick of Sillinger.

“We kind of have a thing going, where one of us scores one night and then the other seems to score the next. So my bets are on him or me.”

In his first year with the Vees, Sillinger watched teammate Scott Conway score. Last year it was Chris Klack, who is out with an injury until January this time around. He admitted there are few jabs going around the dressing room about who it might be this year, but was hesitant to pick someone — at least on the record.

“Its going to be very exciting. The teddy bears go towards a good cause and obviously it is fun for the players to be playing in such a fun atmosphere. Scoring the goal to see the teddy bears fly will be exciting for the fans and the players. Every time we play at home the atmosphere is good. Obviously with the Teddy Bear Toss it’s going to be topped up a notch there.”

Despite being caught off guard by Boutin’s three Teddy Bear markers, the Vees’ other centre, Jared Nash, said he also likes his chances going in.

“Last year I played with the Vees and in previous years with my hometown team we had Teddy Bear Toss games, but nothing has compared to Penticton so far. The fans and the amount of people that are here is exciting. I was on the ice in a game back home, not the goalscorer, but I got hit by a lot of teddy bears and all you can do is cover your head while taking it all in,” said Nash.

Bring a stuffed toy, new pyjamas or diapers to toss on the ice for the Vees first goal. Salvation Army volunteers will be on site to collect the tossed items and distribute them to deserving families this holiday season. PetSmart will also be on hand selling their charity bears for $5.50 each or two for $11. Proceeds will go to PetSmart charities.

Just Posted

Penticton’s overdose death rate most likely tops Kelowna’s

Preliminary data released to the Western News show up to 20 died last year of overdose in Penticton

Gold for Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa

Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

Kelowna tour stop for Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams to perform June 10 at Prospera Place

Penticton judge tosses child custody time-to-trial complaint

Though the judge sympathized with the need to speed up matters, he kept the proceedings on track

Stolen truck, resisting cops in Naramata nets 19 months

Derek John Ledgard, 24, will spend nearly 16 more months in jail after time served

B.C. Games open with Olympic touch

The 2018 B.C. Winter Games kicked off in Kamloops

Suspected serial killer targeting Toronto gay community now faces six murder charges

Bruce McArthur now charged with murders of six men: Toronto police

Trump suggests more guns in schools to combat shootings

Trump floats two-step plan for gun control: More guns, more control

Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping at Olympics

Russian Bobsled Federation states a drug-test sample that pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva gave on Sunday was positive.

Indigenous leaders call for change after ‘system fails’ Tina Fontaine

‘All of us should be ashamed’: Calls for change after jury finds Raymond Cormier not guilty

Atwal fiasco dogs Trudeau; PM pledges a ‘conversation’ with MP responsible

Trudeau is being peppered with questions about the lingering controversy

Germany upsets Canada in Olympic men’s hockey

Germany 4 Canada 3; Germans play OAR for gold; Canada and Czechs go for bronze

Evacuated cat finds his way home seven months after B.C. wildfires

‘He just decided he was going on a holiday — an extended holiday’

Most Read