Tourney a blast for Upper Dek Vees

Upper Dek Vees have memorable trip to Surrey for Canucks Autism Network hockey tournament

THE UPPER DEK VEES Fresh Start team won all four of its games in the Canucks Autism Network hockey tournament. The team from left to right standing: Jarred Samatte

THE UPPER DEK VEES Fresh Start team won all four of its games in the Canucks Autism Network hockey tournament. The team from left to right standing: Jarred Samatte

Playing in the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) hockey tournament earlier this month gave the Penticton Upper Dek Vees many great, memories.

Coach Jay Bungay said it was absolutely amazing.

“All of them worked really hard all year long,” he said. “Being able to go on a road trip down to Surrey for a Canucks Autism Network tournament was pretty awesome. It’s a highlight we build up to.”

Making the trip was the Fresh Start program, a younger group of kids that Bungay said have lower cognitive understanding and ability, and the older group, which are higher functioning adults.

The way the players performed on the ice impressed the coach.

“A lot of them just surprise you. They rise to a level that you just never thought they had,” said Bungay.

Along with the Upper Dek Vees, the tournament featured the Kamloops Jr. Blazers, Vernon ScoreHawks, Central Okanagan Wildcats, the South Island Ravens, Vancouver Island Vision, Vancouver Orcas and the Surrey Stingrays. Each team was scheduled to play three games. One team was forced to quit and the Upper Dek Vees were asked if they wanted to play again.

“Most of the players wanted to play. It was pretty cool,” he said. “It was a lot to ask of them. A bit challenging the last game.”

The Fresh Start group finished the tournament winning all their games.

“It was amazing, honestly,” he said laughing. “We got more out of them than I ever thought we would. The kids team I did not think was going to perform the way they did. All year long I did not think they were listening to me. All of a sudden we get out there, where it matters to them and they made passes, plays, skated and I was like, what is going on? I love being part of this. It’s a beautiful thing. I feel very lucky, very blessed.”

The older group won one of its three games.

 

 

 

THE UPPER DEK VEES travelled to Vancouver to play in the Canucks Autism Network hockey tournament in early April. The team is as follows from left to right: standing Robert Watson, Tony Aiken, Jake Huff, Lynden Hicks, Chris Kocsis, Scott Stephenson, Justin Zinz, Anton Evans, Tyler Zanatta, David Sawicki, Deven Fraser, Craig Walker, Tim Sanders, Bruce Nierop and Greyfox Bigeagle. Left to right, not standing: Austin Mclellan, Steven Folden, Darryl Hagel, Sarah Francis, Rob Lee, Amanda Lamb, Troy Schattenkirk, Shannon Baker, Barnabas Laflamme, Curtis Mclellan, Teneesha Coulson and Andrew Stenhouse. Missing from the photo are David Mcpherson and Haley Beggs.

 

The players were so appreciative of what was done for them that one organized a big coach hug. The entire team jumped and mauled Bungay.

“When they do gestures like that, that’s genuine,” he said.

Bungay said CAN put on a stellar show. They made T-shirts with names and numbers with sponsors from CAN. The dressing rooms had laminated name bars for the players, which they took home. Bungay said it was done to create an authentic hockey program. He said the support was “second to none.”

Bungay thanked the community for the players experiencing this. He was very happy with the response in helping the team earn more than $9,000 to help make the trip happen. The expenses totalled nearly $11,000, with a big chunk going towards the bus and hotel accommodations.

“It wouldn’t have been possible to bring a group like that without the generosity,” he said.

There won’t be any traveling for the Upper Dek Vees next year, however, for the season-ending tournament. Penticton hosts on April 1, 2017.

“They can’t wait to show their hometown pride,” said Bungay.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Protest in Penticton. Jesse Day, Penticton Western News.
Protest underway in Penticton

People are gathering in Gyro Park to protest the closure of a winter shelter

Premier John Horgan looks on during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, February 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Premier touches on protest, housing controversy in Penticton

Protesters have said they plan to go on despite police warning

Penticton’s Law Courts.	(File)
Penticton beach attacker to serve two more years behind bars

Thomas Kruger-Allen was sentenced in a Penticton court on Friday

Hundreds gather in Penticton in June 2020, for the Black Lives Matter protest. (Phil McLachlan, Black Press Media)
Penticton residents fire back at RCMP over right to protests during pandemic

As long as COVID-19 safety measures are maintained, citizens have a right to protest

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
B.C. dentists and bus drivers want newly-approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

BC Dental Association says dentists and their teams cannot treat patients remotely

Most Read