Colton Poolman and Scott Conway have been added to the Penticton Vees’ leadership circle.
The 20-year-old veterans join fellow assistant captain Dante Fabbro and captain Tyson Jost.
“Colton and Scott are experienced, veteran players who’ve taken on a natural leadership role within the dressing room. Their poise and maturity will be beneficial for our younger players and they’ll be a great complement to Tyson and Dante,” said Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson in a team statement.
Poolman called it a huge honour and wants to prove he was a good selection by doing whatever he can for the team.
“I was in a little bit of shock. Guys were happy for me,” said Poolman, who captained his high school team. “I kind of know the ins and outs of it.”
Conway is excited about the role he has been given. After doing his best to be a leader during camp, he intends to use his past experience to show teammates what they should and shouldn’t do.
“I think coach made a great decision. I’m going to step up,” he said.
Conway brings a wealth of experience at various levels, including playing National Collegiate Athletic Association Division l hockey at Penn State University last year. Conway was named to the Big Ten All-Rookie team a season ago and won a USHL Clark Cup championship with the Indiana Ice two seasons ago.
In other team news, it was announced Monday the Vees picked up defenceman David Eccles and future considerations from the Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Hockey League for Tyler Niven and the Canadian Junior Hockey League playing rights of Ryan Coghlan. The Vees had picked up Coghlan from Nanaimo for future considerations over the weekend.
“David is a seasoned blue-liner who’s played at the highest level in the RBC Cup and experience like that is invaluable,” said Harbinson in a team statement. “His size (six-foot-three, 205 pounds) will be a welcome addition to our backend, especially in a very competitive Interior Division.”
Eccles played last season for the Carleton Place Canadians, who faced the Vees in the semifinal of the RBC Cup in Portage la Prairie, Man. Eccles and the Canadians lost in the championship game to Portage.
Prior to joining Carleton Place, Eccles played parts of two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, splitting time between the Sudbury Wolves and Sault St. Marie, picking up a pair of assists in 29 career games.
Niven, 19, was acquired by the Vees late last month from the Langley for Mitch Newsome.
On Saturday, Sept.12, the team announced they sent goalie Brendan Barry home to Kelowna. Barry violated a team policy and the organization isn’t making further comments at this time.
Barry, 17, started in the season opener in Salmon Arm against the Silverbacks on Sept.11, but was relieved after two periods as he allowed four goals on 23 shots in a 4-2 loss. Barry won 10 of 14 games as a rookie for the Vees last season putting up two shutouts with a 2.06 goals against average and .912 save percentage. He is committed to join Clarkson University Golden Knights for next season.
In the loss to Salmon Arm, Poolman said the Vees played decent at times, but added they must learn to play a complete game.
“Overall there were good things to take out of it,” he said. “Obviously a lot of work has to be done too.”
The Vees London Drugs home opener is Wednesday at the South Okanagan Events Centre against the Vernon Vipers. Tickets are $5 on the first “Wicked Wednesday”. Tickets can be purchased at the Valley First box office (at the SOEC). This is the second year of the Vees’ ticket partnership with Peter’s Brothers Construction, who will pay for every ticket for students 18 and under.
When it comes to facing the Vipers, the Vees will be focused on communicating better. Poolman said the coaching staff felt that lacked against the Silverbacks. Conway said the Vees had a great practice, which will help them bounce back from the loss.
“I can’t wait. Every game I can’t wait,” said Conway. “Absolutely I’m excited, especially home opener. I’d like to see what Penticton brings to the rink. See how loud it gets. I have heard it’s been a great atmosphere in the past.”