Vees’ new Dalpe brings other skills

Ben Dalpe scores B.C. Hockey League Player of the Week honors and scholarship with Clarkson University

A three-assist effort during the opening weekend of the season gave Ben Dalpe B.C. Hockey League Player of the Week honours.

With that, the Penticton Vees forward joked he had something on his big brother, Zac, who also played for the Vees.

“It’s a cool accomplishment,” said Dalpe, who has experienced a hectic week that also included accepting a Division 1 National Collegiate Athletic Association scholarship with Clarkson University Golden Knights.

Dalpe said he texted his brother, who is trying to earn a spot with the Carolina Hurricanes, to bug him about his POW recognition.

“He just kind of laughed about it,” said Dalpe.

What fans can look forward to when watching Dalpe is a dedicated player who works hard.

“Yeah, I got the skill side and touch around the net, but I just always want to make the right play,” said Dalpe, who scored 22 goals and 38 assists in 49 games with the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the Central Canadian Junior Hockey League last season. “I want to win. Do anything to win. If the coach needs me to go out there and kill a penalty, win a big face-off, I want to be that guy.”

Asked how he differs from Zac as a player, Dalpe said his brother is more of an all skill forward.

“He’s a big body (6-1, 195 pounds). He’s got the hands and he’s got the shot,” said Dalpe. “He doesn’t have to work as hard in the corners as I do just because he’s so big. Guys kind of bounce off him. I think for me, I’m more gritty in the corners. I think its because I’m a smaller (5-10, 175 pounds guy). I have always taken pride in my game to be a little more grittier.”

Dalpe credits, the Vees prep camp, training camp and exhibition season to helping him adjust. He’s feeling good so far about his play in the BCHL. He said it’s going to be different from the CCJHL, noting there is more depth around him.

“Overall it’s been a pretty good fit so far,” said Dalpe.

He’s enjoyed playing with captain Brad McClure and Ryan Gropp.

“It’s been a treat so far. Those guys can do wonders with the puck. I just work hard and try to get those guys the puck,” said Dalpe, who wears 18 for the Vees. “Brad’s got the great shot. We are all pretty good skaters. Gropper’s got tremendous vision. He can also shoot the puck, too. Those guys are just really easy to play with.”

When it came to choosing Clarkson University to continue his hockey career, Dalpe said he’d been talking to them for about a year. He has a good relationship with coach Casey Jones, who recruited Zac to Ohio State when Jones was an assistant coach there.

“It was kind of an offer I couldn’t pass up,” said Dalpe. “It’s a great opportunity going into next year, they are losing three senior centremen. I think that was a big factor in my decision.”

Dalpe looks forward to helping the Knights, which has a rich history, restore its success from the past which includes winning 10 ECAC regular season titles, five ECAC championship tournament titles and have made 20 NCAA tournament appearances (seven times making it to the Frozen Four).

Dalpe will be joined by defenceman Chris Rygus. Dalpe said it’s awesome to have Rygus going with him and have Rygus as a roommate.

“He’s a big player, smart player that always makes the right pass,” said Dalpe of Rygus, who is entering his fourth season of junior hockey. “He’s an enforcer out there and scares opponents.”

Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said their dedication is infectious.

“Both Ben and Chris have worked extremely hard for this opportunity and will be outstanding additions to the Green Knight program,” he said in a team statement.

Now, Dalpe is just focused on this weekend against the Trail Smoke Eaters, who they face back-to-back at Cominco Arena.  Harbinson said they have a big task ahead of them.

“To me they look like they have one of the strongest teams they have had in about three or four years,” said Harbinson. “I think it should be a real tough environment to go into their building Friday and Saturday. I think they’ve got really good depth up front. They have improved their goaltending immensely. They have compete level and skill. How tough it is to always play in their building.”

“There’s no weak teams in the league at all. I don’t think any one team is going to run away with it, but there won’t be any teams left in the dust either,” said Smoke Eaters coach Bill Birks to the Trail Daily Times. “It’s actually good to play Pen twice this weekend. We watched some video and focused on what Penticton does and practiced that all week and hopefully we’ll get a good crowd in here on Friday night.”

Vees notes: There will be a season ticket holders party out front of the SOEC on Sept. 23. Fans will have the opportunity to pick up their season ticket packages, mingle with the team and enjoy a BBQ from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. If fans are unable to attend, season ticket booklets will be available at the SOEC Box Office the following day after 10 a.m. Contact 250-276-2144 or Fraser Rodgers at 250-809- 1390 if you need your season ticket booklet mailed or picked up by a third party.