The search for a new No.1 goalie for the Penticton Vees is over.
Mathew Robson is their man.
“He’s a big kid, he’s close to six foot three, very athletic,” said Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson. “He’s proven. He won an OJHL championship.”
The Vees acquired Robson’s Canadian Junior Hockey League playing rights in late July from the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots for the rights of defenceman Ryan Markovic, who they previously picked up for future considerations from the Brockville Braves. Getting the right player to complete the trade took Harbinson a month-and-a-half to complete.
Robson joins the Vees after spending a year practicing with the Clarkson University Golden Knights. Robson was sitting out after he won an appeal against the National Collegiate Athletic Association as he had signed with an Ontario Hockey League team at 16 but never played after getting injured. While Robson won the ruling, the NCAA gave him a 1.5 year suspension. Robson chose to leave Clarkson University as he wanted to get back to playing.
Harbinson learned of Robson’s situation, including the unlikeliness of him returning to the Patriots, and received permission from Toronto to recruit him. Several teams were interested in the netminder, who eventually chose the Vees over Dubuque.
For Harbinson, getting a veteran goalie like Robson is key for playoff success.
“A lot of times in the playoffs, 20-year-olds are the ones, if you look over the years in the BCHL, 20-year-olds are usually the ones that carry the mail,” said Harbinson.
The loss of Anthony Brodeur in the playoffs showed the importance of having that veteran in the crease to Harbinson, who said that Zach Driscoll had a great year for them.
“Even when he didn’t play in games, he practiced at the college level with a very good hockey team, seeing high caliber shots,” said Harbinson of Robson. “I think he’s a guy that is going to be able to step in and give us a great tandem.”
Harbinson also spoke to Robson about being a mentor for Nolan Hildebrand and that both can push each other to get better.
Vees notes: Defenceman Jonathan Tychonick is on the development camp roster for Hockey Canada’s Under-17 Hockey Challenge. The national team’s Summer Showcase runs from July 26 to Aug. 1. Players are evaluated during the season then are selected to one of three national teams for the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Oct. 30 to Nov. 5 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Former captain Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro are at the development camp for Canada’s national junior team. Defenceman Griffin Mendel is on the NHL Central Scouting Futures list.