Penticton Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson believes that new co-captain Grant Cruikshank could pot at least 40 goals next season in the B.C. Hockey League. Cruikshank, pictured in Royal Bank Cup action against the Trenton Golden Hawks, is returning with a focus on playing more consistent. Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images

Vees to possess more offence, skill

Penticton Vees coach-GM believes team will have more offence and skill

The 2017-18 version of the Penticton Vees should possess more offense and skill.

That’s what Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson, the architect of the group, feels. Returning players include co-captains Owen Sillinger and Grant Cruikshank, joined by Chris Klack, Taylor Ward, Turner Ripplinger and Jared Nash, along with defenceman Jonny Tychonick, Joey Leahy, Greg Brydon and Kenny Johnson and in goal is Nolan Hildebrand. They are joined by new recruits; goalie Adam Scheel, defenceman Nicky Leivermann, Garrett Ewert, Ryan O’Connell and Luke Reid. Up front are Cassidy Bowes, who saw playoff action as an affiliate player, Jack Barnes, Cam Hillis, Ryan Sandelin and Lukas Sillinger, brother of Owen. The Vees will know in two weeks whether they will have Massimo Rizzo.

“We’re definitely deeper (upfront) as far as the skill goes,” said Harbinson. “I thought Ward had an outstanding playoffs. Cruikshank had 32 goals as a rookie. You can only imagine how he is going to take off this year. Jared Nash had a great playoffs.”

Related: Klack, 20, returning for final season

Harbinson liked the way Hildebrand performed in practice during the playoffs and believes he will take another step. With Cruikshank, Harbinson said the Wisconsin Badger-commit decided to return to become a more consistent player. After struggling in the opening round of the playoffs, Cruikshank was outstanding the Vees coach said and believes the players could top 40 goals.

Among the returning defenceman, Harbinson said Johnson created space for teammates playing a physical game and shows flashes of offence. He hopes the brother of NHL defenceman Jack Johnson can take another step. Leahy had a solid rookie season and could have an even stronger year as a 20-year-old. The key player to Harbinson is Tychonick. While playing a limited role near the end, Harbinson felt the Calgary native was just as good as other 16-year-olds they have had in the past.

“I think as a 17 year old he is going to be a big piece of what we’re doing,” said Harbinson. “He can skate, he is going to increase his strength. Things to work on had to do with strength. That comes with time.”

Harbinson believes they are ahead of where they were this time last year.

“This group has it right in their blood that they know what it takes to win in the playoffs,” he said.

Vees notes: The Alberta Junior Hockey League champs announced on Twitter that they will host the B.C. Hockey League champs on Labour Day weekend for a pair of exhibition games on Sept. 1 and 2. This will be the second pre-season series between the teams. The Bandits came to Penticton in September of 2015. It will be the first time that the Vees will travel to Brooks since the 2012 Doyle Cup.


 

@pentictonsports
sports@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Penticton Vees defenceman Jonny Tychonick enters the zone of the Trenton Golden Hawks during Royal Bank Cup action. Tychonick will be a key part of the Vees defence core for 2017-18 B.C. Hockey League season. Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images

Just Posted

Man sentenced for fatal Christmas Eve collision near Penticton

Crown said they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that man was impaired

South Okanagan Indo-Canadian pledge for hospital expansion recieves large boost

Jaswinder Garib has donated $30,000 to the $500,000 pledge

COLUMN: From pot to policing

I am sure the cannabis legalization on Oct 17 will be the number one issue on everyone’s minds

LocoLanding flowers bring joy to others in Penticton

LocoLanding Amusement Park sends flowers to Penticton residents

Thanksgiving food drive a success in the South Okanagan

Food was collected from Penticton, Summerland and Okanagan Falls for local food banks

Over 60 cats and kittens surrendered to the South Okanagan-Similkameen SPCA

The surrender is part of an ongoing animal cruelty investigation with BC SPCA Special Constable

Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

High spirits after first week of classes at Shuswap’s outdoor school

South Canoe School is taking student learning into the great outdoors

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

B.C. marijuana workers may face U.S. border scrutiny

Cannabis still illegal federally south of the border

Symphony giants launch 59th Okanagan Symphony Orchestra season

Concerts in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon Sept. 21-23

Most Read