Evan Anderson is the newest addition to the Penticton Vees following the announcements of Zach Stepan and Noah Henry.
Anderson, 17, hails from Colorado where he is currently playing for the Colorado Thunderbirds Major Midget under-18 team in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League. The T-birds are enjoying a successful season as they won the Rocky Mountain District Championship and will travel to Buffalo, NY to compete in the National Championships March 28 to April 1. Anderson himself has put together an impressive season, scoring 15 goals and collecting 31 points in 39 games.
His skill level can be really measured without the puck as he takes pride in his defensive play.
“I’m playing centre this year and that means being a two-way player and being dependable in your end,” said Anderson.
“Evan is a big kid with a power-forward frame that will excel down low in the offensive zone and isn’t shy about using his body to create space,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson. “He’s a player we have been tracking for the last couple of seasons and not surprising is drawing heavy NCAA interest.”
Anderson said it was an easy decision once he visited Penticton.
“Everyone was very welcoming, the coaching staff were great to me and everything was just first-class,” said Anderson. “Watching their games and seeing how big their crowds got me really excited.”
The Littleton, Colo. native said Penticton is the place to further his development.
“Most importantly, the program has been at the top every year and I felt this was the best place for exposure as they’ve graduated so many guys to the next level,” he added.
Stepan, 17, is a top prospect for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, as he is ranked 44th amongst North American Skaters in the Mid Term Rankings by NHL Central Scouting. Stepan, a center, is described as having a good shot with great vision and excels at distributing the puck. His numbers from this season echo the scouting report, as through 42 games, he has 18 goals and 56 points with the Sabres. The Wisconsin native is set to join the Ohio State Buckeyes in the fall of 2013.
“It speaks volumes for the BCHL and the Vees organization that a player of Zach’s stature has picked Penticton for his next stop in his hockey development,” said Harbinson.
Stepan says the Vees are a proven team and their success speaks for its’ self, “It’s one of the top programs in junior hockey, the winning this year and in years past, plus their track record for developing players stands out.”
Henry, also 17, will be a key piece to the Vees defensive core for next fall. Henry brings a well-balanced mix of size and speed to the blue-line. The rear-guard brings an offensive punch too, with 29 points in 49 games, which is third best amongst Sabres defenseman. Henry is described as a smooth-skating defenseman, who doesn’t shy away from the high traffic areas. Those attributes have resulted in heavy NCAA interest, as Henry is being pursued by several top Division I programs.
“Henry continues the long line of strong skating defenseman the Vees have had over the years” Commented Harbinson. “He will be an integral part of our teams’ defensive depth next season.”
For Noah Henry, it’s about what the program offers, “I felt really comfortable with everything, the coaching staff, the topnotch facility and the city is great as well. Coach Harbinson and his staff made me feel at ease and I am really excited for the chance to play for a great organization.”
The Penticton Vees Jr. Hockey Club is excited to welcome both Zach and Noah to the organization next fall.
Check www.pentictonwesternnews.com for more on this story.