Benik becomes A great leader

Joey Benik’s dangerous hands have been on display, but that’s not the only thing.

Joey Benik’s dangerous hands have been on display, but that’s not the only thing.

The second-year Penticton Vees forward also showed the coaching staff what kind of leader he can be and the approach he’s taking.

“We are very fortunate as an organization to have so many quality individuals that are deserving of wearing a letter,” said Vees coach and general manager Fred Harbinson. “In saying this, it was apparent to our staff that Joey has returned for his second season in Penticton with an all-business approach.”

Benik was told he would be an alternate captain at the end of Wednesday’s practice by Harbinson on the ice. Benik was then surrounded by his teammates. The decision rounds out the main leadership group with captain Logan Johnston and alternate Troy Stecher.

Benik, who scored 30 goals and 56 points as a rookie, is happy about his added responsibility.

“There is a lot of leadership throughout the whole group of guys,” he said. “It’s a great feeling obviously to be wearing one of the letters here in Penticton.”

The Andover, Minn. resident didn’t put much thought into it during the off-season, but was told near the end of his rookie campaign that he was in the mix.

“I’m confident the Vees fans will see a distinct work ethic in all three of our captains that will be contagious throughout our lineup,” said Harbinson.

Benik added he wouldn’t be bothered had he not been chosen.

“You just have to be a great leader and everyone has their own role,” he said.

During training camp and practice Benik has shown patience with the puck and his ability to finish. However, the St. Cloud State-bound forward doesn’t feel any more confident than last year. He also isn’t putting on the pressure of personal goals.

“I want to take it a lot farther than we did last year,” he said of the Vees being bounced in the second round. “Just have a great season.”

Benik is very excited since the group possesses speed and talent.

“There’s a lot of Minnesota guys,” added the former BCHL all-star rookie team member with a chuckle. “It’s great to see and it’s going to be a fun season.”

Ice chips: Vees rookie forward Mario Lucia had a special reason to look forward to watching the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars tournament. His older brother Tony, drafted by the San Jose Sharks, is on their roster for the  five-day tournament. However, Tony’s health has changed things. “He got a concussion though, so he’s not playing,” said Lucia, adding that it’s almost been a year since Tony suffered it three games into his season with the Worcester Sharks. “He’s still not there yet. Disappointing, as it would have been fun to see him and how he does against the higher competition.”