Rivalries always make for exciting and fascinating games. The Vernon Vipers and Penticton Vees rivalry has gone on for many years, as most hardcore BCHL fans would know.
Today marks the first face off between us since we (Penticton), lost to the Vipers last March in the Interior Division finals. As a player, nothing stings more than an overtime loss, let alone a Game 7 overtime loss. The moment that puck crossed the goal line, I lost all feeling in my body and my heart sank to the floor on the bench.
Momentum had been on our side until that point and I believed we would pull through and punch our ticket to the next round. Unfortunately, the season was over, but what I was going to miss more than anything was the friendships I had made throughout the whole year with my teammates. Although there was a good amount of us returning for another year, it’s tough to see guys move on and know that next time your paths cross you will be on opposite sides fighting for the same thing.
Losing games like that drives players like myself, and the rest of our returning group to work and train that much harder during the summer. All of us left Penticton to return home for the summer with a bit of piss and vinegar in us. Suddenly every summer workout had more meaning. Bitterness haunted me all summer and I couldn’t wait to get back on the ice for a new chapter of my career in Penticton. A chapter that hopefully with hard work will end differently. So far we’ve had a good start to our season. Tonight has more meaning to myself and the eight other returnees. I know myself and everyone else suiting up to join me are looking forward to tonight. Best rivalry in the BCHL.