Future Penticton Vee Liam Finlay has secured his hockey future beyond the junior A level.
Finlay, an affiliate player with the Vees, plays for the Okanagan Rockets in the B.C. Major Midget league. The Rockets announced on Oct. 23 that Finlay has verbally committed to the Denver Pioneers in NCAA Division 1 for the 2016-17 season.
In a team statement, Rockets general manager David Michaud said it’s an exciting time for Finlay and the entire Rockets organization.
“Liam’s development has progressed rapidly since joining the British Columbia Major Midget League (BCMML) last season as a 15-year-old,” he said. “We are thrilled to have played a key role in Liam’s progression as a player. To have one of our players commit to an elite NCAA Division 1 hockey program early in his second year of midget hockey is a very rare occurrence and speaks to Liam’s dedication and perseverance. This is a young player who combines elite skills with a terrific work ethic and is an ambassador for our program.”
Finlay is excited about his decision to commit to the Pioneers.
“In researching NCAA hockey programs with my family, we felt that the University of Denver was a model program,” said Finlay, who is listed at 5-foot-7, 145 pounds. “DU has an excellent reputation both academically and scholastically. I am very interested in their business program and, of course, the long track record of Denver Pioneer hockey success was very appealing.”
In three games as a Vees affiliate, Finlay has one assist. Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said he’s excited for Finlay as he received a call about the news the night before.
“There were a lot of schools after him,” said Harbinson. “He decided he wanted to stay west. Obviously, Denver is a good program.”
In the time that Finlay has played for the Vees, Harbinson has been pleased and said that he will be a good fit for the team a year from now. In seven games with the Rockets this season, Finlay has six goals and 18 points. In 48 regular season games played with the Rockets, Finlay has 16 goals and 52 assists.