Former Vees Meet in NHL Playoffs

Photo: Canadian Press

Photo: Canadian Press

From the Penticton Herald:

“Fred Harbinson still wonders how things would have unfolded had Ryan Johansen played one more season with the Penticton Vees.

For starters, the current Columbus Blue Jackets star would have played alongside Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett for Penticton in 2009-10.

And along with veteran star pivot Denver Manderson, it’s not a stretch to suggest the Vees would have won the BCHL title and the RBC Cup that year, not the Vernon Vipers.”


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McKenzie Named AHL Rookie of the Year

Texas Stars

The accolades continue to pour in for former Vee Curtis McKenzie. Last week he was named to the AHL (American Hockey League) All-Rookie team, and today the league announced he is the 2013-2014 winner of the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie.


McKenzie, a 2009 draft pick of the Dallas Stars, led all rookies in the AHL with 26 goals and 64 points in 73 games. McKenzie led all rookies in points, assists, power-play points (33) and power-play assists (23). McKenzie was a big key for the league-leading Stars, who sit atop of the AHL with a 47-17-3-7 record and are 9-0-0-1 in their past 10 games.

McKenzie played four years at the University of Miami-Ohio before making his pro debut with Texas late last season. In 158 games at Miami, McKenzie tallied 29 goals and 80 points. Prior to college, the Golden, BC product spent two seasons in Penticton, winning a Fred Page Cup championship in 2008. In his two-year BCHL career, McKenzie amassed 36 goals and 85 points in 120 games.

Just another example of a player putting in his time and that patience and that hard-work is now paying off. As I stated earlier, he stayed in school for all four years, developing his game, which clearly has translated at the AHL level. McKenzie is great example of being patient, not panicking or rushing to get to the next level as soon as possible. You hear it a lot, but McKenzie is living proof of the college model and how it helps players develop for higher levels of hockey.

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Reilly’s Play for NCAA Championship

frozen four final

The Frozen Four Championship goes tomorrow in Philadelphia and nine BCHL alumni will take part in the game, include three former Vees, when Minnesota battles Union College. The Gophers punched their ticket to the title game by beating North Dakota 2-1 on a last second goal by Justin Holl (Evidence below). Union secured their first ever Championship appearance by edging powerhouse Boston College 5-4 in a back-and-forth thriller.

Connor, Mike and Ryan Reilly and Minnesota slugged it out with Mark MacMillan, Brendan O’Donnell, Troy Stecher, Wade Murphy and North Dakota Thursday night. It was a great game, a defensive battle, as both goaltenders, Adam Wilcox of Minnesota and Zane Gothberg of UND were terrific. The game was scoreless up until just past the midway mark of the third period. Minnesota struck first, as Sam Warning found a loose puck out front of the North Dakota net. But 32 seconds later Connor Gaarder replied for UND after he banked in his own rebound.

The game looked destined for overtime, until this happened..

Insane. Here’s some Twitter reactions from those involved:






Justin Holl scoring short-handed with just .6 seconds left on the clock. Mike Reilly was the penalized Gopher in the penalty box, so I’m the former Vee blew a big sigh of relief when he saw that Holl shot go in.

Jubilation for Minnesota and their fans but utter heartbreak for UND. Tough to see the likes of MacMillan, O’Donnell, Stecher and Wade Murphy have their season ended in such dramatic fashion. But it is still a great season for UND, especially how far they came since the beginning of the season. UND struggled out of the gate back in October and November but turned their season around and had a great run to the Frozen Four.

The Championship game will be aired live on TSN2 tomorrow, Saturday, April 12th at 4:30 pm PST. Best of luck to the Reilly brothers and hopefully the can add another championship to the their trophy case.

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McKenzie an AHL All-Star


Today the American Hockey League (AHL) unveiled its All-Rookie team and former Vees forward Curtis McKenzie was one of five players named to the team (Complete List). The former Vee had a standout rookie season with the Texas Stars, the farm team of the Dallas Stars.

From the AHL:

“The top-scoring rookie in the AHL, Curtis McKenzie has notched 22 goals and 38 assists for 60 points in 70 games for the league-leading Texas Stars. The CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month for December has registered 15 multiple-point games, and he tied a franchise record with four assists in one contest on Jan. 17 at Charlotte. McKenzie also has 32 power-play points on the year – most among AHL rookies – helping the Stars to the top-ranked unit in the league. A 23-year-old native of Golden, B.C., McKenzie was drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2009 and played four seasons at Miami University.”

McKenzie spent two seasons under Fred Harbinson from 2007-2009 and won a Fred Page Cup in the Spring of 2008. The 23-year-old played in 120 games in his two-year Vees career, amassing 36 goals and 85 points. His second and final season in Penticton was his best, as he notched 30 goals and 64 points in 53 regular season games.

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Beauvais, Ramsey on NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings

Ramsey-Beauvais Draft

Two Penticton Vees cracked the final rendition  of NHL Central Scouting Pre-Draft list. Brett Beauvais (190) and Jack Ramsey (181) are ranked among the top 200 North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, which takes place in Philadelphia on June 27th & 28th.

The two are among nine BCHL’ers that have made the list, seven skaters and two goalies. Hunter Miska was ranked 32nd among North American goalies in the mid-term rankings but didn’t make the final listing; still he has a shot at being drafted this June.

Beauvais only played one season in the BCHL but he made it a memorable one, as he was voted the top rear-guard in the BCHL. Beauvais led all BCHL defensemen in scoring with 13 goals and 58 points in 57 regular season games; 10 points better than the second-highest scoring defenseman in the BCHL. Beauvais also finished second in the league in power-play assists with 25. The Summerside, P.E.I product is off to Bemidji State University next fall.

Ramsey is coming off a solid Rookie season with the Vees, where he had 9 goals and 25 points in 57 games, developing into one of the Vees best penalty-killers and shutdown forwards. Ramsey flourished in the post-season, nearly doubling his point per-game total, as he finished with a goal and eight points in 11 games. The Minnesota native will be returning for a second season with the Vees and will be counted on to play important minutes for the team next season.

Congrats to Brett and Jack and you can follow the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on TSN and the NHL Network come late June.

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Vees, Eagles Complete Trade

Blanchard Trade

The details of the future considerations owing in the Nic Pierog trade have been announced. To finalize the deal, the Vees have sent forward Josh Blanchard (96) to the Surrey Eagles. Pierog was acquired on January 10th from Surrey, for forward Anthony Conti (95) and future considerations.

Surrey Press Release

Blanchard just completed his first season in the BCHL, where he was limited to just 28 games after suffering a foot injury in early October. Blanchard had three goals and four assists in his rookie season but will be counted on as a regular contributor in Surrey under Peter Schaefer next season.

Talents like Pierog come at a price and Blanchard was the price the Vees had to pay. The Vees know they’re giving up a quality individual but that’s just part of junior hockey. His long-term foot injury really hampered his ability to put up any serious numbers this season, but Blanchard will have every opportunity to put up some solid numbers next season on an up-tempo and skilled Surrey team.

Personally, I hope all the best to Blanchard, who’s a great kid with  loads of potential; he’s got some goals in him.


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8 Alumni Taking Part in 2014 Frozen Four

frozen four

The 2014 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four Tournament is set for next week in Philadelphia, and there are plenty of former Vees taking part.

In all, eight Vees alumni will be taking part in the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey National Semi-Finals on April 10th, the most out of any BCHL and Canadian Junior Hockey League team. In fact, the Vees have the most alumni playing in the Frozen Four outside of the United States National Development Team; no other junior hockey franchise in North America has as many alumni playing in the Frozen Four as Penticton.

Vees President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson, says the organization takes pride in seeing their alumni continue to excel, “Winning is something that doesn’t come easy; we are very proud to see so many of the players that won for us here in Penticton continue to help their teams compete for championships at the NCAA level.”

Connor, Mike and Ryan Reilly and the Minnesota Golden Gophers square-off against Mark MacMillan, Wade Murphy, Brendan O’Donnell, Troy Stecher and the University of North Dakota on April 10th. The Gophers won the West Regional on Sunday, after shutting out St. Cloud State 4-0. North Dakota needed overtime to knock-off Ferris State 2-1 in the Midwest Regional Final on Saturday.

In the other Semi-Final, Isaac MacLeod and the Boston College Eagles face Union College. The Eagles edged UMass-Lowell 4-3 in the Northeast Regional Final on the weekend, and are looking for their third national championship in the last five years; MacLeod in pursuit of his second ring with Boston College.

This marks the 24th Frozen Four appearance for Boston College, the most out of any school in the NCAA.  This is Minnesota’s 21st and North Dakota’s 20th Frozen Four appearance in their respective school histories. Boston College, Minnesota and North Dakota all sit in the top five for most Frozen Four berths.

The two Semi-Finals are slated for April 10th, with the National Championship scheduled for April 12th at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

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