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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Curtain Call with the Captain

Brad McClure Interview:


I spoke with outgoing Vees Captain Brad McClure late last week before he left Penticton for his home in Stratford, Ontario. The 20-year-old will go home for a couple of months before starting a summer semester at Minnesota State, Mankato in July.

McClure and I chatted about his two seasons in Penticton, his fondest memories and just his overall impression of the city he called home for the last two years. This interview was done the day he came in to clean out his stall in the Vees dressing room, and he was a tad emotional at the start; can’t blame the guy. We chatted for eight minutes, which only felt like two and when you listen to the interview, you really get the sense of how much he cared about the Vees, their fans and the city.

From a personal standpoint, you don’t try to have “favourites” when you cover a team but it’s hard not to root for McClure. Like many Vees Captains before him, he wore the “C” with pride and really embraced the role as the “Face of the Franchise.” He was loved by his teammates and respected by his opponents. What can you say about 89? He had 41 goals this year and I have never seen one player score more clutch goals then he did. I don’t know if there is a player that had fans on the edge of their seat more than McClure.

For all his accolades and on-ice success, what I will miss most is just having Brad around the rink. He handled ALL my media requests with class and never got grumpy when speaking with the local media on a daily basis, win or lose. He took part in more photo ops than any other Vees, outside of Cody DePourcq, and always had time for fans. Always.

McClure will no doubt be missed by many in Penticton but that’s what happens when you get to see special players come through a program.

Best of luck, “Captain Clutch.”

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Then There Were Four

frozen four 23 Vees alumni on 16 teams started the 2014 NCAA men’s ice hockey tournament but now only eight alumni and four teams remain. Boston College, Minnesota, North Dakota and Union are the four teams that have made it to the Frozen Four, which is set for April 10th & 12th in Philadelphia.

Interactive Bracket

College Hockey Inc Top Tournament Storylines

No real surprises in this year’s tournament, as Minnesota was a 1 seed, Boston College a 2 seed and Union was seeded 3rd in their respective regions. North Dakota was somewhat of a “surprise” if you go by their 4 seed but they beat two good teams in Wisconsin (Big 10 Champions) and Ferris State (28-10-3), en route to their 20th Frozen Four appearance.

So two former long-time WCHA rivals in Minnesota and North Dakota will face each other in one national semi-final, and Boston College and Union square-off in the other. That Minnesota-North Dakota game will feature no less than five former Vees, with the potential of seven Vees alumni cracking either line-up. Minnesota boasts the Reilly brothers (Connor, Mike and Ryan) and North Dakota has Mark MacMillan, Brendan O’Donnell, Wade Murphy and Troy Stecher on its roster.

Boston College features former Vees rear-guard and Senior Isaac MacLeod who wears an ‘A’ for Jerry York’s Eagles. MacLeod and the Eagles won the 2012 National Championship and the Eagles are looking to win their third title in the last five years. Union is no slouch, as they made it to the Frozen Four in 2012 and were the 2014 ECAC regular season champions. The Dutchmen have quite a few BCHL alumni on their squad, including former Vee Noah Henry, who finished his BCHL career in Powell River.

As mentioned, 23 Vees alumni started the tournament and only eight remain. Teams that are out and featured former Vees were:

St. Cloud State (Joey Benik, Joey Holka and Garrett Milan)

Notre Dame (Chad Katunar, Mario Lucia and Steven Fogarty)

Robert Morris (Rob Mann)

Wisconsin (*Joel Rumpel and Jedd Soleway)

Quinnipiac (Mike Garteig and Travis St.Denis)

Minnesota State, Mankato (Nick Buchanan, Bryce Gervais and Sean Flanagan) Denver (Joey Laleggia)

*Rumpel is one of 10 finalists for this year’s Hobey Baker Award. College Hockey Inc has this rundown on the top 10 and you can go to www.hobeybakeraward.com to vote for Rumpel; voting closes April 2nd.

Again, all the action gets going on Thursday, April 10th, with the two semi-finals from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both games will air on ESPN 2 for those with satellite, otherwise you’ll need to search out a good internet stream or radio broadcast.

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Vees Guide to 2014 NCAA Tournament

ncaahockeylogo

The “Other” big March-April tournament in the NCAA kicks-off this weekend, as the 2014 Men’s Division l Ice Hockey Tournament opens up with Regional games across the United States. The field has been paired down to 16 teams that are trying to punch their ticket to the Frozen Four Championship in Philadelphia early next month.

There’s plenty of Vees flavour in this year’s tournament, as 23 alumni are on 10 of 16 teams competing for the National Championship. North Dakota has the most former Vees on their roster with four, followed by Minnesota, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State who each have three. The 10 teams that feature former Vees are Minnesota, Robert Morris, St.Cloud State, Notre Dame, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Boston College, Denver, Minnesota State and Quinnipiac; some big-time programs in that list.

Regional games start tomorrow in four cities across the US ( St. Paul, Cincinnati, Worcester and Bridgeport) and wrap up on Sunday. From there it goes down to eight teams in Regional Finals and then the four winners head to Philadelphia for the Frozen Four, which starts April 10th with the National Semifinals.

What You Need to Know:

Official NCAA Tournament Bracket 

Schedule  

TV Schedule (Need to have a good satellite package if you live up here in Canada)

College Hockey News’ Experts Picks 

The links above should help you guide your way through the tournament if you’re new to it; I’m still learning myself. Like I said, it’s tough to watch these games north of the border, unless you have a cable package that gets the full ESPN treatment. I know there’s online streaming around the interwebs and you can jump on schools websites to find out if they will have streaming audio broadcasts.

Twitter is also a resourceful place to follow along and I’ve compiled some links below that are the Twitter accounts for the teams featuring former Vees.

Follow on Twitter

West Regional:

Minnesota  (Connor, Mike and Ryan Reilly)

Robert Morris  (Rob Mann)

St. Cloud State (Joey Benik, Joey Holka and Garrett Milan)

Notre Dame (Steven Fogarty, Chad Katunar and Mario Lucia)

Midwest Regional:

North Dakota (Brendan O’Donnell, Mark MacMillan, Wade Murphy and Troy Stecher)

Wisconsin  (Joel Rumpel and Jedd Soleway)

Northeast Regional:

Boston College  ( Isaac MacLeod)

Denver (Joey Laleggia)

Minnesota State (Nick Buchanan, Sean Flanagan and Bryce Gervais) 

East Regional:

Quinnipiac (Mike Garteig & Travis St.Denis)

Best of luck to all 23 Vees alumni taking part in this year’s tournament and here’s to at least one lifting the National Championship trophy over his head in April. Who’s your pick to win it all?

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McClure Invited to Penguins Development Camp

Mar 8 -McClure

One door closes, another one opens. Brad McClure’s junior career may have ended but he’s set to embark on his collegiate career next fall, and now will get a taste of the NHL. The Vees graduating Captain has been invited to the Pittsburgh Penguins Development Camp, which runs in mid-July at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

This camp allows the Penguins to gather their top prospects and some free agent players (College + Major Junior), under one roof and watch them over the course of several days. Some times players can get invited to a team’s Main Camp out of the Development Camp but for McClure this will be an introduction to the top-level. He’ll attend the camp and then head over to Minnesota to get ready for his freshman season at Minnesota State, Mankato. But, this proves he’s got the attention of one NHL team and there are more I’m sure that will keep tabs on him as his collegiate career gets going.

Congrats Brad!

PRESS RELEASE:

The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce graduating forward and Captain Brad McClure (93), has been invited to the Pittsburgh Penguins Prospect Development Camp.

 McClure, 20, just completed his two-year Vees career and led the team in scoring in both the 2013-2014 regular season and playoffs. The Stratford, Ontario native finished fourth in the BCHL in points, with 80 points in 58 regular season games; he finished second in scoring with 41 goals. In the playoffs, “Captain Clutch” led the Vees to a first round sweep of the Merritt Centennials, where he had six goals and nine points in four games. In the Interior Division Final against the Vernon Vipers, McClure led the Vees with four goals and 12 points in seven games. At the time of the Vees exit of the BCHL post-season, McClure still sits first in playoff scoring with 10 goals and 21 points in 11 games.

 In his two-year BCHL career, McClure played in 137 games, racking up 85 goals and 159 points. McClure was named to the BCHL All-Rookie team in 2012-2013 and this past season was named a BCHL First Team All-Star. The right-winger is committed to Minnesota State University, Mankato Mavericks next fall.

 The Penguins annual Prospect Development Camp is slated for July at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Behind the Curtain: A Vees Game at the SOEC

Via Community Matters TV and Andrew Jakubeit, here’s a behind the scenes look at what goes on at a Penticton Vees game at the SOEC.

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