A Gift for the Weberg Family

Jamie Weberg

Vees Chaplain Jamie and his wife Kristen


Friends of Vees Chaplain Jamie Weberg have started a gofundme page to raise $2,500 for a “special gift” for his family. As many of you are aware, Jamie is battling cancer and his brave fight has been ongoing since March, 2014. Jamie has been involved with the Vees since I got here in 2012, as he’d done a wonderful job as the team’s Chaplain.

Jamie has forged strong relationships with many players over the past four years and his highly respected within the Penticton Community as a Pastor. Jamie and his wife Kristen and children Emma and Jenzen have good through a lot in the past 14 months, with numerous treatments and hospital visits. I can’t say enough good things about Jamie and I hope this gofundme campaign can reach its target! It looks like it’s off to a great start, around $1,600 has been raised as of this morning.

If you want to donate to the Weberg family, click the link below. Thank you for your generosity.



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RBC Cup Wrap-Up + Stray Thoughts

(Photos: Andy Devlin, Hockey Canada Images)

Semi-Final Audio Highlights (CPC 2 Vees 1 (2 OT)

    • The team has arrived back in Penticton and everyone, staff included, are coming to grips with the fact the season is over. Nine months, 91 games and a whole heck of a lot of memories. The Vees’ regular seasons started waaaaaaay back on Friday, September 19th, at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack and ended on Saturday, May 16th, in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, at the RBC Cup. That’s quite the run.
    • How long of a season was it? I’m writing this blog, on my deck, in 25 degree weather, with a cold pop beside me.
    • It’s going to be a short off-season, when your season runs into May but I don’t think the Vees will soon forget their RBC Cup exit. The Vees weren’t too happy about a disallowed goal in the first overtime, as Dakota Conroy’s shot went right through Carleton Place goaltender Guillaume Therien and in but the ref blew the play dead too early. Very early. Here’s the video:
  • If you listen carefully, you hear the whistle blow as the shot comes to the chest area of Therien and to me that shows the ref had a very quick trigger on the whistle. At first, watching in real-time, I thought the goalie had it, for a brief moment, before it leaked through. Watch back you can tell it was a continuous motion and unfortunately the ref had an itchy trigger finger. People might point out the Vees had two power-plays in OT after that moment but Head Coach Fred Harbinson had this to say in the Penticton Herald paper today, “The only thing you can say is we could have scored the next goal, but in our minds we had scored the goal that put us into the final. It’s tough, but we have to move on from it.” Yep, they had a couple of power-plays but that’s little consolation when you thought you’ve ended the game.
  • I’m don’t want to pile on about the no-goal but how many times did the Vees have goals waved-off at critical times this post-season? It was odd. In the Western Canada Cup Final a near identical play involving Jack Ramsey and Riley Alferd happened, luckily the Vees won that game. I’ll credit BCHL Ref Mark Pearce for manning up and going to the Vees coaches after and admitting he was wrong. Coaches appreciate honesty. What grinded the Vees gears was there was no apology or explanation for the quick whistle in the RBC Cup Semi-Final. Mike Lee was also a victim to a quick whistle in the BCHL Final against Nanaimo, that was in game two and luckily the Vees prevailed in that series as well. It happened too much to say the least. But lets not cry over spilled milk I suppose.
  • Take nothing away from the Carleton Place, as they were a great opponent and gave the Vees fits throughout the Semi-Final game. I thought they made a big push from the third period onward and the Vees had their moments when they were pinned back. No shame in losing to Carleton Place who exchanged blows with the Vees. It was a hard-fought game but one that wasn’t dirty and one where both teams clawed tooth and nail. It was fun to be part of, even though my team didn’t win.
  • Tough to see the Vees season end so suddenly but fitting I suppose at the same time. This team was all about the dramatics, the close games and sudden victories, so I guess they wanted to go out the same way. They played in 11 overtime games if you include the BCHL playoffs, Western Canada Cup and RBC Cup, and despite the loss in the Semi-Final, still won seven of those 11 games. Pretty Incredible. Even when Carleton Place was buzzing in the OT periods, you thought the Vees were going to find a way, again, to win the game-some will argue all summer they actually did (OK, I’ll drop it).
  • Despite the heart-wrenching loss, Coach Harbinson had some high praise for the RBC Cup and I would have to echo his comments in today’s Penticton Herald, ” It was a first-class event and we were thrilled to be part of it. Portage had a superb veteran team and was well put together. Obviously we would have loved to have played them in the final.” I think a lot of people would have loved to see that rematch. Maybe in Lloydminster, Alberta next year-Site of the 2016 RBC Cup.
  • Though it was only the third RBC Cup I’ve experienced and second with a team, I must say it was fantastically put together by Hockey Canada and the people of Portage la Prairie. Craig Button nailed it on the TSN broadcast, saying towns like Portage are the fabric of junior hockey in Canada. So true. Crowds were excellent, even for the games not involving Portage. When the Terriers were playing, it felt like the entire town was crammed into the PCU Centre. The 50-50 jackpots were massive, with some take-home pots into the five’s and six thousands late in the tournament. The volunteers were tremendously helpful and always there if you needed something or had a problem-same with the fine folks at Hockey Canada. Once again, a big thank you!
  • During my post-game thank you on Saturday I did miss a few people and I know it’s a bit tacky but I would like to publicly thank them here:
    • Kevan Scott-Vees Game Night / Community Coordinator: I jokingly refer to her as my “second wife,” but she makes the Vees game nights tick behind the scenes. If it wasn’t for her behind the scenes, you wouldn’t be able to experience the fantastic promotions they put on at the SOEC during home games. She’s also incredibly important to the Vees community presence, as she makes sure the Vees are in the community, donating their time to worth charitable causes and events-She’s why the Vees get some much credit for their work in the Penticton community.
    • Trevor Miller- Broadcast Partner: Though young, Trevor is a bright light in the junior broadcasting circuit, and if other BCHL teams came to their senses, he would be calling BCHL hockey on his own by now. The kid has incredible passion and knowledge for the BCHL and his tell it like it is attitude is incredibly refreshing. He let’s you know what’s going on in the game-black & white. I hope he’s not back riding by my side next year, as he’s too good to play second fiddle. Trevor even stepped in for me on a last moments notice when I came down with a bad cold and lost my voice last year and didn’t even miss a beat, calling a game in Trail for me. Bright future ahead for my colleague and friend.
    • The Billets- A group of people I missed on my weekend sign-off but if it wasn’t for the Billets, junior hockey wouldn’t exist. They open their homes for nine months of the year, putting a roof over the heads of young men, give them a bed to sleep in, feed them (which is a feat in itself), and give them a place to call home, when playing away from home. A big thank you to our Billets.
    • I’ll have some end-of-year interviews from the Vees as they clean out their dressing room tomorrow afternoon. Look for that audio on Wednesday. I’ll also formulate an end-of-year piece, wrapping up the 2014-2015 season this week.
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The journey began on September 19th in Chilliwack, BC, and 91 games later it ends on May 16th in Portage, Manitoba.

What a ride. One I won’t forget. Thank you for allowing me to tell you the story.

Thank you to the fans, sponsors and supporters who made it happen.

I’ll have more in the coming days.

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RBC Cup Preview: Semi-Final Saturday

GM 5_RBC Cup



The Penticton Vees face the Carleton Place Canadians for the second time in five days, as the two meet in the early Semi-Final Saturday at the PCU Centre in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. The Vees did beat the Canadians 4-3 back on Tuesday afternoon, handing CPC their first loss of the tournament and snapping their shutout streak at 125-minutes.

Face-off 2pm CT / 12 pm PST on EZ Rock AM 800

Four teams are left, after 129 teams across 10 leagues started the seasoning chasing the dream of the hoisting the RBC Cup. In the nightcap, the host Portage Terriers face the Melfort Mustangs at 7pm CT / 5pm PST. The winners of today’s Semi-Finals meet in the National Championship game tomorrow night (7pm CT / 5pm PST ON TSN).





The first time in this tournament the Vees are facing elimination but this is nothing new to them. The Vees have faced adversity quite a bit on their long playoff run to the RBC Cup. The Vees were down 3-2 in the BCHL Interior Division Final to Vernon but came back and won two straight. They were down 2-0 to Nanaimo in the Fred Page Cup Final, losing the first two games at home, before winning four straight to capture the league crown. If you want to go one step further, the Vees rebounded to beat Portage in the Western Canada Cup Final after losing to them in the round-robin.

If you want to give yourself a refresher on the round-robin game against CP, CLICK HERE.

Three Vees were recognized at the 2015 RBC Cup Awards Banquet last night. For a full recap, CLICK HERE. 

It’s pretty simple for the Vees and for both teams: Win or go home. After today’s game, one team is moving on to the National Championship, while the other is packing their bags and going home. The strategy isn’t overly complicated at this point, as it’s about which team “wants it more.” The Vees beat CPC back on Tuesday because they looked to be the “hungrier” of the two in that afternoon contest. Heck, CPC Head Coach Jason Clarke had a very blunt assessment of his team’s play, saying they “played like boys” and the Vees “played like men.” I’m sure that comment was a direct message to his team but also citing the Vees strong work ethic.

A big key I thought for the Vees in that game against CPC was their second period, as they got into the Canadians end, ate up zone time and were forcing turnovers with their aggressive fore-check. Just look at their two goals in that middle frame, as both Riley Alferd and Steen Cooper scored within inches of the blue paint. More of that will be needed this afternoon.

The Vees will make one line-up change this afternoon, as veteran Cam Amantea comes back in and Mitch Newsome will come up; Amantea sat out on Thursday.

Vees Projected Line-Up

11 Pat Newell 71 Tyson Jost 21 Demico Hannoun

17 Steen Cooper 48 Connor Chariter 67 Dakota Conroy

12 Matt Serratore 91 Riley Alferd 15 Jack Ramsey

74 Cam Amantea 19 Cody DePourcq 77 Lewis Zerter-Gossage

53 Patrick Sexton 2 Dante Fabbro

10 Miles Gendron 4 Gabe Bast

3 Mike Lee 27 Jarod Hilderman

35 Hunter Miska

1 Brendan Barry

Carelton Place Canadians

The Canadians are trying to get back to the RBC Cup Final after losing last year to Yorkton in dramatic fashion. They have nine players back from last year’s team and all that stands in their way of getting back to the National Championship game is the Penticton Vees.

The Canadians had a great start to the tournament, shutting out the Soo Thunderbirds 4-0 and the Portage Terriers 3-0. They hit a bit of a bump in the road in the back-half of the round-robin, dropping back-to-back 4-3 decisions to the Vees and Melfort Mustangs (OT). The Canadians finished the round-robin with a 2-0-1-1 record for seven points and third place.

As mentioned, they have quite a bit of RBC Cup experience on their roster but non more important than in goal. Guillaume Therien, back from last year’s RBC Cup Finalist squad, was very good in the preliminary round, posting two shutouts and owning a tournament best 1.95 goals-against average and a .932 save-percentage. Those stats earned him the Top Goaltender award at Friday’s Awards Banquet.

There was some talk if their top scorer in the regular season and playoffs, Andy Sturtz, would play today after missing Thursday’s game against Melfort. Sturtz sat out that game but afterwards the coaches said it was for “rest” purposes and he would play Saturday. I’m not sure if or when Sturtz was injured in the game against the Vees but my only guess would be that partial breakaway attempt he had on Hunter Miska. Sturtz got tangled up with Miles Genderon at the tale end of that play. With whats at stake today, I would bet we see Sturtz in the CPC line-up this afternoon.

Canadians Projected Line-Up:

9 Tyson Stewart 21 Jordan Larson 16 Andy Sturtz

26 Stephen Baylis 22 Craig Pefley 18 Vinny Post

10 Wesley Baker 12 Adam Lloyd 19 Bryce Van Horn

17 Connor Merkley 20 Andrew Dodson 25 Maxime St. Pierre

7 Devin Campbell 23 Owen Stewart

4 Willie Brooks 11 Alex Robinson

3 David Eccles 27 Ryker Killins

1 Guillaume Therien

35 Adrian Clark

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Three Vees Recognized at RBC Cup Awards Banquet

(Photos: Andy Devlin, Hockey Canada Images)

Before we get to the four teams on Saturday, the RBC Cup paused Friday to recognized outstanding individual performances at the RBC Cup with their Awards Banquet. Three Vees took home some accolades, as Dante Fabbro, Patrick Newell and Patrick Sexton were all recognized.

Dante Fabbro was named the tournament’s Top Defenseman, Patrick Newell was the recipient of the Tubby Schmaltz Award as the Most Sportsmanlike Player, and Patrick Sexton was one of five recepients of the RBC Cup Legacy Scholarship Award.

Dante Fabbro on Top Defenseman Award

Penticton Vees Press Release:

Three Penticton Vees were recognized at the 2015 RBC Cup Awards Banquet Friday night in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

 Dante Fabbro was named the tournament’s Top Defenseman, Patrick Newell was the recipient of the Tubby Schmaltz Trophy, the tournament’s Most Sportsmanlike Player and Patrick Sexton was one of five players to receive the RBC Cup Legacy Scholarship Award.

 Fabbro was voted as the tournament’s top rear-guard despite just being 16-years-old. The Coquitlam, BC product picked up three assists in the Vees four round-robin games and saw heavy minutes on the blue-line. Even though Fabbro was one of the youngest players at the RBC Cup, he continually matched up against the opposition’s top players. Fabbro joins some familiar company, as Vees alum, Troy Stecher, was named the Top Defenseman at the 2012 RBC Cup.

 Newell led the Vees in scoring in the round-robin, notching four goals and two assists in four wins. Newell was twice named the Vees’ Player of the Game in the round-robin and only picked up four penalty-minutes. The St. Cloud State commit had two, two-goal games in the preliminary round.

 Sexton was the Vees recipient of the RBC Cup Legacy Scholarship Award, as he was given a $500 bursary to help him in his post-secondary education.

The Vees three award winners and the rest of their teammates face the Carleton Place Canadians in one of two RBC Cup Semi-Finals on Saturday at 2 pm CT / 12 pm PST. Fans can listen to the game on EZ Rock AM 800, or they can watch on www.hockeycanada.ca


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RBC Cup Post-Game 4: Vees Beat T-Birds; Semi-Finals Talk +Commish Interview


Post Game_RBC GM 4

(Photos: Andy Devlin, Hockey Canada Images)




Chatting with BCHL John Grisdale










John Grisdale Interview

Pat Newell Interview 

  • The Penticton Vees finished the round-robin at the RBC Cup with a 5-2 win over a pesky Soo Thunderbirds squad. Pat Newell led the way for the Vees, scoring twice and finishing with four points and they got singles from Steen Cooper, Dakota Conroy and Tyson Jost. The Vees did built up a 3-0 lead before Brett Jeffries scored back-to-back goals for the Soo to make it 3-2. Jost and Conroy then scored back-to-back power-play goals to ice things in the third period.
  • At the time, the Vees moved into first place in the standings with nine points, but Portage won their round-robin finale tonight 3-2 over Melfort and have clinched top spot in the standings. So, the Vees finished second and play the Carleton Place Canadians in the 2 vs. 3 Semi-Final on Saturday, May 16th, at 2 pm CT / 12 om PST. The Portage Terriers face the Melfort Mustangs at 7 pm CT / 5pm PST on Saturday night in the 1 vs. 4 Semi-Final.
  • Need tickets? If you’re a traveling Vees fan (parent, family member or avid supporter) you can get your hands on some Semi-Final tickets. Word came down that a block of 100 tickets will be released on Friday morning at 8:30 am and will be up for grabs on a first come, first serve basis. All you have to do is go down to the PCU Centre box office at the rink here in Portage la Prairie, or phone their administration office (204) 239-1520. All you have to do is say your looking for the Vees block of tickets for the Semi-Final game. Of course, if you’re not in Portage la Prairie, you can listen to the game on EZ Rock AM 800, http://www.penticton.myezrock.com, or watch online at http://www.hockeycanada.ca/rbccup. 
  • OK, the interview with Commissioner John Grisdale is above and there is a few nuggets to breakdown. One, Wenatchee is just waiting for the stamp of approval from Hockey Canada but as Commish Grisdale says above, it’s merely a formality, as BC Hockey approved it last week. So, they’re in, but where will they play? The Wenatchee Wild will play in the Mainland Division for the 2015-2016 season, then realignment will be looked at next off-season; the Wild could be in the Interior for 2016-2017. What about imports? As the Commish revealed, they’ve come out with an import formula, as the Wild will have Washington, Missouri, California and Colorado as their branch. So, that’s where they can get their underage players from, the 16 and 17 year-olds which wouldn’t count as imports. Grisdale says under USA Hockey, they’re allowed four imports, so would that means any players outside of those four states would be considered imports. Americans or Canadians. So my understanding is they’ll be allowed four imports whereas the rest of the BCHL will be allowed six. Please, correct me if I’m wrong.
  • Victoria. Lots of news has been swirling around in the last 48 hours about the state of the Victoria Grizzlies franchise as they were in drawn out lease negotiations with Westshore Parks & Rec over their leasing of the Q Centre. It didn’t look good at all just a day ago, as there was strong talk of the team folding or relocating. The Times Colonist newspaper in Victoria had a story on that yesterday. But, as Commissioner John Grisdale said, it’s part of the process of negotiations and late this afternoon, local TV in Victoria had a follow story on their news tonight saying that meetings today went well and there looks to be an agreement in the near future. WATCH HERE.  
  • Let’s talk about the game shall we? It was a pretty good start for the Vees, as they got up 1-0 after one and 3-0 early in the second period. As Assistant Coach Steve Cawley said post-game, it was pretty solid first 30-minutes from the Vees; however, they did stray away from the game plan somewhat in the last half of the second and that’s where we saw a push by the T-Birds. Hey, the Soo gave the Vees a good fight and today was arguably their best effort in this tournament. But as Coach Cawley said, they seemed to stray away from what was working after they got up by three; human nature to cheat a bit with a cushion.
  • What was the turnaround? A crafty timeout by Head Coach Fred Harbinson early in the third. The Soo scored late-ish in the second and then early in the third, both by Brett Jeffries to make it 3-2. Then, Nathan Hebert rattles the cross-bar on an attempt from the bottom of the circle; that shortly after the 3-2 goal. So, the Vees call a timeout, the coach settles down the troops and they go and outscore the Soo 2-0 the rest of the third and end up out shooting them 13-6 in the third. Great turnaround by the Vees and another sign of poise. They saw the game was getting away from them a bit but most importantly, they did something about it.
  • Pat Newell eh? A four-point afternoon and finished the round-robin with four goals six points, which is a team-best. He’s such a crafty player, always slipping away from checks and finding soft spots in coverage. I asked him in the interview above how he avoids contact so much and he laughed it off and said it’s about anticipating the play; he’s got great vision. Both of his goals were nice and in different ways. His first was a nice play between him, Demico Hannoun and Gabe Bast. Bast fires the pass up to Hannoun at centre, who sees Newell breaking ahead down the right-wing and has the presence of mind to push it ahead to Newell. Newell knew he wasn’t going to win a race to the net so he fired a shot inside the far-post on the blocker-side; well placed. Then, Connor Chartier makes a great no-look, backhand pass across to Newell and he buries it into the open net. Yes, it was a power-play, but Newell still had the sense creep into a quiet area at the side of the net for the tap-in.
  • The top-line was cooking this afternoon. Newell, Hannoun and Jost finished with three goals and eight points. They finally broke out today and in a big way after being somewhat stifled. They were playing very well in the previous three games but didn’t have that break out moment-it came Thursday. The Vees won two of their first three games with those games not putting their fingerprints on the scoresheet. They did that today. Hopefully this was a precursor to the Semi-Final.





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RBC Cup GM 4 Preview: Vees Meet Familiar Foe

GM 4_RBC Cup











The Penticton Vees wrap up their RBC Cup round-robin schedule this afternoon when they face the Central Region Representatives the Soo Thunderbirds from the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL). The Vees sit second in the RBC Cup standings heading into Day 6, with a 2-0-1-0 record and still have a shot a nabbing first place with a win today and some help in the Melfort-Portage game tonight. The Soo Thunderbirds have been eliminated from Semi-Final action after dropping their first three games and will be playing for pride this afternoon.

The Vees still have a shot at clinching first place but will need a regulation win this afternoon, possibly by a couple of goals too, and will need the Melfort Mustangs to force overtime tonight against the Portage Terriers. A Portage regulation win against Melfort would clinch them first place overall.

Just one line-up changes as Cam Amantea will come out for rest and Mitch Newsome will drawk back in on a line with Cody DePourcq and Lewis Zerter-Gossage.




Vees Projected Line-Up

11 Patrick Newell 71 Tyson Jost 21 Demico Hannoun

17 Steen Cooper 48 Connor Chartier 67 Dakota Conroy

12 Matt Serratore 91 Riley Alferd 15 Jack Ramsey

28 Mitch Newsome 19 Cody DePourcq 77 Lewis Zerter-Gossage

53 Patrick Sexton 2 Dante Fabbro

10 Miles Gendron 4 Gabe Bast

3 Mike Lee 27 Jarod Hilderman

35 Hunter Miska

1 Brendan Barry

Soo Thunderbirds


Two years after becoming the first Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League team to reach the RBC Cup in a decade, the Soo Thunderbirds are back for another shot at Canada’s National Junior A Championship.

The Soo was its usual successful self in the regular season, finishing atop the NOJHL standings for the fourth time in five years, and it ran away with from the competition in the playoffs, winning 12 of 14 games and outscoring its opponents 86-21. At the Dudley Hewitt Cup, the Thunderbirds clinched first place in the round robin – and a bye to the final – with two wins and a shootout loss, and a 3-2 win over host Fort Frances gave them a spot at the RBC Cup.

The Thunderbirds have only one player remaining from their 2012 RBC Cup team – forward Joey Miller – but that doesn’t mean they’re short on national championship experience; nine Thunderbirds were members of the Sault Ste. Marie North Stars when that team hosted the 2013 TELUS Cup.

Thunderbirds Projected Line-up:

13 Boris Katchouk 23 Brett Jeffries 10 Matt Pinder

18 Matthew Mitchell 15 Anthony Miller 26 Eric Hillock

14 Jaren Bellini 28 Matt Caruso 17 Nicolas Tassone

19 Nathan Hebert 12 Joey Miller 25 Connor Dea

20 Andrew Barbeau 27 Owen Headrick

21 Caleb Boman 24 David Radke

8 Brandon Grandinetti 2 Matt Busby

30 Mario Culina

35 Brian Kment

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