The Penticton Vees are continuing to build a roster for the 2013-14 season, as they announced three more recruits for this upcoming season. Forwards Anthony Conti and Riley Alferd and defenseman Brett Beauvais will wear the Vees sweater in September.
Alferd and Conti are both entering their 18 year-old season whereas Beauvais is playing his last season of junior hockey even though he would have another year of eligibility left beyond this season; he’s off to Bemidji State in 2014. All three have had different paths to Penticton, as they come from different hockey backgrounds.
Alferd is from Vancouver, Washington and played last season in the USHL with the Muskegon Lumberjacks; not many 17 year-olds can say that. Though his numbers don’t jump out at you, Alferd has plenty of potential and the Vees coaching staff is excited to see him in an expanded offensive role. I’m told his skating ability his second to none and the team believes he will blossom into a consistent point producer as the season progresses. He’s penciled in at center, an area the Vees were needing to fill after the departures of Mike Rebry and Jedd Soleway. When you’re a centerman on the Vees, you need to have good feet and be able to play in both zones. Alferd actually is a converted defenseman, as he’s played both D and forward throughout his career. That’s a bonus to have a centerman with a defenseman’s perspective.
Beauvais brings plenty experience to the Vees blue-line and by looking at his output, can be a guy to help lead the offense from the back-end. The Vees are graduating three key point producers in Troy Stecher, James de Haas and Sean Flanagan. Beauvais appears to be a guy who can pick up that slack but also can play in a shut down role. He put up some impressive numbers in the NAHL in Kalamazoo and twice played for Team Atlantic at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge; one year with Nathan McKinnon. My sense he will be a steady presence on the Vees blue-line and is the dependable, low maintenance type. Above all, adaptable might be the word to use, as he is a player who can play in all sorts of situations.
Conti is the same age as Alferd, as both have three seasons of junior eligibility left heading into this year. I was impressed with Conti’s fiery spirit at the Vees Spring Camp last weekend. He’s a competitor, the type that will go through a wall for his team and a guy who hates to lose. His demeanor and attitude is what impressed me the most during Spring Camp. Conti’s face looked like someone took a cheese grater to it, as he was clipped by errant sticks and hit with a puck on more than one occasion. Even though his face was banged and opened up, including a swollen eye, he didn’t miss a game but only missed time to get stitches. He was vocal when on the bench, but also very positive, always taking time to praise a teammate for a nice play or give reassuring words. He’s a big body upfront the Vees were looking for and will be a physical presence whenever he steps on the ice.
I look forward to seeing the three hit the ice with the rest of their teammates at the Vees Prep Camp in late August. The team will have more recruiting news early next week.