The Penticton Vees beefed up their blue-line today with the acquisition of defenseman David Eccles from the Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Hockey League. The Vees sent defenseman Tyler Niven and the playing rights to 20-year-old Ryan Coghlan back to Amherst to complete the deal.
Eccles, 19, spent last season with the Carleton Place Canadians of the Central Canada Hockey League. Yes, those same Canadians who knocked out the Vees in overtime at the RBC Cup last May in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Eccles had his rights dealt to Amherst this past off-season and was in camp with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
The Hamilton-area product has plenty of experience, having started his junior career in the OHL, between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, before landing in Carelton Place last year. With the Canadians, he won the CCHL Championship, the East Region Championship and finished a win shy of a national championship. That type of seasoning is hard to find in a defenseman at this level.
Watching a bit of practice this afternoon, Eccles was skating with Gabe Bast on one D-pairing and I wonder if we’ll see them together on Wednesday. The move certainly solidifies the Vees on the back-end, as Eccles is a D-man a few teams were after.