Keith Cup Champ + Conn Smythe & More

 

Photo: Chicago Blackhawks Twitter (@NHLBlackhawks)

Former Penticton Panthers Duncan Keith and Kyle Cumiskey  and the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup Monday night at the United Center, blanking the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0. For Keith, and a good chunk of the roster, it was their third Cup in six years.

Keith, who calls Penticton home in the off-season, played two seasons or 119 games for the Penticton Panthers from 1999-2001 before a season and a half of college hockey at Michigan State; he was drafted by Chicago out of Michigan State in 2002. Keith then played half a season with the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL and won a championship in 2003. Cumiskey played for the Panthers in the 2002-03 season, before winning a Memorial Cup in 2004 with the Rockets.

Keith also took home the Conn Smythe Trophy, the award that’s handed out to the Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP. How good was he? From the NHL:

(Scored the game winning-goal) It was his 21st point of the playoffs, which tied Chris Chelios for the most points by a Blackhawks defenseman in a postseason. It tied Chris Pronger for the most points by a defenseman in the past 20 years; Pronger had 21 in 2006 with the Edmonton Oilers.

Keith, who led defenseman in the playoffs with 18 assists, became the first defenseman to win the Conn Smythe since Scott Niedermayer in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks. Keith has won the Norris Trophy twice and has two Olympic gold medals.”

So Lord Stanley should be getting another tan in Penticton this summer.

Now that the NHL season is officially over, former Vees defenseman Mike Reilly is now a Free Agent. Reilly is one of the most sought after UFA’s on the NHL market, as several teams are lining up for his services. Reilly did win a bronze medal at the IIHF World Hockey Championship with Team USA in May. He spent the last three seasons at the University of Minnesota and will forgo his Senior year to sign in the NHL.

The Score has an article on Reilly and what may lay ahead. CLICK HERE 

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Photo: ECHL.com

Keith wasn’t the only Penticton alum to get his hands on a Cup, as former Penticton Vees goaltender Joel Rumpel won the ECHL Kelly Cup Championship with the Allen Americans on Sunday afternoon.  The Americans beat the South Carolina Stingrays in Game 7 at home to capture their first Kelly Cup in their first year in the ECHL; they had won back-to-back CHL Championships before making the jump.

Rumpel was signed by the San Jose Sharks after his senior year at Wisconsin, then was reassigned to Allen for their playoff run. Rumpel did go to Worcester, the Sharks AHL affiliate, before finding his way to Allen; their ECHL affiliate. Rumpel played in seven playoff games for the Americans, posting a 3-2 record and 2.94 goals-against average.

For a full recap of the Kelly Cup and the Americans win, CLICK HERE.

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Keith, Reilly Making Headlines in June

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From the BCHL:

They both patrolled the blueline in Penticton. They both were named the BCHL’s Top Defenceman. And with the Stanley Cup Finals going on, both are dominant in the hockey headlines.

They are Duncan Keith and Mike Reilly, separated by 10 years in age but equally topical in the hockey world at the moment.

Keith, who won the BCHL Top Defenceman award in 2001 before going to Michigan State, is currently averaging about 29 minutes of ice time a night as the Hawks are in the hunt for a third Stanley Cup in five seasons.
Reilly, who got the hardware in 2012 as part of a Vees’ dream season and RBC Cup national championship, is garnering huge interest from several NHL clubs after de-registering from the University of Minnesota following his junior season.

Keith continues to wow fans and analysts alike by continually logging more ice than anyone else and continually producing at an all-world level with 20 points in 21 playoff games. In an air-tight series like this Finals against Tampa Bay has been, Keith’s performance has him listed as a favourite for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Reilly has generated his share of ink by making it known he’s exploring the free-agent market despite being drafted in the fourth round by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011. He could become one of Keith’s teammates soon as he was hosted by the Blackhawks on Monday for Game 3 of the Finals. The 6-foot, 185-pound defenceman was named BIG 10 Defensive Player of the Year this past season and suited up for Team USA at the World Championships where he helped the squad to a bronze medal.

Now, because he played a year of BCHL hockey before going to the University of Minnesota, he’ll be a free agent on June 15 and NHL teams – Columbus among them – are wasting no time in trying to land the top young talent.

Monday brings the official start of Free Agency for Reilly. It could also be the day the Stanley Cup is handed out. It could be a very exciting day for a couple of BCHL graduates.

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Jost, Fabbro Tapped as Leaders in 2015-16

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The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce forward Tyson Jost (98) has been named the team’s Captain and defenseman Dante Fabbro (98) has been named an Assistant Captain for the 2015-16 season.

President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson says it was an easy decision picking the leadership group, “As we evaluated our past season it became very evident who would lead our team for 2015-16. Tyson and Dante both have the attributes and demeanor that we require out of our Captains. Their consistent work ethic, desire to learn and overall professional approach both on and off the ice is what has created a respect from their teammates, which will make Tyson the natural choice to wear the “C” and Dante one of our “A.”

“As a coach it has been said that the most critical minutes in your work week is the few moments after you address your team and leave the room; it is at this point where you need your captains to reinforce that message, I believe Tyson has the strength and vision to lead our group.”

Despite is age, Jost has shown that he can be a leader and the 17-year-old did just that last season. Jost had a terrific season up front for the Vees finishing fourth in team scoring in the regular season, as he averaged nearly a point per-game as a 16-year-old, with 23 goals and 45 points in 46 games; his 23 goals were tied for the team lead.

Jost says he was able to learn a lot from last year’s Captains, “Being a part of the leadership team next year is a huge honour. It comes with a lot of responsibility, but it’s a role I’m definitely looking forward to. Last year, I had the opportunity of being led by two of the most humble, hardworking captains and I learned a lot from their leadership style. This year I will do my best to lead in the same way as those two. By always giving 110 percent in everything I do, leading by example, and placing team success in front of individual success.”

Jost didn’t shy away from the spotlight in the playoffs, scoring a team-best 10 goals in 21 BCHL playoff games, en route to the Vees Fred Page Cup Championship win over Nanaimo. He turned heads at the Western Canada Cup (WCC), compiling five goals and six points as the Vees won their first ever WCC Championship in franchise history. Jost was also named the tournament’s Top Forward and Top Scorer. He shined on the national stage as well, picking up three goals and four points at the 2015 RBC Cup in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

Fabbro, like Jost, relished playing in a key role for the Vees despite being their youngest defenseman on the blue-line. The 16-year-old was the third-highest scoring defensemen on the Vees roster this year, compiling 33 points in just 44 games; international duty had him miss 12 games.

 

Fabbro on wearing an ‘A,’ “It really means a lot to me. I learned so much from the group of guys last year in how they handled every situation that came toward them. I like to think that I can lead by example and show how dedicated I am to the team and team success.”

Despite his young age, Fabbro excelled in the BCHL post-season, as he was the highest-scoring Vees defenseman, notching four goals and 15 points in 21 playoff games. The bigger the stage, the better Fabbro played, as the blue-liner had a pair of goals and three points in five games at the WCC, and another three assists in five more games at the RBC Cup. Fabbro played a key role on the Vees blue-line in the post-season and his performance at the RBC Cup led to him being named the tournament’s Top Defenseman.

The Vees will name another Assistant Captain after the team’s Main Camp in Penticton in late August, and will look to their 20-year-olds as part of their overall leadership group.

 

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What’s “Olds” is New Again: Vees Acquire Forward from AJHL

Vees_Olds Trade

PRESS RELEASE

The Penticton Vees have swung a deal with the Olds Grizzlys of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). The Vees have acquired 19-year-old forward Chris Gerrie in exchange for 18-year-old Defenseman Jarod Hilderman. Gerrie led the Grizzlys in scoring this past season and was the 2013-2014 AJHL Rookie of the Year and CJHL Co-Rookie of the Year. Gerrie will bring a top-six scoring presence, something the Vees were looking to replace this off-season after graduating all but three forwards from last year. Gerrie is a Mich Tech commitment, as the Vees now have three future Huskies on their roster (Hannoun and Newsome the other two).

Hilderman just finished his second year with the Vees and as the saying goes in hockey, to get something good, you have to give up something good. The 18-year-old played in 96 career games for the Vees and another 43 playoff games. Hilderman still has two-years of eligibility left in junior hockey and is committed to Minnesota-Duluth, and is bringing RBC Cup experience with him to Olds.

Dana Lattery, the Grizzlys Head Coach, spoke to their local radio station about today’s trade and you can find the audio here. 

Chris Gerrie: ’96 Forward / 5’10 – 170 / Red Deer, Alberta / Michigan Tech

Gerrie was a reffered to as a “star” player for the Grizzlies and it’s hard to argue with that label. Gerrie led the Grizzlies in regular season scoring, with 25 goals and 61 points in 59 games; no sophomore slump. He’s two seasons removed from his AJHL Rookie of the Year and CJHL Co-Rookie of the Year awards,  after scoring 18 goals and compiling 54 points in 60 games. He’s basically been a point per-game player in the AJHL, picking up 115 points (43 goals) in 119 career games. He’ll likely slot into the Vees top-six, playing on the wing and he’ll definitely be a guy looked upon to help lead the offense come the fall.

Jarod Hilderman: ’97 Defenseman / 6’1 – 210 / Kamsack, Saskatchewan / Minnesota-Duluth

Hilderman, played two seasons in Vees blue after coming to the team from Notre Dame College in Saskatchewan. Hilderman broke into the BCHL as a 16-year-old two seasons ago, collecting eight points in 45 regular season games while patrolling the blue-line; he had another three points in 11 playoff games.  This season,he had six assists in 49 regular season games. In the post-season, he scored once and finished with seven points in 32 games, helping the Vees capture the Fred Page Cup and Western Canada Cup. Hilderman also played on Team West at the CJHL Top Prospects game in January.

In that interview, Olds Head Coach Dana Lattery noted the Grizzlys are turning over a lot of their roster and will have a “very young” group on the blue-line and welcomes Hilderman’s size and experience; a good spot for Hilderman to get more reps in and continue to develop.

I remember first seeing Hilderman, as this baby-faced, brash, defenseman wearing a bright red helmet at Vees Spring Camp in May of 2013. He turned heads at the camp, earned a spot on the Vees team out of Main Camp and now leaves as a BCHL Fred Page Cup and Western Canada Cup champion; not bad for a kid who jumped from Bantam AA to the Vees.”Hildy” has a ton of potential that he still hasn’t tapped into and maybe the change of scenery will help him elevate his game to the next level; all the best bud.

 

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Jost, Fabbro Back in 2015-2016

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Jost-Fabbro Press Release 

More positive news for next year and maybe the biggest, as both Dante Fabbro and Tyson Jost have confirmed they’ll return for their second season with the team in 2015-2016. Fabbro and Jost are considered two of the top ’98-born players in Canada and are entering their first year (and very likely only year) of draft eligibility. So Penticton and BCHL fans can now see two potential first round NHL draft picks next year.

Both garnered plenty of interest at  the NCAA and major junior level but  chose to come back to Penticton for their second year of junior; that says something about the program Fred Harbinson has built. Many NHL draft websites and publications have both players projected as first round picks in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. The last first round’er to play on the Vees was Beau Bennett, as he was taken in the first round by Pittsburgh in 2010, after his only season in Penticton. The last time two players on the same BCHL team were picked in the first round was in 2004, when Salmon Arm’s Travis Zajac and Kris Chucko had their names called. Zajac was picked 20th overall by New Jersey and Chucko went four picks later to Calgary. So, as he can see it doesn’t happen often so it tells you how special these two are.

Jost and Fabbro are two more key pieces to what looks like a very promising roster in 2015-2016. The Vees are restocking the cupboards very nicely with their recent recruiting announcements and with today’s announcement of Jost and Fabbro. I’m already looking forward to September.

Tyson Jost: ’98 Centre / 6’0 – 195 / 14-15 Stats: GP 46 23-22-45

Jost, 17, had a terrific season up front for the Vees finishing fourth in team scoring in the regular season, as he averaged nearly a point per-game, with 23 goals and 45 points in 46 games; his 23 goals were tied for the team lead. Those numbers didn’t go unnoticed, as he was named to the BCHL All-Rookie team this spring. Jost found another gear in the playoffs, scoring a team-best 10 goals in 21 BCHL playoff games, en route to the Vees Fred Page Cup Championship win over Nanaimo. He turned heads at the Western Canada Cup (WCC), compiling five goals and six points as the Vees won their first ever WCC Championship in franchise history. Jost was also named the tournament’s Top Forward and Top Scorer.

He shined on the national stage as well, picking up three goals and four points at the 2015 RBC Cup in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. He also is the first player to have played in all four Hockey Canada tournaments. He won bronze at the 2014 Telus Cup with the Okanagan Rockets, suited up for Canada at both the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge, and helped the Vees to a semi-final berth at the RBC Cup. Including the BCHL regular season, playoffs, Western Canada Cup and RBC Cup, Jost had an impressive 41 goals and 69 points in 76 games.

Dante Fabbro: ’98 Defenseman / 6’1 – 185 / 14-15 Stats: GP 44 4-29-33

Fabbro excelled on the Vees blue-line this year, despite what his birth certificate says. The 16-year-old was the third-highest scoring defensemen on the Vees roster this year, compiling 33 points in just 44 games; international duty had him miss 12 games.  That regular season earned him a spot on the BCHL All-Rookie team alongside Tyson Jost. Despite being the Vees youngest rear-guard, Fabbro excelled in the BCHL post-season, as he was the highest-scoring Vees defenseman, notching four goals and 15 points in 21 playoff games, helping the Vees captured their second league championship in four years. Fabbro, like Jost, wore the maple leaf  at both the World Under-17 Challenge and World Junior ‘A’ Challenge.

Fabbro continued his strong play in Alberta and Manitoba at the Western Canada Cup and RBC Cup. At the WCC, the blue-liner had a pair of goals and three points in five games, and another three assists in five more games at the RBC Cup. Fabbro played a key role on the Vees blue-line in the post-season and his performance at the RBC Cup led to him being named the tournament’s Top Defenseman.

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Vees Tap Into Okanagan Talent

The Vees busy week of player signings continued Thursday, as the team announced the commitment of three local South Okanagan products that all played at the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA).

Defensemen Griffin Mendel (99) and Sam Jones (97) and forward Taylor Ward (98) have signed-on for the 2015-2016 season. The three played on the two OHA Prep teams this past season in the Canadian Sports Schools Hockey League (CSSHL). Mendel and Ward were on OHA Prep White, which won the CSSHL championship in April. Jones played on OHA Prep Red and was their highest-scoring defenseman.

Jones is from Penticton and Mendel and Ward hail from Kelowna but have sent the last couple of years in town playing at OHA. Mendel and Ward were immersed in the Vees program this past season, as the two played as Affiliates and traveled with the team during the Fred Page Cup Final and to both the Western Canada Cup and RBC Cup.

 Griffin Mendel: ’99 Defenseman / 6’2 – 186/ Kelowna, BC

Mendel, 16, and his teammates won the Canadian Sports Schools Hockey League (CSSHL) Prep Division championship this past spring with the OHA Prep White team. At 6’2”, the rear-guard is known as a responsible, intelligent defenseman (a Penticton High School straight-A student) who can play in all situations, and possesses a heavy shot from the point. Griffin was a first-round selection in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, going 11th overall to the Kootenay Ice. Mendel’s potential has caught the eye of many top NCAA Division l programs, and he appeared in two games this past season with the Vees as an Affiliate Player.

Sam Jones: ’97 Defenseman / 6’0 – 170 / Penticton, BC

Jones, who turns 18 in November, also played next door for OHA Prep Red, in the CSSHL. Jones, a local Penticton product, averaged over a point per-game on the blue-line this past season, amassing 31 points in 28 games. Jones was the highest scoring defenseman on OHA Red, and finished 2nd in CSSHL Prep League scoring. The 6’2 blue-liner is known as a strong skater, who like Mendel, has a hard shot from the point. Also a Penticton High school high achieving student, the Vees coaching staff is very keen on Jones’ upside.

Taylor Ward: ’98 Forward / 5’8 – 160 / Kelowna, BC

Ward won a CSSHL championship with Mendel on OHA White this past season, and finished second in team scoring with 50 points in 28 games. The 17-year-old forward had a team-best 41 assists and possesses a strong hockey IQ. Ward parlayed his regular season success into the CSSHL playoffs, where he showed strong, two-way forward habits and helped OHA Prep White to a Prep Division Championship. Those traits should come as no surprise, as his father Dixon Ward played over 500 games in the NHL with Vancouver, Los Angeles, Toronto, Buffalo and the New York Rangers.  Taylor has caught the eye of several NCAA Division I programs, and scored his first career BCHL goal this past season with the Vees in a game against West Kelowna.

 

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Vees Add Trio of Forwards

The Penticton Vees continue to put the pieces together for next season, as they announced three more recruits for the 2015-2016 season. Forwards Ben Brar (98), Owen Sillinger (97) and Jason Lavallee will join the squad next fall.

The three, along with yesterday’s announcements of forwards Dixon Bowen and Easton Brodzinski committing, will help fill the void up front that’s left by 10 players graduating onto the next level.

To date, the Vees now have Ben Brar, Easton Brodzinski, Dixon Bowen, Jason Lavallee and Owen Sillinger added as forwards for next year. They join returning forwards Mitch Newsome and Demico Hannoun. Tyson Jost, is eligible to return next year and we should hear an announcement on him soon. So if everything falls into place, the Vees have some great pieces up front already.

Ben Brar: ’98 Forward / 6’2 – 160 / Yale Academy Lions  (CSSHL Prep)

Brar, who doesn’t turn 17 until November, just completed a very successful season at the Yale Academy in his hometown of Abbotsford, BC. Brar and the Yale Academy Prep Lions were runners-up in the Canadian Sports Schools Hockey League (CSSHL) playoffs. In the regular season, he finished third on the team in scoring and inside the top five in the CSSHL with 29 goals and 59 points in 28 games. His 29 goals was a team-best and he finished with the third-most in the CSSHL. Brar is another recruit who brings a nice compliment of size and skill to the Vees line-up and was a standout out at the Vees recently completed Spring Camp. Brar is committed to play at Denver University.

Owen Sillinger: ’97 Forward / 5’9 160 / Regina Pat Canadians (SMAAAHL)

17-year-old Owen Sillinger chose to play in Penticton after receiving heavy interest at both the Jr. ‘A’ and Major Junior level. Sillinger captained the Regina Pat Canadians to a bronze medal finish at the Telus Cup Midget National Championship in April. The Regina, Saskatchewan, product was the Telus Cup MVP, Top Scorer and Top Forward after amassing six goals and 17 points in just seven games. Sillinger led the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League (SMAAAHL) in playoff scoring, totaling 17 points in 10 games, as the Pat Canadians knocked-off Battlefords in the Provincial Championship. Sillinger was fifth in the SMAAAHL scoring race in the regular season, putting up 25 goals and 64 points in 42 games. Owen is another recruit with strong bloodlines, as he’s the son of former NHL player Mike Sillinger. Mike played over one thousand games in the NHL with 11 different teams and now is the Director of Player Development for the Edmonton Oilers.

Jason Lavallée: ’96 Forward / 5’9 162 / Sorel-Tracy Rebelles (QCHL/ RSEQ)

Lavallee follows in the footsteps of former Vee Olivier Mantha. The 19-year-old comes from the Sorel-Tracy Rebelles of the Quebec College Hockey League (QCHL), the same league Mantha played in before landing in Penticton. Lavallee, who hails from Thetford Mines, Quebec, helped lead the Rebelles to the QCHL championship this spring. In nine playoff games, the right-winger recorded five goals and 11 points, as the Rebelles lost just twice on their run to the championship. In the regular season, Lavallee finished with 28 goals and 50 points in 31 games.

*Note the height and weight numbers are based on the 2013-2014 season. 

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