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BCHL Next Generation: Penticton Vees

All summer we’ll be going team-by-team to profile new players coming in for the 2019-20 season with recaps of offseason commits and acquisitions. We will also have interviews and scouting reports from the coaches.

Next up is the Penticton Vees.

After being upset in the first round of the BCHL playoffs last season, the Vees wasted little time in building their team for the 2019-20 season. All summer, Penticton has been adding high-profile talent to their roster, including a pair of NHL draft picks, one being a former first-rounder, and several other players committed to NCAA programs.

With so many new players committing to the team and several more joining them via trades, Vees head coach Fred Harbinson has his work cut out to get everyone on the same page at training camp in August.

“We’ll obviously have meetings about our systems,” said Harbinson. “But we’re going to have different presentations and the first one will basically be about what it means to be a Penticton Vee. I think we’ve got a good nucleus of guys coming back that will help with that message. We’re probably going to have a couple former players come back and talk to our guys as well. It’s a special place to coach and to play. We feel it’s a unique spot. In a town of this size, we have over 3,000 people a game in our building. Right off the bat, we really want to get across how fortunate we are and we’re not going to take it for granted.”

2019-20 commits

Jay O’Brien (1999, F)

  • Hometown: Hingham, Mass.
  • Previous team: Providence College (NCAA)
  • Commitment: Boston University (2020-21)
  • Drafted: 1st Round (19th overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2018

O’Brien is taking a mandatory year away from NCAA hockey as he transfers to Boston University. He had five point in 25 games for Providence last year and also won a silver medal with Team USA at the 2019 World Junior Championships. In 2017-18, the 19-year-old had 80 points in 30 games at Thayer Academy.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“When he made the decision he was going to leave school, we obviously wanted to get involved with him. The biggest reason is that he brings a little bit of everything to the table. He plays with a lot of pace, but for an offensive guy, he plays with a lot of jam. He’s a guy that gets in first on the forecheck and uses his body to create space for himself and his teammates.

“On top of everything he’s going to do on the ice, he’s going to be leaned on as a good leader for our team and a guy that can explain to the guys what the next level really is.”

Cade Webber (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Meadville, Penn.
  • Previous team: The Rivers School (USHS-Prep)
  • Commitment: Boston University (2020-21)
  • Drafted: 4th Round (99th overall) by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2019

Listed at 6-foot-6, Webber brings size and intimidation to the Vees backend and also adds some offensive ability as he piled up 26 points in 29 games last year.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“He’s a very rangy defenceman. At 6-foot-6, he uses his stick well and he has good offensive instincts for a big guy. His game has really grown and caught up to his body. He’s a great kid. One of the biggest keys we looked at this year is making sure we were really drilling down on character and here’s a player that’s well-respected by his teammates. I think he’s going to be relied on in a defensive role, playing against the top part of the other teams’ lineups.”

Danny Weight (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Lattingtown, N.Y.
  • Previous team: U.S. National U18 Team (USDP)
  • Commitment: Boston College (2020-21)

The son of former NHL all-star and Stanley Cup champion Doug Weight, Danny had 17 points in 41 games with the U.S. National U18 Team last season.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“He’s got great hockey IQ. You can tell that he’s been in a hockey environment his whole life. I think he’s going to be relied upon as a player that plays a good 200-foot game. I think he’s really improved his skating in the last year-and-a-half. We talk about professional lifestyle here and, he’s a guy coming from an NHL environment his whole life, he can really push that to the rest of team too.”

Yaniv Perets (2000, G)

  • Hometown: Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que.
  • Previous team: Boston Jr. Bruins (NCDC)
  • Commitment: Quinnipiac University (2020-21)

Perets had the fourth-best save percentage in the NCDC last season with a mark of .929 and also boasted a top-10 goals-against average at 2.48 in 36 games.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“He’s had great numbers his whole career. We’re going to have two really capable goalies. He’s slightly undersized, but he’s very quick and positionally very solid, which you pretty much have to be if you’re under 6-foot-2. He’s always been known, from all of our reports, as a really good competitor.”

Liam Malmquist (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Edina, Minn.
  • Previous team: Edina High (USHS-MN)
  • Commitment: University of Wisconsin (2020-21)

The 18-year-old had almost a goal game playing high-school hockey last year with 23 in 24 contest and ended the year with 52 points to finish second on his team.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“When you watch Liam, it’s all about his motor. He’s one of those guys you would call a rink rat. He loves being at the rink. He just plays with so much energy. I really like his hockey intelligence. For a smaller guy, he’s always driving to get to the inside ice and the hard areas. When you watch him, you can see the passion for the game.”

Scott Gilowski (2002, D)

  • Hometown: Vernon, B.C.
  • Previous team: Okanagan Rockets (BCMML)

Another physically intimidating presence on the Vees blueline, Gilowski played three games as an affiliate with Penticton last season. He had 16 points in 34 games playing major midget last year.

Harbinson’s scouting report:

“He’s another big body. He’s a great student and a great kid. He was an affiliate player with us and played a few games. He played a great game when we were really shorthanded against Victoria in our building last year. He came in and did an outstanding job. When you’re that big, learning how to use your stick and making plays at a quicker level will be key for him. We know he wants to work to get better and be a part of our program.”

Steve Holtz (1999, D)

  • Hometown: White Lake, Mich.
  • Previous team: Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
  • Commitment: University of Michigan (2020-21)

Holtz played the last two years in the USHL for Youngstown where he put up a goal and five assists in each season.

Tristan Amonte (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Norwell, Mass.
  • Previous team: Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)

Tristan Amonte, the son of former NHL all-star Tony Amonte, is the second player from his family to play for the Vees as his brother Ty played the 2016-17 season in Penticton.

Acquired via trade

Colton Kalezic (1999, F)

  • Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
  • Previous team: Tri-City Storm (USHL)
  • Commitment: Northern Michigan University (2020-21)

Before playing in the USHL last season, Kalezic played three seasons for the Toronto Patriots of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). He had 11 goals and 10 assists in 47 games for Tri-City in 2018-19.

Alex DiPaolo (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Oakville, Ont.
  • Previous team: Coquitlam Express
  • Commitment: University of Massachusetts-Amherst (2020-21)

The 19-year-old brings a year of BCHL experience to the team as he was Coquitlam’s third-leading scorer last season with 48 points in 53 games.

Vincent Nardone (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Rosemère, Que.
  • Previous team: Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL)
  • Commitment: University of Nebraska-Omaha (2020-21)

Nardone made the move from Quebec to play in Flin Flon last year where he put up 39 points in 56 games as a rookie.

Ethan Martini (2000, D)

  • Hometown: Trail, B.C.
  • Previous team: Powell River Kings

The BCHL veteran is entering his fourth season in the league, having suited up for Powell River last year and his hometown Trail Smoke Eaters the two years prior.

Lach Hadley (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Victoria, B.C.
  • Previous team: Cowichan Valley Capitals

Hadley played for the Victoria Grizzlies for two seasons before being acquired by Cowichan Valley late last year.