Mendel makes pact with Denver

The Penticton Vees are pleased to announce rookie defenceman Griffin Mendel has committed to Denver University for the 2017-18 season.

Mendel, 16, is the youngest defenseman on the Vees’ roster and has a pair of goals and 12 points in 42 games; he’s the third highest-scoring defenseman on the team. The Kelowna, BC, product plays a key shutdown role for the Vees and is a mainstay on the team’s penalty-kill, which is third-best in the BCHL.  Mendel is the 14th player on the Vees roster to have committed to an NCAA Div. I program, and joins teammate Ben Brar as future Denver Pioneers.

Earlier this season Mendel represented Canada on the International stage, winning a gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek, B.C. Canada beat the Russians 3-2 in the final.

Prior to joining the Vees, Mendel won a Canadian Sports School Hockey League (CSSHL) championship last year, with the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s Prep White team. The 6-foot-2 rear-guard had four goals and 14 points in 17 games with OHA a year ago, and was a 2014 first round Western Hockey League draft pick of the Kootenay Ice.

The Denver Pioneers play in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) along with North Dakota, Colorado College, Western Michigan, Nebraska-Omaha, Minnesota-Duluth and Miami-Ohio. Other BCHL grads on the Pioneers current roster are Adam Plant, Jarid Lukosevicius and Danton Heinen.

Denver is second all-time with seven NCAA National Championships, the last of which came in 2005. Denver is coached by second year bench boss Jim Montgomery and Vees alum Joey Laleggia graduated from the program last season.