Photo credit: Garrett James Photography
Penticton Vees forward David Silye is now in his fourth season in the BCHL, which means he’s been around for three Showcase events prior to this year.
The native of Arnprior, Ont. wasn’t able to play his first go-around when he was with the Nanaimo Clippers, but despite that, he insists it was still a valuable experience.
“Even just being in the stands and seeing how many NHL and college scouts were there was great for me,” said Silye. “It’s always great to come in, play in a nice rink and see all the other teams.”
His second time at the Showcase was really significant for as him as he got into some game action and that opened up a relationship with Clarkson University.
“The second year put me on the map a little bit,” he said. “That’s where we started talking, so it definitely helped out a lot.”
After discussions with the school went on for the remainder of the 2017-18 season, that summer, Silye committed to Clarkson.
With around 4,300 students on a smaller campus, Clarkson had a home-like feel for Silye, which was a big reason why he chose them over other suitors.
“It’s a nice little campus,” he said. “I’m from a small town and it had a similar feel to that. Everyone kind of knows everyone so it’s not too overwhelming. There are great people around the organization and it’s just something I wanted to be a part of.
“It’s also only an hour-and-a-half to two hours away from my hometown, so that’s nice. When I got there, the coaching staff was super friendly and welcoming. It was a great experience overall.”
After his second BCHL season and his commitment to Clarkson, Silye was acquired by the Penticton Vees where he has spent the last two seasons.
In a change of format from previous years, the BCHL Showcase Festival will be held in two locations. Longtime event-host Chilliwack will be the site for the first two days on Oct. 2 and 3 at the Chilliwack Coliseum, while Penticton will play host to the weekend’s games on Oct. 4 and 5 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
That means the Showcase will have a different feel for Silye in his last time at the event.
“We’re lucky we get two home games, especially after some long trips on the road to start the season,” he said. “We’re going to take advantage of it and we’re looking to show the rest of the league what it’s like to play in Penticton.”
The Vees kick off their Showcase Festival schedule on Friday, Oct. 4 against the Vernon Vipers in the first matchup of the season between the two longtime rivals.
“I think it’s already a special event,” said Silye. “But anytime we play Vernon, a few more fans come out just because of that rivalry and the history between the two teams.”
Penticton is off to a great start this year, sitting atop the BCHL with a perfect 6-0-0 record. The team added several high-profile names in the offseason, but they’ve managed to come together in training camp and the preseason to come flying out of the gates.
“We’re an older team this year, so there are a lot of guys that know what it takes to win in junior hockey,” said Silye. “I think from the 20-year-olds down to the rookies, everyone is pushing each other in practice and just working on getting better and bringing it every day.”
Silye made the decision to return to the team for his 20-year-old season and so far it has paid off. He already has eight points through his first six games and was also named team captain prior to the season.
“Being a 20-year-old, you have to step up no matter if you’re wearing a letter or not,” he said. “You’ve got to be a leader in the room. That was my mentality going into the season. Once I was named captain, my mindset didn’t change. It’s my last go at it, so I want to try to give it one more shot and teach the younger guys as much as I can.”
Click here to buy tickets to the 2019 BCHL Showcase Festival Oct. 2 and 3 in Chilliwack and Oct. 4 and 5 in Penticton.