BCHL playoff tickets on sale

The Penticton Vees have released BCHL Fred Page Cup playoff pricing and introduce a new “Vees Only” Western Canada Cup tournament package.

The new Vees Only WCC tournament package is $130 and includes the Vees’ four round-robin games and the three WCC playoff games. If fans buy a package right now, they’ll be entered to win a luxury suite for 10 for a Western Canada Cup game, including a food and beverage credit.

Western Canada Cup chair David Michaud says this package is the first of its kind for the tournament.

“We’ve been receptive to Vees fans who want to watch their team at the WCC, and we feel this Vees Only package will allow all our fans to secure a seat, in what should be a fantastic tournament.”

The Vees also announced pricing for 2017 Fred Page Cup playoff packages will go on sale to season ticket holders on Thursday at 10 a.m. Season ticket holders can buy the entire playoff package at $168 for adults and $140 for seniors – the same pricing as last season.

If all games aren't played, the remaining balance will be put towards your season tickets for the 2017-18 season. That’s a $4 savings per ticket over general playoff pricing.

Deadline for season ticket holders to secure their seats for the playoffs is 5 p.m. on Mar. 13. After that, seats will be released to the general public.

Single game playoff tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for seniors and are available at the Valley First box office. Students 18 years and under and children playoff tickets are free.


Strong final home games

Dustin Godfrey

It was a strong showing for the Penticton Vees' final weekend at home for the regular season, with nearly 11,000 people in attendance over three games.

Those three games went back-to-back-to-back, on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon, which head coach Fred Harbinson says can make it difficult to attract big crowds.

"When you see a weekend like that, when you have three home games in basically two-and-a-half days, and it's so hard to attract fans all over the country right now," he said. "It's a feather in the entire organization's cap."

The weekend finished off on Sunday with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Victoria Grizzlies, with a strong final play from James Miller.

"It was an outstanding play, and a player that I kind of challenged earlier in the game," Harbinson said. "As a coach, you've got to push certain buttons or whatever, and James, guys that have been around me long enough know that the type of guys that thrive are the guys that have thick skin and can handle and kind of push back."

Now, the Vees have just two more games left after a 5-1 win over the West Kelowna Warriors Tuesday night.

"It doesn't matter if it's game number one, or game number 58, we try to win every game we play, we try to do it the right way," Harbinson said, noting that with the division title clinched, it's more about how the team plays.

"I loved the way we played on Friday and Sunday, obviously a bit to be desired for chunks of the game on Saturday, but, you know what, there's been a lot more good than bad over the last three, four weeks."

With playoffs kicking off in a few weeks, and the Vees hosting the Western Canada Cup, the SOEC has a package deal for fans who are looking to watch just the Vees games.

"When you look at our attendance this year being basically 3,000 a game, which is unprecedented in Junior A hockey I think ever, we've been continually over the last couple of years trying to get creative on how we get more and more people in our building to enjoy our hockey," Harbinson said.

"We're trying to make it as affordable and easy as possible for these families and people of Penticton to enjoy something that might come around once in a lifetime."

Warriors lose home finale

The Penticton Vees were too much for the West Kelowna Warriors Tuesday night.

In what could have been the final regular season home game for the Warriors, the Vees did them no favours, skating away with a 5-1 victory.

Penticton rallied from a 1-0 first period deficit with four unanswered goal in the second.

Assistant coach Shae Naka said it was a tough night.

"I thought we had a really good first period, we had lots of jump, we were able to get that first goal," he said.

"Then we gave up an unfortunate one on their power play on their first shot in the second that dribbles over the line, and we give up one while on the power play.

"I thought that was a stinger for our group. I don;t think we ever recovered and got back into the game after that.",

Quin Foreman opened the scoring 13 minutes into the first when his backhand off a rebound at the side of the net got past Mat Robson. The goal came after the Warriors had two earlier chances to get on the board.

However, they were unable to build on the lead, even with a late first period power play. It cost them.

Jamie Armstrong tied it on a Vees power play, then four minutes later, Grant Cruikshank, off the rush, beat Gabriel Morency from the slot with Penticton shorthanded to break the deadlock.

It was the fifth shorthanded goal the Vees have scored against the Warriors over their last three meetings.

Ty Amonte and Nic Jones on a five-on-three power play upped the lead to 4-1 before the end of the second.

Chris Klack on another Penticton power play rounded out the scoring in the third.

With just two games remaining in the regular season, the Warriors remain deadlocked with Trail for third in the Interior Division. Both teams have 56 points.

Any combination of Warrior wins or Trail regulation losses totalling two will give the Warriors third in the Interior.

West Kelowna finishes on the road in Merritt Friday and Salmon Arm Saturday. The Smoke Eaters face Vernon in a home-and-home series.

Regardless of whether they finish third or fourth, the Warriors will have home ice advantage in the opening round against either Merritt or Salmon Arm. The opening two games will be played at Royal LePage Place Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4.


Warriors close out at home

The West Kelowna Warriors close out the home portion of their BC Hockey League schedule Tuesday night.

The Warriors will entertain the Penticton Vees in what could be the last regular season game the franchise ever plays at Royal LePage Place.

Club owner Mark Cheyne has a letter of intent to sell the team to a Delta businessman. However, local interests continue to work behind the scenes to get enough local business people together to purchase the team and keep it in West Kelowna.

While all that takes place, the Warriors continue to push forward on the ice. The club clinched home ice advantage in Round 1 of the playoffs, after the Merritt Centennials lost Sunday afternoon.

And with three games left in the regular season, the Warriors are in control of where they finish.

Two wins in their final three games would guarantee they finish third, and a first-round date with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. They are currently tied with Trail. However, the Warriors do own the tie-breaker if the teams finish deadlocked in the standings.

Any combination of Warrior points earned or Trail points lost totalling four will give the Warriors third.

The Warriors finish on the road in Merritt Friday and Salmon Arm Saturday. Trail finishes up with a home-and-home set with the Vernon Vipers.

The Vees and Vipers both receive first-round playoff byes by virtue of finishing first and second respectively in the Interior Division.

Regardless where they finish, the Warriors will open the first round at home. Games 1 and 2 will be played Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4, at Royal LePage Place.

Tuesday's game is also awards night. The Warriors will hand out individual awards on the ice following the game.

Vees name top players

The Penticton Vees named their top players for the year at the end of their final home game of the season on Sunday.

The Vees' annual team awards named the top player for 13 categories, ranging from the under-appreciated to the humanitarian.

While the team carried on its yearly tradition, head coach Fred Harbinson says the team's talent is fairly evenly spread throughout.

"I was taught a long, long time ago to win a championship, you might have to play different ways in different series to accomplish that, and I think we have a team that can do that," Harbinson said. "If we don't do it as an entire 20-man-plus group, it'll be difficult to do. We're not built on two or three, four guys and that's a good thing."

With that in mind, choosing individual players for different awards can be a difficult task.

"But at the end of the day, over the course of the year, you develop an opinion on why a guy should win a certain award," Harbinson said. "That's about as simple and difficult as that decision comes."

The recipients of those awards are:

  • Unsung hero (Lang Vineyards): Duncan Campbell
  • Vees on Vees – Most popular player (DMS & Ifex Canada Ltd): Ryley Risling
  • Most improved (Sherwood Signs & Graphics): Ryley Risling
  • Rober Skinner courage award (Cantex Construction): Turner Ripplinger
  • Best conditioned (Chamberlain Property Group): Grant Cruikshank
  • Humanitarian (Gateway Casinos): Nolan Hildebrand
  • Fan favourite (Elliot Row 4 Her 4 Him): Owen Sillinger
  • Most sportsmanlike (Grizzly Excavating): Griffin Mendel
  • Best defenceman (Penticton Jr. Hockey Alumni): Griffin Mendel
  • Most inspirational (Tim Hortons): Owen Sillinger
  • Top academic (Home Hardware): Greg Brydon:
  • Rookie of the year (BC Hockey Hall of Fame): Grant Cruikshank
  • MVP (Making Cents Bookkeeping): Mat Robson

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