Bottini commits to Penticton for next season

Swiss goal scorer to Vees

Forward Stefano Bottini has committed to Penticton for the 2020/21 season.

Bottini, 17, comes to the Vees with a vast amount of experience playing in his native country of Switzerland. The six foot, 176-pound forward is coming off of his first full season with the HC Lugano under-20 team in the U20-Elite league, the highest level of junior-aged hockey in the country.

Bottini was the second leading scorer on his team with 12 goals and 28 assists for 40 points in 43 games.

The Lugano native has played all of his hockey with the HC Lugano club. He captained his team a year ago and completing the 2019/20 season with the U-20 team.

“I can’t wait to start my new journey in Penticton,” said Bottini, “I will give everything I’ve got to help the team.”

Bottini is a dual citizen of Canada and Switzerland — his mother was born in Canada. 

He has represented the Swiss on a national stage many times, including this past season at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, and has 33 career games of International play.

Another Niedermayer will suit up for Vees next season

Vees add defensive depth

A familiar face, with a familiar name, will suit up for the Vees next season.

Josh Niedermayer, 16, joins the Vees after spending each of the last two seasons with the Okanagan Hockey Academy including the 2019/20 campaign with the OHA Red Midget Prep squad.

The five foot 11, 203-pound rearguard posted 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points on the backend while suiting up for 36 games this season.

Niedermayer also has junior experience, getting into three games this season with the Vees as an affiliate player.

“I’ve gotten to know the Vees over the last couple years and am excited to join them next year,” said Niedermayer, “I’m looking forward to trying to help the team win and continue improving as a player. I’m also excited to play with my brother and new teammates next season.”

The Penticton native will join his brother, Jackson, as the two will play on the same team for the first time and has plenty of places to look for inspiration within his family.

His father Scott played in 1,263 National Hockey League games, winning four Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals for Canada, and is a Hockey Hall of Famer.

The BC Hockey League has completed its playoffs - in simulation

BCHL simulates playoffs

The BC Hockey League will crown a champion after all.

Sort of.

With all playoffs across the CJHL, up to an including the Centennial Cup, wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BCHL went to its players and team to create a virtual champion.

They used EA Sports NHL 20 as its platform.

After the eight remaining BCHL playoff teams were created in the game, each team selected a player rep to go head-to-head in an online contest which decided the winner of their would-be second round series.

The Round 2 matchups and their player reps are:

  • Coquitlam Express (Joe Howe) vs. Surrey Eagles (Hassan Akl)
  • Nanaimo Clippers (Josh Kagan) vs. Cowichan Valley Capitals (Nolan Barrett)
  • Penticton Vees (Conner Hutchison) vs. Vernon Vipers (Trey Taylor)
  • Trail Smoke Eaters (Kent Johnson) vs. Salmon Arm Silverbacks (Ethan Langenegger)

The league then compiled highlights of each series with calls from team broadcasters and videos submitted by each player rep.

“We were looking for a way to keep our fans engaged during this unfortunate downtime and we think this initiative accomplishes just that,” said BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb.

“By involving our players and our broadcasters in the project and creating our teams in the NHL 20 video game, we’ve tried to make it a fun and unique BCHL experience for everyone to enjoy.”

The video for the first matchup between the Coquitlam Express and the Surrey Eagles was released Thursday.

The remaining three second-round games will be published in the coming days and Round 3 will commence next week.

Vees get commitment from high scoring forward

O'Brien headed to Penticton

The Penticton Vees will soon have another high scoring O'Brien in the fold.

Forward Devlin O’Brien will suit up for the team for the 2020/21 season.

This past season, Penticton was led in scoring by first round draft pick Jay O'Brien, no relation.

Devlin O'Brien spent the last two seasons with the renowned St. Andrew’s College program in eastern Canada.

The five foot 10, 174-pound forward totalled 72 goals and 63 assists for 135 points in 111 games played at St. Andrew’s in the Canadian Athletic High School League. 

O’Brien finished fourth in team scoring this past season, registering 42 goals and 69 points in 56 games.

“I’m extremely excited to play for the Penticton Vees next season,” said O’Brien, “After visiting Penticton and meeting with the coaching staff, I knew that this was the perfect fit for me. I’m looking forward to contributing to the Vees and helping the team compete for a national championship next year.”

The Toronto, Ontario native took a leadership role this season, wearing an ‘A’ on his sweater as one of the team’s assistant captains.

He is set to attend Merrimack College in the fall of 2021.

Jake Harrison has committed to Nebraska-Omaha

Warriors captain finds a home

A rough season for West Kelowna Warriors captain Jake Harrison has ended on a positive note.

Harrison received a concussion during the second period of the season opener, and didn't return to the lineup until the playoffs.

The long-term recovery prompted the University of Michigan to renounce a scholarship it extended to Harrison two years ago.

But, he turned heads with his surprising return in round one of the BCHL playoffs, picking up four points in five games, earning a couple phone calls from NCAA scouts.

“I am beyond excited to commit to such a great school”, said Harrison. “The culture and the high level of Omaha gets me the most excited.”

“We are very happy for Jake and his family”, said Warriors head coach Simon Ferguson. 

“Jake went through a very difficult season, but was always positive and a consummate leader in our dressing room. When he stepped back on the ice in the playoffs it gave our team a huge lift and he was one of the best players on the ice. Nebraska Omaha is getting a quality player and person and we are excited to follow his career.”

Despite the long recovery and rest, Harrison continued to represent the team in the community when he was able.

“I want to thank my family first. They stuck by me and supported me through some very tough times and guided me the best way they could. My coaches and teammates for always being there everyday and giving me a chance to play in the playoffs.

"My friends and of course one special friend, Warriors superfan Brendan Ritchie for being such an inspiration to myself and many others. Lastly the Omaha coaching staff for believing in me and giving me this opportunity.” 

Ritchie is currently stationed at Stollery Children’s hospital in Edmonton battling pulmonary hypertension.

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