East will meet West Saturday March 5th and Sunday March 6th when the Penticton Vees Will Fly to Ontario to play the Kenora Thistles as the teams are preparing themselves for the Allan Cup drive. The Vees organizers have been overwhelmed how the teams popularity has taken off.The team was initially formed to give players in the local Okanagan Rec. leagues a chance of competing for the Savage Cup and ultimately be a contender for the Allan Cup. As there is no senior League in the Okanagan, the team was only counting on the Provincial Playoffs for games . Now believe it or not they are Flying to Ontario for games, Truly unbelievable, 3 months ago on Nov. 1st when BC hockey emailed the now GM Rob Dekock that the franchise was awarded back to Penticton would they think they would be in demand as they are now.
After games with the Okanagan College Coyotes, Prince George Mohawks and Thompson River University Wolfpack they will be fully ready for the Allan Cup Playdowns as those three teams are definitely top teams in the nation.
Now with the games with Kenora they will see how the hockey is played back East and give them an idea how they fair. if there will be any adjustments the final ones will be done after Kenora.
Since the re-inception of the team in November they have been recruiting heavily in the Okanagan in addition to recently signing some key players at the Feb. 10 signing deadline from Vancouver.The Vees will be the team to watch in this years Allan cup.
Sr AAA Hockey in 2011 ain't easy.There are only 19 teams registered for the 2011 Allan Cup.Even Lloydminster had to join the Chinook League.Quite often teams are the idea and efforts of one individual or a very small group of individuals.When that person(s) is/are exhausted emotionally and financially the team dies.I was personally sad when the Trail Smoke Eaters Sr AAA team folded.
Maybe the success of a Sr AAA team in Penticton can result in the formation of a Sr AAA League in the southern interior.That would be excellent.
The Powell River Regals went through a period when there just 'no' teams to play in BC.The Regals played home and away games with Chinook League teams.They went to tournaments in places like Idaho and Anchorage.They played games against the University of Victoria and the Victoria Salmon Kings.
And ex NHL players like Doug Bodger,Mike Ridley,Jamie Leach etc signed with the Regals for Allan Cups.
Presently the Regals are AA and hoping for the formation of a proper 4 team Sr AA League.The last time the Regals were in a decent league was the old Royal City/West Coast Sr League.Teams like the New Westminster Beavers,Burnaby Bingers,Port Coquitlam Blues,Seattle Indians,Nanaimo Ironmen etc.I had more than a few discussions with Beavers owner/coach Dave Rainville about the trials and tribulations of Sr Hockey.Dave could write a book.
So good luck to all the BC teams in the 2011 Allan Cup!