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WEEKEND PREVIEW: WARRIORS OPEN UP OK CUP VERSUS VIPERS

Photo: #12 Brennan Nelson suited up as an AP with the Warriors during the 2019-20 season versus the Vipers and registered two assists. Tonight he slots into the lineup as a full time member of the Warriors.

Photo Credit: Tami Quan Photography

September 25th, 2020

WEST KELOWNA B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors open up the Okanagan Cup with a double header versus the Vernon Vipers Friday night.

Warriors come into this unprecedented season with a new look roster featuring some very improved returning players and some highly coveted new comers. First up are the returning players which include forwards John Evans, Carter Wilkie, Elan Bar Lev Wise and Deegan Mofford. On the backend returning players include Nick Ardanaz, Corey McCann, Skyler Cameron and Ryan Novecosky. The Warriors will also have their starting goaltender Johnny Derrick back between the pipes. The coaching staff noticed right away that the conditioning and fitness level of all returning players stood out immediately at training camp, something that was a major concern at the beginning of the 2019-20 season.

The new recruits generated the most offseason buzz for the Warriors this Summer. It started with Tyson Jugnauth signing with the Warriors after playing some games as a 15 year old last season. Then the flood gates opened with the Warriors signing Sacred Heart commit Marcus Joughin who is expected to centre a line with John Evans. Forwards Connor Joyce, Felix Trudeau joined the mix and Pat Lawn was a much needed addition to the back end. Additions were made via trade which included power forwards Zach Brooks and Jarrett Penner. On the back end the Warriors acquired big 6’6 Kyle Pow and then signed 2003 born blue line prospect Charles Alexis Legault. Finally the Warriors concluded the Brandon Dent trade from early last season by acquiring veteran netminder Zach Bennett to solidify the Warriors goaltending.

Then from the result of NCAA Ivy league play being suspended, the Warriors were able to add Harvard forward Wyllum Deveaux and Cornell forward Matthew Stienburg. Both Deveaux and Stienburg grew up close friends in Nova Scotia. With the conclusion of camp the Warriors would announce the commitments of Carter Schmidt, Riley Sharun, Brennan Nelson, Damon Jugnauth and Jay Thomson.

This weekend the Warriors will kick off the Okanagan Cup Tournament versus the Vernon Vipers, a team the Warriors figured out late last year winning the season series 4-2. Players like John Evans had notable games scoring his first career hatrick versus the Vipers and even set a Warriors record for most shorthanded goals in a single season after a game versus the Vipers. The Vipers on paper have some notable returnees of their own featuring blue liners Hunter Donohue and Trey Taylor and Warriors fans will not forget the Vipers have forward Max Bulawka up front. Head Coach Jason McKee made a couple additions in the off season as well adding Bulawka’s close friend and Kelowna native Kjell Kjemhus and former Quebec Major Junior League forward Jeremy Rainville.

Warriors Head Coach Simon Ferguson says his team is more than excited to get the Okanagan Cup Tournament started, “The players are ready. They’ve been waiting six months to play some competitive games. We cannot wait to challenge ourselves against three very good hockey teams”. 

This evening’s game will be broadcast on both HockeyTV and the Warriors Mixlr Network. Puck drop at 7:00pm from Royal LePage Place in Vernon. A reminder that no fans will be allowed in the building. HockeyTV has a sale that ends this evening where you get $80 off a subscription. Use coupon code BCHLWARRIORS20 at hockeytv.com/subscriptions.