Sunday, August 31, 2014
New-Look Vipers Take The Ice:
New-look Vipers take the ice
by Tyler Lowey - Vernon Morning Star
posted Aug 31, 2014 at
You are going to need a roster sheet handy to keep track of the 60 new Vernon Vipers who began scraping up the freshly-painted Kal Tire Place ice Friday morning as training camp got underway.
The theme at this year’s camp is turnover. Not the apple pie or giveaway variety, but this year’s Vipers will have a completely different look, player-wise.
Kenny Citron, Michael McNicholas, Riley Guenther, Liam Coughlin, T.J. Dumonceaux and Danny Todosychuk are the only returnees from last year’s RBC Cup semi-final run.
Citron, 20, is embracing his new role as a veteran in the locker room.
“I’m going to bring the compete level everyday to practice and push the tempo so when we get into games, its not going to be a big deal for us,” said Citron.
Of those impressionable 60 recruits were a pair of local kids who grew up idolizing the Vipers.
Jagger Williamson (no relation to head coach/GM Jason Williamson) has caught the eye of the coaching staff already and is looking to utilize his speed in camp.
“I see myself as a third or fourth line guy right now. I’m going to bring positive energy, be creative on the ice and move the puck,” said Williamson.
The curly-haired right-winger attends Fulton Secondary and collected Vipers hockey cards when he was in atom.
“I’ve always wanted to be part of the Vipers. Hunter Bishop and the Jones twins were my favourites. Hopefully this will be my year,” said Williamson, whose off-season workout partner, Blaine Caton, will enter Grade 12 when classes resume at Vernon Secondary.
The two have been placed on the same team for training camp as he settles into practice.
“I was good when I woke up this morning, but as it got closer to ice time I started to get a little nervous,” said Caton. “But I thought the skate went well, it was a tough one, but my legs got through it.”
Caton is a left-handed centre who loves to play in his own end just as much as he does in the offensive zone. He felt a little more comfortable on the ice having known a few of the other skaters.
Last year’s recipient of the Fan Favourite award, Dumonceaux, is back and ready for his final stint with the Snakes.
“It felt great to get back and see all the guys again. We’ve got a brand new team this year and I’m looking forward to fulfilling my role as a hard working player for these young guys to see,” said Dumonceaux, who bagged seven goals and 20 points in 55 games last winter.
Practices continued Saturday morning, leading up to a exhibition match with the Penticton Vees at Kal Tire Place. Camp continues today with more practices and more scrimmages against other Viper prospects. The highlight of the camp will be the Blue versus White All-Star game at 11 a.m. Monday.
The Vipers next exhibition game goes Friday when they travel to Salmon Arm for a tilt with the SilverBacks.
SNAKE BITES: It was announced late Friday that former Vipers assistant coach David Robinson is returning to the ice as a player, committing to Vancouver’s UBC Thunderbirds...The Canadian Junior Hockey League released its preseason top-20 rankings Friday morning, and the Albert League’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons topped the polls. The Penticton Vees will enter the season as the No. 2 seed. The Carleton Place Canadians, who lost the RBC Cup final, are in the seventh spot and the defending national champion Yorkton Terriers are ranked eighth.