by Kevin Mitchell - Vernon Morning Star
Aug 24, 2016
Gone are goalie Brendan Barry and captain Colton McCarthy. The Vernon Vipers, however, will carry on just fine without both veterans. It’s all part of the business end of the B.C. Hockey League.
While McCarthy told family, friends and teammates last spring he was considering spending his 20-year-old season in college, Barry’s no-show at training camp Monday was the talk around Kal Tire Place. He got his release and signed with the Nanaimo Clippers.
Barry is the son of Kelowna’s J.P. Barry, one of the world’s top hockey agents, representing $554 million in NHL contracts. He represents 62 players, including Roberto Luongo, Evgeni Malkin and Dougie Hamilton.
“That’s a tough situation no question about it,” said Viper head coach/GM Mark Ferner. “We wanted Brendan to come to camp and compete for a job. That’s all we basically asked, considering how things ended last year, we weren’t happy with it. The returning players weren’t necessarily guaranteed a spot: they had to come and earn it. Talking to his dad, J.P., we felt it was better for both parties and Brendan thought it would be a better opportunity in Nanaimo.”
Barry, 18, got in 13 games with the Snakes last year, going 4-6 after one tilt with the Penticton Vees. He went 10-2 with the Vees his rookie year.
“We told him we didn’t bring a lot of goalies here, he would have been our eighth one,” added Ferner. “He would have been part of three ‘97s. We have some young kids here, but we’re not gonna stop looking to try and help our hockey team. I have no hard feelings towards Brendan whatsoever.”
Gavin Hubbard, who played for the Omaha AAA Lancers in the NAPHL 18U last year, is favoured to earn one net detective spot. The 19-year-old Maryland product was sharp in the Blue-Red scrimmage Monday night, stopping Trevor Longo on an early penalty shot.
The goalie situation is not creating any chaos in the Viper den. Three-year veteran Riley Brandt, who spent the summer working at a winery and playing baseball in Trail, knows Ferner will solidify the crease issue.
“I’m sure he’s got something up his sleeve,” said Brandt, who along with Jagger Williamson, Christian Cakebread and Hunter Zandee, will likely wear a letter this season.“It’s never really a problem We got a long time until the season starts and I’m sure he’ll keep his eyes open and we’ve got a couple of good goalies in camp so we don’t have to worry about it.”
There were 66 players in camp and the pace in the drills and games was pretty high.
“It was a lot better than I expected,” said Brandt. “I thought it was going to be a little slow but the first period was good. It was a lot of fun out there and everybody looked good.”
Ferner figures all the young players will become more comfy each day and be able to enjoy the six exhibition games.
“I think the biggest thing when you bring young players in that they need to know that they have an opportunity. We make sure our veterans treat our young players properly and make them feel comfortable. The quicker you can come together as a team, the better you’re gonna be off. That’s the one thing that we’re gonna address our group with. It’s fine to be friends but more importantly you have to be a teammate and I think that’s how you become a team. Last year we brought in a lot of really young kids we knew who weren’t really quite ready. Everyone here is gonna have an opportunity...
“The warning shot has gone out to our returning players that no job is safe right now. That’s why we’re going through training camp. Some teams may do it a little bit differently but our training camp has to mean something. There will be players making this team out of training camp. It may be old school but I don’t want to hand a job to someone that’s not willing to work for it.”
On losing McCarthy, a Salmon Arm product who played 113 games in the WHL, to the SAIT Trojans in Calgary, Ferner considers it the circle of life in hockey. The two had several coffee talks in Ferner’s office this summer.
“That was a summer thing,” said Ferner. “He was on the fence for a while. He really hadn’t made his mind up. I didn’t want to say something and then he ends up coming back. He had an opportunity to go to a real good school and keep playing hockey and get an education. Our job is to obviously win hockey games, but more importantly move kids on to where they want to get to.”
The Vipers will sorely miss McCarthy’s 21 goals and physical play, but appear solid up front with prize recruit Niko Karamanis of Courtenay pulling the hat trick as Team Black bounced Team White 8-5 Monday night. Karamanis, 18, spent the last five years in the Shattuck St. Mary’s program in Minnesota. He rang up 58 points in 47 Midget Prep games last year and posted 56 goals and 131 points in two U16 Midget seasons.
SNAKE BITES: Cakebread owned the puck every shift with Team Black, whose ‘99 G Austin Poulin stopped vet D Darren Rizzolo on a penalty shot...Returning F Nick Rasovic showed some sick hands, scoring a pair of beauties for Team Blue. He went top cheddar for his deuce....Jack Judson, a 16-year-old D out of the Delta Hockey Academy, turned Zandee upside down with one of the best hits of the night...The camp ends with four scrimmages Wednesday, starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 9:15 p.m...The Vipers host the Vees Thursday night and the Merritt Centennials Friday in preseason play