This was in todays Morning Star Newspaper:
Vipers lean on rookie goalies
by Kevin Mitchell - Vernon Morning Star
Sep 7, 2016
All Mark Ferner wanted was a fair camp where young rookies stood a chance at making the team.
Ferner was true to his word as he signed a pair of 17-year-old rookie goalies and a few other young players Sunday at his Vernon Vipers office. Rookie net detectives Cole Demers, of North Vancouver, and Ty Taylor, of Richmond, were selected over American Gavin Hubbard and Port Hardy product Riley Mathieson, both 19.
"I wanted training camp to matter and told everybody that there were jobs up for grabs," said Ferner. "I asked all the kids to work hard for their spots on the team. Some people may question my sanity in running with two '99 (1999 birthdates) goalies, but the way those two competed in Salmon Arm the other night (1-0 loss Friday) was really good. They outplayed the '97s in camp and deserve to be here."
The Vipers have 14 forwards and eight defenceman. Veteran F Brett Stapley and high prospect Chase Stevenson, a forward, are on injured reserve. Both players will miss Vernon's B.C. Hockey League opener Friday night in Salmon Arm versus the Silverbacks.
Ferner is in his 11th training camp as a coach, fifth with the Vipers. The 50-year-old GM said Demers broke down in tears when he was told he made the team.
"It was a pretty emotional, whirlwind day," said Demers, a first-team all-star with the B.C. Major Midget League Okanagan Rockets in Kelowna last year with a 1.94 GAA. "I definitely figured I had a chance to make the team. I had a pretty good camp and this has been a dream of mine. All the guys here were really welcoming. I had a good year last year so that instilled a lot of confidence in me and Mark told us there were two spots up for grabs so I worked as hard as I could."
The 5-foot-9, 161-pound Demers, who used to play midfield in soccer, called his coach Jason Williamson first to relay the good news. He then dialed up his coach from two years ago in Major Midget, Duncan Vyner. His parents got the third call.
"Those two (Williamson, a former Viper captain and coach, and Vyner) helped me the most to get me to this level. They both believed in me and taught me a lot."
Taylor, a 6-foot-3, 172-pounder who was being wooed by the WHL Prince George Cougars earlier in the week – Ferner said they flew in a coach on their private plane to visit him – amassed the best stats in the CSSHL academy league last year with Delta Prep. He also loved hearing the joyful news from Ferner
"I was pretty excited," he said. "I did the best I could in camp, but I shouldn't have let in those two goals in Penticton. It's (BCHL) faster and I didn't feel overwhelmed. You have to read the plays more rather than just react at this level."
Taylor, whose father was an elite tennis player in England, loves the Canucks and Florida goalie Roberto Luongo. He stands up on high shots and tries to challenge shooters by using his size to advantage.
The 17-year-old tandem, while maybe the first in league history, will not create any jealousies, says Taylor.
"Cole is a very good goalie and we can both push each other to be better," said Taylor. "It's not going to be a problem. We have to make sure it's not hostile."
The Vipers also kept 18-year-old forwards Levi Johnson, of Prince George, and Julian Benner of Calgary, along with '99-born defenceman Sol Seibel of Kamloops. Seibel and Johnson played Junior B with the Kamloops Storm last year.
Vernon released 13 players, including Vernon 16-year-old Coleton Bilodeau, who they will use as an affiliate. The Moose Jaw Warrior draft is expected to play a second season with the Okanagan Rockets.
The Snakes will also AP 16-year-old forwards Josh Prokop, of Edmonton, and Ethan Scardina, of White Rock. Prokop pocketed 24 goals and 50 points with the Northern Alberta Elite 15s, while Scardina amassed 13 goals and 32 points with the Delta Hockey Academy Elite 15s.
D-man Jack Judson, a 16-year-old White Rock product, was also released and promised some call-up duties this season. He compiled six goals and 13 points with Delta Elite 15s last season.
John Ludvig, who was injured most of the camp, was given the same promise. The 16-year-old Kamloops blueliner is the son of former NHLer Jan Ludvig.
Ferner also cut monster d-man Cameron Kuhl, 19, of New York. Kuhl attended the New York Islanders prospect camp this summer.
“That was a tough decision,” said Ferner. “If he was a non-import, we would have kept him,” said Ferner, who is allowed six imports and six 20-year-olds.
The Vipers practised Tuesday at Priest Valley Arena due to Saturday's major flooding at Kal Tire Place.
"Our whole dressing room is being ripped apart," said Ferner, who is still working the phones on trades. "Hopefully, we can be back in there by Wednesday."