Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Vipers Sign Helgeson:

This is posted on the Morning Star website:

Vernon Vipers sign Minnesota forward

Highly rated Ben Helgeson will play exhibition games 

Kevin Mitchell

Aug. 29, 2018 

Local Sports

Assistant coach Kevin Kraus was pointing at captain Jagger Williamson as surprise newbie Ben Helgeson wrapped up his first practice with the Vernon Vipers Wednesday afternoon at Kal Tire Place.

“Jags will be giving you a ride to your billets,” said Kraus, making sure Helgeson could see Williamson in the bright-pink jersey designated for injured players.

Helgeson, 18, can play any forward position and is noted for a strong skating stride and a wicked shot. He flew to Kelowna from Minnesota this morning.

“I never thought I’d be living in B.C.,” he beamed. “I’ve only been here three hours but it looks beautiful.”

Rated by NHL Central Scouting last year, Helgeson went undrafted but was taken 26th overall in the U.S. Hockey League draft by the Waterloo Black Hawks. He finished last year with the Hawks after leading the Maplewood Hill-Murray Pioneers with 18 goals and 31 points in 25 high school games.

“There were some circumstances that went down and were out of my control, and I got contacted by the (Mark Ferner) coach here and it sounded like a great spot for me,” said the 6-foot, 190-pounder.

Once he processed information from Ferner, Helgeson surmised Vernon had a stellar coaching staff, proud tradition and a class group of players who engage freely with the coaches.

Helgeson orally committed to the NCAA University of Wisconsin Badgers when he was just 16, choosing the Madison school over home-state Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs and Michigan Wolverines.

Asked what he brings to the ice, Helgeson said: “I’m a power forward. I like playmaking too. I set guys up and just help the players around me make and create plays. “

A frustrated golfer who also played some baseball and football in high school, Helgeson is pretty much a dual citizen.

“I grew up in Roseau which is 10 miles from Canada and the rinks are open 24-7 so my buddies and I would always go out at four in the morning.”

Ferner got a phone call two days ago from fellow retired NHLer Chris McAlpine, a player agent in Minnesota, asking if he had room for another import.

“Sometimes it’s good to be patient,” said Ferner. “We know there are a lot of teams out there who are just starting (training camps) and we wanted to keep that one import spot open in case something like this happened.”

Ferner was impressed that despite incurring a crazy travel schedule to reach Vernon, Helgeson still wanted to practise with the Snakes. He had no problem matching the scorching pace in drills.

“As for where he fits in, it just gives us more flexibility with our lineup. For me, it’s about chemistry, who he feels most comfortable with and obviously, that will include conversations with our veterans that we can call on.”

Hockey runs in Helgeson’s family with older sister Morgan preparing for her freshman NCAA season with the Clarkson Golden Knights in New York.

Ferner plans to use Helgeson in exhibition games this weekend against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.


vipersdiehardfan said...

Here is a look at the Vipers 2018-19 current updated roster


Michael Young 98 (Returning from last year)
Jack Judson 00 (Returning from last year)
Mitch Andres 98 (Returning from last year)
Brendan Kim 2000 D
Carver Watson 1998 D (Acquired in trade with Chilliwack August 6th 2018)
Austin Chorney 00 (Acquired in trade with Langley August 28th 2018)


Josh Prokop 00 (Returning from last year)
Nick Wildgoose 1999 F (Recruited/Committed)
Jagger Williamson 98 (Returning from last year)
Connor Marritt 99 (Returning from last year)
Ben Helgeson 00 (Signed today/August 29th 2018)
Jesse Lansdell 98 (Returning from last year)
Alex Swetlikoff 01 (Returning from last year)
Josh Latta 98 (Returning from last year)
Teddy Wooding 99 (Recruited/Committed)
Logan Cash 00 (Recruited/Committed)
Coleton Bilodeau 00 (Returning from last year)
Elan Bar-Lev-Wise 01 (Returning from last year)


Aidan Porter 99 (Recruited/Committed)
Aidan Hosein G 99

Roberto said...

There are seven Americans on the roster. They can only keep six. Young, Andres, Watson, Wildgoose, Helgeson, Wooding, and Porter. Is Carver Watson still around? I don't think that he played in either of the Merritt pre-season games and maybe he isn't still here. Watson is also a 20 year old.

I like Porter's numbers from previous seasons, but his experience is just about entirely high school. I can see a late cut 20 year old WHL goaltender arriving to complete this team.

Don Klepp said...

Nick Wildgoose holds Canadian and US citizenship. Yes, Carver Watson is in camp and will play for the Vipers this year.

I doubt that we'll see a WHL 20-year-old goaltender land with the Vipers because both Porter and Hosein are very good goalies and because the Vipers already have their limit of six 20-year-olds.