The Vees’ Fred Harbinson is on the ice today. But yesterday, he was on the phone, pulling off several trades just prior to the BCHL trade deadline.
“We knew that we needed to add a forward. Even when we are healthy, we only have 11 forwards,” Harbinson said.
Penticton’s roster has been decimated by injuries again this season.
Drew Elser, Jackson Niedermayer and Conner Hutchison are all gone with season-ending injuries, so Harbinson was forced to find a few good men.
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The Vees started the day by pulling off a four-team, five-player deal.
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Vees veteran Kenny Johnson was moved to Victoria for Lach Hadley and Jarrin Sutton.
Sutton then was shipped off to the Alberta Junior Hockey League for Cruz Cote.
Cote was then packaged with Hadley and sent to the Cowichan Capitals for forward Ty Pochipinski.
“I think I’m good two-way player. Hopefully I’ll bring some depth and scoring to the team here,” Pochipinski said.
The Vees, not done wheeling and dealing yet, also acquired Evan MacIntyre from the USHL.
“I’m a two-way defenceman. I like to make a good first pass out of the zone,” McIntyre said.
The Vees also bolstered the blue-line with another defenceman, Johnathan Smart who played in the WHL before deciding to leave the Kootenay Ice to be closer to home for personal reasons.
But Smart will have to watch from the stands for five games, as he’s serving a suspension for quitting the WHL.
“On some levels, you understand where the WHL is coming from, trying to protect their players staying in their league. But at the same time, they are taking guys — you know they took Swetlikoff from Vernon and it’s not really a two-way street,” Harbinson said.
Penticton currently holds down second place in the BCHL’s Interior Division.
The new-look Vees, debut tonight against the Powell River Kings as they limber up for what they hope is a long play off run.
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