When the puck drops on December 1st, there will be a lot of excitement from fans, the league, and players. For some players, this will be the first time they hit the ice in the BC Hockey League, lacing up the skates with butterflies in their stomachs while friends and family cheer them on.
Right now, the Penticton Vees have eight players who will be putting on a BCHL sweater for the first time come this winter. Here’s a look at those players who will become household names.
A name the entire hockey world is accustomed to is Niedermayer. Although it’s not Hockey Hall of Famer Scott, his youngest son Joshua will make his full-time BCHL debut this season. A defenseman like his dad, Niedermayer will patrol the blue line for the Vees come December.
He’ll lace up alongside older brother Jackson for an experience they’ll both treasure. This is the only season they’ll suit up for the Vees together, as Jackson is committed to Arizona State University for September 2021.
Niedermayer, 16, suited up for the Okanagan Hockey Academy in 2019-20 and posted ten goals and ten assists while playing in 36 games. He does have three BCHL games under his belt with the Vees as an affiliate player last season.
News so good, we are seeing double!
The Vees are pleased to announce D Josh Niedermayer ('04) will join his brother, @jniedermayer27, as he has committed to the team for the 2020/21 season!
Welcome to Penticton, Josh!
— Penticton Vees (@PentictonVees) March 26, 2020
Marsella, 17, is coming over from North Jersey Avalanche program, racking up 14 points in 16 games in the 2019-20 campaign. He also played for Avon Old Farms in the United States Prep circuit, suiting up in 27 games while registering 16 points. The Greenwich, Connecticut product has committed to play at Yale University for the 2021-22 season.
18-year-old Djurasevic also played in the North Jersey Avalanche program. In 28 games, the blueliner had 19 points while helping his team win the American Youth Hockey League championship. Djurasevic also spent time with Trinity-Pawling School in the USHS-Prep league, where he had four goals and 16 assists in 21 games.
A plethora of freshmen
While the Vees have some fresh new faces on the blueline, it’s up front where the majority of the rookies are. Ryan McGuire, Devlin O’Brien, Stefano Bottini, Quinn Huston, and Jacob Quillan are the latest to be donning the Vees jersey for the first time.
McGuire, who is the son of NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire, spent the past three with Belmont Hill High School in the USHS, where he played 90 games and put up 77 points. The Connecticut native has some junior experience with eight US Hockey League games under his belt with the Madison Capitols. McGuire turned 18 last month and is committed to Colgate University for the fall of 2021.
Toronto native O’Brien, 17, spent the last two seasons at St. Andrew’s College and put up big numbers. He scored 72 goals and added 63 assists for 135 points in 111 games. O’Brien will provide leadership for a Vees team that may be lacking with the departure of David Silye, Jay O’Brien, and Jack Barnes, who each had a letter on their sweater.
NEWS: The Vees are pleased to announce the commitment of F Stefano Bottini ('02) for the 2020/21 season!
Welcome to Penticton, Stefano!
— Penticton Vees (@PentictonVees) March 27, 2020
A team of nations
From Lugano, Switzerland to Penticton. That is the trek for 17-year-old Bottini. He played in the U20-Elit League for his native Lugano, where he was the second leading scorer on the team with 12 goals and 40 points in 43 games.
Even though Bottini is a dual citizen of Canada and Switzerland (his mom was born here), he represents the Swiss on the national stage, where he has suited up for them in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Another product of the North Jersey Avalanche U18 team is 18-year-old Quinn Hutson, who had 29 goals in 21 games this past season. The Chicago native has committed to Boston University, where he’ll join Jay O’Brien in 2021-22. In a news release announcing his commitment, Huston expressed how thrilled he is to be joining the Vees.
“I’m extremely excited to join the Vees for next season. This team is very well respected in junior hockey and has great history. I had a great experience with the coaching staff and team and look forward to next season and winning a national championship.” – Quinn Hutson, incoming Penticton Vees forward
The final rookie at this point who will make his debut is 18-year-old Quillan, who comes from Salisbury School in the USHS. Quillan finished second on his team with 37 points in 28 games while helping Salisbury capture its sixth prep championship.
Once the puck drops in December, there’s no doubt these guys will be thrilled to put on the Vees sweater. As they make their way back on to the ice, let’s hope there are fans in the stands to cheer them on.