Jack Murray

Penticton Vees to watch for in the upcoming NHL draft


(This article was originally published on Feb. 17, 2021)

Whether the BC Hockey League season gets going or not (fingers are still crossed it happens), there are four players with ties to the Penticton Vees who made NHL Central Scouting’s most recent Players to Watch list for the 2021 NHL Draft.

Recently named captain Fin Williams tops the Vees list, who scouts will have a keen eye on or when the season gets underway in the Peach City.

As for Jack Bar, Quinn Hutson, and Owen Murray, all three were on the roster during extended training camp and played a part in the team’s capture of the Okanagan Cup, combing for 36 points. All three also decided to play elsewhere due to COVID-19 restrictions in BC.

At the same time, Williams finished the extended training season with nine points and waits for the season to start. 

Williams came over from the Prince George Spruce Kings during the offseason after spending two years up north. Starting his BCHL career at the age of 15, the North Vancouver native helped the Spruce Kings win the Fred Page Cup in 2019, scoring the game-winning goal in game two of the series.

During his time in PG, Williams had 31 points in 44 games. The Vees’ new captain played a prominent role during the extended training camp and has committed to the University of Michigan for the 2021-22 season. 

Coming over from St. Andrew’s College, 6’2″ right shot defenseman Jack Bar played 13 games for Penticton during the extended training camp. After the Okanagan Cup, the Newmarket, Ontario product chose to play closer to his hometown and joined the Chicago Steel in the United States Hockey League.

By all accounts, Bar has played well so far under Steel head coach Brock Sheahan. Following this season, Bar heads to Harvard University for 2021-22.

United States Hockey League

With 1.21 points per game during the Okanagan Cup, Quinn Hutson was phenomenal in helping the Vees win the title. Overall, he finished with 17 points in 14 games and was poised to have a great season wearing the Vees sweater.

The shutdown forced the Chicago native to look elsewhere to advance his hockey career. Already committed to Boston University for the upcoming season, the 19-year-old decided to go across Lake Michigan to the Muskegon Lumberjacks. As of this writing, he is top 10 on the Lumberjacks in scoring and has enjoyed himself a strong start since heading to Michigan. 

Owen Murray, an 18-year-old defenceman from Decker, Manitoba, had one goal and 11 assists during his time with the Vees in the Okanagan Cup.

Coming over in a trade from the Portage Terriers, Murray followed in Bar and Hutson’s footsteps and headed to the USHL for the season. He is playing for the Green Bay Gamblers under coach Pat Mikesch but hasn’t exactly had a spectacular start in Green Bay with just two points in nine games so far. However, it’s relatively early in his days with the Gamblers as he gets acclimatized to the league.

Penticton fans will have close tabs on the 2021 NHL Draft, which is scheduled for July 23-24 at a yet-to-be-determined location.

The draft is another chance for Vees faithful to see one of their own, who has skated at the South Okanagan Events Centre, reach a milestone in their hockey lives. It will be a special moment for not only the players and their families but the Penticton community as well.