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Vees add veteran experience with Benoit
Looking for experience for its forward group, the Penticton Vees signed 20-year-old Erik Benoit today. The Calgary native joins the Vees after splitting this season with the Seattle Thunderbirds and Moose Jaw Warriors. He scored six goals to go with 13 points in 31 games.
“Adding a veteran like Erik at the center position will pay strong dividends as we look forward to a playoff push," said Vees general manager Fred Harbinson in a team statement. "Not only is Erik a solid two-way player, but he also has the reputation of being a leader inside the dressing room.”
Benoit has spent parts of four seasons and over 200 regular season games in the Western Hockey League (WHL). He began his career with the Kootenay Ice in 2010-2011 and won the Ed Chynoweth Cup that spring. He spent part of three seasons with the Ice before being moved to the 2013 Memorial Cup hosts, the Saskatoon Blades midway through last year. Between Kootenay and Saskatoon in 2012-2013, Benoit collected 12 goals and 34 points in 64 regular season games. In two Memorial Cup tournaments, he picked up three assists in nine games. In four WHL seasons, Benoit amassed 36 goals and 88 points in 213 regular season games. He also played in 23 career playoff games, picking up a goal and three points.
The Vees traded Brendan Lamont, who they acquired from the Trail Smoke Eaters in mid-November, to the Coquitlam Express to make room for Benoit. In dealing Lamont, the Vees re-acquired Mike Rebry who is playing in his freshman season at Western Michigan University.
Benoit makes his Vees debut tonight in Merritt and will wear 23.