The Penticton Vees have added a trio of recruits for the 2016-17 season.
The Vees welcomed goaltender Nolan Hildebrand (98), defenceman Joe Leahy (97) and forward Jared Nash (98).
“We look to recruit not only great players but great people and all three are very well-rounded young men, who not only excel on the ice but away from the rink as well. These three fit the Penticton Vees mold and we’re excited to add them to our program,” said Vees president, general manager and head coach Fred Harbinson in a team statement.
Hildebrand, 18, spent the past two seasons at the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA). This past year the six-foot-two net minder fashioned together a 16-6-1 record in 24 games with OHA Prep White in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL). Hildebrand was second in the CSSHL Prep Division in wins (16) and save percentage (.939) and fourth in goals-against average (2.04); he also had three shutouts. In all competitions last year, the Summerland product sported a 22-9-4 record in 37 games and owned a .940 save percentage. Fans may be familiar with the athletic goaltender as he was an affiliate player this past season.
Leahy and Nash both played for the Stratford Cullitons in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) last season. The Vees have strong ties to the program as Mitch Brooks and former captain Brad McClure came from there.
Leahy, 19, had an excellent season on the blue-line for the Cullitons, as he was named the Midwest Conference Defenceman of the Year and First Team All-Star, after racking up 19 goals and 48 points in 44 regular season games. The Waterloo, Ont., native was fifth in team scoring and fourth among defencemen in the GOJHL. The six-foot-four, 204 pound rear-guard averaged a point per-game in the playoffs, scoring six goals and 21 points, helping lead the Cullitons to a Cherry Cup title as Midwest Conference champions. In 82 career regular season games in the GOJHL, Leahy amassed 28 goals and 70 points and another 25 points in 36 career playoff games.
Nash, 18, finished second in team scoring with 19 goals and 62 points in 45 regular season games, and played in the GOJHL Top Prospects Game and served as an assistant captain. His production didn’t fall off in the post-season, as the hometown kid put up six goals and 26 points in 21 playoff games; he had 10 points in five games during the Cherry Cup Final. In 90 career regular season games, the Stratford product amassed 28 goals and 58 assists for 86 points. In 38 career playoff games, Nash had another 10 goals and 35 points.
All three players will be in Penticton in August for the Vees’ main training camp.