Moving across the country to play Junior hockey is never an easy task, but for Vees defender Evan McIntyre, the move was seamless. The Oakville, Ontario native came to Penticton in January at the CJHL Trade Deadline and has enjoyed his time in the South Okanagan so much, he has spent the summer here to train and workout in preparation for his first full season in the BC Hockey League.
“I decided to head home for a month and rest as well as take care of my body,” stated McIntyre, “After that, I made the choice to come back to Penticton and workout and train for the season. I thought I could take advantage of the facilities here and all the great people around the organization and Penticton is one of a kind and the program here has made me feel right at home.”
It has been a big effort in training for the new season and a joint one as well. McIntyre has been joined by fellow teammate Jackson Niedermayer to continuously prepare for the season ahead while being instructed by Vees assistant coach Matt Fraser.
“He’s been working me hard and getting me in shape for next season,” McIntyre said about Fraser, “I know I’m going to have a big year and he’s been helping me a lot as well as Jackson Niedermayer, we’ve been pushing each other all summer and we know heading into the season we will be ready to go.”
McIntyre’s journey has taken him through the renowned St. Andrew’s College located in Aurora, Ontario, where he played in 139 games, amassing 24 goals and 80 assists for 104 points in that span and made his way to the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the United States Hockey League, getting into 23 games and picking up 2 goals and 7 points before transitioning to the Vees for the back half of the 2018/19 season.
The transition has been one that McIntyre has enjoyed going through and found a spot he can relish in, “It’s been awesome so far, the community has welcomed me with open arms and I fit right in with how the play style,” mentioned McIntyre, “Even though it was only a couple of months, my time here in Penticton was amazing.”
One of the biggest differences to get adjusted to transitioning from the USHL to the BCHL is the pace and McIntyre was quick to realize that, “This league is much faster,” commented the Vees rearguard, “There’s more puck movement and puck possession and you’ve got to be quick in making plays. It’s a style that we like to play and bring an uptempo pace and the boys have made that transition really easy for me.”
Heading into the season as one of a possible nine returning players, McIntyre knows this Vees team will have a lot of different contributors and leadership to help them to their ultimate goal, “We’re going to have a pretty experienced team and a strong leadership group with those guys from last season,” mentioned McIntyre, “We have a lot of veteran players and guys who lead by example on the ice and I’m hoping to fit into that role.”
McIntyre and the rest of the Vees are set to hit the ice in late August ahead of the 2019/20 season with the first game of the exhibition schedule taking place on Wednesday, August 21st in West Kelowna against the Warriors. Season tickets are on sale now and are available by contacting Laura Carleton at (250) 493-8337 ext. 4.