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2019/20 Spotlight: Jack Barnes

PHOTO: Jack Murray

Another Vee who is back for his third season with the club is forward Jack Barnes, who carries 108 games of BCHL experience under his belt. The Penticton, BC native was one of three Vees, alongside Eric Linell and James Miller, to play in all 58 regular season games during the 2018/19 campaign and felt the year was a good one for his development, “It was a good year for development I thought,” noted Barnes, “Obviously as a team aspect, it didn’t turn out the way we had wanted to but I thought it was a good step forward in my game.”

The way the season ended for the Vees left a bitter taste in a lot of players mouths, especially for the nine players who are returning to compete for their ultimate goal of a championship in the 2019/20 season, “It’s something we think about for sure,” Barnes said, “There’s always that in the back of our minds where we lost out early and that’s something that this team isn’t used to with the rich history of winning games. We want to keep that tradition alive this season and move forward with that goal in mind.”

Penticton has become a home for Barnes, who grew up in Dallas, Texas while his father Stu was playing for the Dallas Stars and in the middle of his 16-year National Hockey League career. Penticton and Dallas have their differences but for Barnes, the transition was a good one, “Growing up in Dallas, I had some really good coaching and my Dad helped out as well,” Barnes explained, “Coming up to the Okanagan Hockey Academy was a big adjustment but it was great for me as they instill a hard working mentality so I thought it was an easy transition.”

“I’m a big city guy so I still miss Dallas quite a bit,” Barnes continued, “Coming up here, it was good though and definitely a change of pace for me. Penticton is such a great city to live in and the atmosphere that is here is so unbelievable with the weather and the lakes but it was a big shock coming up here.”

Making the move after playing two seasons at OHA to compete with the Vees at the beginning of the 2017/18 season was made easier with the two teams playing side by side at the South Okanagan Events Centre, “Being familiar with the rink helped and I lived with Taylor Ward for two seasons at OHA,” Barnes said, “He gave me a little but of a heads up on what to expect and I played with him in my first year with the Vees and made the transition easier.”

Having a father who has experienced just about everything you can in the game of hockey, including playing 1146 career NHL games makes for a valuable resource for any questions Jack may have, “Not very many people get that so I’m very, very fortunate to have him here,” Barnes noted, “I’m very appreciative of my Dad and I can pick his brain whenever I want. He watches all the games so he will let me know if I am playing well or not and he’s a big part of getting me to where I am today.”

In the offseason, training and skating to prepare for another season is what is at the top of the priority list, “Once the season came to an end, I went down to Dallas for a couple of months while my Dad was still working down there,” Barnes said, “I did a bit of yoga and a lot of stretching and cardio to stay loose and work out some of the tweeks of a long season.”

“When I came back to Penticton, I got right back into workouts and skating three times a week with some other Junior players as well as college and pro guys,” Barnes continued, “Off the ice, I love golfing so I try to get out as much as possible and we also try to get out and boat as much as possible and hanging out with buddies in my spare time away from the rink.”

With Penticton being a full-time summer spot for Barnes, seeing teammates trickle in as the season draws nearer makes the excitement build, “I’ve been missing a lot of the guys and it’s great when you can come to the rink and see 20 other faces,” explained Barnes, “They are your brothers and they have your back all the time so I’m really excited to see all the new faces and get back into games because that’s the best part of the season is being able to be in front of the crowd and perform well.”

Barnes and the rest of the Vees are set to hit the ice in August 19th 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.