PHOTO: Garrett James
Adding more experience to the Vees for the upcoming 2019/20 season is forward Lach Hadley, who joined the team from the Cowichan Valley Capitals in a late July trade. Hadley split the season between the Victoria Grizzlies and Capitals, amassing three goals and six assists for nine points in 50 games played during the campaign to go along with 28 penalty minutes.
“I didn’t have as much success as I might have hoped coming from Victoria to Cowichan,” mentioned Hadley, “In saying that, I’m looking forward to joining the Vees and being apart of the organization for the 2019/20 season.”
Moving away from home to play for the first time was a bit of a change of pace for the 18-year-old, having played all of his minor and junior hockey in Victoria, “Being traded from Victoria, it was definitely a bit of a change,” said Hadley, “I live only a couple of minutes from The Q Centre so it was definitely a scenery change from Victoria to Duncan.”
“It was the first time in my life that I have had billets before,” continued Hadley, “I liked it, it was a different experience, getting away from home at a young age but something that all junior hockey players have to do and I’m looking forward to meeting my new billets in Penticton.”
Hadley played a season with the South Island Royals of the BC Major Midget League, registering 17 goals and 14 assists for 31 points in 40 games played before completing his minor hockey career with the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s Shawnigan Lake prep squad, scoring 9 goals and adding 10 assists for 19 points in 26 games. Having the experience to play his minor hockey in his own backyard was something he relished in.
“I enjoyed playing for both Shawnigan Lake and the Major Midget team,” commented Hadley, “I was fortunate enough to go to the Mac’s Tournament in Calgary, Alberta my first season of midget, which was a really cool experience. When I was at Shawnigan Lake, I actually got a chance to play with Derek Krall, so it’s a bit of a small world in that regard.”
Moving on to play Junior ‘A’ hockey after that with the Grizzlies was a chance to play in front of family and friends on a nightly basis, “It was a very special season and I had tons of support from family and friends throughout the year,” commented Hadley, “We took a billet in as well in my first season and it made for a really fun experience.”
When a trade to the Capitals arose over a year later, the change of scenery also gave Hadley an opportunity to experience life away from home, “It definitely helped me gain some independence and do some things on my own,” said Hadley, “Cooking a couple of meals and doing some laundry will help me a lot going to Penticton.”
Being in the league for 99 games, along with 13 playoff games, there’s one big moment that resonates in Hadley’s mind of his best in the BCHL, “When I was in Victoria for my first year, we went down 3-0 in our first round series against Alberni Valley,” said the Vees forward, “We actually came back to win 4-3 in the series and move onto the second round and that was really cool to be apart of with that team.”
There’s a lot of excitement brewing as the season comes nearer for Hadley to make his way to the South Okanagan, “I’m really looking forward to getting things going there,” Hadley explained, “I don’t know the town too well but I’ve heard it’s really nice with two great lakes and nice scenery as well as getting good crowd support with 3,000+ fans a night so that will be exciting to play in front of.”
The offseason remains the same as it has for Hadley throughout the years with getting in plenty of workouts and skates but also finding time for the mind to get off of hockey, “I’ve been doing a lot of training and skating but some of the hobbies I like to do is fish,” Hadley said, “We’ve got a lot of that in Victoria and being on the lake and getting on the boat, basically being around the water as much as possible.”
When it comes to a playing style, Hadley likes to think of himself as an all-around kind of player, “I think I’m definitely a good 200-foot player,” Hadley said, “I can kill lots of penalties and block shots, I’m not afraid to take one for the team. I do think I have more of an offensive side of the game that I haven’t quite shown yet at the BCHL level but I’m hoping that will come in Penticton.”
Hadley 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.