PHOTO: Scott R. Galvin/Galvin Photo
With 37 points in 58 games during the 2016/17 season, Ty Amonte helped the Vees to a BCHL Championship and a RBC Cup appearance. Three seasons laer, his younger brother Tristan looks to complete the same feat and bring a National Championship to the South Okanagan in the year 2020.
The younger Amonte plays a little different style of hockey than his brother but the two grew up with a strong relationship and continue that today, “He’s always been someone I looked up to and had the chance to play with him for two seasons at Thayer Academy,” Amonte mentioned, “I watched him play a lot growing up and he was a great influence and heard nothing but good things from him about Penticton.”
The hockey bloodlines run deep in the Amonte family as father Tony played 1,174 National Hockey League games split between five NHL franchises before being inducted in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010. For Tristan, having those kind of role models in his life has made a big impact on his hockey career and life in general.
“After every game, my Dad always has something to let me know about,” Amonte said, “He’s got one of the best eyes for anyone who has coached me or talked to me about hockey and he’ll give it to you straight. Whatever he tells me is probably right so I’ve got to take it and work with it but having him be there every step of the way has been invaluable.”
Thayer Academy is where Tristan spent four seasons playing High School hockey on the East Coast of the United States, including two with his brother, but the overall experience was one Amonte will never forget, “It was a very special team to play for with a lot of rich history down at Thayer,” Amonte stated, “We had a lot of good players come through the school and I had a few really good seasons there and it was a great spot to play.”
One of Amonte’s teammates, in fact linemates, in his final season at Thayer was incoming Vees forward Jay O’Brien. The 5’10”, 165-pound forward Amonte put up his best numbers over his time at Thayer in his senior season, registering 10 goals and 39 assists for 49 points in 30 games during the 2017/18 campaign before finishing his four-year tenure with 23 goals and 93 assists for 116 points in 123 games played.
“I know Jay very well having played on the same team and the same line as him and it’s always good to have someone you know coming in with you,” Amonte said, “I actually know a couple of guys on the team already including Steven Holtz who I played with last season in Youngstown so it’s always good to have that chemistry right away and fit in with the guys.”
The Norwell, Massachusetts native played his first season of junior hockey in the 2018/19 campaign for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League but is looking forward to making his way West for the upcoming season, “We had a good team and a good group of guys last year,” said Amonte, “Personally, I don’t think it was the best fit for me and I know Penticton is a spot where I’ve heard a lot of good things and I think with the way I play and the role I can fill, it will be a good fit.”
Growing up in a hockey rich state like Massachusetts made for an exciting childhood for Amonte, who said there was elite level talent everywhere you looked in the The Bay State, “It’s great growing up in Massachusetts, you always see guys you grow up idolizing around the rink,” Amonte mentioned, “I remember growing up, I played for the South Shore Kings and watching the ’97 team and they had players like (Noah) Hanifan and (Colin) White, just so many great players that you could go watch play for the same team, just at an older age group.”
When it comes to the style at which Amonte models his game around, one name comes to mind, “Matthew Tkachuk,” Amonte said, “I think he’s gritty player but also plays with a great amount of skill and play a finesse spot around the net but not be afraid to get into the dirty areas of the ice, which is the style of game I like to play.”
“I like to work,” Amonte continued, “Getting into the areas on the ice that you have to go to retrieve the puck and I like to use that to also create a bit of offence. It’s not always the highlight reel play that gets the job done and I’m not afraid to go into those spots on the ice and fight for the puck.”
Amonte 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.