The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce rookie defenseman Griffin Mendel (99) has committed to Denver University for the 2017-18 season. Mendel is the 14th player on the Vees roster to have committed to an NCAA Division l program, and joins teammate Ben Brar as future Denver Pioneers.
Mendel, 16, is the youngest defenseman on the Vees’ roster and has a pair of goals and 12 points in 42 games; he’s the third highest-scoring defenseman on the team. The Kelowna, BC, product is not only a key shutdown defenseman for the Vees but a mainstay on the team’s penalty-kill, which is third-best in the BCHL.
Earlier this season Mendel represented Canada on the International stage, winning a gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek, BC; Canada beat the Russians 3-2 in the Gold Medal game.
Prior to joining the Vees, Mendel won a Canadian Sports School Hockey League (CSSHL) championship last year, with the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s Prep White team. The 6’2 rear-guard had four goals and 14 points in 17 games with OHA a year ago, and was a 2014 first round Western Hockey League draft pick of the Kootenay Ice.
The Denver Pioneers play in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) and are second all-time with seven NCAA National Championships; their last coming in 2005. Prior to joining the NCHC, Denver played in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), where they won nine WCHA regular season championships and 14 WCHA playoff championships. Denver is coached by second year bench boss Jim Montgomery and Vees alum Joey Laleggia graduated from the program last season.