Sports

New Vernon Viper Chanter puts scary seizure behind him

Defenceman Dylan Chanter (middle) celebrates with teammates Riley Guenther (left) and captain Ryan Renz after burying a beauty one-timer during a one-touch scrimmage at Vernon Vipers’ practice Wednesday at Kal Tire Place. Vernon hosts Penticton tonight (7 p.m.). - Graeme Corbett/Morning Star
Defenceman Dylan Chanter (middle) celebrates with teammates Riley Guenther (left) and captain Ryan Renz after burying a beauty one-timer during a one-touch scrimmage at Vernon Vipers’ practice Wednesday at Kal Tire Place. Vernon hosts Penticton tonight (7 p.m.).
— image credit: Graeme Corbett/Morning Star

Armstrong’s Dylan Chanter watched the video a couple of times and then filed the startling imagery in the recesses of his memory bank.

The footage was of him suffering a two-minute seizure on the ice after he was hurt in an Oct. 12 U.S Hockey League fight with Corey Petrash of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.

Chanter, then of the Dubuque Fighting Saints, lost his balance and fell backward, hitting his helmetless head on the ice and breaking his collar bone, the convulsions following shortly after.

“It wasn’t as hard for me as it was for my parents and my family,” said Chanter, an 18-year-old defenceman who has since made a full recovery.

“After it happened, I just tried to have a positive spirit about it. It was a freak accident, something that doesn’t happen every day. I was lucky to come out of it OK and I was back in about four weeks.”

The incident made North American headlines and renewed the debate on whether fighting should be a part of hockey. Chanter, who has a handful of BCHL scraps on his resume, believes it still has a place in the sport.

In a Nov. 7 interview with USA Today, Chanter joked that the only lasting effect from the injury was on his Twitter account, which rose by more than 400 followers.

“It was pretty weird, but now that I’m back on the ice it doesn’t bother me too much,” he said.

However, after his return to the Saints’ lineup, Chanter sensed things weren’t working out in Dubuque, where he registered one goal and one assist, along with 21 penalty minutes, in 14 games.

“I want to go to college next year and be ready, and I didn’t feel I was going to be ready if I stayed for the rest of the season there,” said Chanter, who is committed to the NCAA Division 1 New Hampshire Wildcats.

Chanter secured his release from the Saints, and that’s when Vernon Vipers’ head coach/GM Jason Williamson came calling. In order to sign Chanter, Williamson first had to secure his BCHL rights by shipping 20-year-old d-man Jason Bird and future considerations to the Merritt Centennials.

“Dylan’s a big boy, he skates well and he brings all aspects to our game,” said Williamson, who hopes to have Chanter in the lineup tonight as Vernon hosts the Interior-leading Penticton Vees at Kal Tire Place.

The Snakes entertain the Coquitlam Express (18-16-1-3) Saturday night.

“He’s a big, nasty defenceman and he’s one more right shot that we were looking for. He’s probably going to be more of a PK and shutdown guy, but he did score three powerplay goals for Merritt last year so he has that ability.”

Before Dubuque, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Chanter played two full seasons with Merritt, where he posted 11 goals and 33 points. He is all too familiar with the high-octane Vees.

“I had a lot of good matchups with them through my two years in Merritt,” he said. “There’s nothing but excitement for my part. I can’t wait to get out there.”

Chanter attended a prospects camp in Vernon at age 14. He said it is an honour to finally pull on a Viper jersey.

“It’s my hometown team, essentially. It’s been a lifelong thing to play here, and growing up watching them I never thought I would get the chance to. Now I’ve got that chance and I’m going to make the most of it.”

Both the Vees (25-9-2-3) and Vipers (21-11-3-4) have already been active ahead of today’s 8 p.m. BCHL carding deadline (6 p.m. for trades outside the BCHL). In addition to Chanter, Williamson also plucked forward Brett Mulcahy from the Surrey Eagles in exchange for 19-year-old forward Chase McMurphy.

While the deadline for player trades is today, Williamson has until the Feb. 10 roster freeze to use up his one remaining card. With one spot available on his 22-man roster, he could add a free agent without having to ship another player out.

Ideally, Williamson would like to add a veteran forward, possibly from the WHL.

Penticton, meanwhile, added some firepower last weekend with the addition of Eagles’ forward Nicolas Pierog in exchange for forward Anthony Conti and future considerations. Last Friday, Vees’ head coach/GM Fred Harbinson signed WHL free agent Erik Benoit.

“Two teams that are big rivals and have made some huge acquisitions to go head-to-head,” said Williamson. “Penticton’s had a lot of success of late so we’ve got to make sure we’re up for it.”

On Pierog, Harbinson said: “Nic played a big part in stopping us short of repeating as Fred Page Cup champions last spring. The addition of Nic not only adds scoring to our lineup but he also gives us much needed size at the centre position.”

Other BCHL pre-deadline transactions involving Interior teams included: the Salmon Arm SilverBacks sending Mark Whiteley (93) (D) to Coquitlam in exchange for future considerations; Trail Smoke Eaters sending Travis Stephens (93) (F) to the Victoria Grizzlies for future considerations; Smoke Eaters acquired Zane Shartz (94) (F) from the West Kelowna Warriors for Braden Pears (93) (D) and future considerations; West Kelowna Warriors acquired Nathan Craft (94) (F) from the Langley Rivermen for future considerations; Penticton sent Brendan Lamont (94) (F) to Coquitlam for Michael Rebry (93) (F).

Meanwhile, the SilverBacks plucked the KIJHL scoring leader Nick Josephs from Kelowna Chiefs Thursday. Josephs, who attended the Vipers’ main camp, recorded 37-38-75 in just 33 games with the Chiefs.

SNAKE BITES: Ex-Viper Adam Tambellini, who was traded to Surrey at last year’s deadline, has decommitted from the University of North Dakota just 16 games into his freshman year. The 18-year-old forward scored in his WHL debut Wednesday night at the Calgary Hitmen rallied to upend the host Saskatoon Blades 6-4. Calgary acquired Tambellini’s WHL rights earlier that day from the Portland Winterhawks for a first-round pick in the Bantam draft. Tambellini, a New York Rangers draft, had 2-2-4 with UND.

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