’98-99 Vipers to enter shrine

The 1998-99 Vernon Vipers will enter the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame July 22 at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.

They looked down and out sitting at 0-3 in preliminary play at the 1999 Royal Bank Cup in Yorkton, Sask.

The Vernon Vipers, however, rallied to win their final round-robin game and then ambushed the Charlottetown Abbies 9-3 in the final for the franchise’s fourth national Junior A hockey title in 10 years.

The Vipers, jumpstarted by the KBG line of Tyler Knight, Ryan Bayda and Lanny Gare, will enter the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame at an induction dinner July 22 at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.

“That was a pretty special group,” said Viper owner Duncan Wray. “I remember were lost our first three games in the round-robin and everyone was asking, ‘What the heck was going on?’ We didn’t have the answers, but the team re-grouped and won their next three games.”

The Vipers won the league title at 52-6-2.

Troy Mick was the Vernon head coach and Joe Oliver his assistant. John Bradley, a defenceman out of Kamloops who was obtained in a trade late that B.C. Junior Hockey League season, was named Top Defenceman at the RBC.

Kelowna’s Lennie Rampone was the Viper captain, while alternates were Kori Davison, Kelly Sickavish and Joel Bresciani.

Bayda was the lone player from that team to play in the NHL after being drafted in the third round by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2000. Bayda got in 179 NHL games and is now playing in Germany.

Gare, Davison, Josh Reed and Spence Gilchrist were Vernon minor hockey products on the team. Goaltenders were Derek Gustafson and Chris King.

Rampone, Knight, Scott Krahn and Kenny Magowan were all from Kelowna.

Former Vernon Laker d-man Murray Baron will also enter the shrine. Baron, a Prince George native, spent 988 games with five NHL teams after being chosen in the eighth round of the 1986 draft by the Flyers,

Retired NHLer Brendan Morrison (Penticton Panthers of the BCJHL) will also be inducted in the players section.

Brian Barrett (Merritt Centennials) and John Grisdale (commissioner of the BCHL) will go in as builders along with longtime Canuck trainer Pat O’Neil.