The Vernon Vipers have named its leadership group for the upcoming season.
The next captain of the franchise will be JoJo Tanaka-Campbell. The Mill Bay, B.C. product will be donning the ‘C’ for his final year of junior hockey.
“It’s definitely an honour to wear a letter and something I’ve worked towards,” says Tanaka-Campbell. “I’m really excited for what is to come with this group. I think it’s an extremely special group of guys this year, so I’m looking forward to what we can achieve.”
The Vipers visit Salmon Arm Friday and host the Silverbacks in their home opener Saturday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m., at Kal Tire Place. Vernon lost its regular-season opener, 4-2, to the Vees in Penticton.
Tanaka-Campbell is second on the team in games played over the last three seasons, second only to one of the three assistant captains, Nick Kent. Kent has spent three seasons in the BCHL and has amassed more than 100 games played including a league championship with Wenatchee.
“It’s a big honour at this point in my career,” says Kent. “I have watched other veterans in this role over the last two years and I’m looking forward to stepping in and mentoring younger players.”
The Ladera Ranch, Calif. product recently committed to Mercyhurst for next season.
The other assistant captains are Ryan Shostak and Kjell Kjemhus.
The group is made up of four 20-year-olds who have a ton of experience and learned from some great leaders before them.
“As a staff, we feel very confident in the young men that will make up our leadership group,” says Vernon head coach and general manager Jason McKee. “Each player brings something different to the team that is well respected by their teammates and the organization.”
• The Vipers have acquired a forward with plenty of Western Hockey League experience.
Matt Culling has signed with the team for the upcoming season.
“Matt is an established veteran presence that will fit in with our style of play very well,” says McKee.
The Regina product has spent the last three seasons in the WHL between the Swift Current Broncos and Prince Albert Raiders. He suited up for 153 games during that time. Last season he was a part of the leadership group of the Raiders.