In a season no player is likely to prefer over past ‘normal’ seasons — one without a Fred Page Cup — the Vernon Vipers made it work in 2021.
And while the second-place Salmon Arm Silverbacks nearly swept the individual’s awards (if not for yet another ‘save’ from goaltender James Porter Jr.) it was the Vipers as a team who took home the one-shot title of Vernon Pod Champions with a 13-5-2 record.
The BC Hockey League has been doling out the award winners in each of the five pods in the pandemic-shortened season, saving the Vernon pod announcements for last (May 21).
Twenty-year-old Silverbacks sensation, Simon Tassy, was named the MVP of the pod and also took home the award for top scorer. The six-foot-one Montreal native notched a league-leading 18 goals and added nine assists in the mere 20 games played this season.
The Silverbacks also boast having the best rookie of the pod. That award went to Noah Serdachny, who registered 24 points in 20 games to start his BCHL career. On the ‘Backs blueline, Hunter Sansbury was named best defenceman of the pod.
Vipers goaltender James Porter Jr. made 196 stops against Salmon Arm on the year, before preventing the team from sweeping the individual categories Friday. He was named the pod’s best goalie with his 9-3 record and .918 save percentage.
In other player news this week, the Vipers announced defenceman Nick Kent has committed to Mercyhurst University in the NCAA for the 2022-23 season, meaning he’ll be back for a third campaign with the Vipers next season.
“It’s very rewarding to see all Nick’s hard work and dedication pay off after such a hard year with the pandemic,” said Vipers GM and head coach Jason McKee in a Wednesday announcement. “He’s earned this opportunity and our staff looks forward to continuing to work with Nick next season before he makes the jump to college hockey.”