The Vernon Vipers’ 2019-20 MVP and leading scorer could conceivably play against each other for a Canadian university hockey title.
MVP Dawson Holt and leading scorer Matt Kowalski will continue their hockey carers in Canada at the U-SPORTS level.
Holt, from Saskatoon, has inked a deal with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, while Vernon’s Kowalski has committed to the Queen’s Golden Gaels in Kingston, Ont.
Holt had quite an impact in his final year of junior with the B.C. Hockey League’s Vipers. He racked up 47 points in 41 games for Vernon. Included in those points were five goals on the powerplay and, most impressively, five shorthanded goals. He would add nine points in a five-game series win over the Wenatchee Wild in the first round of the playoffs before the post-season was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Huskies play in the U-SPORTS Canada West Conference. They have won one national championship but have made 19 final tournament appearances including their most recent one in 2017-18.
Kowalski paced the Vipers with a career-high 26 goals and 36 assists for 62 points. He was also the only Viper to suit up for all 58 games last season.
“I hope my brain still works after missing all this time off school,” joked Kowalski. “I’m extremely excited to commit to Queen’s. They have a fantastic program for not only hockey but academics as well.”
Kowalski is a veteran of the BCHL suiting up for 223 games played in five seasons. He started his career with the Nanaimo Clippers and was acquired by the Vipers in 2018-19 in a trade with the West Kelowna Warriors.
“It was a special time for me playing in front of friends and family for the last two years,” said Kowalski.
Queen’s plays in the U-SPORTS Collegiate Circuit. This past season they fell a tad short, losing to the St. Francis Xavier X-Men in the Canadian championship quarterfinals.
The pair become the third member of the Vipers since the BCHL season ended to commit to a Canadian university program. Defenceman Landon Fuller inked a deal with Langley’s Trinity Western Spartans.