Vernon Vipers defenseman Trey Taylor was a member of Team West at the CJHL Top Prospects Game on Tuesday, Jan. 14 in Hamilton, Ont. Team west prevailed over their eastern counterparts by a score of 6-4. (Photo: Vernon Vipers)

Vernon Vipers’ Trey Taylor wins with Team West at CJHL Top Prospects game

17-year-old defenseman also makes NHL Central Scouting list of top prospects

2020 has already been a revelation for Vernon Vipers defenseman Trey Taylor.

The 17-year-old played in the Canadian Junior Hockey League Top Prospects game on Tuesday, Jan. 14, taking part in a 6-4 win for Team West over their eastern counterparts. Two days later his name appeared on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings for the 2020 NHL entry draft.

To cap that off, on Saturday he committed to Clarkson University, A Division I school in the U.S. and the seventh ranked team in the nation.

It’s been an exciting two weeks for a player who has flown under the scouting radar until this point, and he has plenty more milestones in his sightlines.

“Getting invited to the prospects game was a huge honour,” said Taylor following the game in Hamilton, Ont. that saw the top 20 prospects in western Canada take on the top 20 from the east.

“The talent there was just remarkable, (it was) all NHL draft prospects pretty much. It was crazy to see the way some guys can shoot the puck, the way some guys can skate, and everyone’s hockey IQ was amazing out there … guys were always in the right spots and they knew where to find you.”

Taylor was one of eight BCHL players to make the prospects game. Another of those players was Danny Weight of the Penticton Vees, who is scoring at a point-per-game pace in the BCHL this season and had a goal and an assist in Hamilton.

When asked who the best player at the prospects game was, Taylor mentioned his divisional rival.

“He’s just super intelligent with the puck and he’s got silky mitts,” he said of Weight. “He found me on the back door one time, the puck just sort of bobbled on my stick. But most guys don’t really see that play so he was a really good guy to play with.”

READ MORE: Vernon Vipers fall to division-leading Vees in overtime

WATCH: Vernon Vipers forward Matt Kowalski pulls off lacrosse-style goal

The two didn’t have to wait long before meeting again. The Vipers played the Vees on the night following the prospects game, and both players spent the day travelling to Vernon to join their teams after a few hours sleep.

“I just tried to keep it simple and not try to do too much out there,” Taylor said. “I think we were both pretty tired. He texted me after the game to tell me how gassed he was. I was pretty gassed too when the overtime came.”

The Vipers put in a solid effort against those division-leading Vees but lost 2-1 in overtime.

While honoured to be recognized as one of the top prospects in the CJHL, Taylor knows it’s just one step, and there are many more to go.

“It’s a special feeling, but it’s just the beginning of the work. I’ve got to keep working hard if I want my dream to come true in June.”

June is a special month in the world of hockey, particularly for junior players. It’s the month of the NHL draft, and having been ranked 189th overall on the Central Scouting list (fourth highest out of five BCHL players to make the cut), Taylor is hoping to have a big second half to the season and to ultimately hear his name called on draft day.

“It’s a really big goal of mine,” he said, adding that another goal is to get bigger and stronger to improve his chances of catching the attention of an NHL team.

But with the Vipers heading into the final stretch of their season, those goals remain secondary.

“My first goal this year is to win in the playoffs with my team,” said Taylor. “I try to put my team before myself, and I think we have a team capable of winning in the playoffs.”

The Vipers are on a mini-slump after the OT loss to Penticton and a 5-1 loss to the Trail Smoke Eaters Friday night. But Taylor says as long as the team stays true to its identity, they’ll be making noise come playoff time.

“I think we can out-work any team, and when we do that and play a hard game we thrive.”

READ MORE: Announcer hopes to breathe life into Plains Cree language with hockey broadcasts

READ MORE: Scholarship receives funds from KIJHL


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

BCHLhockeyVernon Vipers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A fundraiser for the Falkland Community Church is underway. (Photo submitted)
COVID-19 leaves Falkland Church in a lurch

Annual event/major fundraiser cancelled for first time in 34 years

Advance polling saw nearly 10,000 votes cast in Vernon-Monashee. Pictured: Schubert Centre. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
Almost 10,000 turn out to Vernon-Monashee advance polls

19 per cent of 52,479 registered voters have made their mark in B.C. election

Members of the Armstrong Lions Club have planted a red Canadian maple tree at Lions Park on Hunter Avenue as a show of tribute to their sister club in Banbridge, Northern Ireland. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Armstong Lions Club salutes sister club with tree

Red Canadian Maple planted in Lions Park pays tribute to Lions Club in Banbridge, Northern Ireland

The Community Foundation has teamed with the Canadian Mental Health Association and horse-assisted therapists to bring horse therapy to frontline worker battling the COVID-19 pandemic free of charge. (Contributed)
Okanagan organization says ‘thanks’ to COVID-19 frontline workers with complimentary horse therapy

Community Foundation teams with CMHA and equine therapists to offer unique mental health supports

COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).
Interior Health reports 12 additional COVID-19 cases

The total number of cases in the region is now at 644

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. Government photo)
Kelowna Francophone school COVID-19 outbreak climbs to 5, mixture of students and staff

Health officer says situation evolving, spoke to possible closure, changes to provincial guidelines

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels Corb Lund’s Vernon, Penticton, Trail, Cranbrook concerts

The Contenders, Colin James and Lund postponed until 2021

RCMP detachments across B.C. are now flying Pride flags. (Submitted photo)
Man who spent 4 days injured on floor rescued by Kamloops Mountie

The man is recovering in hospital after being rescued by a police officer conducting a well-being check

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

Five people with alleged ties to the Red Scorpion Gang are facing numerous charges. (Kelowna RCMP)
5 men linked to Red Scorpion gang charged with gun, drug offences in Kelowna

Police seized a machine gun as well as 5.5 kilograms of fentanyl and carfentanil

Most Read