Just when Mark Ferner figured he had his team semi chosen, the Vernon Vipers suddenly got a little older.
Ferner, the Vipers head coach/director of player personnel, now has more roster decisions since the B.C. Hockey League team has added a pair of 20-year-olds to their roster.
Goalie Anthony Yamnitsky, who starred for the regular-season BCHL champion Wenatchee Wild, and left winger Tanner Wishnowski, a three-year WHL veteran, are in the Snakes’ den.
Yamnitsky compiled a 31-7 record and 2.23 goals against average with the Wild. The Ohio product was 4-4 in the playoffs.
“I’m not quite sure what happened, but Wenatchee cut him and we’ll get him in some practices and probably get him in Saturday night (exhibition home game versus the Trail Smoke Eaters),” said Ferner. “Statistically, he was the third best goalie in the league last year. It’s pretty tough to turn that down. He was always good against us.”
Yamnitsky, whose WHL rights are held by the Everett Silvertips, is from North Royalton, a town of 30,000 in the Cayahoga County of Ohio. The 6-foot, 180-pounder previously played for the U.S. Under 17 team and club hockey with the Cleveland Lumberjacks and Barons.
Wishnowski, named Top Forward at the 2014 Telus Midget Nationals in Moose Jaw with the Okanagan Rockets, has produced 11 goals and 26 points in 64 Major Junior games with the Kelowna Rockets, Spokane Chiefs and Prince George Cougars. He hails from Oakbank, Man., a small farming community just east of Winnipeg.
“He’s a pain in the ass to play against,” said Ferner, who will likely use Wishnowski on left wing. “He can skate, he’s very physical, a pretty darn good player. He was going to go to school but had a change of heart. We’ve had him protected for a while but we weren’t the only team interested in him.”
Wishnowski was joined on the Okanagan Rockets by Tyson Jost (first-round draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche) and former Viper Liam Finlay (now playing with the University of Denver Pioneers). The 6-foot, 186-pounder rang up 32 points in 27 games with the Major Midget Rockets. Vernon has four goalies, 17 forwards and 10 defenceman left in camp.