Vernon Viper captain Dave Robinson hoists the BCHL championship Fred Page Cup.

Vernon Viper captain Dave Robinson hoists the BCHL championship Fred Page Cup.

Robinson ready for duty in Calgary Dinos den

Outgoing Vernon Viper captain David Robinson will join the University of Calgary Dinos for the coming men's hockey season.

David Robinson has had six weeks to digest the Vernon Vipers’ loss to the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the gold-medal game of the RBC national junior A hockey championships in Camrose.

It still gnaws at him, but in time he knows he will be able to look back at it with pride.

“It still stings a little that we lost in the last game, but after a little time I think we will realize what we accomplished,” said Robinson, a check-till-ya-drop winger who captained the youthful Viper squad.

“It was a special year with so many new guys in the lineup. Nobody expected us to get as far as we did.”

But rather than dwell on the past, Robinson is more concerned with looking forward as he prepares himself to join the University of Calgary Dinos for the coming season.

After fielding offers from the UBC Thunderbirds, U of A Golden Bears and several other schools out east, Robinson said he liked the program coaches Mark Howell (former Westside Warriors bench boss) and Cory Cross (16-year pro) have put together in Calgary.

Robinson, who played two-and-a-half seasons with the WHL Chilliwack Bruins before joining the Vipers in 2009-10, will also be reunited with former Bruin linemate Colton Grant. His first cousin, Jordon Harrison, plays just down the road with the Mount Royal Cougars.

“I’ve played against a lot of the other guys in the Dub,” he added. “I’m just going to come in and do what I do and be that hard-nosed player, and hopefully move my way up the depth chart.”

Robinson showed plenty of offensive upside to go along with his feisty on-ice demeanour last season, earning the team’s MVP award after leading Vernon in goals (32) and penalty minutes (95).

Vipers’ head coach Mark Ferner says Robinson’s statistics only tell half the story.

“Calgary’s getting a helluva player,” said Ferner. “It’s not only what you get on the ice, but what you get off the ice with his leadership and the culture that he creates. He can play any way you want and his teammates gravitate towards him. He’s a great captain.”

Robinson will spend this off-season much the same way he did the last one – building irrigation lines on Coldstream Ranch with James Dobrowolski (Prince George Cougars). Right after work, he and Dobber head straight to Excel Fitness for training sessions with Rhonda Catt.

Said Cross, a Saskatchewan product who spends the offseason in Kelowna: “I saw him play a few times against Powell River (Fred Page Cup finals). He brings a lot of hard work, and what I really like, is all the little things he does well. He gets the puck out, he takes a hit and he goes to the net. I think he will be a really good fit for our team.”