Morning Star Staff
Vernon Vipers’ forward Mason Blacklock has committed to the Michigan Tech University Huskies.
Blacklock, 19, still has two years of eligibility in the B.C. Hockey League and will play this season for the Vipers. The NCAA Division I Huskies will decide whether he joins them for the following season, or the 2015-16 campaign.
“Mason has become an elite player in the BCHL and will progress into a very good college hockey player,” said Vipers’ head coach/GM Jason Williamson. “Since his arrival in Vernon, he has been one of our most consistent and dangerous players.”
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound White Rock product joined the Snakes at the trading deadline last January, in the Adam Tambellini blockbuster with the Surrey Eagles. The fourth-year veteran amassed 19 goals, 35 points and 14 penalty minutes in 53 games.
Added Williamson: “Mason has worked very hard to become the player he is. He is very deserving of this and I look forward to watching him grow as a player this year. He will definitely be one of our go-to-guys and someone we will lean on going into the 2014 Royal Bank Cup.”
Huskies’ assistant coach Bill Muckalt, a former NHLer and BCHL grad, scouted the Vipers’ training camp two weeks ago.
The Huskies are based in Houghton, population 7,700. It has been listed as one of the 100 Best Small Towns in America.
Meanwhile, the Vipers have dealt defenceman Bryce Eviston to the Coquitlam Express in exchange for future considerations.
Eviston, a 19-year-old out of Vancouver, earned one goal, four points and 14 penalty minutes in 50 games last year.
The Express turned around and dealt Eviston to the defending RBC champion Brooks Bandits as part of a package for goalie Gordy Defiel, who went to the RBC with the Minnesota Wilderness last year and was a finalist for CJHL goalie for the year.
The Vipers are one player over the 22-man limit as they prepare to start the season at the Bauer Showcase Saturday morning in Chilliwack against Surrey. Vernon faces the host Chiefs Sunday night.
The Vipers’ home opener is Saturday, Sept. 14 against the Salmon Arm SilverBacks.