Vernon Vipers regrouping for next season

Vernon Vipers name Brett Corkey captain, announce two new recruits and welcome back Marc Hetnik.

After a disappointing B.C. Hockey League season, the Vernon Vipers are putting the pieces in place to avoid a repeat outcome.

With captain Patrick McGillis graduating from the program, head coach Jason Williamson is handing the ‘C’ to third-year defenceman Brett Corkey.

The smooth-skating Calgary native wore a letter last season with Vernon, and the Team Canada West squad that claimed gold at the World Junior A Challenge in Langley last November.

Williamson also announced commitments from a pair of Saskatchewan Midget AAA League prospects – defenceman Michael Statchuk of the Prince Albert Mintos, and centreman Landon Robin of Beardy’s Blackhawks.

Statchuk, who was named Top Defenceman at the Macs Midget AAA Tournament in Calgary,  is the younger brother of former Salmon Arm SilverBack forward Travis Statchuk, now with the NCAA Division 1 Ohio State Buckeyes.

Robin was regarded as one of the best two-way forwards in the Saskatchewan league last season.

Both players captained their respective teams.

The Viper blueline received another boost this week when Marc Hetnik said he will return for a second season with the Snakes.

Originally thought to be leaving to join the NCAA Boston University Terriers, Hetnik felt another year of seasoning in the BCHL would be better for his development.

In other recruiting news, Williamson has begun the process of finding a replacement for assistant coach Chris Shaw, who parted ways with the organization last week.

Williamson, who enters his second season as head coach this fall, has already whittled down the field of candidates and expects to have a decision within the next few weeks.