Vipers bring in prospects

Vernon Vipers sign hometown product Jedd Soleway and Revelstoke's Riley Hunt, both forwards, for the coming B.C. Hockey League season.

The Vernon Vipers are once again tapping local talent to bolster their lineup for the coming B.C. Hockey League season.

Vernon’s Jedd Soleway, a 1994-born forward, and Riley Hunt, a ‘95 forward from Revelstoke, committed to the club Friday.

Hunt played Midget last season with Revelstoke, and represents the Vipers’ required 16-year-old player. He skated at the Hockey B.C. Under 17 provincial camp last July in Salmon Arm, and recently committed to play with the NCAA Division 1 Harvard Crimson.

Vipers’ head coach Jason Williamson said that while Hunt may be small in stature, he will give the Vipers a dynamic edge on offence.

“He’s been recognized by some higher-level programs and when you have a player like that, you’d be crazy not to have him in yours.

“He’s a smaller player so it’s going to take some adapting to get used to this levague, but we’ll get through that.”

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Soleway played with Okanagan Rockets in the B.C. Major Midget League, producing 16 goals, 17 assists and 97 penalty minutes in 40 games last season.

“He’s a local kid, big body and he’s put in a lot of work,” said Williamson, adding Soleway was a standout at the recent Sunvalley Showcase event at Wesbild Centre.

“He looked good and he had interest from other teams, so we had to move on him before someone else did.”

– Former Viper Trevor Fitzgerald is headed to Vancouver Island to play with the Nanaimo Clippers.

Clippers’ head coach/GM Mike Vandekamp acquired Fitzgerald, as well as defencemen Josh Bryan and Scott Milnthorp from the Prince George Spruce Kings in exchange for Jesse Ursic and triplets Leo, Myles and Gerry Fitzgerald.

Trevor, a Vernon native who was obtained by the Kings in a trade which saw defenceman Ryan Renz land with the Vipers, has met Vandekamp in the past.

“He recruited me in Grande Prairie two years ago. He was good friends with Bernie Pimm and Shawn Bourgeois and they recommended me. He’s a pretty renowned coach and it should be good.

“I know he likes size and grit and that’s my style.”

Fitzgerald wasn’t keen on the extended road trips the Spruce Kings face, especially now with the Quesnel Millionaires out of the league.

“Dave Dupas, their coach, called me and said he had no hard feelings. He was glad I was happy and he wished me well.”

Viper grad Kyle Murphy has found a new home in the NCAA.

After leaving the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to play junior with Vernon in his 20-year-old year last season, Murphy, a Fair Haven, N.J. native, committed this week to the Providence College Friars of the Hockey East Conference.

Murphy, a diligent two-way forward and one of Vernon’s better faceoff men last season, posted 18 goals and 25 assists for 43 points in 58 games last season. His academic record is equally impressive.