The Penticton Vees will be without a key player from its 2022 championship team moving forward after being involved in a three-team trade on Nov. 30.
The undefeated Vees shipped forward Ethan Mann to the Trail Smoke Eaters in exchange for Quinn Disher but would then immediately flip Disher to the Alberta Junior Hockey League in favour of acquiring the playing rights to Nicholas Degraves from the Brooks Bandits.
“It is always difficult to tweak your lineup when things are going well but the opportunity to add a player such as Nic was something we couldn’t pass up,” said Fred Harbinson, the Vees’ president, general manager and head coach. “Nic is a versatile player that also knows what it takes to be a champion.”
Degraves, who’s committed to Penn State University, started the 2022-2023 campaign in Waterloo, Iowa playing in the United States Hockey League before spending time in his home province of Alberta with the Bandits.
The 19-year-old posted 47 points in 53 games with Brooks last season.
Vees representatives say Degraves will travel to Penticton later this week and are “hopeful” he could suit up for the team’s next game against the West Kelowna Warriors on Dec. 3 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Mann, meanwhile, leaves the Vees after spending parts of two seasons in the Peach City.
A member of the 2022 Fred Page Cup-winning squad, the forward amassed 41 points in 67 career regular-season games with the Vees. He previously committed to playing in his home state at the University of Wisconsin.
“I can’t thank Ethan enough for the effort he gave in his time in Penticton,” Harbinson said. “He played a big role in our championship run last season and our great start this year; he will always be a Vee.”
The Vees’ next game against the Warriors marks the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss game at the SOEC.
Fans are encouraged to bring warm winter outerwear along with new or gently used stuffed toys to throw onto the ice after the team’s first goal, in support of the local Salvation Army. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Penticton has won 23 games in a row, representing more than half of the all-time record set by the Vees in 2011-2012 (42 games).