DU Recruit Aims For Canadian Championship

From: Vancouver Sun
by Cam Tucker

University of Denver 2013 recruit Cody DePourcq wasn’t alive in 1986, the last time a Penticton Junior ‘A’ hockey team won the national championship.

It was well before his time, but, having just turned 17 years old in March, he’s well aware of that magical year, when the Penticton Knights earned a 7-4 victory over the Cole Harbour Colts to win what was then the Centennial Cup. 

His father, John, knows about it well. He was a member of that championship team, which just so happened to be the last from Penticton to ever make it that far — until now.  John DePourcq went on to play college hockey in the late Eighties at Ferris State.

Three of John's teammates on the Penticton team went on to play at the University of Denver; Dave Shields, Rod Summers and Marc Rousseau.

These realities not lost on DePourcq, the son, as he and the 2012 Penticton Vees wait on the eve of their Royal Bank Cup tournament opener against the Northern Ontario Junior A Hockey League’s Soo Thunderbirds Saturday (2 p.m. PDT) at the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt, Sask.

“It’s pretty special just to be able to have this opportunity, to have my dad, who has won it before,” said DePourcq, the Vees forward who two years ago was playing for the Penticton Minor Hockey Association Bantam AAA team and is now committed to the NCAA’s University of Denver Pioneers, beginning in 2013-14. 

“My dad knows what it takes and he’s been helping me along. It’s something I’m definitely going to remember for a long time. He’s just pretty much said it’s going to be a hard, intense tournament. Everybody obviously wants to win and it’s going to be really tough for us. We’ve just got to fight through it and enjoy the moment. This is sort of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you just want to make sure you give it your all because you might not get another chance.”

“A lot of people talked about the 1986 team and how much fun that was and just to be able to do it for all the people in Penticton, it’s just incredible.”

The Vees have been, to this point, the team to beat throughout the Canadian Junior Hockey League.
They achieved history with a 42-game winning streak that is not only a CJHL record, but a North American one, and a BCHL-best 54 wins during the regular season, to go along nicely with a BCHL Fred Page Cup and a Doyle Cup, the latter earned in a five-game series win over the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

The final leg of the Vees’ journey starts Saturday, but it likely won’t prove to be easy. Penticton will take on a Thunderbirds team that finished with a 37-11-2 record, tops in the NOJHL.

Speed should be the main difference for the Vees in the opener.

“They’ve got guys that can score when given the chance, but the tempo of the game has to be played at a much higher pace than they’re used to in their league,” said Vees general manager and head coach Fred Harbinson.

With a round-robin format, Harbinson was quick to apologize for using the “one-game-at-a-time” cliché. But he also knows the next eight days will determine whether the drought concludes at 25 years, or endures to 26. History is, at maximum, six wins away.

“Our goal has always been to win the national championship and for our town, it’s our first time back here since 1986,” said Harbinson.

“That means our players weren’t around when that happened. It’s a long, long time. I think that’s motivation in itself.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sure hope you follow up with the game score