The 2011-12 Penticton Vees wrote one of the most impressive chapters in the club’s storied history, rewriting the BC Hockey League record book and producing what some have called the greatest season ever seen in Canadian Junior A hockey.
The Vees steamrolled through the BCHL regular season with an unbelievable 54-4-0-2 win-loss record, smashing league records for most regular season wins, points (110), and winning percentage (.917). Even more remarkable was a four-month stretch where the Vees didn’t lose a single game, compiling a Canadian Junior Hockey League record 42 straight victories.
Led by leading scorer Joey Benik (96 points) and seven of the BCHL’s top nine scorers, the Vees finished as the league’s top offensive team with 334 goals scored. They also boasted the second-best defensive record, the league’s top power play, the leading penalty kill, and the BCHL’s best attendance with over 2100 fans on average turning out for each game.
The Vees also collected plenty of hardware. They cruised through the playoffs downing Chilliwack, Merritt, and Powell River to claim the Fred Page Cup as BCHL champions. From there, the Vees downed the Brooks Bandits in five games to win the Doyle Cup and advance to the CJHL’s national championship tournament, the RBC Cup (now known as the Centennial Cup), held in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.
Shockingly, the Vees lost their first two games of the RBC Cup’s round robin but rallied to advance to the semifinals where they shut out the Soo Thunderbirds 3-0. In the final, the Vees and the Woodstock Slammers were locked in a 3-3 deadlock destined for overtime until the Vees’ Benik scored the dramatic winner with just 51.3 seconds remaining to capture the second Canadian Junior A championship in Penticton’s history.
Three Vees players—Troy Stecher, Mike Reilly, and Steven Fogarty—later went on to play in the NHL, while others played in university or professionally in North America and Europe.
The Vees are the first Junior A hockey team to be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
Team Members: Chad Bannor, Kyle Beaulieu, Joey Benik, Nick Buchanan, Geoff Carter (trainer), Steve Cawley (assistant coach), Cody DePourcq, Steven Fogarty, Michael Garteig, Bryce Gervais, Fred Harbinson (head coach and general manager), Mike Hengen (assistant coach), Logan Johnston, DJ Jones, Chad Katunar, Curtis Loik, Mario Lucia, Wade Murphy, Grant Nicholson, Connor Reilly, Mike Reilly, Ryan Reilly, Travis St. Denis, Troy Stecher, Zach Urban