It was a homecoming to remember on Thursday as the Penticton Vees returned to the South Okanagan Events Centre for the first time since winning the Fred Page Cup.
The team was greeted by many of its fans at approximately 5:45 p.m. on May 20 after sweeping the Nanaimo Clippers in the BCHL Finals on Wednesday, May 18, to secure the city’s second championship in five years.
Not even the rain could stop people from waiting outside the venue after the Vees’ trip home was delayed on two different occasions throughout the day.
“(The Vees) represent Penticton really well,” said Adrian Giddings, a born and raised Pentictonite who hasn’t missed a Vees home game all year. “They’ve made me so proud, and it’s nice to see them show off how great our city is…great ambassadors for Penticton.”
Penticton rolled through the 2022 playoffs, losing just once and winning 16 games in a row before capturing the trophy.
Players stopped for special championship photos with several fans outside the SOEC on Thursday. The team’s president, general manager and head coach Fred Harbinson could also be seen holding the Fred Page Cup next to a number of community members.
Harbinson led the Vees to the best record in the B.C. Hockey League during the 2021-2022 regular season, winning the league’s Coach of the Year Award as a result.