Skip to content

Vernon Vipers lead way on Wray Day

BCHL: Snakes beat Cranbrook 3-1 on day former team owner Duncan Wray was honoured with road, banner

It’s the kind of game Duncan Wray would have enjoyed from his usual standing place in Section S at Kal Tire Place (KTP), or through his camera lens in the northwest corner at ice level.

The late Vernon Vipers owner and photography buff would have also had a smile on his face, watching his team win its B.C. Hockey League home opener Saturday, Sept. 23, 3-1, over the Cranbrook Bucks in front of 2,209 fans.

“It was a great win and a great crowd, exactly what he would have loved,” said Vipers’ assistant general manager Todd Miller.

Wray, who died suddenly on his 68th birthday Jan. 11, 2018, was honoured inside and outside of Kal Tire Place prior to puck drop.

With his family and some former players on hand, the roadway into Kal Tire Place off 43rd Avenue was named Duncan Wray Way, with the sign unveiled an hour before game time.

A ceremony was held just prior to the first-period faceoff which saw a banner with Wray’s name, and the years he owned the club – 1992-2018 – raised to the rafters.

Isaac Tremblay gave the home crowd something to cheer about at 6:10 of the opening frame, scoring a powerplay marker. The lead lasted until 10:02 of the second period when Bryce Sookro scored an unassisted powerplay marker for the Bucks.

After Bucks defenceman Patrick Czarnecki took a four-minute high-sticking penalty with less than four minutes remaining in regulation time, the Vipers capitalized twice on the man advantage.

Adam Csabi scored the game-winner at 17:03 while Hank Cleaves added the insurance at 18:53.

Vernon outshot Cranbrook 30-25 with Ethan David picking up the win in goal. Two of his 24 saves came on a pair of first-period penalty shots, as he stopped Bucks forward Noah Urness twice at 5:59 and 15:01.

Carter Capton made 27 saves for Cranbrook, which opened the season Friday with a 5-4 overtime win in Trail against the Smoke Eaters. Vernon lost its opener Friday, 3-2, at Salmon Arm.

The Vipers return to action Friday, Sept. 29, when they host the Merritt Centennials, 7 p.m., at KTP.

READ MORE: Salmon Arm Silverbacks take Vernon Vipers 3-2 in season opener

READ MORE: North Okanagan Knights drop season opener to Castlegar

Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
Read more