Garrett James/BCHL Defenceman Jake Harrison will head to Michigan for hockey and education in the fall of 2019.

Warriors’ Harrison commits to Michigan Tech

West Kelowna native has been one of Warriors’ top blueliners since the 2015-16 season

A stalwart on the West Kelowna Warriors’ defensive corps the last 2 1/2 seasons, Jake Harrison has committed to the University of Michigan Tech Huskies for the 2019-20 campaign.

The 18-year-old West Kelowna native is looking forward to his future with the Huskies, who play out of the NCAA’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

“It was the right time and the right program for me, an offer I couldn’t refuse,” said Harrison. “It’s a great hockey school, they have a long history of sending D-men off to pro hockey.

“It’s a great technology school on a nice campus,” he added, “and it’s in a beautiful town (Houghton). It’s just the best situation for me.”

Harrison is a veteran of 141 regular season BCHL games, tallying 15 goals and 69 points and 142 penalty minutes.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound defenceman also has plenty of playoff experience, appearing in 39 postseason games between the B.C. Hockey League, Western Canada Cup and RBC Cup, scoring three goals and 13 points to go along with 12 penalty minutes.

“Jake has been a great player here from day one,” said Warriors’ head coach and general manager Rylan Ferster. “He played key minutes for us when we won the RBC Cup and that hasn’t changed over the last two seasons. His competitive nature is what makes him special.”

Harrison said playing with the Warriors in his hometown has been an ideal training ground in preparing him for his move to the NCAA game.

“Junior A hockey has been a big stepping stone for me for building my skill and compete levels,” said Harrison, who is leaning towards the business program at Michigan Tech. “It’s still a year and a half away, but it’s the next big step for me and I’ll look to continue to improve so I’m as prepared as I can be when that time comes.”

Michigan Tech is led by head coach Joe Shawhan, who is in his first season with the Huskies. MT is familiar with the BCHL, boasting 13 alumni from the league.

Warriors add D-man

The Warriors have added defenseman Cody Paivarinta (’98) to their roster.

Paivarinta, 19, has 95 career WHL games under his belt with the Prince Albert Raiders, registering two goals and 11 points along with 77 penalty minutes.

The 6-foot-6, 192-pound defender is no stranger to hockey in British Columbia as the Abbotsford native played with both the Nelson Leafs and Richmond Sockeyes in the Junior B circuit.

“Adding another defenseman like Cody gives us more size on the back end,” said Ferster. “He skates really well and has a good stick.”

Teddy Bear Toss

The Warriors (17-15-1-1) are back in action on Friday as they host the Penticton Vees in the annual Teddy Bear Toss. Face off at Royal LePage Place is 7 p.m.

Fans are encouraged to bring a new or gently used stuffed animal to the game to toss on the ice after the Warriors first goal.

The game will also be broadcast live on Shaw TV Okanagan.

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