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From Sweden to B.C.: Penticton Vees recruit 1st European player since rule changes

Deal with Swedish defenceman a result of the BCHL breaking away from Hockey Canada
Penticton Vees head coach, general manager and president Fred Harbinson has led recruitment efforts to bring in the team’s first non-North American player. (Photo- Penticton Vees)

The Penticton Vees did something this week they haven’t before when it comes to player recruitment: look to Europe.

Fresh off the workings of some new roster rules handed down from the B.C. Hockey League, the Vees have signed Swedish defenceman Leon Matthiasson for the 2023-2024 season.

Officially removed from under the Hockey Canada umbrella, BCHL clubs are now permitted to roster a maximum of two players from outside North America.

Matthiasson, 19, marks the Vees’ first non-North American recruit.

The defenceman comes to Canada after playing last season for the Växjö Lakers in the Swedish J20 Nationell. He posted 25 points in 39 regular-season games in 2022-2023, good enough to rank fourth in team scoring.

Along with Matthiasson, the Vees announced this week the recruitment of fellow defenceman Brock Reinhart.

Reinhart, an 18-year-old from Elora, Ont., joins the Vees after playing the last two seasons with the Elmira Sugar Kings in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

He led all Sugar Kings defenceman in scoring with 37 points in 49 games.

“Last season our defence core was a major factor in breaking the all-time B.C. Hockey League record for goals against,” said Fred Harbinson, the Vees’ head coach, general manager and president. “The addition of these two veteran defencemen will allow us to construct a solid back end once again.”

READ MORE: B.C. Hockey League rosters to open for international, out-of-province players


About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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