by Fraser Rodgers

January 3, 2014, PENTICTON, BC (ISN) –The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce the signing of forward Erik Benoit (93).

“Adding a veteran like Erik at the center position will play strong dividends as we look forward to a playoff push. Not only is Erik a solid two-way player, but he also has the reputation of being a leader inside the dressing room,” said Vees President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson

Benoit, 20, brings plenty of experience to the Vees line-up, as he has played parts of four seasons and over 200 regular season games in the Western Hockey League (WHL). Benoit split this season between Seattle and Moose Jaw, where he collected six goals and 13 points in 31 games.

The Calgary, Alberta native started his WHL career with the Kootenay Ice in 2010-2011 and won the Ed Chynoweth Cup that spring with Kootenay. He spent part of three seasons with the Ice, before being moved to the 2013 Memorial Cup hosts, the Saskatoon Blades midseason last year. Between Kootenay and Saskatoon in 2012-2013, Benoit picked up 12 goals and 34 points in 64 regular season games. Benoit played in two Memorial Cups with Kootenay and Saskatoon, where he picked up three assists in nine games. In four seasons in the WHL, Benoit amassed 36 goals and 88 points in 213 regular season games. He also played in 23 career playoff games, picking up a goal and three points.

To make room for Benoit, the Vees have sent forward Brendan Lamont (94) to the Coquitlam Express, for the playing rights of former Vee Mike Rebry (93). Lamont was acquired in mid-November from the Trail Smoke Eaters and appeared in 17 games for the Vees (2-6-8). Rebry is in his freshman season at Western Michigan University

Benoit will wear number 23 and is expected to make his debut tonight, when the Vees travel to Merritt to face the Centennials. The Vees would also like to thank Brendan for his contributions to the team both on the ice and in the community, and wish him all the best in his future with the Coquitlam Express.