PENTICTON, BC –The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce forward Taylor Ward (98) has committed to play at the University of Nebraska Omaha for the 2018-19 season.
Ward is the 14th player on the Vees’ roster to secure an NCAA Division l commitment, and says UNO’s program speaks for itself.
“It’s hard not to fall in love with that place, with their brand new facility, amazing campus and their coaching staff were great to me when I was down visiting. I was star struck walking into that new arena and who wouldn’t want to go to work there every day or play in front of those fans every game? It wasn’t a hard decision in my mind and I’m truly honour to be committed to UNO.”
The 18-year-old has six goals and 12 points in 23 games this season, already surpassing his totals for goals, assists and points from his rookie year. Ward is second in power-play goals on the Vees’ roster and has a goal and three points in his last two games.
Prior to joining the Vees last season, the Kelowna, BC, product won a Canadian Sports School Hockey League (CSSHL) championship with the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s (OHA) Prep White team in 2014-15. Ward led OHA Prep White in assists (41) and finished tied for first in team scoring that year with 50 points.
Ward noted his family is very familiar with Nebraska-Omaha’s Head Coach Dean Blais, “He was my dad’s (Dixon Ward) coach at North Dakota and now it has comes full circle I suppose. I wouldn’t have reached this point without all the hard-work and sacrifice from, parents, grandparents and my sister. I owe a lot to my family.”
The Mavericks are based in Omaha, Nebraska, and they play in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). The Mavs play out of the 7,800-seat Baxter Arena, which opened in the fall of 2015. They’re 6-3-1 through 10 games this year and are second in the NCHC standings with a 3-1 record in four conference games. Former Vees’ forward Riley Alferd is in his sophomore year and has appeared in 26 games in parts of two seasons at UNO.
The Penticton Vees are back in action on Friday night, November 18th, when they visit the Coquitlam Express. The Vees return home the following night, on Saturday, November 19th, when they host the Merritt Centennials at the SOEC; puck drop is 6 PM.