Former Okotoks Oiler Conyr Hellyer says he's excited to be the one wearing the "C" for the Penticton Vees this coming season.

Hellyer was named captain back on June 17th, becoming the 59th in franchise history to be given that honour.

Hellyer played his first season with the Vees last season and has earned the trust of his players and coaches.

"It's a special moment particularly in my career, getting to represent such a prestigious organization like the Vees and lead the way going into next season. Super excited for the opportunity and super grateful. Just looking forward to lead the way to a Fred Page Cup," Hellyer said.

He spent two seasons with the Okotoks Oilers before joining the BCHL and the Penticton Vees. While the Oilers joined the BCHL halfway through last year, Hellyer and the Vees never faced them during the regular season or playoffs. This year will be different as the Vees host the Oilers for their home opener on Oct. 4th.

"That will be really cool. I knew kind of when they joined last year that I would eventually play a couple of games against them. A lot of the guys I know will be leaving this year but, I'll definitely see some familiar faces for sure," he said.

Conyr Hellyer of the Penticton Vees (Photo Supplied by Fraser Rodgers of the Penticton Vees)Conyr Hellyer of the Penticton Vees (Photo Supplied by Fraser Rodgers of the Penticton Vees)

One of those players that has moved on was Dean Spak who was the Oilers captain for the past two seasons, including one year when Hellyer was still a part of that team.

"Dean Spak was a great captain, someone that I thought did a really good job of always being a leader. Not just on the ice but away from the rink as well. He made it important that the team was close, and I think just the way he played the game. He faced a lot of adversity that year with injuries, always stayed positive, and always kept grinding in the gym when he needed to. The big thing he taught me is to be the guy that everyone wants to look at and follow," Hellyer explained.

It was a special feeling for Hellyer to play two seasons with the Oilers in his hometown and looks back fondly on those years.

"I love Okotoks, obviously growing up and playing for the minor hockey teams, you get the card, and you get to go to the (Oilers) games for free. Growing up watching them and then to put on that jersey and represent my hometown it was a really special opportunity for me. I really enjoyed my two years there," he said.

"Then moving to Penticton, it was an easy move. When I got there, I think the billet family that I was a billet with and just everyone made it smooth. Obviously, it was my first time moving away from home, I thought they did a really good job of making it a second home for me. The Penticton Vees did a great job just with the day-to-day professionalism and getting their players to the next level. Not just getting to the next level, but also dominating at the next level. My whole career in junior has been pretty special so far."

Hellyer mentioned that it was a jump in play after leaving the AJHL to the BCHL and said it could come from players joining teams from around the world rather than a pure focus on bringing in local talent.

One talent that will be making his way to the Vees is Eli McKamey who was awarded with Exceptional Player Status for this upcoming season.

"My job is just to help him with whatever I can, just help him with whatever he needs. He is a pretty special player, anyone who gets that opportunity to get that status is obviously an exceptional player. He's a young player but for all of us, older guys is just about leading the way, especially on the ice. Just do whatever we can to get the best out of him, just make him comfortable with the big transition he's about to make," Hellyer said.

The Vees made it to the Fred Page Cup final against the Surrey Eagles but fell in six games. Hellyer mentioned that they should have about 10 returning players which is more than the previous year and the whole team's focus is on winning the Fred Page Cup.

If you have been by Holy Trinity Academy you might have spotted Hellyer and his friends playing spike ball. It's something that he has been thoroughly enjoying this summer and plans to gain some extra weight headed into the 2024-2025 BCHL season. 

He will make his first appearance back on Centennial Areana ice when the Vees play their only road game against Okotoks on March 22, 2025.