Future bright for local goaltender

WHL netminder Payton Lee returns from Hockey Canada camp, hopes to guide Vancouver Giants to better results next season.

Payton Lee

Payton Lee

Last weekend, Payton Lee found himself among some pretty elite company.

The young goaltender for the Vancouver Giants rubbed shoulders with his fellow CHL crease-guardians at a Hockey Canada goaltending camp in Calgary last weekend, which featured some of the top talent across the country.

“It was awesome, going in there I just wanted to head in there with an open mind knowing there was all these goalies, like Zachary Fucale, a Memorial Cup guy and Jake Patterson, the goalie for the World Junior team last year,” said Lee, “so just went in there with an open mind, learning from all the coaches and then watching the other guys and learning from what they have.”

A familiar face joined Lee at the camp, as Kootenay Ice stopper Mackenzie Skapski also got an invite for a second year in a row, after going through the experience last off-season.

The two netminders go back a ways, as both their fathers knew each other growing up and playing hockey against each other.

“We went there a few days early to get some ice time and be prepared for the camp,” said Lee, “so it was definitely good to have a guy that you knew going into the camp and he’s in the same group as me so that helped that much more to have a guy that you can bounce the feedback that you’re getting back from coaches off and share ideas with  each other.”

The 19 attendees were split up into two groups over the four-day camp, which featured 13 U20 goaltenders and six U18 stoppers.

“It’s a great learning experience and a humbling thing to get invited to,” said Lee. “I’m very thankful to get recognized as somebody who could go to that, but at the end of the day, I’m just really thankful that I was blessed with the experience there and got to learn as much as I could.”

Lee said everyone was kept pretty busy with on- and off-ice sessions covering everything from technique to nutrition.

“You have the basic ice time and fitness routine and that sort of stuff, but especially for me, the mental coaching and nutritional stuff is really important to me and that was helpful,” Lee said.

“Obviously as well, the on-ice coaching was amazing so that was all really good for me to have different thoughts from different coaches from across Canada.”

The camp invite is one of the highlights for Lee after going through a roller coaster season with the Vancouver Giants, which missed the playoffs and finished at the bottom of the WHL standings this past year.

Although he was initially disappointed at getting sent down to Jr. B hockey with the Richmond Sockeyes of the PIJHL at the beginning of the season, it was the right call from the coaching staff, Lee said.

“It was my first year as a 16-year-old so they wanted to make sure I was prepared and not sort of feeding me to the wolves as we had a pretty young team,” said Lee.

“…At the end of the day it was a great learning experience with lots of shots and just looking forward to getting back at ‘er next year.”

Lee was called back up in November and stayed on with the club for the rest of the year, where he had a 3.51 goals against average and an 0.879 save percentage in 36 games.

Born in New Westminster, Lee’s family moved to Cranbrook when he was six years old, but the young goaltender relocated to the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy to develop, where he got picked up by the Giants in the second round of the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.

He got a taste of international competition over the Christmas break, suiting up for Team Pacific in the U17 World Hockey Challenge.

He’s been home in Cranbrook for most of the offseason, but once he gets his drivers license in July, he’ll head back down to Vancouver to continue his training.

“Our guys are already talking and our goal is to obviously make playoffs this year—you can’t have two bad seasons in a row,” said Lee. “All of our young guys and stuff like that are ready to step up and we’re just going to try and make a playoff appearance, just learn as much as we can and have a more successful season.”

 

 

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Cranbrook Arts has opened the doors of their  new gallery space to the public with their inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best.
‘Kootenay’s Best’ opens Cranbrook Arts’ new gallery

This exhibit has been in the works for the past several months and features the work of more than 50 emerging and established artists from across the Kootenays

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read