Ben Sanderson of the Vernon Vipers chases down Kyle Penney of the Chilliwack Chiefs during 2019 BCHL game at the Chilliwack Coliseum. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Ben Sanderson of the Vernon Vipers chases down Kyle Penney of the Chilliwack Chiefs during 2019 BCHL game at the Chilliwack Coliseum. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Kyle Penney leads Chilliwack Chiefs into a season unlike any other

Penney will captain the BCHL club through a shortened showcase-style season

If you’d told Kyle Penney last July that by March he would be with the Chilliwack Chiefs, getting ready to play the first game of the BCHL season in early April, he’d have thought you were nuts.

“It would have been tough to believe,” said Penney, who thought he’d be skating in the NCAA Div 1 ranks this season. “But once you get past everything else that’s gone on you’d have to say, ‘Well, it sounds like a pretty good situation and I’ll make the best of it.’

“Obviously there’s a lot of excitement right now and I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was a bit of relief too. We’ve been here a long time waiting for an answer week after week. Coach kept telling us to stick it out, stick it out, and we finally get good news.”

Penney started the 2020-21 season with the Cornell Big Red, amped up to start his college career.

RELATED: Chilliwack Chiefs hoping to be hub city as BCHL announces return to action

RELATED: Chilliwack Chiefs bring back Kyle Penney as NCAA Ivy League teams shut down

By late November, that plan was dashed by COVID. The East Coast Athletic Conference season was cancelled and Penney came back to Chilliwack just hoping to play games.

And then he waited.

December cancelled. January cancelled. February cancelled.

Every month, Penney and his teammates got their hopes up. Some teammates departed for the USHL, a United States-based league that carried on with games despite the pandemic.

“There were definitely points when I was thinking most likely this wouldn’t happen,” Penney said. “But we were still practicing and working out and it was a lot easier in that sense because we were still working hard to get better every day, preparing as though we were going to get good news.”

The good news finally came, but the season to come will be unlike any before it.

Twentyish games seems to be the league’s plan, and with no playoffs waiting at the end, at least not so far, it may be purely a showcase for players who haven’t been able to perform for next-level scouts.

For Penney, who still has his commitment to Cornell, it’ll be about continued development, and making sure that when his freshman season finally does happen, he’s ready for it.

“We’ve been taking everything that’s come at us and adapted to it, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do,” he said. “For me, I want to just play good hockey, enjoy it and be appreciative that we are able to play.”

——————————————

More good news came this week as Penney was named captain of the 2020-21 Chiefs.

“It’s going to be pretty cool for me,” he said. “A big part of being a captain is not necessarily the vocal aspect of it, just doing the right things and leading by example. Past captains have done that, and I’ve found it’s easy to get behind guys like that. Obviously this season’s different than any other, but we’re going to approach this the same way we do any other year.

“Part of my job will be rallying the guys as we get going.”

Chilliwack’s leadership team will also include hometown kid Brett Rylance along with forward Connor Milburn and defenceman Jackson Munro.

“Those will be great assistant captains this year, and everybody in our leadership group will be working together to bring the team to a common goal,” Penney said.


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on

BCHLChilliwack Chiefs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Chilliwack Search and Rescue truck heads down Vedder Road towards Cultus Lake to assist a dirtbiker with a broken leg. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Emergency crews, SAR busy with three separate outdoor recreation incidents in Chilliwack area

Calls in 1 afternoon include ATV collision, parachuter who fell from tree, dirtbiker with broken leg

Philomusica Chorus and Ensemble released ‘All Good Gifts’ on YouTube on April 3, 2021. (YouTube)
Chilliwack chorus shares latest song with ‘same love, enthusiasm’ as pre-pandemic music

Philomusica Chorus and Ensemble recently released its version of ‘All Good Gifts’ on YouTube

Crews are on scene of a three-vehicle collision at Vedder and Knight roads in Chilliwack on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
Three-vehicle collision in Chilliwack causes traffic backlog at busy intersection

Collision happened at intersection of Vedder and Knight

Chilliwack’s historic Royal Hotel is offering COVID-style wedding packages for two weeks in June. (Facebook/ Royal Hotel Chilliwack)
Chilliwack hotel offers pop-up, COVID-style weddings for 2 weeks this June

‘Weddings can still happen, albeit in a different fashion,’ says Laura Reid of Royal Hotel

Kay Campbell (left) and Linda Brawn with Chilliwack Senior Peer Counsellors said the organization is in need of more volunteers to chat with seniors. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Volunteers like ‘lifeline’ for lonely seniors, says Chilliwack Senior Peer Counsellors

National Volunteer Week: People encouraged to volunteer time in form of weekly phone chats with elderly

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read