The Neepawa Natives have pulled off what the organization calls a "blockbuster"
acquisition with from P.E.I. Rocket of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League,
acquiring 20-year old goaltender Wendell Vye.
The team also acquired 20-year old defenceman Joey Arsenault. Arsenault spent last
season with the Dieppe Commandos of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League.
Vye, 20, a Moncton, New Brunswick product, who stands at 5-foot-11, 160 pounds,
finished first in save percentage in the Canadian Hockey League last season for
goalies with more than 900 minutes played. He also finished third with a 2.20 goals
against average in 21 starts - good for third in the nation - splitting time between
the Moncton Wildcats and the Rocket.
He was traded to PEI at the QMJHL's deadline last season.
Natives coach Bryant Perrier says the club has been working on this trade for more
than half a year and says he's esctatic to acquire a goaltender with such an
"He's got a winning mentality," said Perrier. "He's a hard working individual and he
wants to go to a team that has an opportunity to win."
The Natives had to secure Vye's rights from the Dieppe Commandos, as the team owned
his Hockey Canada (Junior A) rights.
Vye says he's very proud to join the Natives.
"The (Neepawa Natives) staff takes great pride in getting players to the next level
and helping them out with their careers," said Vye. "I am very excited.
"My experience in the QMJHL was very good," continues Vye. "Playing with great
organizations such as Moncton and P.E.I. not only helped me develop as a player, but
a person as well.
"There was a lot of time spent by our staff, by our scouts, just going through,
talking to teams and finding out information on Wendel (Vye). When he became
available, we were esctatic to bring him on board," said Perrier.
"If you have a great goaltender, you're going to put yourself in a position to win
and you usually like your chances."
Meanwhile, Perrier says Arsenault, who also hails from Moncton, is a "solid depth
defenceman" who will compete for playing time when Natives training camp begins Aug.
Neepawa Natives Notes
Coach Perrier says that Vye was "on our wish list", but admits that he could not
have predicted that The Natives would actually acquire him.
"It was a pipe dream at times because we were fighting so many factors," he said.
"The team that owned his junior A rights was obviously not looking to move him. As
well, with his ability, we were of the mind that he would be back in The QMJHL."
However, stringent twenty year old rules make it difficult for twenty year olds to
play that last season of eligibility, and Wendell was looking for stability in his
Even ones who lead or are near the top of the country's two major statistical
categories - save percentage and goals against.
"Wendell is an intelligent person who values the stability of having a good season
in one location. He is excited about coming to junior A and doing a great job for
Born in Europe, Vye also had the option of returning to his birthplace, to play
professionally as a non import, but wants to play one final year of junior.
"We are fortunate to have Wendell and we are excited for the experience, class and
ability he brings," Perrier concluded.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)