The five graduating members of the Vernon-based Thompson Okanagan Lakers U18AAA girls hockey team – Jessica Engelbrecht (from left), Makenna Howe, Cheree Peters, Jayden Perpelitz, and Alexis Bishop – have all committed to collegiate hockey programs in Canada and the U.S. (Photo submitted)

The five graduating members of the Vernon-based Thompson Okanagan Lakers U18AAA girls hockey team – Jessica Engelbrecht (from left), Makenna Howe, Cheree Peters, Jayden Perpelitz, and Alexis Bishop – have all committed to collegiate hockey programs in Canada and the U.S. (Photo submitted)

Vernon-based hockey squad sends 5 to college ranks

Thompson Okanagan U18AAA Lakers players heading to Canadian and U.S. programs

The five graduating members of the Vernon-based Thompson Okanagan Lakers AAAU18 girls hockey squad will take their games to the post-secondary level.

The five – Jayden Perpelitz of Cranbrook, Jessice Engelbrecht of Lillooet, Makenna Howe of Revelstoke, Cheree Peters of Fort St. John and Alexis Bishop of Kamloops – have committed to collegiate hockey programs in Canada and the U.S.

“All the graduating girls worked extremely hard and remained very focused in a year with obviously tough circumstances,” said Lakers general manager Bob Petty. “The end result was they all reached their ultimate goals which were to attend and play university/college hockey. The Lakers organization is very proud of everything these girls could accomplish this year.”

The quintet helped the Lakers go 6-3-1 in their 10-game exhibition slate.

Perpelitz and Engelbrecht are staying in Canada, both committing to the NAIT Ooks program in the Alberta Collegiate Athletic Conference (ACAC) in Edmonton.

Perpelitz was an alternate captain who played three seasons on the Lakers’ defence. Englebrecht played just one season with the Lakers, but the forward led the B.C. Exhibition Hockey Series with eight goals in 10 games.

The other three girls are heading south.

Howe, a defenceman, committed to the McKendree University Bearcats in Lebanon, Ill., a Div. 1 team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). She spent three years with the Lakers.

Bishop and Peters each spent one year with the club. Bishop, a forward, will play for the Adrian College Bulldogs in Adrian, Mich., also a Div. 1 ACHA squad.

Peters, a goaltender, will backstop the Concordia University Falcons, an NCAA Div. 3 team in Mequon, Wis.

“The BC Hockey U18AAA league has an extremely high level of skill and talent and our five graduating girls all represented both the league and our team exceptionally,” said Petty. “Overall this was a very successful season for the Lakers and it was made significantly better with the relationships and help we had along the way.”

The Lakers are a true zone team, meaning a number of the players billeted in Vernon. Petty wants to thank the billet families who took the girls in for the season.

“Those families played a large part in our success,” he said. “We also formed a very strong relationship with the team at Recreation Services at the City of Vernon. Leah and her crew were phenomenal to work with and we greatly appreciate all of their support and accommodation this year.”

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