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   Heritage Junior Hockey League:
Vanderveer joins Copperheads
- Submitted by

The Coaldale Copperheads have a new face between the pipes.

A familiar face, but new just the same.

Brett Vanderveer, who played parts of two seasons with the rival Medicine Hat Cubs, joined the Snakes last week following a quick tour through Saskatchewan.

Pulling on the Copperheads jersey felt strange at first, Vanderveer said, especially after the two teams traded haymakers in an epic seven-game playoff series last spring.

"It was interesting," the 19-year-old said. "The first practice was a bit of a shock to the system.

"Going in there and playing them all the way to Game 7 in the playoffs, and then to go play for them … it was different.

"But it's a great group of guys and we're in a great spot this year again."

Vanderveer made his Copperheads debut last Saturday, making 30 saves in a 4-1 victory over Red Deer.

Coaldale (22-11-1) sit one point back of the second-place Cochrane Generals in the HJHL's South Division as it prepares to welcome the first-place Okotoks Bisons (30-2-0) to the Snake Pit on Saturday (8:30 p.m.).

After starting 32 games for the Cubs last season, Vanderveer wasn't seeing as much time in the crease in 2019-20 as Medicine Hat rookie Dawsen Savage was handed the No. 1 gig.

Vanderveer requested a trade and the Cubs found him a new home with the Prairie Junior Hockey League's Pilot Butte Storm in Saskatchewan.

"I played two games there and we beat the Okotoks of that league," Vanderveer said of the Extreme Hockey Regina Capitals (28-2-0). "And we beat the second-place team in the North.

"But at the trade deadline, they found out the goalie that they had signed, who went to play Junior A at the start of the year, was being sent down.

"Before Christmas, Coaldale was interested in trading for me, but Medicine Hat wasn't going to let that happen. So (Pilot Butte) contacted Coaldale, and here I am."

Last spring, Vanderveer went 5-3 with a 2.46 goals-against average and .931 save percentage as he led the Cubs to their first playoff series win in six years and then pushed the Copperheads to seven games in the second round.

Copperheads coach Danton Shigemi said Vanderveer's playoff experience is a welcomed addition for his squad.

"We're excited to add Brett to our roster," Shigemi said. "Obviously, with him playing for the Cubs last year, and how the playoff series against them went, we knew what kind of a goalie he was.

"When we found out there was a possibility of bringing him in, we jumped at the opportunity.

"He's definitely a nice piece to add for the push to the playoffs and hopefully a good playoff run."

The 6-foot, 195-pounder said he looking forward to putting down some roots and is focused on another lengthy post-season run.

"It'll be nice to stay in one place," Vanderveer said. "The last month and a half, it's been crazy going from Alberta to Saskatchewan and back to Alberta.

"It'll be nice to settle down and get into a groove."

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