Coyotes head coach Carter Rigby, a former Penticton Vee, connected with the Junior A organization to get the two area products an opportunity. Carter and Dawson are affiliate players.
“It looks good for the organization and it’s better for the players, too,” says Rigby. “Both those boys and a few others were at spring camps with the Vees this past summer. They knew a little bit about them. When we shut down, they needed some bodies for practice. I reached out to Steve Cauley, their assistant GM. Levi and Crae were two guys they were interested in keeping around for this bubble.”
Rigby hopes to see Dawson and Carter get into the lineup and says he knows they are prepared.
“I believe that they can play at that level,” says Rigby, adding they need to make that first opportunity count.
“It’s a great opportunity. It’s such a great organization,” says Dawson, an Osoyoos product. “I’m just looking forward to it.”
Dawson says the Vees have been running great, fast-paced practises and he is feeling more confident. Dawson intends to do what he can to showcase himself as he hopes to get into games.
“It’s such a great league and there will be lots of great players to play against,” says Dawson, listed at five-foot-10, 150 pounds.
Carter, who is from Keremeos, says he’s improved with staying at a higher level.
“Everyone at that level is so fast. You have less time to react,” says Carter, who led the Coyotes in the shortened season with five goals. “You really have to be able to play moving at a faster pace.”
Carter, whose father Shawn played for the Penticton Panthers, says practising with the Vees has been great.
“Their team is so highly skilled. It just makes you play better when you play with all those kids,” he says. “The coaching staff is really good. Really good on the development.”
Carter has adjusted well, after taking a bit of time to get used to the speed and pace. He’s raising his tempo while making sure to keep his head up to make decisions faster.
“I’m just grateful for the opportunity that the Vees have given me and Crae,” he says. “Hopefully we can make the best of it.”
Earlier this month, the Coyotes announced that Nathan Hannon and Jack Henderson are joining the Merritt Centennials as affiliate players.