Junior hockey: BCHL’s Interior Conference final shifts to Vernon
When Vernon Vipers captain Jagger Williamson steps on the ice, he’s living his dream.
“I had an interview when I was 15 turning 16,” said Williamson, now 20. “I got questioned what was your future dream. Everyone else was saying I want to play in the NHL, I want to be Roberto Luongo.
“I was the only one who said I want to play for the Vernon Vipers.”
Growing up, Williamson ventured into the Vipers’ den often to watch the North Okanagan squad.
“Every Friday and Saturday that was my treat,” said Williamson. “My dad would take me down to Vernon because I grew up in Lumby.”
Five seasons later, Williamson has become the Vipers’ iron man, having played 233 games — the most of any player in franchise history.
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“Coming in as a 16-year-old, I’ve had the privilege of coaching him for five years,” said Vipers head coach Mark Ferner.
For Ferner, Williamson has become the heart and soul of the Vipers.
“He just does everything right,” said Ferner. “Not only on the ice, but off it, too.”
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Williamson is wearing a full visor because he’s playing with a broken nose.
“For now, it’s just harder to breath and a little sickness doesn’t help,” said Williamson.
Tonight, Vernon hosts Game 3 of the third-round playoff series against the Wenatchee Wild.
The Interior Conference final, which is tied 1-1, continues Wednesday with Game 4, also in Vernon. Wenatchee will host Game 5 on Friday night.
The fact that Williamson is more than willing to play with a broken nose is a testament to the heart-and-soul mantle he wears
“Yeah, absolutely that’s not going to stop me,” said Williamson.
“This time of the year,” said Ferner, “it would be really tough to keep him out of the line-up.”
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