Twenty-one-year-old centre Brandon Volpe, a member of the 2016-2017 B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey Leaghe (BCIHL) championship winning UVic Vikes, is hitting the ice for his second season with the club. Volpe is confident the Vikes can compete for yet another championship title following an encouraging training camp with a core group of veteran players who are positive influences both on and off the ice.
Volpe started his junior career with the Chilliwack Chiefs of the B.C. Hockey League (BCHL). As a Port Coquitlam native, the team was “only an hour away” and in a league that has been a great developmental path for many other hockey players.
Standing at 5’10”, 185 lbs, the speedy centreman plays a two-way game — sound both offensively and defensively. Volpe is trusted in various roles, playing on both the powerplay and the penalty kill. He is the type of hockey player coaches love.
But Volpe can also take centre-stage when needed. Several times in his career — in midget and junior — Volpe has dominated in the postseason. It’s a pattern you want to see from a depth player.
While playing for the Vancouver NE Chiefs in just his second year of midget, Volpe went point-per-game in the playoffs, scoring more goals than assists. A few years later — in his final year of Jr. — Volpe put on a heroic performance in the Pacific Junior Hockey League post-season scoring seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 17 games. Unfortunately, Volpe and his team, the Grandview Steelers lost four games to two in the finals to Mission.
But Volpe’s championship trophy case would soon have a prize to display.
Playing as a rookie in the BCIHL, a year after his Steelers heartbreak, Volpe contributed a respectful six goals and 14 points in 24 games with the Vikes, scoring two goals in the playoffs.
“It was something pretty incredible,” says Volpe regarding the championship run. “All the boys came together.”
“Incredible” is an understatement. The Vikes battled the injury bug all season. Eleven of 24 Vikes players played in fewer than 20 games, and it was only heading into the playoffs that the the team was fully healthy.
“We were one of the best teams out there in the league and haven’t been able to prove it yet,” says Volpe, regarding the injuries. “We just decided to go out and prove it.”
The Vikes lost the first game of their best-of-three series with the Trinity Western University (TWU) Spartans, but, in game two, Volpe scored the tying goal with 49 seconds left before watching teammate Braedan Cyra win the game and force a winner-takes-all game three. Volpe and the team travelled to the Langley Events Centre for the championship game. The Vikes’ Shawn Mueller scored the dramatic winning goal with only seven seconds left in third period, and Volpe finally reached champion status.
Volpe may not stand out on the stats sheet every game or every season, but that is because he is well-rounded. A good hockey team is composed of various components. You need snipers and play-makers to ultimately give you a chance to win, but players like Volpe provide the space for those to do so: he is not a liability when he is on the ice.
Volpe performs the intangibles — the dirty work. He is sound positionally, he can elevate his game in key moments, and he earns his spot on special teams.
He had many scoring chances in his first regular season game (against TWU) in addition to his solid decisions while not in possession. Based on last season’s performance, his pre-existing chemistry with several teammates, and a good start, Volpe could have a standout year statistically.
You can catch Volpe and your Vikes Hockey team on Oct. 27 as they host the Selkirk College Saints for their next home game of the regular season.