Luciano Wilson capped off his junior hockey career with a championship last month after helping to lead the Penticton Vees to a sweep of the Nanaimo Clippers in the B.C. Hockey League final series.
“Winning a BCHL championship had been a dream of mine since I was nine or 10 years old,” Wilson said. “To be able to do it in the place I was born as well as where I started my junior hockey career [with the junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers] was an amazing feeling and it was really an unforgettable experience being able to do it in front of friends and family that I owe so much to.
“I couldn’t thank my friends and family enough for the insane support and I know that I owe them so much for the person and player I am today. Winning in my final season was the most picture perfect way to leave junior hockey and I owe so much of my success over my junior career to the amazing teammates, coaches, billets and fans that I’ve been able to learn from.”
The Duncan-born-and-raised Wilson had three assists in the final game on Wednesday, May 18, and led all playoff scorers with 27 points (seven goals and 20 assists) in 17 games.
Wilson had one goal and seven assists in the four-game final series, and set up two deciding goals, including the overtime game-winner by Stefano Bottini in Game Three with a between-the-legs pass.
The Vees dropped their playoff opener against the Trail Smoke Eaters in Round 1, then won 16 straight to eliminate Trail, Prince George, West Kelowna and Nanaimo.
“This year’s team that went 16–1 in the playoffs was truly exceptional from top to bottom,” Wilson commented. “Our players all bought into one goal and created a bond that will last a lifetime. I can honestly say there is no better feeling than winning a championship: it is addicting and makes you want to work that much harder to put yourself in a position to succeed. I look to continue this winning success as I go to Minnesota state and put my drive for a championship at the forefront of goals as I enter school this season.”
Wilson will head to Minnesota State University this fall to begin his NCAA Div. 1 career.
Wilson was fifth among the BCHL’s leading scorers in the regular season, posting 75 points on 29 goals and 46 assists in 52 contests. He finishes his BCHL career, split between the Vees and the Cowichan Valley Capitals, with 72 goals, 107 assists and 179 points in 182 regular-season games, and 37 points in 30 playoff games.
He reflected on his career with some advice for younger players.
“For any younger kid pursuing a dream of being a hockey player and one day winning the Fred Page Cup or whatever your aspirations might be, enjoy playing and have a love for the game, and if you work hard while putting in the extras and stay patient.
“Everything will happen for a reason. I truly believe that good things happen to good people and we had a group of amazing players that will be my friends for the rest of my life.”