Photo courtesy Penticton Penguins

Three junior hockey players injured starting campfire

Ryan Vandervlis, a 20-year old centre with Lethbridge Hurricanes has been placed in a medically induced coma

Three hockey players have been injured in an off-ice incident, including a former member of the BCJHL’s Penticton Vees.

According to a release from the Western Hockey League, Jordy Bellerive and Ryan Vandervlis of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, along with WHL alumnus Matt Alfaro are recovering from various campfire-related injuries.

“It has been reported that the campfire occurred during a bachelor party. These reports are inaccurate. The campfire occurred at the family home of WHL Alumnus Tyler Wong the evening prior to a planned day of golf,” stated a portion of the release.

“Alfaro and Bellerive are currently in stable condition. Vandervlis has been placed in a medically-induced coma and is in critical condition.”

“He is receiving exceptional medical care in an intensive-care unit in Calgary,” Barb, Rene, Cara, Sean and Rachel Vandervlis said in a statement. “He remains in critical condition.”

Two others — Bellerive, a Pittsburgh Penguins prospect, and Alfaro, who now plays for the University of Calgary Dinos — were also injured.

The incident happened on June 15 and all three men are currently being treated for their injuries at a hospital in Calgary.

The WHL said the campfire took place at the family home of Hurricanes alumnus Tyler Wong.

Wong’s family said that nine of his friends came over to stay the night before going golfing and camping on Saturday.

“In starting a campfire, the accident occurred,” said the Wong family in their statement.

It said that both Wong’s parents were at home and they quickly transported the injured to hospital.

Alberta Health Services said an ambulance intercepted the car and took them the rest of the way to Calgary.

Cochrane RCMP have said they are investigating what happened at the fire, in the Bearspaw area of Rocky View County, but they have determined that a substance was placed into a fire pit that caused an explosion.

The Vandervlis family said alcohol wasn’t a factor.

Bellerive is expected to make a full recovery. The 19-year-old played 27 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy and three games with the Penticton Vees in the 2014-15 season before moving on to the WHL Lethbridge Hurricanes. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins to a three-year contract.

According to the Penguin’s blog, assistant general manager Bill Guerin has spoken with Bellerive, who is in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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