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Copley Vanecek

Vanecek Assigned to Hershey on Conditioning, Copley Returns to Bears

February 27, 2022

The Washington Capitals, the NHL affiliate of the Hershey Bears, announced today that goaltender Vitek Vanecek has been assigned to the Bears on a conditioning loan. Additionally, goaltender Pheonix Copley has been re-assigned to the Bears. 

Vanecek, 26, is 10-6-5 in 24 games for the Capitals this season, posting a 2.39 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage to go along with two shutouts. He has not played since Feb. 1 when he sustained an upper-body injury at Pittsburgh. 

Vanecek made his NHL debut on Jan. 15, 2021, stopping 30 shots in a 2-1 win over Buffalo. His first shutout also came against the Sabres, on March 15, 2021. His 21 wins in 2020-21 led NHL rookies and were the second-most ever by a Capitals rookie, after former Bear Michal Neuvirth collected 27 during the 2010-11 season. 

The netminder played 141 career games with Hershey from 2016-2020, going 71-43-16 with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. He collected 11 shutouts with Hershey, and was a two-time AHL All-Star with the Bears, including being named the MVP of the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic. 

Vanecek will wear #43 for the Bears during his conditioning assignment. 

Copley, 30, has played 22 games with the Bears this season, going 13-7-2 with two shutouts, a 2.43 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. He made 21 saves in his Washington season debut on Feb. 2 against the Edmonton Oilers and has appeared in two games for the Capitals this season. In 31 career NHL games, the North Pole, Alaska native is 16-9-3 with one shutout, a 2.98 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage.

During the 2020-21 season, Copley led Hershey goaltenders in wins (10), shutouts (2) and games played (15) and ranked seventh in wins and eighth in goals-against average (2.66) in the AHL. Copley and Zach Fucale received the AHL’s Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award in 2020-21, presented to the goaltenders on the team which allows the fewest goals per game in the regular season.

In 213 career AHL games, Copley has a 113-67-24 record with 15 shutouts, a 2.53 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.

The Bears host the Utica Comets this evening at 5 p.m. It's AmeriChoice FCU Cowbell Night for the first 4,000 fans. Tickets are available at

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