More than 10 years’ worth of NHL pre-season memories are at Penticton’s South Okanagan Events Centre and after a brief break, the journey continues this Friday, Sept. 16.
The next batch of NHL hopefuls are in the Peach City this week for the Young Stars Classic, a pre-season tradition featuring the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets.
In 2013, it was current Canucks captain Bo Horvat who made local headlines. Two years later, an 18-year-old phenom named Connor McDavid stepped onto the SOEC ice. And in 2017, Vancouver forward Elias Pettersson was among the first-round draft picks eager to make a strong first impression at the pre-season showcase.
Much has changed since Penticton first played host to the Young Stars Classic in 2010.
The new incarnation of the Jets were still in Atlanta, playing as the Thrashers. Vancouver was only months removed from hosting the Winter Olympics and instead of only playing Canadian squads, the Canucks welcomed teams like the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks to Penticton.
Edmonton and Winnipeg ring in the tournament Friday at 4 p.m., before the Canucks and Flames meet at 7:30 p.m.
Each of the Western Canadian squads will play each other three times over the course of the weekend and share the ice with the B.C. Hockey League’s Penticton Vees and Chilliwack Chiefs, who meet for a preseason battle on Sept. 17:
• Oilers vs. Jets (Sept. 16, 4 pm.)
• Canucks vs. Flames (Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m.)
• Flames vs. Oilers (Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m.)
• Canucks vs. Jets (Sept. 18, 2 p.m.)
• Jets vs. Flames (Sept. 19, 11 a.m.)
• Canucks vs. Oilers (Sept. 19, 2:30 p.m.)
2022’s edition of the Young Stars Classic marks the start of a new era for the Canucks, who are less than one year removed from a front-office overhaul that saw the firing of general manager Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green. The team’s appearance in Penticton kicks off its first full year with the changes.
The Canucks announced their roster for the prospects tournament Tuesday afternoon, with 22-year-old forward Linus Karlsson and 2021 second-round draft pick Danila Klimovich among those listed.
Single-game tickets for the tournament are still available and can be purchased on valleyfirsttix.com.
The official program for the 2022 Young Stars Classic is available in the Sept. 14 print edition of the Penticton Western News and at the SOEC.