NHL’s Young Stars returning to Penticton

The Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Tournament will be returning to Penticton this Sept. 11 to 15, featuring four Canadian NHL teams.

Coun. Andrew Jakubeit outlines details about Thursday's announcement that the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars hockey tournament will be returning to the South Okanagan Events Centre for the second year in a row this September.

The Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Tournament will be returning to Penticton this Sept. 11 to 15, featuring four Canadian NHL teams.

The Winnipeg Jets have been added to the lineup which includes the Canucks, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers who will be showing off their prospects in the round-robin style tournament.

“The Canucks Young Stars Tournament will showcase top prospects from a handful of NHL teams in a very competitive format and will allow the fans to see the next generation of NHL’ers. We look forward to sharing this experience with the great people of Penticton and its neighbouring cities once again,” said Stan Smyl, Canucks senior advisor to the general manager, via video message at a press conference at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Thursday.

City councillor and tournament organizing chair Andrew Jakubeit said unlike last year, the Canucks training camp will not be following the Young Stars Tournament.

“They have stated they wanted to do their camp this year in Vancouver at Rogers Arena and I think the mandate is to still rotate it throughout the province,” said Jakubeit. “They had great reviews of the facility, of our community, we were very receptive and had great support and spirit for them so I would think they would want to come back here again, but this year they are going to do it in Vancouver.”

While the Anaheim Ducks are not participating this year — Jakubeit said it is possible they don’t have enough players in the 18-23 year-old range to field a team, another consideration could be they are planning to do some of their exhibition season overseas — the newest addition to the NHL, the Winnipeg Jets, will be here.

“We are quite excited because there is four Canadian teams … there is a lot of people who moved from the Prairies to the Okanagan so I think it will spark a lot of interest,” said Jakubeit.

A total of 20 players from last year’s tournament played in the NHL this season, including Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Cam Fowler, Mikael Backlund and Chris Tanev.

Last year the tournament produced an economic impact of $1.8 million. Jakubeit said there was over 600 news stories generated on the first day of the tournament, providing exposure for the city and the teams. The opening game last year was sold out and organizers this year expect sell-outs for all of the games.

“When we have B.C.’s flagship sport organization, the Vancouver Canucks, come to our city for our amenities, our attractions, our beauty and more specifically to our community that has an incredible affliction with hockey and volunteering we are very proud and humbled that they would choose us again,” said Mayor Dan Ashton.

Vancouver Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis said they are also excited to host the tournament in Penticton again.

“The City of Penticton showed tremendous support for last year’s event and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to return to this great hockey city,” said Gillis.

A limited time offer of an eight-game promotion pack for $80 is being offered until Aug. 1, after which the price goes up to $100. Single game tickets will be made available in mid-August. Tickets go on sale July 16 at 10 a.m. and can be bought at the SOEC box office, wine country visitor centre or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com. An exclusive pre-sale promotion for the Young Stars Tournament is available for 2011-2012 Penticton Vees season ticket holders. For a limited time, an eight-game package can be purchased for $40 including all taxes and fees. The limited number of packages for Vees season ticket holders is available until July 12 at noon.