A tweet stating the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars tournament may not happen this September has caused some consternation for at least one of the Penticton organizers.
I'm hearing YoungStars tournament in Penticton might not go this upcoming Sept. with Edm, Calg, Wpg, Vanc prospects. Last fall's annual even was disappointing for calibre of kids taking part said many NHL scouts.
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) January 18, 2018
Andrew Jakubeit, who is the event chair for the Penticton organizing committee for the tournament, said the tweet from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal caught him off-guard.
“It definitely did. Right now, I’m confident there will be an event this fall. What the shape, size or scope of teams is; I can’t confirm or deny yet.”
Jakubeit said the tournament does not have a multi-year contract keeping it in the city. Each year the Penticton committee works with their partner, the Vancouver Canucks, who then liaise with the NHL clubs. He said it is typical to not have a event firmed up at this time of the season and that the announcement usually comes in June or late spring. However, he said an announcement could be coming sooner.
“Certainly we fully intend on having an event in early September. The formal agreement usually comes through the Canucks and those details are still being finalized. So right now, I have nothing concrete to confirm or deny.”
Jakubeit also fought back on the insinuation that the calibre of talent isn’t there anymore. Connor McDavid, the NHL’s and Edmonton Oilers number one draft pick in 2015 is the most prominent player to have attended over the seven years the Young Stars has taken place in Penticton. However, the tournament has also featured Canucks top picks like Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen, Brock Boeser and former Penticton Veees player Troy Stecher. The Calgary Flames brought Sam Bennett and the Oilers also have suited up Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse in previous years.
“The calibre has been great. We were spoiled for seven years. Of course you aren’t going to have a phenomenal talent like Connor McDavid every time. But, it is unfortunate to say something like that because this is an opportunity for the teams to gauge the next superstars. There has been almost 80 players that came to the Young Stars that have become regulars in the NHL. It is a great venue to see them,” said Jakubeit.
Hockey fans chimed in on the original tweet with their thoughts:
Instead of it being for the scouts how about the kids that get to see real prospects for next to nothing. Would be total garbage if it didn't happen. Doesn't have to be a mcdavid every year to appreciate it. #canucks #youngstars
— Josh Bird (@birdisthewerd25) January 18, 2018
I hope the tourney is on. That's our hockey holiday. Already have a room booked. Fans want to see it. Talent level has been more the last 3 yrs than before. What's up really?
— west coast can fan (@westcoastcanfan) January 18, 2018
That sucks, I look forward to it. But says a lot about the depth of these teams prospects. The cupboards are empty.
— x-Oilers (@2ndTierFan) January 18, 2018
Try moving year to year..maybe in Camrose Okotoks for AB teams, maybe Lloyd… or Brandon for Jets maybe somewhere like Abbotsford or Surrey..
— Adam Lund (@hotshot8774) January 19, 2018
The inaugural year of the tournament also featured the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks who had then prospect Cam Fowler playing in Penticton — the Ducks did not return the following year and the Sharks bowed out after the 2011 tournament.
Besides the hockey played at the South Okanagan Events Centre, Penticton benefits to the tune of approximately $1.5 million in economic impact from not only the tourists coming to watch the games and soak in the early September warm weather but the accommodation, food and extra curricular activities for the four NHL clubs and staff.