Penticton is hosting the 2017 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup (WCC), the Vees announced Thursday.
The BCHL board of governors will make the announcement on Oct. 26 with formal approval by the Canadian Junior Hockey League board coming at a later date.
Vees president Fred Harbinson said the organization has been preparing for such an event.
“When I added the responsibility of president three seasons ago, my plan was to raise the overall business operation of our organization and to target bringing the 2017 WCC to Penticton,” said Harbinson. “During that time we have raised corporate advertising, our season ticket base and our overall brand to a level that now gives us an opportunity to bring this prestigious event to our city.
“This is an exciting time for our returning players, staff, ownership and the South Okanagan Events Centre,” he continued. “The entire city of Penticton along with our faithful fans will benefit from this marquee championship.”
The road to the 2017 RBC Cup, the Canadian national junior A championship, will go through Penticton from April 29 to May 7. The Vees, along with the champions of the BCHL, Alberta Junior Hockey League, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and Manitoba Junior Hockey League will participate in the WCC tournament. Two will qualify for the 2017 RBC Cup in Cobourg, Ont.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said it’s a great opportunity.
“I think from a business standpoint it’s probably a greater coup or a greater financial advantage for hosting the Western Canadian’s verus the RBC Cup (organized by Hockey Canada),” said Jakubeit. “I think it’s an astute move for the Vees organization to champion this. We were happy to support it. We look forward to some great hockey coming our way. It’s right at the end of the year when everyone is playing their finest. The calibre of hockey is going to be fast and intense. They are all playing to get to the national championship.”
BCHL commissioner John Grisdale said Penticton is a great community to host.
“The success of the team is well documented. They will be a fantastic host.”
The BCHL initially received three bids, the other two from West Kelowna and Alberni Valley. Grisdale said that both withdrew their bid for various reasons. Alberni Valley informed the league on Wednesday as they didn’t feel they could put everything in place. The BCHL will submit Penticton’s bid to the CJHL board, which is formed by the commissioners of the AJHL, SJHL and MJHL with the CJHL commissioner also looking at the bid. Grisdale said they will come and put their stamp on it to make it official, which he hopes is by Nov. 15.
The WCC was created in 2012, when the CJHL announced a new regional playoff format for the western provinces. This is the second time the WCC is coming to B.C. and the first to the Okanagan. The Nanaimo Clippers held the inaugural event in 2013 and the Estevan Bruins are hosting the event this year in Saskatchewan.
The Vees are the defending WCC champions as they won the event last year, their first in franchise history.