The BC Hockey League has announced plans to celebrate the league’s 60th anniversary with an All-Star game on Penticton’s new outdoor ice rink.
The league will also feature retro games for every team, with the all-star game taking place on the weekend of Jan. 14 to 16.
“While we take a look back at the past 60 years, this all-star event will also give us the chance to recognize the present and all of the talented young athletes playing in our league,” BCHL chairman Graham Fraser said.
Over the three-day weekend, there will also be a skills competition with the BCHL all-stars, an alumni game featuring BCHL and NHL alumni, minor hockey events, community skates, live music, a fundraiser dinner and more.
Alumni so far set to participate include Scott Neidermayer and Mike Richter, as well as some unannounced former members of the Canucks.
Fraser added that the season will be a “unique celebration of the BCHL and everything it means to our communities.”
The Climate and Sport Initiative are also partners for the event through their Save Pond Hockey, and as part of their partnership will be sending Olympic gold medalist Hayley Wickenheiser to Penticton, along with a few of her former teammates.
The whole weekend will kick off with a Ride to the Rink event, where fans and players are encouraged to cycle their way down Penticton’s new Lake-to-Lake route in their favourite jerseys.
Finally, on Saturday, there will also be a special beer festival highlighting local craft beers.
The league will also be producing digital content throughout the season, highlighting the BCHL and its past achievements.
A fan vote to decide both the all-star jerseys and rosters will also take place to get fans involved in the festivities.
Penticton was one of two cities selected across all of Canada as hosts for the Save Pond Hockey event, something which brought additional praise from city council when the event went before them on Aug. 17.
“We’re one of the only two communities in Canada?” Coun. Katie Robinson had asked. “I don’t know what you’re doing but keep doing it.”
Council voted unanimously to move $50,000 to cover the remainder of costs for the event after sponsorships and other funding avenues.
The Vees open their season on Oct. 8 against the Vernon Vipers at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
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