Troy Stecher remembers watching the Canucks Young Stars Classic when he was 16 and a rookie with the Penticton Vees.
Stecher, a Richmond native, watched several games of players he looked up to.
“I want to play in this one day,” Stecher said he recalled thinking back then. “Just seeing the different level that players are at, especially when you are in juniors. You can kind of monitor yourself, judge yourself on where you are at.”
Stecher would watch the prospects competing against each other, picking out parts of their game and incorporating them into his.
“The average fan is going to go for the entertainment,” said Stecher, listed at five-foot-11, 191 pounds and put up 13 goals and 53 points in 119 NCAA games with the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. “As a player I would always try to find something that could help me become a better hockey player.”
Stecher, who helped the Vees win an RBC Cup in 2012, is getting his chance to play in the Classic as a Vancouver Canucks prospect.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Stecher, adding his parents will be able to come watch him play and put on the Canucks jersey for the first time.
What Stecher also recalls is having to carry his equipment to Memorial Arena as the Vees dressing room was being used by the Canucks.
“This is a pretty special opportunity for myself just going back to Penticton,” said Stecher, who looks forward to seeing his friends, former coach Fred Harbinson, teachers and billets. “I had a great three years. The place has a special place in my heart.”
Stecher aims to impress Canucks management to hopefully earn an opening-season roster spot. To him though, that has started by training at Rogers Arena with staff and other Canuck players.
When Stecher hits the ice at the South Okanagan Events Centre this September, he will already be used to the big crowds after playing three years with the Fighting Hawks.
“At this level now you should be able to get up for any game,” said Stecher. “It does help you get fired up when there are more people in the building. I think that can translate well with me moving forward. It is a different level. It’s not college now, it’s pro.”
Stecher recently finished his second development camp with the organization. He also received more attention by being mic’d up with former Fighting Hawks teammate Brock Boeser.
Stecher said it was a fun experience with his camp roommate. Canucks media staff clipped the microphones to the players’ shoulder and simply said for them to be themselves and play their game for a video that focused on them.
“Everything said is recorded. You kind of had to watch your mouth a little bit at times,” joked Stecher. “It was all in good fun. I’ve seen it. Brock and I kind of laughed a little bit about it. It’s a little bit more embarrassing hearing yourself talk. I didn’t think my voice was like that. I guess I will work on a deeper voice as I get older.”
At one point in the video, Stecher was caught cracking a joke about the blind leading the blind. That was about the players being confused about if the ice was going to be flooded.
“It was probably a good show for the fans,” he said.
There will likely be less confusion on the ice when Stecher and the Canucks step onto the South Okanagan Events Centre surface for the first time at the Young Stars Classic Sept.16 to 19. Tickets go on sale on Aug. 3 at 10 a.m. Single, double-header tickets and packages will be available.
The four-team, round-robin tournament features prospects from the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets and Canucks. Along with Stecher, players expected to play for the Canucks include Olli Juolevi, Thatcher Demko and Jordan Subban. For the Jets —Kyle Connor, Logan Stanley, Brendan Lemieux and Jack Roslovic, the Flames —Matthew Tkachuk, son of former NHLer Keith Tkachuk, Tyler Parsons and Dillon Dube and for the Oilers — Jesse Puljujärvi, Tyler Benson and Drake Caggiula
Single game tickets are $15 while double header tickets are $25, available online at ValleyFirstTix.com, by phone at 1-877-763-2849 or in person at the South Okanagan Events Centre Valley First Box Office. Double header packages are $110 and include two tickets per game for the Friday, Sept. 16 or Monday, Sept. 19 double header games (four tickets total), two exclusive 2016 Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Classic baseball hats (adjustable back) and a $20 food and beverage voucher (valid at the Valley First Vault Bar & Grill or any of the concession stands). Limited VIP tickets packages are also still available for a cost of $90.
This year’s off-ice festivities include a Canucks Town Hall Breakfast, Minor Hockey Day featuring a Party on the Plaza with games, food, music, entertainment, and skills development camps for BC minor hockey players.
Young Stars Classic Schedule*
GAME TEAMS DATE TIME
Game 1 Calgary vs. Winnipeg Sept. 16 4:00pm
Game 2 Vancouver vs. Edmonton Sept. 16 7:30pm
Game 3 Calgary vs. Edmonton Sept. 17 7:30pm
Game 4 Vancouver vs. Winnipeg Sept. 18 2:00pm
Game 5 Edmonton vs. Winnipeg Sept. 19 11:00am
Game 6 Vancouver vs. Calgary Sept. 19 3:00pm
*Subject to Change