The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) has approved the Penticton Vees’ and the city of Penticton’s bid to host the 2017 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup (WCC) at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The Vees had earlier been approved by the BCHL as the winning bidders for the event. This latest news officially clears the way for the Vees and Penticton to prepare to host the best teams from the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL), Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) and Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) to see who will qualify for the 2017 RBC Cup.
“Penticton’s track record on and off the ice speaks for itself as one of the most successful franchises across the CJHL and is certainly well-deserving of the opportunity to host one of Canada’s premier junior events,” said CJHL President Kirk Lamb in a press release. “The strength of the Vees organization and the BCHL, combined with the community and region’s enthusiasm for junior hockey, will ensure that the 2017 event will be one of the best ever.”
The return of the WCC to B.C. marks the start of the second cycle through each of the four leagues as host of the event. Nanaimo hosted the inaugural WCC in 2013, followed by Dauphin, Man. in 2014 and Fort McMurray, Alta. this past April and May. The 2016 WCC will be hosted by Estevan, Sask.
The Vees are the current defending WCC champions and are so far doing their best to get back and represent the BCHL again as they are on a 19-game win streak and rated No. 1 in Canada. While no team has won back-to-back WCC titles, Penticton would love to be the first with an eye on a three-peat in 2017 on home ice.
“My plan was to raise the overall business operation of our organization and to target bringing the 2017 WCC to Penticton,” said Vees head coach, general manager and president Fred Harbinson in a team statement. “This is an exciting time for our returning players, staff, ownership and the South Okanagan Events Centre.
“The entire city of Penticton along with our faithful fans will benefit from this marquee championship.”
With the WCC starting its second tour of Western Canada, the BCHL and Penticton have a unique opportunity to further solidify the tournament as a highlight on the hockey calendar.
“The Vees have become a brand name in Junior A hockey in our country and have an ideal venue to host the WCC in the South Okanagan Events Centre,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale. “We look forward to supporting them in the process of hosting and know they’ll do a first-rate job.”
The 2017 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup in Penticton is currently set to run from April 28 to May 7, 2017.