Ben Hawerchuk, of the Calgary Flames Young Stars battles for position against the Vancouver Canucks in the 2017 Young Stars Classic. The tournament is returning in September but without Calgary or Edmonton. Western News file photo

NHL Young Stars return to Okanagan without Calgary or Edmonton

Young Stars tournament returning to Penticton without Calgary and Edmonton.

The Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Classic will be returning under a revised format and without the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.

Earlier this year there were rumours the tournament itself would not be held in 2018 after reports NHL scouts were “disappointed” in the calibre of the kids taking part.

When that story first surfaced in January of this year, event chair for the Penticton organizing committee Andrew Jakubeit said the tweet from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal caught him off-guard but added he was confident it would go ahead although he did not know what the format or “scope” of the teams would be.

The Classic is held on a year-to-year basis.

Related: Vancouver Canucks confirm participation in NHL Young Stars

The format this year features two games between prospects from the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks as well as a two-game series between the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and CIS Champion University of Alberta Golden Bears.

The Classic will run from Sept. 7 to 9, one day shorter than last year.

“It’s not a setback and I don’t think there’s jeopardy of the tournament changing direction We’re still continuing and we’re still moving forward and next year will be even bigger and better,” said Jakubeit. “I think every year each team evaluates what’s best for their organization and I think this year Calgary and Edmonton wanted to try something a little bit closer to their market and build on their fan base and you can’t blame them for that.

“And make no mistake the university teams are going to come with some pretty high talent and I think for the hockey fan, they’re going to be pleasantly surprised.”

He added it is the Canucks who liaise with the other NHL teams for participating.

At the inaugural event, in 2010, there were six NHL teams represented including the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks did not return in 2011 and the Sharks dropped out after that year. The tournament was not held in 2012 due to the NHL player lockout.

“The Young Stars Classic is a fantastic tournament and the City of Penticton does a tremendous job as host,” said Trevor Linden, Canucks President of Hockey Operations in a news release Wednesday. “While the format and participating teams has changed, fans can still expect a lot of excitement and a high level of competition from both top prospects and elite university programs.”

Canucks prospects expected to participate in the tournament include Adam Gaudette, Jonathan Dahlen, Olli Juolevi, Kole Lind, Lukas Jasek, Jonah Gadjovich, Zack MacEwen, Jalen Chatfield, Guillaume Brisebois and Michael DiPietro.

“With the format changing we’re still really excited I think we get to see the Canucks with the best set of prospects that they’ve every had,” said Jakubeit. “If you’re watching Winnipeg right now the nucleus of their talent are players that were here for the Young Stars so their going to bring a lot of exciting players.”

This year there will be two games Sept. 7 featuring all four teams. UBC and the Golden Bears will play the following day with the NHL reps meeting on the final day.

Full tournament rosters and ticket information will be posted on canucks.com/youngstars and SOEC.ca at a later date.

Just Posted

Dogs called heroes in Blind Bay residential blaze

Homeonwers safe but one pet missing, another confirmed dead following fire

Salmon Arm youth eyes national event in meeting with Justin Trudeau

Friendship Day founder Brody Paton shares vision for national event with prime minister

Freezing rain, some snow forecasted for Okanagan-Similkameen-Shuswap

Environment Canada forecasting freezing rain and snow for much of the region

Salmon Arm RCMP arrest man suspected of using stolen credit cards

The man was taken into custody while driving a stolen car

Process limits greenhouse gas escape at Salmon Arm Landfill

Fortis BC uses converted biogas to fuel between 300 and 500 homes

Barack Obama to speak at Vancouver event

Former U.S. president will speak with board of trade in March

Prince George could get province’s second BC Cannabis Store

The first brick-and-mortar government retail location opened in Kamloops on Oct. 17

B.C. chowdery caught up in ‘rat-in-soup’ scandal to close

Crab Park Chowdery will be shutting down Jan. 20

Vancouver councillors unanimously approve motion declaring climate emergency

Vancouver joins cities like Los Angeles and London

Caribou herd disappears from Kootenays after last cow relocated

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Study finds more than half of food produced in Canada wasted

The study released Thursday is the world’s first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates

Snowed-in Austrian nuns insist they’re staying put

Authorities have deployed heavy equipment to clear snow and fallen trees blocking the road to the monastery

Most Read