PENTICTON, BC –The biggest championship Western Canadian Junior ‘A’ hockey is coming to Penticton in 2017. The Penticton Vees, in conjunction with the BCHL, has been awarded the 2017 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup (WCC), the team announced Thursday.
The road to the 2017 National Junior A Championship, the RBC Cup, will go through Penticton as the WCC runs April 29 to May 7, 2017. 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 a five-team tournament for the WCC title. Of the five teams, two will qualify for the 2017 RBC Cup in Cobourg, Ont.
“When I added the responsibility of team 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 Vees head coach, general manager and president Fred 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. The entire city of Penticton along with our faithful fans will benefit from this marquee championship.”
The WCC concept came to fruition in January 2012, when the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), announced a new regional playoff format for its four western provinces. This is the second time the WCC is coming to B.C. and the first time to the Okanagan. The Nanaimo Clippers held the inaugural event in 2013 and the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins are hosting the event this season.
The 13-game tournament includes a round-robin schedule followed by two semi-final games and a championship game. The Western Canada Cup Champion and the runner-up will both represent Western Canada at the RBC Cup.
The Vees are the defending WCC champions, as they won the event last year in Fort McMurray, Alta – their first in franchise history. The Vees upended the Portage Terriers 4-3 in overtime, in the Championship game. The BCHL has thrived at the event, winning two of the first three Western Canada Cups, as Surrey won the inaugural championship three years ago.
The Vees organization, along with the South Okanagan Events Centre and the City of Penticton, is excited to welcome Western Canada’s best to the South Okanagan in the spring of 2017.