With this year’s Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Classic now in the rearview mirror, B.C.’s NHL team was in a thankful mood Monday morning and they wanted the people of Penticton to know exactly how they felt.
“You can’t ask for more than to kick off your season by being here for a few days,” said Jeremy Colliton, the head coach of the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks. “I think everyone got what they wanted out of it.”
After a multi-year COVID-19 hiatus, the Canucks welcomed all three of their Western Canadian foes to Peach City for the Young Stars Classic from Sept. 16 to 19 at South Okanagan Events Centre.
Colliton, a native of Blackie, Alta., said he hadn’t been to Penticton since he was a kid. He was named the new head coach of the AHL squad in July after serving in the same role with the Chicago Blackhawks from 2018 to 2021.
The Canucks released a special tribute video to Penticton on Sept. 20, thanking the city for hosting the tournament once again. It was in 2010 when the Peach City first hosted the preseason showcase.
Event festivities included a Party on the Plaza outside the South Okanagan Events Centre on Sunday, Sept. 18, which featured games, music, road hockey, prize giveaways and alumni autographs and pictures with Fin the mascot and Canuck goaltending legend Kirk McLean.
Vancouver’s “thank you” video to Penticton includes some of the weekend’s most memorable moments, both on and off the ice. Audio clips of forwards Arshdeep Bains and Tristen Nielsen wearing microphones when in action are also featured.
The team’s mascot, Fin, was captured spending time at Penticton’s Saturday Farmers’ Market.
The Canucks’ return to the South Okanagan kicked off in star-studded fashion when longtime duo Henrik and Daniel Sedin were spotted around town.
Aside from Western Canada’s four squads, neigbouring teams like the Seattle Kraken are expected to get involved in the festivities sooner rather than later.