Canadian Sport School Hockey League Championships in Penticton showcases the best up-and-coming players

Eyeing future hockey stars

Casey Richardson

Up-and-coming hockey players have taken over Penticton as a part of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League Western Championships.

From March 6-19, the city hosts 148 games, with champions being crowned in all six CSSHL Western divisions and student-athletes aged 13-18.

The event gives young players the opportunity to showcase their talents.

“We have over 40 Girls, almost 50 girls that have committed to colleges for next year already. We have over 100 kids that have been drafted in the Western Hockey League. Last spring, we were 40 per cent of their draft,” Kevin Goodwin, the CSSHL chief operating officer said.

“So it's a lot of high-end kids that their dreams are to move on to professional hockey. And we also have a lot of kids that are gonna play Junior A next year. “

Goodwin said over 300 of their alumni are playing Junior A in Canada. There are a number of standout players this year.

“Probably the biggest name you'll see on the boy's side is a fellow by the name of Gavin McKenna. Underage kid, they’re comparing him to Connor Bedard…Even our coaches, a lot of NHL alumni, coaches, Chris Dingman, Jarome Iginla, and Robert Dirk.”

Between all the kids, coaches and fans coming into town, Goodwin said they will have between 5000 to 6000 people rolling through at any point.

“We expect $4 million in economic support for the city. In a time when there's really not a lot going on in March, so it's great,” he added.

“If you walk around town, we've also taken over most of the hotels on the north end and a lot of the restaurants so there's a lot happening. Right now we have 86 teams in town over that two week span, typically about 30 teams in town at any one time.”

"We just signed a new deal for 10 more years here in Penticton. Our governors love this place."

Goodwin encourages the public to come out and watch the promising young players is some competitive games.

“You're going to see some great hockey.”

Tickets are available to be purchased online at www.valleyfirsttix.com or in person at the Valley First Box Office at the South Okanagan Events Centre, open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A day pass costs $25 and a full tournament pass is $65. Admission for spectators under the age of 18 is free.

Games are held at the Okanagan Hockey Training Centre, Memorial Arena and South Okanagan Events Centre.

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