PENTICTON, British Columbia -- Year two of the Young Stars tournament in Penticton has been drawing positive reviews from the city’s organizing committee, fans, media members, and the five NHL clubs in attendance.
The five-day event in the Okanagan has gone off without a hitch, and while attendance has dropped from last year’s inaugural edition, numbers aren’t at a level that will scare off the member parties from working toward a third annual event at the state of the art South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.
The popular vacation destination located between Okanagan and Skaha Lake seem to be the perfect fit for the event. Penticton’s September weather, the accessibility and functionality of the venue, and relative proximity to the four Western Canadian entrants have made the event and the city a great fit.
City Councillor Andrew Jakubeit spoke to the revenue the event brings to the local economy, and the notoriety the city receives as positive of the event. Jakubeit was quick to point out the large swarms of fans from Edmonton and Vancouver (among the smaller herds Jets and Flames faithful) that have traveled to the city to take in the hockey and the regional tourist attractions.
Jakubeit is hopeful the host Canucks and the city can have a framework for a potential 2012 event in place prior to the chaos of the NHL home-stretch and postseason, to allow for a head start on marketing and ticket sales.
That was something I've been dreaming of, something I've told myself before the third period I was going to do ... It was an amazing feeling. It's hard to describe. I didn't believe it went in at first but when I saw all the reaction and all the fans going crazy and my teammates going crazy, it's just an unbelievable feeling. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know whether to jump or just skate and do a Theo Fleury. I don't think I'm the same caliber player he is so I couldn't do it.
— Flames forward Mikael Backlund on scoring the overtime winner against the Ducks in Gm. 3