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Young Stars Preview: Vancouver

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Both the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres entered the NHL in 1970.

That created a dilemma for the NHL as far as who should receive the first overall pick in the draft and the league’s solution was to spin a wheel. Vancouver ended up on the short end of the stick drafting second instead of first and fans thought the team would be forever cursed when it came to drafting.

That hasn’t been the case. Not even close.

Last season five of Vancouver’s top eight point producers were Canucks draftees, including Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond and Alex Edler. This year fresh faces like Cody Hodgson, Jordan Schroeder, Kevin Connauton, Taylor Ellington and Prab Rai are hoping to make an impact with the big club. Their skills will be on display in Penticton proving that the Canucks are far from cursed on draft day.

*Note: Canucks coach Alain Vigneault revealed Friday that Hodgson will not be participating in the Young Stars Tournament. More

You want to be in Penticton to check out the Canucks, but: A – Your bike was stolen, B – You have a flat tire on your car, C – You’ve misplaced your GPS or D – You can only find one rollerblade, well don’t sweat it. As usual, has your back.

All eight games of the Young Stars Tournament will be available live on beginning September 12th. Full details on the Young Stars Tournament can be found at

Jordan Schroeder

F - Drafted 1st round, 22nd overall, in 2009 – A steal as the 22nd selection in 2009, Schroeder is an intelligent player with great vision and awareness. He possesses exceptional creativity on offence and what he lacks in size, he makes up for in natural skill and raw effort. Schroeder has a trio of medals from international play and in three World Junior tournament appearances he amassed seven goals and 20 assists for 27 points to break Jeremy Roenick’s all-time Team USA points record.

Kevin Connauton

D - Drafted 3rd round, 83rd overall, in 2009 – Connauton is perfect hybrid of size and skill; this Edmonton product has a booming shot, great patience and poise in his own end and good foot speed. During the 2009-10 season, Connauton cocooned from casual scorer to a point-a-game man with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants; he set new team records in goals with 24 and points with 72, and was also named to the WHL’s West First All-Star Team for his defensive reliability and offensive outburst.

Prab Rai

F - Drafted 5th round, 131st overall, in 2008 – Speed is Rai's greatest asset, blink and you’ll miss him. That can cause obvious headaches for defenders when he has the puck, especially now that his puck control and decision-making are so sharp. He took advantage of both with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds last year to post a personal best 41 goals and career-high 69 points. In four seasons in Seattle, Rai has 218 points in 238 games.


Evan Oberg

D - Free agent signed in April 2009 – Oberg took the same route as Mason Raymond to get to Vancouver: Camrose of the AJHL, to Minnesota-Duluth of the WCHA, to Manitoba of the AHL, to the Canucks. He’s hoping to one-day become a regular in Vancouver as well. Oberg played two games with the Canucks last year and he held his own making smart moves with the puck and avoiding mistakes.


Alex Friesen

F - Drafted 6th round, 172nd overall, in 2010 – You can’t get anywhere in life without hard work and Friesen was voted the OHL’s Hardest Working Player in a coaches poll last year. He’s a tenacious forechecker as determined as anyone to come away with the puck in the corners. He’s got offensive upside as well having led the Niagara Ice Dogs in playoff scoring last season.

Vancouver vs Edmonton Sept. 12 4:00pm
San Jose vs Anaheim Sept. 12 7:30pm
Anaheim vs Calgary Sept. 13 4:00pm
San Jose vs Vancouver Sept. 13 7:30pm
Calgary vs Edmonton Sept. 14 7:30pm
Anaheim vs Vancouver Sept. 15 4:00pm
Edmonton vs San Jose Sept. 15 7:30pm
Calgary vs Vancouver Sept. 16 12:00pm

Tournament packages, which include a ticket to each of the eight games, will be available for purchase, starting at $66 plus applicable fees.

Tournament ticket packages will go on-sale June 26 at 10am online at, by phone at 1-877-763-2849 or in person at the South Okanagan Events Centre box office. Single game tournament tickets will be made available starting August 16th at 10am. Please note that game dates, times and opponents subject to change. More info.

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