Ben Hawerchuk, of the Calgary Flames Young Stars battles for position against the Vancouver Canucks in the 2017 Young Stars Classic. The tournament is returning in September but without Calgary or Edmonton. Western News file photo

NHL Young Stars return to Okanagan without Calgary or Edmonton

Young Stars tournament returning to Penticton without Calgary and Edmonton.

The Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Classic will be returning under a revised format and without the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.

Earlier this year there were rumours the tournament itself would not be held in 2018 after reports NHL scouts were “disappointed” in the calibre of the kids taking part.

When that story first surfaced in January of this year, event chair for the Penticton organizing committee Andrew Jakubeit said the tweet from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal caught him off-guard but added he was confident it would go ahead although he did not know what the format or “scope” of the teams would be.

The Classic is held on a year-to-year basis.

Related: Vancouver Canucks confirm participation in NHL Young Stars

The format this year features two games between prospects from the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks as well as a two-game series between the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and CIS Champion University of Alberta Golden Bears.

The Classic will run from Sept. 7 to 9, one day shorter than last year.

“It’s not a setback and I don’t think there’s jeopardy of the tournament changing direction We’re still continuing and we’re still moving forward and next year will be even bigger and better,” said Jakubeit. “I think every year each team evaluates what’s best for their organization and I think this year Calgary and Edmonton wanted to try something a little bit closer to their market and build on their fan base and you can’t blame them for that.

“And make no mistake the university teams are going to come with some pretty high talent and I think for the hockey fan, they’re going to be pleasantly surprised.”

He added it is the Canucks who liaise with the other NHL teams for participating.

At the inaugural event, in 2010, there were six NHL teams represented including the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks did not return in 2011 and the Sharks dropped out after that year. The tournament was not held in 2012 due to the NHL player lockout.

“The Young Stars Classic is a fantastic tournament and the City of Penticton does a tremendous job as host,” said Trevor Linden, Canucks President of Hockey Operations in a news release Wednesday. “While the format and participating teams has changed, fans can still expect a lot of excitement and a high level of competition from both top prospects and elite university programs.”

Canucks prospects expected to participate in the tournament include Adam Gaudette, Jonathan Dahlen, Olli Juolevi, Kole Lind, Lukas Jasek, Jonah Gadjovich, Zack MacEwen, Jalen Chatfield, Guillaume Brisebois and Michael DiPietro.

“With the format changing we’re still really excited I think we get to see the Canucks with the best set of prospects that they’ve every had,” said Jakubeit. “If you’re watching Winnipeg right now the nucleus of their talent are players that were here for the Young Stars so their going to bring a lot of exciting players.”

This year there will be two games Sept. 7 featuring all four teams. UBC and the Golden Bears will play the following day with the NHL reps meeting on the final day.

Full tournament rosters and ticket information will be posted on canucks.com/youngstars and SOEC.ca at a later date.

Just Posted

Man taken to hospital after rolling truck east of Clearwater

The driver went into the ditch at roughly 4:30 p.m. and suffered lower body injuries

UPDATED: One person killed in fiery crash near Barriere

Thursday evening crash involved three large semi-trailers and a passenger vehicle

Updated: RCMP find body of missing woman who fell into B.C. River

The body of Jessie Lavallee was found in the North Thompson River south of Barriere

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Updated: Police confirm death of woman at Wells Gray Park

She was with a group of people from Kamloops at Spahat Creek Falls when she fell about 500 feet

B.C. BMX kid wows GoPro with homemade video

Eight-year-old Rex Johnson wins award for inventive video

B.C. man wins job he was denied after saying he had depression

Transport Canada has been order to give Chris Hughes a high-level job and nearly $500,000

B.C. soldier shot down a century ago to be honoured

Norman Stuart Harper, of Kamloops, was killed on a bombing mission over Lahr, Germany, in 1918

Trump sends letter to Trudeau calling for increase in NATO defence spending

The letter comes as tensions between Canada and the United States have risen to a dramatic high

Horse put down, 1 person in hospital after hit by car in Lower Mainland

Accident along 132nd Avenue in Maple Ridge Friday afternoon

Electoral reform vote in B.C. includes $500,000 each for pro and con groups

A mail-in ballot referendum will take place Oct. 22 to Nov. 30, asking two questions on voting

83-year-old inmate dies at medium-security prison in Mission

Correctional Services Canada says Ralph Whitfield Morris died in custody

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna suspended for 75 games

23-year-old pitcher faces assault charge

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Most Read