Morning Star Staff
Alumni include Gord Kluzak, Doug Bodger, Ray Whitney, Daymond Langkow, Brent Gilchrist, Jeff Finley, Dennis Holland, Troy Mick and Curtis Lazar.
And with a motto: ‘The Stars of Tomorrow are here Today,’ the 43rd annual Coca-Cola Pee Wee Invitational Hockey Classic will again showcase extraordinary talent, Feb. 13-16, at Civic Arena.
“We had more than 20 applications so there is still lots of interest in our tournament,” said Classic chairman Marty Stein. “The teams that don’t get in are disappointed and we hear about it.”
The Abbotsford Hawks, late last week, replaced the Cowichan Valley Capitals as the eighth and final entry after some issues with the Caps’ standing with the Vancouver Island hockey association were discovered.
Abbotsford, Prince George Cougars, Blackfoot Chiefs of Calgary and the Seattle Sno-Kings make up the Sun Valley Source for Sports Division.
The Watkin Motors Vernon Vipers will play in the Coca-Cola Division with Warman Wildcats of Saskatchewan, Strathcona Warriors of Edmonton and Nanaimo Clippers.
The Watkin Motors crew went into the Christmas break smiling after a 2-1 win over the Kamloops Jardines Blazers 2-1 Saturday at Arena.
It was an important game in the race for home-rink advantage in the playoffs, and first star went to Vernon goalie Tyler Sedlacek, who stood on his head and stopped five breakaway attempts.
Tanner Brown opened the Viper attack, unassisted. Cole Boyarski bagged the winner after a deep drive by d-man Lee Christensen.
Vernon improved to 2-6-1, while Kamloops dipped to 2-4-3.
The Nixon Wenger Pee Wee Tier 3 Vipers ambushed the Salmon Arm SilverBacks 11-2 Saturday at Civic.
Tysen Fairweather pulled the hat trick, while new forward Jacob Green netted a pair. Singles came from Cole Johnson, Braeden McAmmond, Tanner Wright, Nick Teale, Gavin Medema and Aiden Trottier.
Net detective Dalton Stenberg was solid on the few opportunities Salmon Arm enjoyed.
The North Okanagan Pee Wee Tier 4 Knights tied the Kelowna Rockets 4-4 Saturday in their last league game before the Christmas break.
Alex Gilowski found the back of the net on a feed from Dylan Huber to open the Knights’ offence. Kevin Thomas Walters then blasted in a beauty from the blueline, assisted by Wesley Graves and Kord Haller.
Easton Hunter converted in the second period, assisted by Haller, before the Rockets responded midway through the period.
Gilowski and Huber teamed up again in the last minute to give the Knights some breathing room.
The Rockets scored early in the period and equalized with three minutes left. Thomas Burton was solid in the Knights’ net.
In Atom Tier 3 action at Civic, the H&L Glass Junior Vipers wiped out West Kelowna 6-1 and then crushed Kelowna 15-4.
On Saturday, Cash Anderson burned his former West Kelowna teammates for four points. Sent in alone by Emma Elders on the game’s first shift, Anderson sold the goalie on a backhand fake and then made him pay on the forehand.
In the dying seconds of the first, the Warriors looked to equalize on a breakaway, but a speeding Brock Holliday got back to break it up.
Maddex Minard doubled Vernon’s lead early in the middle frame, taking a Jordyn Morris pass in the high slot and ringing a rising wrister in off the post. Facing a Warriors’ powerplay, netminder Teja Sheldrake snatched a hot shot just below the bar, one of his 15 saves en route to a half-game shutout.
The Vipers poured it on in the third, outshooting West Kelowna 28-5 and putting four past the beleaguered backstop.
Jordyn Morris popped Vernon’s third on a rebound at 3:41, after Chris Bond teed up Minard for a shot off the draw. A Liam Remple howitzer from the right point made it 4-0.
Next, Nick Noren jammed in an Anderson rebound, and with two minutes to go, Anderson potted his second, one-timing a Noren offering. Defensive wall Adam Bourgeois earned Vernon’s Hard Hat.
On Sunday, H&L Glass built a 6-0 lead through one period.
Remple kicked off the scoring on a solo rush. Noren, on a rebound, and Anderson, on a wraparound, tallied next. Elders then scored on a shoot-in from outside the blueline. Minard and John Spraggs joined the parade with mid-range snipes.
Scoring by committee continued in the second, as Colby Restiaux overpowered the Kelowna keeper’s glove hand from 40 feet. After the Rockets got on the board, defenceman-turned-forward Quinn Soon struck back with a pair.
Hard Hat winner Soon completed the hat trick with a shorthanded, top-shelf snipe in the third. Minard converted three times in the frame, his hat trick and fourth goals coming on dishes from Morris. Remple and Elders each added their second snipes.
Sheldrake blanked Kelowna in the first half, while Jaret Cooper was brilliant in the freewheeling second half, stretching out to deny two breakaways and robbing another Rocket with a paddle-down save. Staring down a penalty shot, Cooper used the Johnny Bower poke-check to perfection.