The stars were out in Penticton on Saturday, Jan. 21, when several of the B.C. Hockey League’s brightest stars took to the city’s outdoor rink for a celebration 60 years in the making.
With the league’s 60th-anniversary all-star game weekend in full flight, players from all 18 teams took part in a skills competition next to city hall.
Hometown favourites and the Penticton Vees’ brotherly duo of Josh and Bradly Nadeau each won their respective events, with the latter winning the hardest shot challenge and the former capturing the title in the shooting accuracy competition.
“For me, I’m just happy for our players that are being recognized,” said the Vees’ coach, general manager and president Fred Harbinson about the weekend.
Penticton’s outdoor rink hosted all the festivities on Saturday, with food trucks, beer gardens and music also featured next to city hall. Never in the history of the BCHL has such an event been hosted at an outdoor facility.
“It’s pretty special and it’s a community that embraces all of this kind of stuff,” Harbinson said.
The league’s skills competition featured the hardest shot, fastest skater, accuracy shooting and agility/passing drills.
While the Coquitlam Express’ won the fastest skater challenge, Nathan Mackie from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks captured the agility/passing drills title.
“This has been in the making for the last couple of years, so it’s nice for all the players,” said Harbinson, who participated in an all-star weekend himself during his junior-hockey career. “It’s something you’ll always remember.”
The city’s outdoor rink hosts the three-on-three all-star tournament Saturday night, before a community skate — featuring players from the Penticton Minor Hockey Association — comes to the facility at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22.