The 2024 Esso Cup will be heading to Vernon next year for the first time ever.
The Cup is for the top U18 AAA girls hockey teams from across the country, and will run April 21-27, 2024, at Kal Tire Place.
Hosting the tournament will be the Thompson-Okanagan U18 girls AAA Lakers team.
“It’s a great opportunity for our kids, but also our community,” said Lakers GM Kevin Bathurst. “It will have a huge impact on female hockey locally and in our region.”
This will be the first time Vernon has ever hosted a national hockey event at the U18 level. According to Bathurst, a big bid proposal was put together in the spring by the organization, with Hockey Canada officially going forward with Vernon as the host a month ago.
Last season, the Lakers lost in the provincial final to the Fraser Valley Rush. But, the team is young and motivated to go through the ‘front door’ for nationals next year.
“We are looking to win the provincial championship first and then a regional championship against Hockey Alberta and then on to nationals,” Bathurst said. “We are lucky that we have a ticket to the dance in April for sure.”
The Lakers last season were young, and will be bringing back close to 90 per cent of the team for next year.
“They are a young group that has had a lot of experience over the last couple years so this will be a prime opportunity for them,” said Bathurst
All games of the tournament will be played at Kal Tire Place. Tickets are not on sale yet. The final will be broadcasted nationwide on TSN.
More information can be found at thompsonokanaganlakers.net