The host Vernon Watkin Motors Mustangs welcome seven other teams to the 49th annual Coca Cola Classic Peewee Hockey Tournament, which kicks off Thursday, 8 a.m., at Kal Tire Place North. (File photo)

Vernon Mustangs set for Coca Cola Classic

49th annual Winter Carnival peewee hockey tournament features eight teams starting Thursday

The host Vernon Watkin Motors Mustangs will look to bring the Amy Myles Trophy back to the North Okanagan as the 49th annual Coca Cola Classic Peewee Hockey Tournament starts Thursday, 8 a.m., at Kal Tire Place North.

Winners of three straight A Division finals in 2016, ‘17 and ‘18, the Mustangs were relegated to the C Division Final a year ago, where they fell to the St. Albert (Alberta) Stars.

READ MORE: Stars shine in C Final over Vernon

Vernon returns three players from that squad.

“Our style of play is hardworking and relentless,” said Mustangs head coach Ed Patterson, joined on the bench by assistants Steve Nagy, Joe Dolling and Jayden Agar.

“Our forwards drive hard to the net. Our defence is a force to be reckoned with and our goalies make exciting saves protecting the house.”

Vernon will play in the first game of the tournament against the South Delta Storm at 8 a.m., Thursday.

Following the opening ceremonies later Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Vernon will then take on the tournament’s only out-of-province team, the Yellowknife Wolfpack – back for a second straight tournament – at 5:45 p.m.

The Mustangs, playing in the Coca Cola Division, wrap up the preliminary round Friday at 5 p.m. against Okanagan rivals Kamloops Blazers.

The Sun Valley Division features the 2019 A Final runners-up, the Port Moody Panthers – who lost 9-7 to the Vancouver Thunderbirds – as well as the Coquitlam Chiefs, South Okanagan (Oliver-Osoyoos) Peewee, and Merritt Centennials.

“We want to welcome all the teams and their families to our beautiful city and hope then enjoy the tournament,” Patterson said.

“Play hard, skate fast, have fun.”

Games start at 8 a.m. Thursday and Friday and run throughout the day. The consolation semifinals Saturday go at 8 a.m. and 10:15 a.m., followed by the championships semis at 12:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.

Sunday is Finals Day. The Mickey Ogasawara D Division Final will be played at 9 a.m., The Mickey McMahon C Final is slated for 11:30 a.m., The Alex Kuly B Division Final is at 2 p.m., followed by the Amy Myles A Division Final at 4:30 p.m.

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