A longstanding hockey tournament in Vernon has been cancelled amid uncertainty around what minor hockey will look like in February.
2021 would have marked the 50th year of the Coca Cola Peewee Classic, but with recent increases in COVID-19 cases across North America, organizers made the call to postpone the milestone tournament until February 2022.
“Our tournament committee has taken pride in putting on this world class International tournament for 49 successful years,” said Jaron Chasca, the tournament’s co-chairperson.
The tournament normally takes place during the annual Vernon Winter Carnival, which is set to proceed next year.
“We are especially cognizant that some of our local peewees may not have the opportunity to play in such a prestigious event this year,” Chasca said. “Many of those kids most likely watched an older brother or sister play in the tournament a few years ago and were waiting for their opportunity which for now is on hold.”
In a previous COVID-19 update, tournament organizers said they would take direction from the provincial health officer, Hockey Canada, B.C. Hockey, the Greater Vernon Minor Hockey Association and the City of Vernon regarding whether the tournament could be held safely next year.
Formerly held in the now-demolished Vernon Civic Arena, the tournament switched venues to Kal Tire Place North in 2018.
The Classic boasts a long list of alumni who went on to be drafted by National Hockey League teams, including Vernon’s Jerred Smithson and Andrew Ebbett.