The Canucks will host the Flames, Oilers and Jets in the return of the annual prospect tournament in September.
Just in time for Vancouver Canucks fans to plan a trip to Penticton in three months, the Canucks announced the details of the 2022 Young Stars Classic on Wednesday.
The prospect tournament returns after a four-year absence and will be held September 16-19 at the South Okanagan Events Center in Penticton, BC. The four-team round robin includes the Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Winnipeg Jets.
The tournament begins September 16 at 4:00 p.m. with games between the Jets and Flames, then Oilers and Canucks at 7:30 p.m. Flames and Oilers, then Canucks meet September 18 at 2:00 p.m the jets on.
The tournament then concludes on September 19 with a game between the Jets and Oilers at 11:00 am and a game between the Canucks and Flames at 2:30 pm
The Canucks will also have a pre-tournament “Hockey Talk” with Assistant General Manager Cammi Granato on Thursday, September 15, as well as a smaller hockey skills session and a “Party on the Plaza” on Sunday, September 18 ” present.
When the Canucks last hosted the Young Stars Classic, only one other NHL team, the Jets, joined them. The return of the Flames and Oilers will ensure a more balanced tournament and give each team a better sense of how their prospects compare to other teams.
“Thank you to the Winnipeg Jets, the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames for their dedication to the tournament,” said Stan Smyl, Canucks vice president of hockey operations, who then quipped, “I don’t thank those types of teams that much because they not one of my favorites because I play against them all the time.
Smyl said it wasn’t too difficult to persuade the Oilers and Flames to return.
“Well, we took that picture behind us,” Smyl joked, pointing to the scenic view of Penticton through the window behind him. “All the teams coming this year have been here before and really enjoy taking part in the tournament… It’s a great opportunity for you to spend some time and do the team building that’s important to move forward and there’s nothing better than doing this before the tournament main training camp begins.”
Smyl confirmed that the Young Stars Classic is set to become an annual event again, while Penticton Mayor John Vassalaki suggested working on convincing the Seattle Kraken to attend in the future. Smyl pointed out that the Kraken may not yet have a deep enough prospect pool as a new team to participate at this point.
Intriguingly, Smyl confirmed that Jonathan Wall – once director of hockey operations for the Canucks before he was fired prior to Jim Rutherford’s arrival – is still involved in organizing the Young Stars tournament. He was one of the people in the Canucks organization who have worked hard to bring the Young Stars tournament back over the past few years.
Ryan Johnson, Canucks senior director of player development and Abbotsford Canucks GM, will be part of the group drafting the rules of the tournament, including age limits to ensure there is a focus on youth and prospects.
Among the prospects expected to bring the Canucks to Penticton is newly signed Linus Karlsson, who just won the Swedish Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year award.
“You could see a few players from Abbotsford and Karlsson would be one of the players that would be on the list,” said Smyl.
Those “few players from Abbotsford” likely include Danila Klimovich, the Canucks’ second-round pick of 2021, who spent all of last season in the AHL with Abbotsford despite only turning 19 in January. Other prospects who could reach Abbotsford’s age limit include goalkeeper Arturs Silovs, defender Jett Woo and winger Karel Plasek.