Players who once donned the maroon and gold of the West Kelowna Warriors will gather next weekend for their 3rd annual charity golf and hockey weekend.
Dozens of current and former players led by Edmonton Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz and current forward Liam Blackburn will head the list of those in town for the event.
Players will tee up at Two Eagles Golf Course and Academy 1 p.m. Friday, May 29 then don the blades for a charity hockey game against members of the West Kelowna Fire Department at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 30 at Royal LePage Place.
The local chapter of Kid Sport and Tim Hortons Camp Day will will be the beneficiaries of proceeds from the golf tournament.
Tickets are $125 each and some spots are still available.
Cost includes dinner and a silent auction.
There will also be on-course prizes including a chance to win $10,000 for a hole-in-one courtesy of Tim Hortons.
Contact the Warriors office at 250-769-7051 to reserve a spot in the golf tournament.
The following day players will gather out front at Royal LePage Place for a courtyard party with a Justin Schultz autographed jersey up for grabs.
At 6 p.m., local firefighters will lace up skates and trade hoses for hockey sticks as they face off against the Warriors alumni in what has become an annual tradition in West Kelowna the Shutout Sports Challenge Cup.
While each year teams play for bragging rights, something even more important is on the line, explains Alex Draper, Warriors Director of Business Operations.
“Obviously, from a fan standpoint it’s great fun to come out and watch former players take on our local fire fighting heroes, but the game is also an important fundraiser for the Food Bank here,” Draper explains.
“Admission to the game is by donation and while we all want fans to have a great time and enjoy the event, we also want to encourage everyone to come out and support the important work being done by our local Food Bank.”
Schultz says the weekend is something the players look forward to.
"We love it. We look forward to it every year. We get to see all the guys we used to play with and we're doing it for a good cause which is awesome. We can't wait for that weekend."
Schultz just completed his third season with the Oilers in the NHL.
And, while it was another disappointing season for the team on the ice the off season has been anything but.
The Oilers introduced a new head coach in Todd McLellan Tuesday. In seven seasons behind the bench in San Jose McLellan took the Sharks to the post season six times before missing out this past season.
"This will be my third or fourth coach now so it will be nice to maybe get a coach for more than a year and hopefully start winning," said Schultz of the coaching change.
The Oilers also brought in a new general manager in Peter Chiarelli who had previous success in Boston and, as luck would have it, will select first in this summer's entry draft and get first crack at Connor McDavid.
"It's exciting. All the guys are excited because it was something that was unexpected for us to get that pick. It's a great time to be an Oiler. I was in shock," said Schultz.
"That type of player only comes around once every-so-often. He's definitely a game changer and it's going to be exciting to have him."
"I was in shock. I didn't watch it, I was golfing and somebody told me. I was in awe. It's great.
Two members of the West Kelowna Warriors have made college commitments.
Defenceman Kristian Blumenschein has agreed to join Colorado College for the 2016-2017 season while captain Andrew Johnson will lay this coming season with the CIS University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
Blumenschein, a rookie defenseman from Kelowna, had 42 points in his inaugural season in West Kelowna, including 35 assists, which was the leading total in the BCHL among rookie defensemen.
On his recruitment visit, it became an easy decision, said Blumenschein,
“The city and the campus are beautiful. The facilities are first class and the coaches both have professional experience. They have a great hockey program and are great academically," said Blumenschein.
At the year-end awards banquet, Blumenschein was awarded the teams Rookie of the Year honors, which was a no-brainer according to head coach and GM Rylan Ferster.
“He played in all situations all season, and for a 17-year-old player you don’t normally see that. He’s a special player and we’re very happy that he is going to be moving on to the college ranks after next season.”
“The BCHL has taught me how to contain fast, skilled players,” Blumenschein added, “I aim to continue maturing as a hockey player and keep contributing offensively next season. I’m looking to make a smooth transition to NCAA hockey by steadily improving.”
Johnson played in 309 Junior games in his career, including playing for three different WHL teams in Moose Jaw, Swift Current, and Seattle.
He finished with 19 goals and 25 assists in 2014-2015, and added five points in the first round series against Penticton.
Heading home was an easy choice. "I haven't played at home since I was 15 years old in midget. It's going to be special and i'm friends with some of the guys on the team, plus I have a good relationship with the coach," Johnson said recently.
"I wasn't sure what was going to happen in my 20-year-old year but getting the opportunity in West Kelowna was the best possible situation for me and I am beyond thankful for it. I already miss it!"
The opportunity came out of a connection from Rylan Ferster. After getting told that Johnson was available, Ferster talked with Johnson and they decided it was going to be a good fit. His sweaters had the "C" sewn on before he got to the Okanagan it seemed, as he wore it in his first game October 24th in Nanaimo.
"Andrew is a special player," Ferster mentioned, "He plays 200 feet, is a great penalty killer, and took over 75% of our face-offs down the stretch. I'm glad that he is going to get a chance to go to school and play hockey in his hometown. We wish him the best of luck and congratulate him on a great junior career."
Johnson joins 2014-2015 Warriors Jordan Masters (Arizona State), Jason Cotton (Northeastern), and Andy Desautels (University of Regina) in attending school next season.
In all seven players committed to schools this season. Cotton had his scholarship prior to this year.
The dream of an RBC Cup title for the Penticton Vees ended in dramatic and heartbreaking fashion Saturday.
Jordan Larson scored the game winner 3:43 into double overtime as the Carleton Place Canadians edged the Vees 2-1 in Saturday's semi-final.
Early in the second extra period, Tyson Stewart kept the puck in at the Penticton blue-line before going cross-ice to Ryker Killins, whose low shot was kicked out by Vees goaltender Hunter Miska.
Larson knocked home the rebound to give the Canadians the thrilling victory.
All the scoring in the game prior to Larson's winner came in the second period.
Tyson Jost opened the scoring when he banged home Connor Chartier's rebound six minutes into the middle frame.
The Canadians tied it on Stephen Baylis' goal with two minutes left in the period.
The goaltender were the story the rest of the way.
Miska stopped 38 of 40 shots he faced through four plus periods while his counterpart Guillaume Therien turned aside 36 shots.
Penticton had chances to win it in the first overtime period when they were granted a pair of power-plays but were unable tio get the winner behind Therien.
Carleton Place advances to the RBC Cup for the second straight year.
The Canadians lost in to the Yorkton Terriers in last year's final in Vernon.
The Vees finished in a first place tie with host Portage la Prairie with identical 3-1 records through round robin, however, the hosts were awarded first place by virtue of a round robin won over the Vees.
The Penticton Vees won their third straight at the RBC Cup in Portage la Prairie, Man. Thursday afternoon.
Penticton got two goals and two assists from Patrick Newell in a 5-2 win over winless Soo Thunderbirds to open up day six at the national Junior A championship.
After dropping their opening game to the host squad the Vees have reeled off three in a row to conclude round robin play at 3-1.
Steen Cooper, Tyson Jost and Dakota Conroy scored the other goals for the Vees. Demico Hannoun added three assists, while Cooper had a goal and a helper.
Brett Jeffries had both goals for the Thunderbirds.
The Vees led 1-0 after one and 3-1 after 40 minutes.
The T-Birds got close with a goal early in the third but Jost restored the two goal lead two minutes later and Conroy sealed it with a power-play goal with less than four minutes left.
The Vees will play in one of two semi-finals set for Saturday however, their opponent has yet to be determined.
Penticton sits atop the round robin standings but that could change pending the outcome of the final round robin game Thursday night between the host team and Melfort.
A Portage la Prairie win in regulation time would give them first place and bump the Vees to second. Anything less and the Vees will finish in top spot.
The Penticton Vees have secured a semifinal berth at the RBC Cup after a 4-3 Tuesday afternoon in Portage la Prairie, Man.
Facing the previously unbeaten and unscored upon Carleton Place Canadians of Ontario, the Vees got goals from four different scorers and Hunter Miska made 15 saves to earn the win.
Penticton trailed 2-1 after one but scored three straight to grab a 4-2 lead five minutes into the third. Carlton Place got one back on the power-play to make it close.
Steen Cooper with a goal and an assist, Cam Amantea, Riley Alferd and Connor Chartier with the eventual game winner scored for Penticton.
Dante Fabbro chipped in with a pair of assists.
Both clubs are now 2-1 at the RBC Cup, though Carleton Place has a superior goal differential (+6 to the Vees’ +4)
Penticton will face the Soo Thunderbirds Wednesday in a 12 p.m. Pacific faceoff. The Thunderbirds are looking for their first win of the RBC Cup and currently sit at the bottom of the tournament standings.
Semifinal games will be played on Saturday and the championship game, televised nationally on TSN, will be played at 5 p.m. Pacific on Sunday.
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