CSSHL noticeable in town

Colton Davies

An influx of athletes, families and hockey personnel in Penticton for a significant hockey tournament has been noticeable around town.

About 1,300 student athletes are taking part in the BDO Canadian Sports School Hockey League championships, which began on March 9 and ends on Sunday.

The tournament has been held in Penticton and the South Okanagan for the past four years, and CSSHL staff said it has evolved in that short span.

"It's grown from about 22 teams to 68 this year," chief operating officer Kevin Goodwin said. "It's a great way for the kids to cap off their seasons. (Teams) that end up on the bottom of the divisions actually have really good competitive games to finish the year. It's a great environment."

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the presence of the tournament has been felt in the city.

"It's been hustle and bustle with all the traffic of 1,300 athletes and all their parents, friends and families. And it's right before spring break so it's still a slow time. So to have that impact here I think has been great."

Champions have been crowned in four of the seven divisions for the 10-day tournament.

Semi-finals for Elite 15s, Bantam Prep and Midget Prep are on Saturday and the championship games for those respective divisions are on Sunday. There will be nine players on display who were first-round WHL draft picks last year.

Among the seven divisions are the Female Prep and Female Varsity divisions, which were taking part for the first time in the championships.

Goodwin said upwards of 150 scouts as well as other staff from teams ranging from Junior B to Major Junior will have come through the rink by Sunday.

"We get a lot of scout interest for this, obviously to have all our teams in one spot ... they get to watch a lot of hockey and see a lot of kids in a short period of time."

The CSSHL is signed on to play the tournament in Penticton for two more years.

The schedule for this weekend's games can be found here

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