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


Win shopping downtown

The Downtown Penticton Association is joining forces with Castanet to encourage residents to shop downtown while revitalization work takes place on the 300 block of Main Street.

Shoppers are encouraged to visit a downtown business to enter their name in a draw for $1,000 in gift cards. A list of participating shops can be found here.

“It’s to encourage people to come on down, all the businesses are open,” DPA marketing and events manager Jackey Zellweger said.

Some shops have opted to open their back-alley entrances to customers to help with access while construction is underway.

A winner will be drawn at the conclusion of the downtown road work in the middle of June.

Have coffee with a cop

The Penticton RCMP is inviting you to coffee.

The public is asked to come out to the Nest and Nectar on March 22 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to meet and engage with local police officers in an informal setting.

It’s an approach that has been adopted by law enforcement agencies across North America in recent years.

“It’s a great opportunity to meet with the men and women who provide policing services to your area, for a casual conversation over a cup of coffee,” said Supt. Ted De Jager.

Nest and Nectar is located at 301-1475 Fairview Rd.


Wanted man nabbed

A 32-year-old man with a Canada-wide warrant out for his arrest is now in police custody after he was found on an Oliver property with stolen items, including a vehicle and firearm.

At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, police responded to the 900 block of Fairview Road for reports for a break and enter at a home.

The suspect had broken through the back door and rummaged through several rooms, but the suspect was no longer there.

During their investigation, a neighbour told police their home had also been broken into and a firearm, along with other items, were stolen. A second neighbour also informed police their flat deck truck had been recently stolen.

Cpl. Christina Tarasoff says police began “immediate patrols” and talked to “numerous witnesses.”

“Through investigation it was discovered that the suspect and the stolen vehicle were observed on a property in Oliver,” Cpl. Tarasoff said in a release.

At the property, police found the stolen firearm and other stolen items, and arrested Michael Werner.

“There were also three outstanding arrest warrants for Werner, including a Canada-wide warrant for being unlawfully at large,” Cpl. Tarasoff said.

Werner has been charged with two counts of breaking and entering and one count of possession of a firearm while prohibited. He first appeared in court on these charges Friday, but will be back before a judge on March 21.

Werner last saw a judge in November for two assault charges in Agassiz, but a warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to show up to court on March 6. Werner has a lengthy criminal record dating back to a 2003 break and enter conviction in Vancouver.

24-hour paddle for cancer

A firefighter with the Penticton Fire Department is participating in a 24-hour event this spring, raising money for families battling cancer.

Issy Venables is one of 12 local residents teaming up on April 14 and 15 for the “Monster and Sea 24.”

The group will be paddle boarding for 24-straight hours in Naramata between Mill and Manitou Bays.

“The team is filled with individuals who are professionals within the community that just want to find a way to give back to the community,” Venables said.

The Monster and Sea 24 is now in its fourth year, growing from a tiny event in Seattle with one team.

Last year, 24 events happened in 23 cities across North America, collectively raising over $145,000 for 145 families battling cancer.

While Kelowna participated last year, 2018 will be the first time the South Okanagan takes part.

The group is taking donations online through GoFundMe and will also accept cash on the day of the event.

Venables explains the team is trying to raise several $1,000 pots of cash.

“So when the fundraiser is done, we will present the families that are battling cancer with an envelope, and it will have $1,000 cash in it to do whatever they want,” she said. “Anything from flying family members in, to taking a vacation or paying bills.”

The paddle relay will see the group hit Okanagan Lake as a team at 8 a.m. on April 14, rejoin for a midnight paddle, and then finish as a team at 8 a.m. on April 15. In between, each member will take turns on the water on their own.

Pitching the Dragon's Den

A Penticton-based business will be venturing into the den next month.

WineCrush is heading to Toronto at the end of April to participate in an episode of CBC's Dragons' Den program.

Co-founder Tyson Still said they pitched the producers of the show in Kelowna last week, and received the invite to Toronto on Friday.

“It’s so exciting. We’ve been doing this all on our own, with no food or grocery industry training and we’ve gotten this far. All three of us are really excited for this opportunity.”

The company takes the seeds and skins left over when wineries crush their grapes and infuses them into meats, cheese and bread.

“We just say what we always say about our products, and our passion behind it,” Still said about their pitch in Kelowna last week, explaining they would like to expand into Ontario.

Still said the possibility of strong mentorship from one of the Dragons’ is the most exciting for him.

Another Penticton business, the People’s Crafthouse Soda Company, appeared on the Dragons’ Den last year, striking a deal with Manjit Minhas, a Canadian craft brewery magnate.

Brett Kissel hits OK Lake

Canadian country music star Brett Kissel had some fun in Okanagan Lake in Penticton for a good cause — ahead of his concert in town on Friday night.

Kissel and 10 other band members took a dip in the lake near the S.S. Sicamous on Thursday and raised $2,200 for Her International, a charitable organization that empowers women and girls in need.

He said he pledged $100 for each member that took part, while his agency — Penticton-based Invictus Entertainment Group — matched the pledge. 

Footage of the frigid dip was posted on Kissel's social media accounts.

His agent, Jim Cressman, said the idea was a good-natured challenge he presented which also provided a chance for the group to do something "good for you which doesn't feel good."

Kissel said online that "this challenge is meant to raise awareness for women’s empowerment, and I’m so proud of my team for doing this!"

As part of his 'We Were That Song' Tour, Kissel is performing at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on Friday. 

Cressman said they routed the tour to give the band a couple days off in Penticton.

"The bands been really enjoying themselves and taking advantage of the nice weather... Brett is supercharged for tonight's show and I think it's going to be a blockbuster."

Kissel is the reigning 'Male Artist of the Year,' as chosen by the Canadian Country Music Association.

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