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Sports  

CSSHL here to stay

Dustin Godfrey

After a three-year stint in Penticton, the Canadian Sport School Hockey League says it’s committing to another three years hosting its championship in the city.

This year’s championships, taking place this week largely between the SOEC, Memorial Arena and the Okanagan Hockey Academy rinks, marks the third year in a row that they are hosted in Penticton.

Since coming to Penticton in 2015, the tournament has grown from 33 teams and 609 student athletes to 49 teams with over 900 athletes competing this year, which the league expects to continue increasing each year.

“The league executive and board voted on it to bring it back here for a three-year period and build a home here,” said CSSHL chairman Andy Oakes. “The facilities that we have here are really, really good at being able to host this many teams.”

The CSSHL says last year’s championships brought in $1.726 million to Penticton’s economy, with 900 athletes accompanied by coaching staffs, parents and others, who often spend nights in local hotels and motels and eat out in the city’s restaurants.

This year’s event is expected to exceed $2 million, according to the CSSHL, and the league would like to continue growing.

“We’ve grown the league out into Saskatchewan and into Manitoba, so we’ve added more programs now – we’re up to 19 programs in the league,” Oakes said, adding that the goal is to have a program in every province.

“We’re probably looking at four to six programs in the Toronto region, probably two to three programs in the Ottawa region, three to four programs in the Maritimes and maybe a couple of programs in Quebec.

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