Top female hockey players in Vernon for 2024 Esso Cup

Stars shining in Vernon

Some of the best female youth hockey players in the land are in Vernon for the 2024 Esso Cup.

And Branden Crowe, with Hockey Canada, expects to see some of the teen talent move on to the professional and university leagues.

The Esso Cup is the Canadian national women's under-18 ice hockey club championship and it is back in B.C. for the first time since 2013.

As often happens in such tournaments, one player will work their way to the top as a shinning star on the ice.

Crowe said this year, Regina Rebels Stryker Zablocki is the one to watch.

“She's been a real star. She played on our Canada's Under 18 Women's team, she's a good player,” Crowe said.

The Regina player tallied a hat trick and an assist against the host Thompson-Okanagan Lakers Wednesday at Kal Tire Place.

Lead by Zablocki, the Rebels handed the Lakers their first loss the tournament.

And Crowe expects big things down the road for Zablocki and other tournament participants.

“With the woman's league forming I think it gives these girls something to aim for and it certainly gives them something to aspire to beyond college and university or where ever they may be going,” Crowe said. “The talent at the tournament gets better every year.”

The first tournament was held in 2009 and shines a light on women's hockey that has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years.

The event also features five regional champions from across Canada.

After each team plays five preliminary round games, the top four clubs will advance to the semifinals Friday with the gold and bronze medal games starting at noon Saturday and the gold-medal game slotted to start at 4 p.m.

For more information and to follow wins and losses, click here.

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