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Scouts to attend upcoming Okanagan Classic U18 AAA tournament

The 2006 players in particular will be under examination from Western Hockey League scouts
Brennan Nelson playing for the Okanagan Rockets, photo provided by Brennan Nelson. (File photo)

Young athletes will have a chance to get noticed and scouted at an upcoming Okanagan Classic AAA hockey tournament.

“The majority, if not all, of the Western Hockey League and BCHL teams, will be here to scout players,” said tournament director Robbie Evers, who is the CEO of BarDown Training Ltd. and the new gym THE YARD in downtown Kelowna.

Twenty games are set to take place between eight, mostly U18 teams, at the Capital News Centre from Nov. 11 to 14.

The elite teams will be coming in from around B.C. and Alberta. They include Vancouver North East Chiefs; Okanagan Rockets; Red Deer Optimist Chiefs; RINK Kelowna U18 Prep; Calgary Buffaloes; Delta U17 Prep; Fraser Valley Thunderbirds; Pacific Coast U18 Prep.

READ MORE: Western Hockey League minimizing physical contact to address COVID-19

“The whole idea of the tournament was not only to give exposure to those kids, but also to bring some of the top 16-17-year-olds in from Alberta that are interested in playing in the BCHL, and give them a chance to be scouted by the interior division of the rest of the BCHL as well,” Evers said.

The tournament will draw a lot of interest for players born in 2006, as the Western Hockey League (WHL) draft is taking place on Dec. 9, he said.

Delta U17 Prep and RINK Kelowna U18 Prep already have “numerous amounts of first and second-round draft picks in those programs,” Evers said.

“The whole goal is to emulate the top teams from Western Canada and bring together those eight teams for four days of incredible hockey.”

Two more Okanagan Classic AAA tournaments are scheduled for December. A U15 tournament with 12 teams will be taking place from Dec. 8 to 12, and a U16/17 tournament, also with 12 teams, will take place from Dec. 28 to Jan. 1.

Evers said he’s excited to get the tournaments running again, commenting on the lack of play during the last year.

There will be no admission fee to get into the game.

“So, people are welcome to come down and check it out,” Evers said.

READ MORE: Rockets’ season suspended as Canadian Hockey League reacts to COVID-19


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