Since it is a league-run event, the two Penticton Vees games at the B.C. Hockey League Showcase Festival Oct. 4-5 will not be included in the Vees 2019-20 season’s ticket package.
The host Vees, however, have worked with the league to offer the Vees games (and the eight games overall) at a reduced rate for season’s ticket members.
“It’s not our event,” said Vees president, GM and head coach Fred Harbinson, noting season’s ticket members have been calling the Vees office and SOEC box office recently about the situation. “We’re helping the executive stage it, but most of the proceeds go to the league.”
The Showcase has been held in Chilliwack with all 17 teams participating (in two games each that count in the standings) since its inception, but the BCHL wanted to open it up to other venues starting this season.
Nine of the games will be held in Chilliwack Oct. 2-3 and the other eight in Penticton.
“It all came together kind of late so we couldn’t make it work in one spot,” said Harbinson, noting the Vees might bid to host the entire Showcase with all 17 teams in the future.”
The two Vees evening games – against arch-rivals Vernon and Wenatchee – will be offered for $30.
Vees director of ticketing, group sales and merchandise Laura Carleton said the best option is to purchase the $30 package which gives fans admission to all eight games at the Showcase.
Current season’s ticket seats will be held until the box office closes on Aug. 31. After that, those seats not renewed for the Showcase games will be released to the public for sale starting Sept. 9.
Harbinson said in addition to the hockey, the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre will be the venue for “Hockey House”, which will include a kids’ zone, family activities and a panel of former National Hockey League players who have kids from the Vees and other teams playing in the BCHL.
“There will be a lot more to it than just the hockey,” said Harbinson. “The league wants to make it more of a festival to promote the game and the BCHL.”
Harbinson said the Vees decision to bid for next year’s Showcase will hinge on the success of their bid to host the 2020-21 RBC Cup national Junior-A hockey championship for the first time ever.
“We’re expected to get the news in the next few weeks or so,” said Harbinson. “If we get the RBC, we most likely won’t be able to take on the Showcase in the same season.”
The 2019-20 RBC Cup will be held in Portage, Manitoba.
Portage has hosted before, but Hockey Canada officials wanted the 50th anniversary of what was formerly known as the Centennial Cup to be held in its original home in Manitoba.
SHOWCASE SCHEDULE OF GAMES IN PENTICTON (teams listed second are the designated home teams):
Fri., Oct 4: Prince George vs. West Kelowna, 10 a.m.; Wenatchee vs. Salmon Arm, 1 p.m.; Merritt vs. Trail, 4 p.m.; Vernon vs. Penticton, 7 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 5: Salmon Arm vs. Coquitlam, 10 a.m.; Trail vs. Prince George, 1 p.m.; West Kelowna vs. Vernon, 4 p.m.; Penticton vs. Wenatchee, 7 p.m.