So, it’s the first night of the NFL season. Big deal. (Okay, it is a big deal.)
But, whatever – it’s also the first night of the Penticton-based Young Stars Classic, starring B.C.’s Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks.
The game – which begins at 7:30 p.m. PST at South Okanagan Events Centre – will be streamed live on Canucks.com and their YouTube channel.
Frank Corrado will sit tonight, while hopeful roster forwards Nicklas Jensen and Brendan Gaunce, as well as goaltender Joacim Eriksson, will start for Vancouver. Recent draft picks Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk will both start tonight, as well.
It’s also the first game as a member of the Canuck family for former NHLer Travis Green, who is coaching Vancouver’s AHL affiliate Utica Comets and will coach tonight.
The tournament has become an annual easel for Vancouver’s highest-ranking prospects to show the Canucks’ brass their stuff.
“I want to show the Canucks organization that I can be a really high-level player at that tournament heading into camp,” said 2013 first-round draft pick Hunter Shinkaruk last week (Penticton Western News). “It’s an opportunity to show them that they drafted the right kid.”
Both Shinkaruk and fellow 2013 first-round Bo Horvat will make their first (kind of) official appearances in Canucks earth green and ocean blue, as they try to make this year’s preseason roster.
They could be sent back to their CHL clubs – Shinkaruk with Medicine Hat and Horvat with the London Knights – and they’re both also heavily in the running for this December’s World Junior Hockey Championship.
Or, who knows? They could be Canucks come October.
Either way, expectations follow every rookie to Penticton.
“There is always someone watching,” said Jordan Schroeder, the Canucks 2009 first-rounder who first skated in Penticton in 2010. (Schroeder has graduated from the camp.)
“It was awesome, especially being in Penticton,” he told the Western News on Tuesday. “A lot of Vancouver fans were there. It was pretty packed for most of our games. It was fun to play in front of the crowd there.”