Some of the NHL’s top prospects will be returning to Penticton in September.

After a four-year hiatus, the Vancouver Canucks will once again host their Young Stars Classic this fall.

The team held the annual event from 2010 to 2018 before taking a break in 2019. Plans to resume the tournament in 2020 were wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a real honor for the Canucks to be back here in Penticton,” said Stan Smyl, the team’s vice president of hockey operations and former captain, at a news conference Wednesday.

Prospects from the Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets will play a round-robin style tournament at the South Okanagan events center from Sept. 16 to 19.

The event is where some of the game’s biggest names, like Connor McDavid and Elias Petterson, got their first taste of NHL hockey.

“This is a great opportunity for fans to come out and see the future stars of their favorite teams,” Smyl said.

The Canucks legend said the team hopes to expand the tournament field in years to come.

Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki says the city is anticipating as many as 20,000 tickets being sold.

“We get people from the Lower Mainland, Kamloops, Kelowna, Vernon, they come from everywhere to see the future stars of the NHL,” Vassilaki said.

He adds that the event will be a much-needed economic boost after two years of financial hardship.

“It’s going to be a huge advantage to our hotels, our restaurants and all of the other facilities,” he said.

The team says ticket information will be announced at a later date, but fans can sign up on its website for alerts when they become available.

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