From Scott Niedermayer to Kyle Turris and Brendan Morrison, close to a dozen of the province’s most beloved hockey veterans laced up the skates in Penticton on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 21, for the B.C. Hockey League’s alumni game.
As part of the league’s 60th-anniversary all-star game celebration, former Vancouver Canucks forwards Garry Valk and Geoff Courtnall joined the aforementioned stars as those with NHL experience on the city’s new outdoor rink.
“These games are a lot of fun,” Niedermayer said. “When you’re retired, you’re not around as much, so in times like this you got to pick up where you left off and have some fun on the ice.”
Among others to play in the game include BCHL alumni Pat Hodgins, Mike Di Stefano, Wade MacLeod, Mark MacMillan, Mitch MacMillan and Bruce Courtnall, as well as Tyler Johnston, a TV star from the hit show Letterkenny.
Split into two teams, the veterans engaged in a three-on-three game. This year’s alumni showcase marked the first time in BCHL history such an event has been played at an outdoor facility.
Niedermayer even found the back of the net, with the fans in the stands roaring with excitement and snow falling to the ground in Penticton.
In between periods, the four-time Stanley Cup champion shared some advice with the BCHL’s current stars of today.
“The skill they have today is pretty amazing,” Niedermayer said. “Enjoy it and work hard…there’s going to be challenges as you step up and try to get to the next level, and it’s a matter of sticking with it and getting through those things.”
The Hockey Hall of Fame, Cranbrook-born defenceman also captured two Olympic gold medals for Canada in 2002 and 2010.
He was joined on the ice Saturday by the aforementioned Morrison, who played eight seasons with the Canucks from 1999 to 2008. Turris, meanwhile, announced his retirement from the NHL in August 2022 after playing 14 seasons in the league.