If you love hockey, Penticton is the perfect place for a trip this winter! Join us in January for the 60th BCHL Anniversary, or visit during the winter months and enjoy several hockey-related activities, outdoor skating at one of several rinks and plenty of other winter activities for your enjoyment.
You’re sure to find your fill of winter fun in Penticton!
History of Hockey in Penticton
The South Okanagan, and Penticton in particular, has a rich history of hockey, which along with its many ice rinks, makes it the perfect holiday destination for any hockey fan!
Starting in 1954, the Penticton Vees won the Allan Cup and followed up the next year with the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship with a 5-0 shutout against the Soviet Union. In 1961, the province’s first-ever junior A hockey league called the Okanagan-Mainline Junior Hockey League (OMJHL) was created. As Penticton entered the OMJHL, they kept the name Junior Vees. Since Penticton is known for their peaches, the name Vees refers to types of peaches, from the Vedette, Valiant and Veteran came to the simple V, which has brought so much pride to the city.
In the 80s, the Vees changed their name to the Knights, and they were the talk of the BCHL. From 1979 to 1982, the Knights won the Fred Page Cup and Mowat Cup each season and in 1985 and 1986, and they won back to back Fred Page Cups, Mowat Cups, Doyle Cups, and Abbott Cups, and then won the Centennial Cup in 1986 by beating the Cole Harbour Colts to secure Penticton’s first national championship trophy.
After a stellar decade, the team decided to change the name to the Panthers in 1990. The Penticton franchise did not see a significant trophy under the Panthers, but they did win the division four times – in 1995, 1998, 2000 and 2001.
In 2004, they again changed their name back to the Vees. The Vees won the Fred Page Cup in 2008 for the first time since 1986. The 2012 team saw a whole lot of accolades come to Penticton for the team, a division title which started a run of nine straight (and counting), a Fred Page Cup, a Doyle Cup and the RBC Cup as national champions all sprinkled in with a 42 game win streak that may never be reached again. Since the epic 2012 season, the Vees captured two more Fred Page Cup trophies and a Western Canada Cup trophy while racking up those nine straight division titles.
In the 65+ years of hockey in Penticton, the Vees have been successful throughout their existence with major wins and perhaps one of the best junior A clubs in the country.
BC Hockey Hall of Fame
Coupled with a long history of hockey, Penticton is home to the BC Hockey Hall of Fame! It is located in the concourse of the South Okanagan Events Centre and is open Monday to Friday 10AM-4PM for your viewing pleasure. The Hall of Fame preserves BC’s hockey heritage and honors those who have made significant contributions to the game in BC, as well as gathering and displaying memorabilia of ice hockey within BC. It’s the perfect spot to start your hockey holiday in Penticton, learning about the history of hockey in BC, before hitting the ice at one of many rinks in the area.
Outdoor Public Skating Rink
Penticton’s new Outdoor Public Skating Rink is an accessible rink located downtown that opened in February 2022. In season, the rink is open everyday from 8AM-9PM and its free of charge to use – just lace up your skates and go! This rink is able to operate in temperatures up to 10°C so you can still enjoy a skate on a warmer winter day.
Lace up and hit the ice at McLaren Arena, an indoor rink, for public skating, sports games and other ice activities. With adult drop-in hockey and stick n’ puck, as well as open public skating, parent and tot, and adult only skating, you can pick the option that works best for you.
Penticton Lakeside Resort Ice Rink
The fully lit ice rink opened December 1, 2022 for the season at the Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre. It is set on their private licensed beach and available to both in-house guests and to the public by reservation. Enjoy a game of hockey with Okanagan Lake as your backdrop.
Apex Mountain Resort Hockey Rink & Skating Loop
Opening day for Apex Mountain Resort‘s 2022-23 season was December 2, 2022. The NHL-sized Apex Hockey Rink is the perfect spot for a hockey game amongst friends, night or day. The rink is fully-lit in the evenings, creating a unique outdoor experience. Arrange a pick-up game with your friends or head up for a family night event.
The Adventure Skating Loop at Apex Mountain Resort is a winter wonderland adventure. Enjoy gliding through the forest on this 1km loop, maintained to a sparkle, smooth shined by the Apex Zamboni. The experience at night is nothing short of magic, as the lights come on and the winter landscape unfolds around you. Bring your own skates or rent them at the Apex Rental Shop.
Chute Lake Lodge Ice Rink
The ice rink at Chute Lake Lodge is now open and free to use for lodge guests and by donation for the public. The by-donation usage fee raises funds for the ongoing restoration of the KVR trail, so you’ll be supporting a great cause while you have fun! Plus, when the weather cools down and the lake freezes over you can also skate on Chute Lake, so bring or rent your gear and enjoy a fun afternoon before warming up with a hot chocolate in the lodge. Although the Chute Lake team works hard to maintain the rink to have it ready for visitors, conditions are dependent on the weather and sometimes the ice needs extra shoveling.
BCHL 60th Anniversary Event
The 2021-22 season was the 60th anniversary for the BC Hockey League (BCHL) and when the league announced plans to celebrate the milestone and to honour the league’s rich history going back to its inception in 1961. After being postponed due to the pandemic, new dates for the 60th anniversary event were set for January 20 to 22, 2023 in Penticton, BC.
The 60th Anniversary All-Star Weekend will be an outdoor, all-star weekend featuring a 3-on-3 All-Star Tournament, a Skills Competition, an Alumni & Friends Game featuring both BCHL alumni and former NHL players, and much more. The events will be held at various locations across the city including the BCHL Top Prospects Game, held at the South Okanagan Events Centre, and the BCHL 3-on-3 All Star Series, held at the newly built outdoor arena in downtown Penticton. There will also be minor hockey events, a VIP social, live music, a beer garden, food trucks, and community skates for people of all ages, including younger children who want to skate the same ice as the BCHL all-stars.
View the schedule of weekend events here.
BCHL Top Prospects Game
40 BCHL athletes have been chosen to participate in the BCHL Top Prospects Game on regulation-sized ice at the South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC) on the Friday, January 20, 2023, of the 60th Anniversary event. The draft-eligible players will be split into two teams to compete against each other for 60 minutes to determine a winner.
The rosters consist of players already chosen for the 60th Anniversary All-Star Tournament, NHL Central Scouting selections and players chosen by B.C.-based NHL scouts.
Six Penticton Vees will play in the Top Prospects Game at the SOEC. Forwards Hiroki Gojsic, Josh Nadeau, Bradly Nadeau, and Aydar Suniev will join defensemen Ryan Hopkins and Gabriel Guilbault on Team East with Penticton Vees head coach Fred Harbinson manning the Team East bench.
Check out the full list of Team West and Team East rosters here.
Penticton Vee’s Hockey Game
While you’re in Penticton, why not catch a Penticton Vees Junior A Hockey Game and cheer on our local team at the South Okanagan Events Centre? View the team schedule for home games here.
Summer Hockey Camps
Hockey isn’t just for the winter in Penticton! Founded by Larry Lund in 1963 in Penticton, Okanagan Hockey Group has become an icon in the hockey camp industry as the longest operating hockey camp in the world. They offer one-week full day, fully supervised day camps over 8 weeks of summer in July and August, here in Penticton, with camps for ages 5-17 at any skill level from Beginner to Advanced, skaters and goaltenders.
Winter Wine Tasting
Come for the hockey, stay for the wine! While visiting Penticton this winter, it is a great time to visit our wineries. The quieter season means more opportunity to slow down and enjoy your wine time, and it’s also a great time to try some ice wine.
Hockey Getaway in Penticton
With mild weather, beautiful landscapes, and plenty of opportunities to play hockey or catch a game, there’s no better place to be this winter than Penticton.
Explore our winter packages and find a special offer for your winter trip to Penticton, or check out those offering extended stays, and stay in Penticton for longer. For those planning to visit Penticton for the BCHL 60th Anniversary, check out these local accommodation options.