VERNON, B.C. – It’s been 24 years, but the Canadian Junior A Championship is back in Vernon.
The Vipers didn’t win their way in, but secured a spot in the RBC Cup as the host team.
Vernon fell in the BCHL final to the Coquitlam Express and by the time their first game hits the ice, it will be 25 days between matches for the club. But the Vipers have been practicing for the past three weeks to prepare.
From 128 teams in 10 leagues, the championship series was narrowed down to just five clubs.
The final five this year:
Carleton Place Canadians
Toronto Lakeshore Patriots
“Are we worried about anyone? Well we just have to be leery, playing at our best,” said coach Jason Williamson.
“It’s the top five teams in the country and they’re all here for a reason. We can’t play afraid we need to be on our toes pushing the pace.”
The Vipers are one of the most decorated junior teams in the country with six national titles and if history has anything to do with it, Vernon has home ice advantage. The only other time Vernon has hosted the national championship was back in 1990, and the hometown team (the the Vernon Lakers) won it all.
Round Robin play starts Saturday.