Burnaby, B.C. — Former Vancouver Canuck and University of North Dakota Alumni Garry Valk will be on hand for a ceremonial puck drop as Simon Fraser University hosts UND on January 3rd and 4th as part of the second annual Great Northwest Showcase.
Valk, a 14-year NHL veteran turned Rogers Sportsnet Analyst, played three seasons for UND before making his debut with the Canucks.
“I can’t believe my Alma Mater UND is finally coming to town,” says Valk. “What a great opportunity to see one of the best programs in all of Division 1 NCAA. The hockey is hard hitting and lightning fast. Can’t wait.”
The two teams are set to face off at 7:00 pm on Saturday, January 4th at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre in Burnaby, BC. The series opens Friday January 3, with Princeton University taking on SFU at 4:00 pm and North Dakota taking on UBC Thunderbirds at 7:00 pm.
SFU is part of the six-team British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL), and competes in exhibition only against teams from other leagues such as the NCAA. The Clan are still looking for their first win against an NCAA Division 1 opponent, but had a competitive exhibition game against Sacred Heart University in Connecticut earlier this year, falling 3-0.
It won’t get any easier, as UND are seven-time NCAA Division 1 champions, and ice a roster with 15 NHL draft picks including St. Louis Blues first round pick Jordan Schmaltz. Former Surrey Eagle (BCHL) Adam Tambellini will also be returning to Vancouver as a member of UND.
UND also joins Princeton University, the University of British Columbia, and SFU in Burnaby for the 2014 Great Northwest Showcase.
The four games of this year’s GNS are: SFU vs Princeton, UBC vs UND, UBC vs Princeton, and SFU vs UND. The games are scheduled to take place at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre in Burnaby, BC, home of the SFU Men’s Hockey team.
“We appreciate the invitation and are proud to be a part of this tournament,” says UND Head Coach Dave Hakstol. “It is a great opportunity to spread the footprint of NCAA Division I hockey and, at the same time, allows many of our players from Western Canada to return home for two exhibition games.”
“The UBC Hockey team is excited to attend this year’s Great Northwest Showcase, it will be a great opportunity for the fans to see different levels of college hockey and two top NCAA programs.” says UBC Head Coach Milan Dragicevic. “Our players will be thrilled to play against top NCAA competition and raise the level of awareness of CIS hockey in the Lower Mainland.”
This year’s event is sponsored by Tourism Burnaby as well as the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown Hotel.
Tickets are now on sale at www.greatnorthwestshowcase.com