Stars com­ing to Kelowna

The Daily Courier - - SPORTS - By Daily Courier Staff

Jamie Benn and the Dal­las Stars will be spend­ing Hal­loween in Kelowna.

The Stars, cap­tained by the for­mer Kelowna Rock­ets’ sniper and record-holder, are stay­ing in the Okana­gan for a cou­ple days be­tween games in Vancouver and Win­nipeg. The NHL team will prac­tice at Pros­pera Place to­day and pos­si­bly again on Wed­nes­day, though the ice ses­sions won’t be open to the pub­lic at the re­quest of the Stars.

Dal­las played in Vancouver on Mon­day and next faces the Jets in Win­nipeg on Thurs­day.

This type of lay­over in Kelowna isn’t un­prece­dented, with the Detroit Red Wings do­ing the same in March 2010 — al­beit with pub­lic ac­cess to two prac­tices that at­tracted close to 10,000 hockey fans com­bined.

The Ana­heim Ducks also sought refuge in Kelowna this spring, es­cap­ing Ed­mon­ton in the midst of their sec­ond-round play­off se­ries there in May. Ana­heim prac­tised twice here, with­out open­ing the doors to the pub­lic.

Benn, from Vic­to­ria, played two sea­sons for the Rock­ets and led Kelowna to a WHL cham­pi­onship in 2009 when he set fran­chise records for goals (13) and points (33) in a sin­gle play­off year.

The goal record now be­longs to Reid Gar­diner — he scored 15 times in this year’s play­offs — but Benn’s points mark still stands, with Gar­diner (2017) and Leon Drai­saitl (2015) both top­ping out at 29.

Benn has gone on to a suc­cess­ful pro ca­reer as a five-time NHL All-Star, win­ning the Art Ross Tro­phy as the league’s lead­ing scorer with 87 points in the 2014-15 sea­son.

A power for­ward, Benn has also won two gold medals in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions while rep­re­sent­ing Canada at the 2009 world­ju­nior tour­na­ment in Ot­tawa and the 2014 Win­ter Olympics in Sochi, Rus­sia.

Dal­las is coached by Ken Hitch­cock, who got his start with the WHL’s Kamloops Blaz­ers (1984-1990), and the Stars’ ros­ter also fea­tures de­fence­man Dan Hamhuis, from Smithers, who played ju­nior for the Prince Ge­orge Cougars be­fore pa­trolling the Vancouver Canucks’ blue line for six sea­sons (2010-2016).


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