On Thursady July 20, 2023 British Columbia Hockey will be meeting and discussing the applications for Junior A status that have been submitted. As of the time of this writing, only the KIJHL and VIJHL have made formal applications to be considered. The PJHL has been involved in conversations concerning this move with the other two leagues and BC Hockey.
So, what will be the outcome of the meeting?
Anyone thinking or spreading the rumor that BC Hockey is going to approve both, or potentially all three leagues applications are delusional. It is not going to happen.
BC Hockey may make a mess of things from time to time, but they are not going to create 30 to 40 Junior A teams in one motion. It is simply not going to happen.
The Canadian Junior Hockey League, the group of all other Hockey Canada sanctioned Junior A leagues, will never admit another 30 to 40 team league within their group. Not now, and not in the future.
Will the CJHL admit a new league between 12 and 20 teams? Absolutely, but not this year, and maybe not next year. The next two year’s Centennial Cup locations have already been awarded, and granting membership into the CJHL is a proces taking at least one year.
Sources within the CJHL have confirmed that membership is not a guarantee, and that it would not happen immediately. The reports of any new league being able to play for the Centennial Cup next year are completely unfounded and not based on anything other than wishful thinking.
The BCHL’s departure tells us a lot about the player pool in British Columbia. Considering the average BCHL team only carries 6 to 8 players from British Columbia, and those numbers are dubious in some cases, we can see that high level Junior A players are not abundant enough to support such mass Junior A expansion and some people are rumoring to happen.
We can say what we want about the BCHL’s decision to leave Hockey Canada, but no one can question the leagues ability to scout and find the best local players. Lets assume that BC Hockey is smart enough to see the blueprint that the BCHL has left behind.
A new league at the Junior A level this year, will certainly not be as top flgiht as the BCHL, but next year, it could easily rival the BCHL in recruiting. Sanctioned hockey, and the ability to participate in National programs is always going to draw the top players.
It is possible that by year three, any new league, with the right leadership, could be one of the top leagues in Canada. It would not surprise anyone to see some BCHL teams return to BC Hockey and join this new league either.
BC Hockey and the teams applying for Junior A status, have one opportunity to get this right. Any slips, any politicing to do more than what should be done will ruin this opportunity for these teams. Any demands for a massive league will detroy dredibility, and will send a messgae that BC Hockey does not know what they are doing.
Players who are holing out hope for this to happen across all three leagues need to stop hoping and start planning. Its not going to happen.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser