The KIJHL has submitted its application to British Columbia Hockey, the branch of Hockey Canada, to be elevated from Junior B to Junior A or Tier II status. The PJHL and VIJHL are also looking into their options to apply for Junior A status.
The KIJHL is one of Canada’s top Junior B loops. Many solid ownership groups, to go along with great communities and community involvement.
The big questions BC Hockey has to wrestle with now, are common sense and simple ones on their face, yet very complex politically.
First; are all twenty KIJHL teams capable of operating at the Junior A or Tier II level? No. Sorry, but not every team is capable for a number of reasons.
Second; are their enough players in BC to support the KIJHL at the Junior A level? No. There are many who could make the jump, but not many who would elevate the level of play to be considered a real threat to the BCHL.
Third; would this elevation in status allow the KIJHL entry into the CJHL? No. Not this season, and it is a longshot for next season as well.
Fourth; If BC Hockey selects ten to twelve teams based on a set of criteria for ownership, can the KIJHL be made to have a Junior A loop and a Junior B loop? This is the most interesting and probably the most successful way to approach this issue.
Fifth; Is the application for elevation ins status an “all or nothing” proposition? No one knows, and this is the biggest question of them all.
The KIJHL certainly has some teams more than capable of making the jump to Junior A/Tier II. I dont think many would questions this. Several owners have the financial capability and infrastructurre to make a smooth transition possible.
The way to make a new and sanctioned Tier II/Junior A league is not to rush headstrong into a full twenty team elevation. If BC Hockey is going to form a new loop, it needs to be successful, and attempting to add more Junior A teams in the KIJHL than the BCHL has teams that exist at that level would simply not be smart hockey business decision making.
With the BCHL having seventeen teams, what makes anyone think the KIJHL can support the junior A level overnight with twenty teams?
How many BCHL teams would look to join this KIJHL league if things do not go so well as an independent league? The BCHL vote to leave Hockey Canada was not unanimous.
How many BCHL players wouold leave the BCHL for this new sanctioned KIJHL Junior A league before September 30th? This could cause a lot of pressure for the BCHL and there would absolutely be some players leaving BCHL teams before the deadline for Hockey Canada.
How quickly will BC Hockey react to this application? At the end of June, it would look like this is not going to happen for the coming season, since there is simply not enough time to competitively recruit against the BCHL at this point. Then again, BC Hockey has proven to be unpredictable in the past and it could happen at any time.
The BCHL departure from Hockey Canada was no secret. Everyone knew it was coming. So why is this KIJHL application only coming in now?
Lots of questions to be answered. Not much time to answer them.
If you’re a player holding your breath and waiting for this to happen, its time to start breathing. It is time to find a real stable situation and wait to watch this unfold.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser