A new Junior A league is being created in British Columbia. This league will be granted Junior A status from British Columbia Hockey, the branch of Hockey Canada.
This is not a matter of “if” it is only a matter of “when”.
There are teams involved from the KIJHL and the PJHL. These conversations are taking place right now. The CJHL has had informal talks with all of the groups involved in these conversations.
It is important to note, that any new league being formed could be given Junior A status immediately from BC Hockey. It is BC Hockey that has the right, and authority to make this Junior A designation. They do not need Hockey Canada approval or CJHL approval.
That said, becoming Junior A is a lot easier than becoming a member of the CJHL. The membership process for the CJHL is about a three year process.
Taken directly from the CJHL and Hockey Canada partnership agreement;
Junior A Classification and Qualification
• Junior A is the highest level of hockey within HC other than Major Junior (CHL).
• No league, team or level of hockey, other than teams and leagues in Major Junior (CHL), is or may be acknowledged, recognized, referred to or sanctioned, directly or indirectly in any manner whatever, by HC or any of its Members as equal to or higher than Junior A.
• The Member and the Member League of the CJHL operating within that Member shall mutually agree which leagues and teams within that Member qualify as Junior A hockey for purposes of HC Regulations.
• The CJHL has the authority to determine which leagues and teams qualify for membership in the CJHL.
18. Participating Teams • Teams from outside the CJHL are not permitted to participate in the National Championship.
• Winners of Regional Championships to be required by CJHL to participate in the National Championship.
What we already know is that bids have been awarded for the next two Centennial Cups- Oakville, Ontario & Okotoks, Alberta, there is a process to apply for CJHL Membership, its not automatic.
So while BC Hockey can form this new Junior A league, the process for CJHL membership and being eligible to play for a National Championship is not an automatic one. It will require time, screening and preparation.
There is now a push in British Columbia to make this league a reality for this season. It could happen, and we will know in the next week or two. More than likely though, the 2024-2025 season is the most realistic target. This could also allow for the CJHL to begin the membership process now and expedite that process.
No. The entire KIJHL and PJHL leagues will not become Junior A. Only a select few will rise to Junior A, and their feet will be held to the fire regarding being able to maintain Junior A standards.
We will have more information as it becomes available.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser