The BCHL has indeed sent a letter to the CJHL and they are no longer members of the CJHL. This has been confirmed by multiple sources. They are not leaving the CJHL, they have left and the long standing relationship is over.
The BCHL has not left Hockey Canada, though that may still happen. It could happen by choice of the BCHL or it could happen by choice of Hockey Canada.
The BCHL has clearly over played their hand with this move. By leaving the CJHL, they are no longer eligible to participate in the World Junior A Challenge. This event is only open to CJHL Members in Canada.
By leaving the CJHL the BCHL can not participate in the CJHL Top Prospects game.
The BCHL can not participate in the Sirius World Cup.
These are not the only consequences of the BCHL’s choice to leave. There are problems facing the BCHL with this action if they intend to stay in Hockey Canada and BC Hockey.
The BCHL uses more American born players more than any other Canadian league. With talks of reducing Import Players throughout all Canadian leagues, from six per team to four per team, the BCHL would see a large part of their talent pool and most of their NCAA commitments go away.
BC Hockey has also required that their Junior B leagues wear full facial protection. The BCHL, if staying under BC Hockey will likely face the same rule implementation or BC Hockey will face legal action from Junior B hockey.
People have suggested that the BCHL would be signing import players from Europe with this decision. That idea is a fantasy.
The CJHL approved the use of import players from Europe almost five years ago, and Hockey Canada denied the CJHL rule change to take effect. Hockey Canada will not allow it, and the WHL will definitely fight against it happening.
If the BCHL left Hockey Canada they could use European players, and have no import player restrictions. This would be the beginning of the end of the BCHL. Without Hockey Canada, there would be a mass exodus of talent for the CJHL leagues and for the North American Hockey League.
Some people are also living on “Fantasy Island” when they suggest direct competition with the USHL for recruiting the top players. The BCHL will never be able to directly compete with the USHL for talent. A future article will do a deep dive into this subject.
The BCHL now is on an island of their own making. They no longer have the political lobby support of all the other CJHL leagues. They certainly wont have the support of the WHL, and they likely just lost the trust of Hockey Canada.
The arrogance of the BCHL really has no limit. When TJHN broke the story that they would use a pay to play model, the President of the Board of Governors called me to say I was lying about how much they would charge. Making threats that never came to fruition. Making claims that were completely untrue, and demanding retractions and corrections.
Yet, his team charged players some of the highest tuition. And none of the other threats were acted upon. The BCHL kept rolling.
This move to leave the CJHL was predictable. It is typical of the mindset of the leadership of the BCHL. They hate the fact that they are now light years behind the NAHL, and they are not even in the same galaxy as the USHL. The NCDC is not only gaining ground in NCAA D-1 commitments but surpassed the BCHL in players named to the NHL players to watch list.
Reports that the BCHL is trying to become a Northern Division of the USHL are simply wishful thinking and coming from pure delusional speculation. USHL Owners would never devalue their franchises by allowing the BCHL to partner with them in any way. BCHL teams would not meet the financial requirements for membership in most cases. Neither USA Hockey or Hockey Canada would ever approve such a move and it would need the approval of both. The NAHL would also vote against such a proposal.
If anything the BCHL could possibly align with the NAHL, but that is pure speculation. I don’t believe for one second BCHL teams could compete on a nightly basis with the NAHL simply based on physicality alone. And the Wenatchee Wild who left the NAHL for many reasons including travel expenses sure wouldn’t be looking to add to their travel budget at this point after a year of pandemic.
That the BCHL would alienate all the other leagues in Canada is simply mind boggling. They were disliked before and now, no one will be there to help them. But they will get their wish to be on their own, and they are about to find out how alone they will be.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser