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The BCHL – How They Work Around Hockey Canada Rules And The Truth Behind All The Propaganda

I would like to thank one of our avid readers for really doing a lot of the research that went into this particular article. Reader input and information is critical for TJHN to be able to educate and inform players and parents on what really goes in in junior hockey. Cutting through the propaganda machines that leagues and governing bodies like to use can only help people make better choices in their careers.

The BCHL is a very good league. I have always enjoyed watching the league, and watching the players move on from the league. It serves a purpose in the NCAA development ladder.

The BCHL, while being a good league, is also a master manipulator in how information is presented, and how people are informed about the league’s accomplishments. Houdini would marvel at some of the magic that happens in British Columbia.

The BCHL has publicly stated they want to develop more players locally. They claim to have incredible commitment numbers. They claim that the Hockey Canada rules regarding recruiting underage players out of province hurts the league and its ability to put the best product on the ice. They also claim that in the next few years all of their teams will be free to play, since currently not all are.

Let’s address once again address these claims with some facts.

Currently, 47% of the players in the BCHL are from “BC” (excluding Wenatchee since they are based in the USA and have no import limits).  53% are from outside the province. Based on those numbers, there does not appear to be any problem recruiting outside of the province.

Comparing the BCHL to the AJHL, 60% of players currently rostered in the AJHL are from the province of Alberta.

Currently, the BCHL says it has 119 players committed to a Div 1 NCAA school of which 32 again are from British Columbia.

In a sampling of BCHL teams, one team has eleven of those commitments.  Five of those players are listed to be from that particular community.  The question has to be asked that; How can a city of less than 20000 people, in one province produce five players good enough at the same time to earn a Division I commitment?

When digging a little deeper the truth can be found. Those five players are actually from other parts of Canada.

They are not local products. These players are recruited by BCHL teams early in their U16 and U18 careers and brought to British Columbia to play as high school students and then later claimed to be locals.

Those players commitments? They came before the players enrolled in a British Columbia High School. Meaning the player committed before the BCHL, and the BCHL takes credit.

It also means that the BCHL is actually doing the early, underage recruiting out of province outside of the Hockey Canada rules they want changed. It’s all easy enough to track thanks to EliteProspects.

This is a common practice in the BCHL. Similar information is available on nearly every other team. The drill down on player information takes time, but its available.

The BCHL is recruiting/poaching 16- and 17-year-old players from other provinces to strengthen its own league, promoting its reputation as the best league in Canada at developing players for the next level at the expense and detriment of the other Junior A or Tier II teams and leagues in Canada. 

Did families pack up and leave Quebec and Ontario for British Columbia in such large numbers in their 16- and 17-year-old seasons each year? Is British Columbia giving away money to have people move across the country? The migration of players westward must be a phenomenon, or is it a scam to circumvent Hockey Canada rules?

Hockey Canada has regulations in place restricting the inter-provincial movement of players and college tracking athletes.  Is the BCHL exempt from those regulations since they left the CJHL in 2021 and are on their own, or are they under still under the Hockey Canada umbrella and are committing multiple violations disguised as “modernizing the game”? 

Sure, some families could have physically moved to their respective cities to circumvent the rules, but this seems like an incredible sacrifice to make especially since an NCAA commitment is already in their back pockets.

There are other players listed on BCHL rosters who do not have commitments yet, but are listed as locals, having “moved” to British Columbia in their 16-and 17-year-old seasons. Strangely though, those players are also on several NCAA recruiting lists and will likely commit this year.

When the facts are exposed, does the BCHL really have a problem recruiting out of province? No. Do they have a problem recruiting underage players? No.

They do have a problem with presenting the facts and promoting the truth. They do have a problem with manipulating the Hockey Canada system to their benefit. And they do have a problem with every other Junior A or Tier II league in Canada because these violations are well known.

The BCHL claims that the CJHL is not nice to them, is not allowing them to do things they need to do, while the whole time the CJHL only wants the BCHL to stick to the rules.

Facts not fiction.

Maybe when Hockey Canada gets done dealing with all the other garbage they have to deal with now, they will appropriately deal with the BCHL. Because it’s pretty easy to see parents parking their cars in other provinces while their child is going to school in British Columbia, is not really a relocation. It’s a violation.

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