The BCHL has decided to leave the stucture and protections within Hockey Canada. Citing their inability to recruit and develop players as the primary reason. Believing they are better than the rest of the Junior A leagues in Hockey Canada and the CJHL, they would like to be seen as rivals to the USHL.
The BCHL is in no way even close to the USHL on level of compeition, level of player development, level of NHL draft picks or any other measuring metric you want to look at. Not even close.
Be careful what you wish for gentlemen.
Upon making their decision and announcing their departure from Hockey Canada, by a vote of BCHL owners that was not unanimous, the BCHL created more competition for themselves.
Will a new Hockey Canada sanctioned Junior A league be developed in British Columbia? Absolutely 100% it is already being worked on.
Lets be clear on one thing though, the rumors of all the Junior B leagues in British Columbia becoming Junior A, are completely unfounded and it is not going to happen. The rumored “super league” is not going to happen. Anyone pushing that rumor needs to pump the brakes and start getting their facts straight.
What will happen?
Teams from the KIJHL and the PJHL will come together to develop the new Junior A league. Those teams with the ownership, arena, and proven ability to develop players will at some point be elevated for this new Junior A league.
It is not a matter of if it will happen, only a matter of when.
Could it happen this year? It is possible but unlikely. The more likely scenario is a 2024-2025 start with an announcement earlier in order to prepare for recruiting. Recruiting and directly competing with the BCHL in their own backyard.
How much competition is this for the BCHL? Well it is a whole lot.
Some of these Junior B owners have tons of money and have been wanting to become Junior A for years. Some of these owners are in better financial condition than some of the BCHL owners.
Some of these KIJHL and PJHL teams already produce players that are NCAA caliber and they do not even have the Junior A title. I can name a few who went right from the KIJHL to play professionaly in Europe. Thats how strong some of the teams in these leagues are.
Do players want to play in a Hockey Canada sanctioned league that is a member of the CJHL and be eligible to play for the Centennial Cup National Championship where there are currently at least 100 NCAA scouts? Or do they want to play for the BCHL Championship that did not see the level of scouting the CJHL Championship has seen?
Don’t get me wrong, Hockey Canada has proven it isn’t exactly the model of how to operate. They have been an in house disaster on the sexual misconduct side of things. That said, they make the rules in Canada, and they have a lot more control than USA Hockey has in the United States.
The BCHL has united the CJHL like never before by making this move. They have also united Hockey Canada.
You won’t be seeing any WHL drafted or affiliated players in the BCHL next year. Not a chance.
You won’t be seeing any AAA affiliated players in the BCHL next year either. No way.
Russians, Europeans, or Asian players from around the world? Maybe a few of the second and third tier players, but not top NCAA or NHL prospects.
Speaking to European agents this week, they are not interested in the BCHL and do not see it as an alternative to the USHL or their own European junior leagues. Why would top level European and Scandanavian players leave their own junior programs when there is more scouting in those programs than in the BCHL? It simply doesnt make sense.
Just watch the NHL draft and see how good the scouting in Europe is. There is no need for any player to leave unless it is for the USHL or Major Junior.
The new league in British Columbia is not the end of things that are planned to combat the BCHL’s attempt to be a roster raider in the other Canadian Provinces.
Players who play in the BCHL and who are released after September 30th will not be able to play in a Hockey Canada sanctioned program for a full calendar year! Not just for the remainder of the season.
Play in the BCHL and get released December 15th, you wont play in a Hockey Canada program until December 16th the following season. Get released in January of 2024, and you wont be in a Hockey Canada program until January 2025.
Time to start thinking players and parents. Risk vs. Reward. A whole lot of risk and not much chance of reward.