The BCHL in July of 2023 is already facing an officiating problem. The league announced a total of fifty officials that have committed to work in the BCHL’s 2023-2024 season.
That my friends is a real problem. Fifty officials? That is going to be one monumental task to get two referee’s and two linesmen to each BCHL game.
When you take into account that referee’s have regular jobs, family commitments, holidays, and they can get sick like the rest of us, you have an incredibly thin referee pool. Lets then take into account weather during the BCHL season, and one road closure or snow storm and you have games being canceled.
Two commissioners in CJHL leagues that I spoke to mentioned how difficult a time they had with scheduling referees and they had access to more than one hundred and fifty!
Just do the math. You have a seventeen team league. This means sixteen teams are playing on a Saturday night in eight games. That calls for the use of thirty two of the referee’s out of a total of fifty available. That is asuming you have thirty two that are even available on that Saturday night, and that is highly unlikely. Fiday nights with work commitments make game coverage even less likely.
Sunday and holidays are family days for most people, and traveling for referee’s who have to be at work on Monday morning for their real jobs is not usually an option. Mid week games? Unless you got four local people to work games, you have trouble.
The only solution possible for this problem that is likely to come up is to work a three man crew for games. This of course is below standards for Junior A hockey in Canada. If sacrificing officiating standards in the first year of playing independently is alright with people then I think people who lower their standards are going to see a lower standard of officiating in the BCHL.
Multiple sources have informed TJHN that the BCHL has reached out to BC Hockey multiple times to address the officiating issue and asked for BC Hockey to be more lenient in its rules enforcement concerning non santions hockey and the penalties for people who work within it.
BC Hockey told the BCHL that there would be no exceptions made in any circumstance.
More problems are facing the BCHL moving forward. Look for another article on this soon.