This is not an April fools joke. We waited a few days to speak on this in order to avoid anyone thinking this is a joke. This is a very real situation.
The BCHL left the CJHL group of Junior A or Tier II Canadian leagues two years ago. In an attempt to get Hockey Canada to classify the BCHL as Tier I or on par with the United States Hockey League.
Hockey Canada was not buying the BCHL’s strong arm tactics, and no special designation was made. Two years later, the BCHL wants to take its toys out of the Hockey Canada sandbox and go play on their own.
The BCHL would then seek to self lable themselves as Tier I.
The problem with this? The BCHL is no where close to the USHL and everyone knows this except the BCHL.
Does the BCHL have NCAA Division One commitments in their league? Yes. However those committed players are nearly all American born or out of Province players. Nearly all of those committed players have their commitments or have gone on official visits with schools before playing in the BCHL.
These are facts. Facts that the BCHL has admitted to.
The problem is that they want to raid the development cookie jar of Ontario. The BCHL does not develop players from British Columbia, their internal tracking numbers prove this, and they have admitted this as well.
The real problem at play is ego. The BCHL thinks that it sould be seen as an equal to the USHL, when no one else in hockey thinks that way.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some great players in the BCHL. Some teams that are operated just as good as USHL teams. They are not on a competitive level or operational level across the board to make any claim of equality to the USHL though.
Inside information has the manifesto of the BCHL departure being written by another competing league official in Ontario who has left or is leaving his position. That particular person also went on a fact finding mission in the United States with organizations who are not under the USA Hockey Umbrella in order to learn how this has been done in the USA.
Is the departure from Hockey Canada set in stone? Not yet. Is it likely? Yes. Every day that passes without Hockey Canada caving in to the BCHL demands brings the BCHL closer to autonomy.
While we support all hockey, whether under the insurance umbrella of Hockey Canada, USA Hockey or self insured. This potential BCHL action is not about freedom to expand or anything else that may be a legitimate league business model action.
A vote on this is rumored to be scheduled for May. That may move up if insurance coverage is received earlier, and based on conversations in the eastern United States, that insurance coverage will not only be easy to receive, but should be in place before the end of April.
This potential move is about nothing other than raiding other territories in Canada, and the United States for top talent and making the false claim that the BCHL is equal to the USHL.