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The Death Pool – VIJHL Leaving Hockey Canada

And now things will get interesting. The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League is leaving the confines of Hockey Canada and BC Hockey to strike out as an independent league for the 2024-2025 season.

We have been alluding to this happening on TJHN for the last several months. Here is the official VIJHL release;

After a board vote by the 11 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL)
franchises, the league has announced that it will become an independent league
starting 2024-25 and will no longer be affiliated with Hockey Canada or BC Hockey.
This decision was made to enhance the development opportunities for VIJHL players
and their families and to give the league greater autonomy over its future path.
“The VIJHL is pleased to announce our move to become an independent league
starting next season and to operate outside of Hockey Canada’s umbrella going
forward,” said VIJHL President Simon Morgan. “After months of hard work behind the
scenes by the ownership group of our 11 franchises, this decision to move the VIJHL
into a new space in junior hockey will allow players more opportunities for development
going forward.”

The benefits of this move for the VIJHL include, greater development opportunities for
players through affiliation agreements with higher levels of hockey, the ability to make
decisions that are in the best interest of the VIJHL, an increased player pool that will
raise the level of play in the league and much more.
“We would also like to thank our former league partners in the Pacific Junior Hockey
League (PJHL) and the Kootenay Interior Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) for their years
of partnership and we wish them nothing but the best going forward,” said Morgan.
For more information about the VIJHL’s decision to become an independent league,
please visit our Information Hub.

Whats not said in this release though are the real reasons this move is being made. The primary reason based on confidential sources, is that none of the VIJHL teams were going to be approved for the new “Tier I” Junior A status that BC Hockey is creating. They were going to be left out completely for a number of reasons, primarily, travel expense for the KIJHL and PJHL teams.

What this really is though, is the VIJHL becoming a Junior B development league for the BCHL. Another item we have alluded to over the last few months. Officially the VIJHL is saying the following;

“The VIJHL and BCHL have formed an alliance and, starting in 2024-25, VIJHL
players will be able to affiliate with BCHL teams. This is a mutually beneficial
agreement as the BCHL now has access to additional affiliate players in a high
quality league, right in their own province, while the VIJHL can give its players
opportunities to further develop their game and eventually reach the next level of
hockey.”

While the VIJHL may still claim Junior A status, it is absolutely clear from the above that they will be Junior B in practice and in purpose.

At the end of April, as things begin to warm up for the off season, the VIJHL just added some heat to what will be an exciting off season in Canada. Stick around, this is only the beginning.

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