Friday, September 11, 2015

State of the BCHL Address with Commissioner John Grisdale:

The 2015-16 BC Hockey League season starts tonight. It's an historic night with the league admitting its first US-based team since 1995 as the Wenatchee Wild open the season in Prince George.

Prior to the puck drop tonight, I chatted with BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale, who enters his 13th season at the helm of the league.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

2015-16 BCHL Season Team Previews:

Since this is the eve of the 2015-16 BCHL season, I caught up with a member of the staff for each of the 17 teams to preview the upcoming year. Although a number of the questions I asked were similar, if not the same, it is interesting to hear each team's perspective or philosophy when it came to the answers.

I also spoke with BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale, that interview will be posted in this space tomorrow.

Alberni Valley Bulldogs

Chilliwack Chiefs

Coquitlam Express

Cowichan Capitals

Langley Rivermen

Merritt Centennials

Nanaimo Clippers

Penticton Vees

Powell River Kings

Prince George Spruce Kings

Salmon Arm SilverBacks

Surrey Eagles

Trail Smoke Eaters

Vernon Vipers

Victoria Grizzlies

Wenatchee Wild

West Kelowna Warriors

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

BCHL Roster Rules & Other Regulations:

I'm back after a crazy busy summer! July and August are so crazy for me as one of my freelance gigs is to run media for Canada's largest cycling series, BC Superweek. Between that, my Assistant GM job with the Port Moody Panthers, another role running media for the Odlum Brown VanOpen tennis tournament, and family - it doesn't leave much free time for blogging. That said, I'm hoping to find an hour or two a day to once again post the goings-on in the hockey world around BC.

And just like last year, I thought I'd recap some of the BCHL rules and regulations ahead of the start of the 2015-16 season on Friday.

My comments are in italics after the rule. 

- The BCHL Roster limit is 22 players at any time, 20 of which are eligible to dress and participate in any regular season or playoff game. (Same as it was in 2014-15)

- An injured player can be placed on long-term injured reserve and another brought in to fill that spot. (Same as 2014-15)

- Teams must have a minimum of four rookie players, which is defined as those entering the season with less than 30 games of Junior A experience. (Same as 2014-15)

- Teams must have a minimum of two players 17-years-old or younger on their active roster (This is a rule last in effect during the 2013-14 season) 

- A team may only have six import players on their roster at any one time. An import is defined as an American-born player. No Canadian-born players who are age-eligible to play in any Junior A leagues across the country are considered imports. (Same as 2014-15)

- Once a player has signed a CHA playing certificate (also known as a "card"), players are bound by the regulations of Hockey Canada and movement to other teams is restricted. (Same as 2014-15)

- There is a "not-in-good-standing" list for players refusing to report to a team after a CJHL Player Transfer Agreement. (If players don't report after being traded, they'll receive this designation, but I have no idea what the repercussions are. This rule is the same as it was in 2014-15.)

- Any player who’s dealt as futures can’t play for his original team the following year. (Basically any team transferring a player to another team as futures means the player can't return to the team which transferred him the following season. In simpler terms, this eliminates the potential of a player being a playoff "rental" for one team, only to see him return to the team that transferred him. Same as it was in 2014-15)

- The number of CHA playing certificates available to each team is 35. (Every time a team adds a player to its roster, the team is required to "card" the player with Hockey Canada. Now with only 35 cards available between June 1st and January 10th, teams must be more efficient when it comes to signing players. A regular season roster is 22 players (or cards), which leaves just 13 additional cards to make changes with.)

- Players playing in the BCHL Showcase are required to pay a $100 per game played fee (to a maximum of $200). (This is a new regulation for 2015-16 as far as I know.)

- BCHL teams may require carded players to pay a Team Registration Fee. The fee is administered at each team's discretion and not to exceed $800. Teams that do  administer a fee must do so to all carded players and be in compliance with NCAA Regulations. Fee refunds must be pro-rated with a schedule of refund amount to release date clearly spelled out on team letterhead. Teams that do charge a fee must also submit to the league a copy of the team form letter and refund schedule. Individual player forms must be available upon league request. (This is a new regulation for this season. It's something similar to what has been administered in the past by the league, which was a BCHL Registration Fee. My guess is that this replaces that.)

- The BCHL has an agreement with Bauer that extends to the end of the 2015-16 season. The compliance points are as follows: Bauer pants, gloves, helmet/visors, game and practice jerseys/socks, off-ice apparel (including warm-up gear), Bauer Supreme Team stick, each new player is provided with new exposed gear each season (helmet, visor, gloves and pants), each player is provided with a minimum two sticks per month during the regular season and playoffs, and returning players are permitted to wear their previous year's exposed gear, as long as the gear meets a reasonable safety standard

- The league has also implemented a number of travel, meal, and gym regulations.
  • Maximum three players per room when travelling on the road
  • All team travel must be, at the minimum, by bus
  • Minimum three meals per game day
  • Minimum three meals per travel day to include breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • The amount of meals provided by the team on the road is pro-rated by the amount of time the team is travelling. For example, an in-division game within an hour’s distance equals a post-game meal
  • No fee gym access for players
  • Travel to and from Wenatchee. For Canadian players, 3rd party out of country travel insurance is provided by the BCHL. American players are to provide their own family insurance while traveling in the USA.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

BCHL Releases 2015-16 Schedule, Warriors Trade for Anderson, SilverBacks Acquire Salerno, Express Nab Pinchuk, Eagles Sign McAvoy, Cents Recruit Faulkner:

The BCHL's 2015-16 regular season will commence on Saturday, September 11, with a six-game slate, highlighted by Wenatchee visiting Prince George in the Wild's first ever BCHL game. The 986-game regular-season schedule – 58 games per team – will conclude on Sunday, February 28, with four teams in action before the 2016 Fred Page Cup playoffs start.

After winning their third Fred Page Cup in the last eight years, the Penticton Vees raise their championship banner in their home opener on Wednesday, September 16th before playing the Vernon Vipers. New York Rangers.

The majority of BCHL are on either Friday or Saturday nights. Of the 493 total games, 392 are scheduled for the weekend, with 164 on Fridays, 152 on Saturdays and 76 on Sundays. During the week, Wednesday night has 46 games scheduled, 28 games will be played on a Thursday, three games on Monday, and 24 will be played on a Tuesday.

Day – No. of Games (Percentage) 

Monday – 3 (0.6%) 

Tuesday – 24 (4.9%) 

Wednesday - 46 (9.3%) 

Thursday - 28 (5.7%) 

Friday – 164 (33.3%) 

Saturday - 152 (30.8%) 

Sunday – 76 (15.4%)

The scheduling matrix ensures that all 17 teams play in all 17 arenas at least once per season.

The league takes its annual Christmas Break from Sunday, December 20 to Tuesday, December 29. The entire schedule is available here.

West Kelowna added a veteran presence to its blueline with the acquisition of Tyler Anderson from the Kindersley Kilppers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for forward Josh Bly and futures. Anderson, a 19-year-old, had 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 48 games with the Klippers last season. He added one goal in ten games as well. Bly, who is from Saskatoon, SK, played one game with Kindersley as an affiliate in 2012-13 and had 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 57 games with West Kelowna in 2014-15.


The Salmon Arm SilverBacks nabbed an import 1995-born player after a trade with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. Coming to the 'Backs is defenseman Aiden Salerno for future considerations. The 19-year-old from Long Beach, NY scored 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 51 games for the Sabres in 2014-15. He's a product of the Avon Old Farms high school prep hockey program.


The acquisition of defensemen continued with Coquitlam picking up blueliner Jarell Pinchuk from Drumheller of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for future considerations. Pinchuk is a veteran of 91 career junior A games with the Dragons, posting 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) and 81 penalty minutes. The 18-year-old from Fort Saskatchewan, AB was a 7th round pick, 141st overall by Kelowna in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.


The Surrey Eagles signed forward Paul McAvoy. The Lexington, KY native played with the Connecticut Oilers of the Eastern Hockey League last season, where he had 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) in 41 games. He added three points (two goals, one assist) in 11 playoff games as the Oilers won the EHL championship. 


Merritt has added defenseman Mike Faulkner for the upcoming season. He played 32 games of high school prep hockey with Brunswick School out of Greenwich, CT and had 42 points (seven goals, 35 assists) as team captain. The 19-year-old from New York, NY was chosen in the fourth round, 82nd overall by Corpus Christi in the NAHL Entry Draft earlier this spring.

Defenseman Kyle Bigos (Vernon, 2007-09) is taking his game to Europe. The 26-year-old has signed with the Edinburgh Capitals of the Elite Ice Hockey League for next season. He had 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) in 43 games with the ECHL's Ontario Reign in 2014-15. The Upland, CA native also played three games in the AHL with Worcester and had one assist. Bigos was selected in the fourth round, 99th overall by Edmonton in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.


Forward Milan Lucic (Coquitlam, 2004-05) was traded in the NHL on Friday from Boston to Los Angeles as part of a three player deal. In eight seasons with the Bruins, the Vancouver product has 342 points (139 goals, 203 assists) along with 772 penalty minutes. Lucic also added 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists) in 96 career playoff games with Boston. He won a Stanley Cup with the B's in 2011.