Monday, October 3, 2011

BCHL Feeling Drafty Today With First Ever Affiliate Draft:


The Merritt Centennials and the BCHL move into uncharted territory today with the league's first ever affiliate player draft.

The draft is optional, so there's no guarantee that all 16 teams will take part, but honestly I can't see why any team wouldn't want to expose their program to some of the top 15-year-old prospects in the province. Yes, I know they could have done it anyway with recruiting, but this takes care of that for them and it's each team's job to "sell" the player on their program. Whether a team is a perennial bottom-feeder or always in the top tier of the league, I see the draft as a low-risk, high-reward for everyone involved.

Here's the draft order:

First Round
1. Prince George
2. Chilliwack
3. Cowichan Valley
4. Merritt
5. Coquitlam
6. Alberni Valley
7. Nanaimo
8. Trail
9. Victoria
10. Langley
11. Westside
12. Surrey
13. Salmon Arm
14. Penticton
15. Vernon
16. Powell River

Second Round
17. Prince George
18. Chilliwack
19. Cowichan Valley
20. Merritt
21. Coquitlam
22. Alberni Valley
23. Nanaimo
24. Trail
25. Victoria
26. Langley
27. Westside
28. Surrey
29. Salmon Arm
30. Penticton
31. Vernon
32. Powell River

Here's the official release from the BCHL website:

On Monday, Oct. 3, BCHL governor and league officials will convene in Richmond for the first governors meetings of the new season.

Amongst other things, an affiliate draft will be held which will give teams the chance to select 15-year-old players for the purpose of affiliating them for the season and introduce them to their team culture and to Junior A hockey. The players rights will not be retained at the end of the season.

"It will give each team a season to build a relationship with the young player," said BCHL executive director Dave Sales. "Perhaps more importantly for the league as a whole, even if a player doesn't stay with the team that drafted them, they may sign with another BCHL team because of their exposure to the league and we will have been successful as a group in keeping players versus them choosing other options."

The idea for the affiliate draft was approved by governors after the end of last season from a motion by the the steering committe of the board of directors. As ever, the BCHL is exploring new ideas as a way of staying relevant to developing hockey players and as a way of setting the pace for Junior A hockey in Canada.

Teams will have the option of selecting a player in each of the two rounds but are not required to do so because the draft is optional. Teams select based on reverse order of finish in the 2010-11 standings.

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