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2023 BCHL Annual General Meeting recap

The BC Hockey League held part two of its Annual General Meeting on Thursday, May 25 in Victoria, B.C. This followed part one, which occurred May 1 via Zoom.

The Board of Governors discussed and approved several league initiatives set to take effect in 2023-24.

League Office Staff

As mentioned in a previous release, Chris Hebb will move solely into the role of Chief Executive Officer, focusing on the future of the BCHL through big picture opportunities and alliances, while Steven Cocker will move into the role of Commissioner, managing the league’s operations.

In addition, Brad Lazarowich has been promoted to the role of Vice President of Hockey Operations, while Jesse Adamson will become the Director of Communications and Events.

Mario Galea will remain on board for his second year as Coordinator of Finance, Alex Waddington will return for a second year with the new title of Manager of Events and Monique MacKinnon will continue as the league’s Safe Sport Officer.

The league office will also be expanding this offseason with several new hires expected in the coming months.

Executive Committee

The BCHL’s Executive Committee will receive a pair of new additions. Cranbrook Bucks Governor Nathan Lieuwen and Wenatchee Wild Alternate Governor Bliss Littler will join the committee, which already consists of BCHL Board of Governors Chairman Graham Fraser and other team governors, including Brooks Christensen from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, David Michaud from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, Rich Murphy from the Trail Smoke Eaters and Ron Walchuk from the Victoria Grizzlies. The committee also includes league office representatives Chris Hebb and Steven Cocker.

The league’s other committees include the Futures Committee, Governance Committee, Franchise Committee, Competition Committee and Marketing Committee.

Executive of the Year

Cranbrook Bucks Owner and President Nathan Lieuwen was voted as the BCHL’s Executive of the Year for 2022-23. Lieuwen’s Bucks finished second in the Interior Conference in just their third year in the league.

After going 3-16-1 in the pod season in 2020-21, Cranbrook finished fifth in the conference the following year and then jumped up 13 points in the standings in their second-place season this year.

Marketer of the Year

Wenatchee Wild Director of Sales and Marketing Gretchen Littler was voted as the BCHL’s Marketer of the Year for 2022-23.

Following the 2020-21 campaign when the Wild were forced to take a hiatus due to the Canada-U.S. border closure during the pandemic, Wenatchee has regained its previous standing in the league both on and off the ice. The seventh-seeded Wild pulled off a first-round upset in the BCHL Playoffs, which saw a packed Town Toyota Center night in and night out. The team was also able to re-establish its long-standing connection with the community in Wenatchee, consistently engaging in community events throughout the year.

Overtime Format

The league governors unanimously approved a new overtime format for the 2023-24 season. Next year, the BCHL will move to a 10-minute 3-on-3 overtime period in an attempt to limit the amount of games decided by a shootout.

If a game is still tied after 10 minutes, then a shootout will occur.

Under the previous five-minute overtime format, 41.5 per cent of overtime games went to a shootout.