Last season was historic for the BCHL – an RBC Cup win for the host Chilliwack Chiefs, Fred Page Cup and Doyle Cup victories for the Wenatchee Wild – the first such feats for a U.S.-based BCHL club since the late 1970s.
On top of that, the BCHL had seven players selected at the NHL Entry Draft in June, which matched a league record in the seven-round draft era.
For the seventh-straight year, the BCHL established a new record with respect to players committing to college hockey programs in Canada and the United States. For the 2017-18 campaign, there were 161 players that had secured college hockey opportunities.
Of course, a ton of talented players return to the league this season but there are some changes the league has undertaken as well. You will notice a few differences on the ice in terms of playing rules and some other adjustments.
Any changes that have been made, approved by the league’s owners, are intended to enhance the product on the ice, elevate the fan experience and – most importantly – provide the optimum development setting for the players as they strive to advance to the next level.
Here’s what to look for that’s new this season.
- Hybrid icing – This is the same move the NHL made a few seasons ago. Rather than automatic icing for a puck shot in from beyond centre, there will be a race between opposing players in pursuit to the faceoff dot. If the defensive player arrives first, it’s icing. If the forechecker does, icing is waved off and the play continues
- Overtime – Games tied at the end of regulation will move right into 3-on-3 sudden death overtime. The five-minute 4-on-4 session has been removed.
- Shootouts – There will be no ties in the BCHL this season. If 3-on-3 play does not determine a winner, each team will designate three players to make shootout attempts. If a winner is not determined after the first three shooters from each side has made an attempt, the team will keep sending out individuals until the outcome is decided. Basically, the BCHL’s overtime this year is exactly like the NHL is currently.
- 23-man rosters – Though there will still just be 20 players that dress each night, teams will carry a roster of 23 this season which is generally favoured by the coaches when injuries occur and in practice for running drills.