The BC Hockey League (BCHL) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) May 19 and 20 via Zoom and league’s Board of Governors approved several new initiatives.
Department of Player Safety (DOPS)
The Board approved several motions to strengthen player safety and provide the DOPS with the ability to correct calls at ice level, if required. One of those motions allows the DOPS to add an Instigator or Aggressor penalty to a fighting major upon review. Prior to this, each fight was reviewed by the department, but they relied on the on-ice call when it came to Instigator or Aggressor.
This is in addition to the stricter rules around fighting that were implemented at last year’s AGM, where a player receives a suspension upon receiving his second Fighting major penalty of the season and will continue to receive increased discipline the more Fighting majors they accrue.
With these rules in place, the BCHL now has the stiffest rules against fighting in North American junior hockey.
In an effort to provide the most accurate in-game statistics possible, the league has approved a motion to have each team appoint a live-scoring staff member to double check scoring plays during the games on BCHL TV and make changes to the online box score when a goal has been incorrectly scored. By doing this, box scores will be more accurate during and immediately after the games, which is beneficial to scouts and fans alike. In-game scoring changes will be announced by the arena’s PA announcer and will be noted on the broadcast.
The league office will review all scoring changes after the fact to ensure they are accurate.
League Schedule Format
The BCHL will return to its regular format in 2020-21. The Board of Governors approved a change to the divisional alignment and number of games at their Semi-Annual Meeting in January of 2020. Starting this season, the league will be split into two conferences, each comprised of nine teams. The top-eight teams from the Coastal and Interior Conferences will make the playoffs and each team will play 54 games.
The 2021-22 season will revert to pre-COVID-19 regulations, including, but not limited to, the return to half-shield visors.
The members of the BCHL’s Executive Committee were extended and the committee also added one member. Graham Fraser (Penticton) will continue to serve as the Chairman of the Board with David White (Wenatchee) and newly-added Rich Murphy (Trail) serving as Vice-Chairs. Also on the committee is Brooks Christensen (Salmon Arm), David Michaud (Alberni Valley), and Ron Walchuk (Victoria).
The Board also voted in favour of bringing back the league office staff with contract extensions for all members.
Chris Hebb will continue as the BCHL Commissioner, Dave Cannon will stay on as the league’s Executive Director, Business Development and Brad Lazarowich will remain the BCHL’s Director of Officiating & Player Safety.
Meanwhile, Steven Cocker has been promoted to the role of Deputy Commissioner, Jesse Adamson will take on the role of Manager, Communications & Events and Jake Baker will now be the BCHL’s Manager, Finance & Events.