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BCHL Fact Check

The BCHL is entering its 62nd year of existence and has grown into Canada’s number-one producer of NCAA Division I hockey players, backed up by the fact the the league sends more players on to college hockey than all other leagues in Canada combined. In addition, the BCHL is a consistent source for NHL talent, proven by the recent NHL Draft that saw nine BCHL players selected, including two in the first round.

With the 2023-24 season being the first year the BCHL will operate as an independent league, we wanted clarify how our league now fits into the Canadian landscape and clear up any potential misconceptions as we enter a new era. The BCHL is, and will remain, a safe and fun league for young athletes to develop on and off the ice as we help them achieve their future goals.

Hockey Canada System BCHL
Recognized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) No. As an independent league, the BCHL is not recognized by the IIHF.
Supported and recognized by government as the official system for hockey in Canada No. We felt we could provide more opportunities for our athletes and teams if we became an independent league, so we chose not to renew our membership.ย 
Eligible to participate in sanctioned hockey tournaments No. However, would welcome our players participating in international tournaments like the World Junior A Challenge.
Partners with the NHL, CHL, CJHL, U SPORTS and others that operate under sanctioned hockey Yes. The BCHL has an advisory panel of NHL players, executives and coaches, as well as a working relationship with NHL teams through event partnerships. The league also works with the NHL and AHL through our Department of Player Safety, which has an active NHL referee as a development coach and mentor.
Opportunity to be an affiliate player in a Hockey Canada-sanctioned league, including the CHL, CJHL and Junior A BCHL players do not affiliate with other leagues. Unfortunately, minor hockey players are no longer able to affiliate with BCHL teams if they play on Hockey Canada-sanctioned teams.
Suspensions are tracked and upheld if a player, coach or staff member move between leagues Yes. The BCHL has its own Department of Player Safety, led by former NHL official Brad Lazarowich, that is responsible for league discipline and education. If a player or coach joins the BCHL from another league while suspended, the DOPS will review the situation and react accordingly.
Eligible to submit confidential complaints of maltreatment, abuse or harassment to the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner or Hockey Canadaโ€™s Independent Third Party Yes. The BCHL takes maltreatment, abuse or harassment extremely seriously and has its has its own independent third-party system in place where players, coaches and staff are able to submit confidential complaints to the league’s Safe Sport Officer. Each team also has an Athlete Advocate assigned to them to help with these matters.
Opportunities to participate in low-cost entry-level introduction to hockey programs, such as NHL/NHLPA First Shift, Esso Fun Days and Dreams Come True Yes. The BCHL has many youth hockey programs through our relationship with minor hockey, including league events like the Road Show that gave back $15,000 to Burns Lake Minor Hockey Association. The league has also committed to eliminate all player fees by 2025.
Eligible to be selected for national and provincial and territorial high-performance teams and programs No. Under the current system, Hockey Canada has restricted Canadian BCHL players from playing for national teams.
Coaches, officials and staff may be considered for additional sanctioned assignments and opportunities including participation in IIHF events, CHL, CJHL and Junior A games, Program of Excellence events and regional and national championships No. Under the current system, Hockey Canada and BC Hockey will not allow BCHL coaches or officials to be considered for these events.
Eligible to compete in provincial and national championships hosted by Hockey Canada and its Member branches No. Under the current system, Hockey Canada and BC Hockey will not allow BCHL teams to compete at the Centennial Cup national tournament.
Opportunity to collaborate with Hockey Canada and its Member branches across the country, who have successful track records of organizational and financial stability No. The BCHL is operating independent of Hockey Canada and BC Hockey, as well as other branches across the country. Operating independently provides more opportunities for college-tracking athletes.
Eligible to be rostered in a Hockey Canada-sanctioned league for the remainder of the season, including CHL, CJHL and Junior A No. After the Sept. 30 deadline set by Hockey Canada, BCHL players are no longer able to participate in Hockey Canada-sanctioned play for the remainder of the season, but they would be eligible again to start the following year. That being said, there have been many situations in the past where a player or coach has requested to be reinstated midseason and the request has been granted. This policy would seem to go against Hockey Canadaโ€™s recent statement that they “recognize and respect that others remain free to participate in the game outside of sanctioned programs.โ€

 

NOTE: As of Sept. 26, 2023, Hockey Canada has changed their policy to restrict any athletes from returning to Hockey Canada-sanctioned play for the entirety of the season.

Officials have been trained and certified by Hockey Canada Yes, all current BCHL Officials have been trained under Hockey Canada and USA Hockey. The BCHL officiating staff will do extensive rule book and procedure training sessions going forward.
Proven model for hockey to be enjoyed recreationally and competitively Yes. The BCHL has a 61-year track record of enjoyable, safe and competitive hockey. A recent example of enjoyable hockey is the outdoor All-Star event we hosted last year and is now an annual league event. Watch video.
Mandatory criminal record and/or vulnerable sector check for all coaches, bench staff, trainers and officials. Yes. The BCHL continues to have mandatory criminal record checks for all coaches, bench staff, trainers and officials, as well as billet families.
Full, standardized insurance coverage, including Commercial General Liability, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance and Directors and Officers Liability Yes. The BCHL has full, standardized insurance coverage through our broker, Westland Insurance, including Commercial General Liability, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance and Directors and Officers Liability. In addition, the league has coverage for Abuse, Dental, Travel Medical and Cyber.
Standardized rulebook for all levels of hockey Yes. The BCHL has its own standardized rulebook that is similar to the NCAA hockey rulebook, as that is where the majority of our players go in the next step of their careers.
Mandatory education, certification and training required for coaches, trainers and officials Yes. The BCHL has mandatory education, certification and training required for all coaches, trainers and officials.
Standardized age-appropriate hockey programs Yes. The BCHL has standardized age-appropriate programs for players age 16 to 20.