BCHL safely completes 2020-21 pod season

The BC Hockey League (BCHL) played the final game of its six-week pod season last night, completing all 160 scheduled games.

Including the extended training camp season played from September to November, the league successfully completed 249 games this year.

With the conclusion of the pod season schedule, five teams were crowned pod champions by finishing first in their respective standings.

  • Alberni Pod champion: Victoria Grizzlies
  • Chilliwack Pod champion: Prince George Spruce Kings
  • Coquitlam Pod champion: Surrey Eagles
  • Penticton Pod champion: Penticton Vees
  • Vernon Pod champion: Vernon Vipers

One set of awards will be handed out for each pod. Award announcements will commence on Monday of next week.

COVID-19 Safety

The BCHL implemented frequent COVID-19 testing of all players and team staff in order to make the season as safe as possible for all involved. This included an initial quarantine period prior to the start of the season and then weekly testing until the end of the schedule.

In total, approximately 2,200 total tests were administered.

The league also hired a Chief Medical Officer in Dr. Bob McCormack who worked directly with the Provincial Health Office (PHO) as a voice for the league with medical expertise. The hiring of Dr. McCormack was also a significant reason why the BCHL’s COVID-19 Safety Plan was accepted by the PHO.

Another important aspect of the league’s safety plan was the introduction of Compliance Officers at each pod. These were volunteers who were independent of the league and its teams and were tasked with overseeing the health and safety procedures of the season on and off the ice.

Hosts

In order to operate in a safe manner, each pod relied on countless support staff and volunteers to make sure everything ran as smoothly as possible.

This included game-operations staff, medical personnel, security, arena staff, broadcast crews and photographers.

Each host team also put in extra work behind the scenes to make sure their facilities were up to the task of safely hosting games for six weeks.

Exposure

From the outset, the goal of the league and its teams was to give BCHL players as much exposure as possible to professional and NCAA scouts. Within the 20-person limit of people permitted to attend games, scouts were at the top of the list with media included as well.

Scouts were able to attend in person with the option of also watching online if they could not be there.

Since the start of the pod season, seven BCHL players have announced their commitments to college teams, including four to NCAA Division I programs with more expected to be announced in the coming weeks and months.

Going back even further to the start of the exhibition season in September, 44 BCHL players have committed to college teams, including 39 to NCAA Division I programs.

2021-22

The league now turns the page to the 2021-22 BCHL season, starting with the league’s Annual General Meeting later this month and a schedule announcement in the coming weeks.

2021-22 is also the league’s 60th Anniversary and the BCHL will provide further details over the summer about how it plans to celebrate its past and pay tribute to the past 60 years.