BCHL landscape changing

The B.C. Hockey League will trim its schedule and realign conferences for the 2012-13 season.

Change is coming to the BCHL for the 2012-13 season.

The league had its semi-annual governors meeting in Richmond and they have decided to reduce the regular season schedule from 60 games to 56 with the hope it will attract more fans to games. The move was also made to reduce mid-week games that didn’t draw well.

Also, a showcase event will be held Sept. 7 to 9 at a site yet to be determined. The showcase is similar to events held in the Alberta and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey leagues where college and professional scouts are invited. Showcase results will count in the regular season standings. Each BCHL team will play two games at the event meaning all teams, except the host of the showcase, will then have 27 home dates. Any revenues from the showcase will be split up amongst the league’s 16 clubs.

The regular season will also begin on Sept. 14 with the season ending on March 10. The league has also decided to re-align conferences as there will be 10 teams in the Coastal Conference, split into the Island and Mainland Division. The Island Division will include Victoria, Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, Alberni Valley and Powell River. The Mainland Division will include Coquitlam, Surrey, Langley, Chilliwack and Prince George.

Prince George will be given the option to return to the Interior Conference after the conclusion of the 2013 playoffs. With Prince George and Chilliwack set to join the Coastal Conference, the new Interior Conference will include the remaining teams: Merritt, Trail, Penticton, Vernon, Salmon Arm and Westside.

“These decisions were not made in haste and came only after lengthy debate by our governors,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale. “The BCHL considers itself an innovator and model for junior A hockey in Canada and these decisions, not all of them unanimous, have been made with the intention of ensuring the long-term viability of our league.”