After reducing its schedule from 60 games to 56, the B.C. Hockey League has re-upped it to a 58-game schedule for 2013-14.
The two-game increase was key among the changes the league made during its annual general meeting held in Richmond last week. Teams will play two games that count in the standings at the Bauer BCHL Showcase Sept. 6 to 8 in Chilliwack, then play 28 home and away dates to complete the regular season.
The Victoria Grizzlies open the season on Sept. 6 against the Penticton Vees at the BCHL showcase.
Still up in the air is next year’s playoff structure – teams are being asked to submit their ideas with a format to be announced before the showcase.
The league has also changed its media policy surrounding the Jan. 10 roster deadline. For any given transaction, teams can release information to the media as soon as they have made the league office aware that all players involved have been notified.
The league’s referees received a boost as NHL linesman Brad Lazarowich has signed as associate director of officiating. Lazarowich monitored and provided mentorship to young officials last season during the NHL lockout.
A likely controversial topic is the league’s new sponsorship deal with equipment manufacturer Bauer, which states that all players must use the Bauer Supreme Team Stick in 2013-14. Failure to comply results in financial penalties to the club, and escalate with repeat offences.
For protective gear, teams are allowed to use remaining new equipment from previous seasons but all new equipment must also be ordered from Bauer.
Also adopted are a number of Canadian Junior Hockey League changes to policy.
Among them are sanctions for payment of players, a “not-in-good-standing” list for players refusing to report to a team after a CJHL Player Transfer Agreement, and new import rules including players with Canadian citizenship shall not be considered an import. Import numbers will be reduced from seven to six after 2013-14.