The BCHL announced its intention to withdraw its membership from the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) last week, but the league is staying tight-lipped about the ‘why’ and ‘what now.’
“After reviewing our options, the BCHL has chosen to no longer belong to the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL),” the league said in a Twitter post April 9. “The BCHL is not withdrawing from Hockey Canada or BC Hockey.”
Since Chris Hebb took over as commissioner of the junior A league in 2018, the BCHL has been very careful about messaging. When The Chilliwack Progress reached out for comment and to arrange an interview with Hebb Monday morning, the league’s Coordinator of Content Services, Jesse Adamson, had nothing more to offer.
“At this time, we don’t have anything to say on the matter beyond that statement,” he said.
Team officials at the local level, including Chilliwack Chiefs hockey boss Brian Maloney, aren’t allowed to comment either, leaving media and fans to speculate. There’s long been whispers of a ‘super league’ scenario — perhaps a partnership with the Alberta Junior Hockey League or the USHL. The two westernmost Canadian leagues are regarded as the strongest in Canada and the USHL has made significant inroads south of the border.
In a statement released last week, the CJHL noted that BCHL players would no longer be eligible to participate in the CJHL Top Prospects Game or the World Junior A Challenge (WJAC). The former is a certainty, and a loss to draft-eligible BCHL players hoping to impress National Hockey League scouts in the annual showcase game.
But the latter may not necessarily be out if the BCHL is maintaining affiliation with Hockey Canada, as the WJAC is a Hockey Canada event.
Lots of questions and no answers from the BCHL head office. Adamson suggested the league should have more to say after its annual general meeting in mid-May.