Multiple sources are reporting that the British Colombia Hockey League has notified the Canadian Junior Hockey League that they will be withdrawing from CJHL membership as of the 2021-2022 season.
TJHN has confirmed from BCHL team sources that a letter was in fact sent to the CJHL informing the CJHL of the BCHL’s intent to leave last week.
Other sources that have not been confirmed are reporting that the BCHL will also leave the umbrella of Hockey Canada.
According to statements made “off the record” the BCHL has made it clear that they feel they are better than, or above the rest of the other CJHL members when it comes to level of play. Multiple sources have said the BCHL has made it clear they feel other “Junior A” leagues in Canada should be on a “level below” the BCHL.
One source said;
“They think they should be the USHL of Canada and the rest of us should be like NAHL teams. They think they are better than everyone and they aren’t or they would win every RBC Cup and they don’t.”
Another source said;
“They think they are loosing players to the USHL and NAHL and they aren’t. They think they are just as good as the USHL and they aren’t. They think that by leaving they can compete directly with the USHL and NAHL for player recruiting and it just won’t work.”
While the BCHL has long been a great league for NCAA player development, it is not on par with the USHL or NAHL when it comes to college commitments or level of play.
As the USHL and NAHL and now NCDC have grown and proven to NCAA coaches that they are developing players for their NCAA programs at a higher rate the BCHL has fallen behind.
As NCAA budgets have been cut, and scouting budgets have been slashed, those NCAA programs have changed where and how they scout. They no longer need to go to Western Canada to recruit NCAA players. Scouting predominantly in the United States, they save time and money. This is just the economics of hockey, and the BCHL can not change those economics.
Scouting across Canada as a whole is down, even before the pandemic. NCAA programs are simply saving money and staying home.
NCAA scouting bias has also changed. While most NCAA coaches in the past were Canadian, younger coaches and assistant coaches doing the recruiting are now American born. Coaches and scouts tend to be biased toward the leagues they know the best. This is why the leagues in the United States are so far ahead of Canada in NCAA player development.
If indeed the BCHL leaves the CJHL, and if it leaves Hockey Canada they will not rival the USHL. They will simply be seen as another league not sanctioned by a national governing body. They will not rival the NAHL and will likely see a dramatic drop off in talent within two years.
Regardless of result, the BCHL has certainly shown they have a high opinion of themselves and they are willing to alienate themselves further from the rest of Tier II Junior A hockey in Canada.
article courtesy of the junior hockey news .com