British Columbia Hockey League
The British Columbia Hockey League is a Junior A ice hockey league from British Columbia under Hockey Canada, a subsection of the Canadian Junior Hockey League. Founded in Vernon in 1961, the BCHL now includes 17 teams. These teams play in three divisions, known as the Interior, Island and Mainland divisions. The winner of the BCHL playoffs (Fred Page Cup) continues on to play the Alberta Junior Hockey League champion in the Doyle Cup for the right to compete in the National Junior A Championship.
|Current season, competition or edition:|
|No. of teams||17|
|Prince George Spruce Kings (1st title)|
|Most titles||Penticton Vees, Vernon Vipers (12 each)|
In 1961, the heads of four junior "B" hockey teams in the Okanagan region of British Columbia got together and formed the first Junior "A" league in British Columbia's history. The Okanagan-Mainline Junior "A" Hockey League (OMJHL) originally consisted of the Kamloops Jr. Rockets, the Kelowna Buckaroos, the Penticton Jr. Vees, and the Vernon Jr. Canadians.
In 1967, the league expanded out of the Okanagan region, bringing in the New Westminster Royals and the Victoria Cougars. With the expansion, the league decided that since it was no longer solely in the Okanagan region that it need a new name, becoming the British Columbia Junior Hockey League (BCJHL). A year later, the Vancouver Centennials joined the league. In the 1970s, the Victoria Cougars jumped to the Western Hockey League and the New Westminster team was forced to fold due to the relocation of the Estevan Bruins into their arena. In 1972, the Bellingham Blazers and the Nanaimo Clippers expanded the league to eight teams.
Meanwhile, in the early 1970s, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association separated the two tiers of Junior "A" hockey. The BCJHL, being a Tier II league, was then disallowed from competing for the Memorial Cup, which had traditionally been the National Junior A Championship trophy. Consequentially, the Tier II Junior "A" leagues across Canada agreed to compete for a new trophy called the Centennial Cup. The 1970s also saw the rise of a rival league for the BCJHL, the Pacific Coast Junior Hockey League (PCJHL), which briefly existed in the 1960s, was resurrected by Fred Page for the 1971–72 season. Page had roots in managing junior hockey leagues, and today there are two championship trophies named for him – the Eastern Champion Junior "A" Fred Page Cup and the BCHL Championship trophy. The PCJHL was elevated to a Junior "A" league for the 1973–74 season, adjusting its name to the Pacific Junior A Hockey League (PJHL). The PJHL champion then competed with the BCJHL champion in a provincial championship, the Mowat Cup, with the winner moving on to what was the precursor to the Doyle Cup. The PJHL's Nor'Wes Caps won the 1976 Mowat Cup, while the PJHL's Richmond Sockeyes won the 1977 and 1979 Mowat Cups. Fred Page agreed to allow a merger between the PJHL and the BCJHL for the 1979–80 season.
The existence of the two Junior "A" leagues in British Columbia caused an unusual turn of events in the 1977–78 season postseason. The BCJHL sent their regular season champion, the Merritt Centennials, to play as the BC representative in the Pacific region (BC and Alberta) interprovincial Doyle Cup, excusing them from the BCJHL playoffs. The BCJHL continued their league playoffs without them, crowning Nanaimo as the playoff champion after Penticton refused to finish the playoff finals due to a series of brawls in the third game of the series. Meanwhile, the Merritt Centennials won the Doyle Cup and advanced to the Abbott Cup (the Western Canada Championship) against the winner of the ANAVET Cup, the Western region champion Prince Albert Raiders of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The Centennials lost to the Raiders, four games to one.
In 1986, Penticton became the BCJHL's first Junior "A" national champion, defeating the Metro Valley Junior Hockey League's Cole Harbour Colts by a score of 7–4 to win the Centennial Cup. A year later, the BCJHL's Richmond Sockeyes won the league's second consecutive national title.
In 1990, the BCJHL was renamed to British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and changed its logo twice in 1990 and 2000.
The most notable star to come from the BCHL is Olympian and National Hockey League hall of famer Brett Hull who played for Penticton. Hull holds the BCHL record for most goals in a season (105), which he set in 1983–84, a record that still stands today. Other NHLers who once played in the BCHL include Chuck Kobasew of the Penticton Panthers, Scott Gomez of the South Surrey Eagles, Carey Price of the Quesnel Millionaires, and Willie Mitchell of the Kelowna Spartans.
As of July 2013, the TheHockeyWriters.com lists the BCHL as the sixth best developmental league, professional or amateur, in North America.
The Wenatchee Wild, previously of the North American Hockey League had been attempting to get into the BCHL since 2012. On June 1, 2015, it was announced that they would be joining for the 2015–16 season, marking the league's return to the US after a twenty-year absence. The BCHL announced the Cranbrook Bucks as a 2020–21 expansion team, replacing the recently relocated Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League.
Royal Bank Cup champions
The Royal Bank Cup has been captured by a BCHL team nine times since the trophy's founding:
Centennial Cup champions
BCHL Fred Page Cup champions
- For Pacific Regional playoffs, please go to the Doyle Cup.
- For the national championship, please go to the Royal Bank Cup.
Please note: In chart, league champions are bolded.
|Year||League champion||League runner-up|
|Memorial Cup era|
|1962||Kamloops Rockets||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1963||Kamloops Rockets||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1964||Kamloops Rockets||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1965||Kelowna Buckaroos||Kamloops Kraft Kings|
|1966||Kamloops Kraft Kings||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1967||Penticton Broncos||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1968||Penticton Broncos||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1969||Victoria Cougars||Penticton Broncos|
|1970||Vernon Essos||Victoria Cougars|
|1971||Kamloops Rockets||Vancouver Centennials|
|1972||Vernon Essos||Penticton Broncos|
|1973||Penticton Broncos||Chilliwack Bruins|
|1974||Kelowna Buckaroos||Langley Lords|
|1975||Bellingham Blazers||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1976||Nanaimo Clippers||Penticton Vees|
|1977||Nanaimo Clippers||Penticton Vees|
|1978||Merritt Centennials||Penticton Vees|
|1979||Bellingham Blazers||Kamloops Rockets|
|1980||Penticton Knights||Nanaimo Clippers|
|1981||Penticton Knights||Abbotsford Flyers|
|1982||Penticton Knights||New Westminster Royals|
|1983||Abbotsford Flyers||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1984||Langley Eagles||Penticton Knights|
|1985||Penticton Knights||Burnaby Blue Hawks|
|1986||Penticton Knights||Richmond Sockeyes|
|1987||Richmond Sockeyes||Kelowna Packers|
|1988||Vernon Lakers||Richmond Sockeyes|
|1989||Vernon Lakers||New Westminster Royals|
|1990||New Westminster Royals||Vernon Lakers|
|1991||Vernon Lakers||Powell River Paper Kings|
|1992||Vernon Lakers||Bellingham Ice Hawks|
|1993||Kelowna Spartans||Powell River Paper Kings|
|1994||Kelowna Spartans||Cowichan Valley Capitals|
|1995||Chilliwack Chiefs||Powell River Paper Kings|
|1996||Vernon Vipers||Langley Thunder|
|1997||South Surrey Eagles||Vernon Vipers|
|1998||South Surrey Eagles||Penticton Panthers|
|1999||Vernon Vipers||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|2000||Chilliwack Chiefs||Vernon Vipers|
|2001||Victoria Salsa||Merritt Centennials|
|2002||Chilliwack Chiefs||Vernon Vipers|
|2003||Vernon Vipers||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|2004||Nanaimo Clippers||Salmon Arm Silverbacks|
|2005||Surrey Eagles||Vernon Vipers|
|2006||Burnaby Express||Penticton Vees|
|2007||Nanaimo Clippers||Vernon Vipers|
|2008||Penticton Vees||Nanaimo Clippers|
|2009||Vernon Vipers||Powell River Kings|
|2010||Vernon Vipers||Powell River Kings|
|2011||Vernon Vipers||Powell River Kings|
|2012||Penticton Vees||Powell River Kings|
|2013||Surrey Eagles||Penticton Vees|
|2014||Coquitlam Express||Vernon Vipers|
|2015||Penticton Vees||Nanaimo Clippers|
|2016||West Kelowna Warriors||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|2017||Penticton Vees||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|2018||Wenatchee Wild||Prince George Spruce Kings|
|2019||Prince George Spruce Kings||Vernon Vipers|
BCHL Fred Page Cup Playoffs
As of 2019, the top four teams from the Island and Mainland divisions advance to the playoffs, along with the top six Inland division teams, with the top two remaining teams in the regular season standings taking wild card spots and competing in the Interior Division playoff bracket. The postseason consists of four rounds, all consisting of a series of best-of-seven games, with the Island and Mainland Division playoff champions meeting in the league semifinals while the two remaining teams from the Interior bracket meet in the semifinals. The team that wins the Fred Page Cup championship advances to the Doyle Cup.
Timeline of teams
- 1961 – Okanagan-Mainline Junior Hockey League founded with Kamloops Jr. Rockets, Kelowna Buckaroos, Penticton Jr. Vees, and Vernon Jr. Canadians.
- 1962 – Vernon Jr. Canadians become Vernon Blades.
- 1963 – OMJHL changes name to Okanagan Junior Hockey League.
- 1963 – Penticton Jr. Vees leave league.
- 1964 – Penticton returns as Penticton Broncos.
- 1964 – Kamloops Jr. Rockets become Kamloops Kraft Kings.
- 1967 – OJHL changes name to British Columbia Junior Hockey League.
- 1967 – Vernon Blades become Vernon Essos.
- 1967 – Kamloops Kraft Kings become Kamloops Rockets.
- 1967 – New Westminster Royals and Victoria Cougars join from Pacific Coast Junior A Hockey League.
- 1969 – Vancouver Centennials join league.
- 1970 – Chilliwack Bruins join league.
- 1971 – New Westminster Royals and Victoria Cougars leave league.
- 1972 – Vancouver Centennials become Vancouver Villas.
- 1972 – Nanaimo Clippers and Bellingham Blazers join league.
- 1973 – Kamloops Rockets move and become White Rock Centennials and then Merritt Centennials.
- 1973 – Vancouver Villas leave league.
- 1973 – Langley Lords join league.
- 1973 – Vernon Essos become Vernon Vikings.
- 1975 – Penticton Broncos become Penticton Vees.
- 1975 – Bellingham Blazers become Maple Ridge Blazers.
- 1976 – Kamloops Braves and Abbotsford Flyers join league.
- 1976 – Maple Ridge Blazers become Bellingham Blazers.
- 1976 – Chilliwack Bruins become Maple Ridge Bruins.
- 1976 – Langley Lords become Langley Thunder.
- 1977 – Maple Ridge Bruins move, renamed Revelstoke Bruins.
- 1977 – Kamloops Braves become Kamloops Chiefs.
- 1978 – Kamloops Chiefs become Kamloops Rockets.
- 1978 – Bellingham Blazers become Bellingham Ice Hawks.
- 1978 – Chilliwack Colts and Delta Suns join league.
- 1979 – Penticton Vees become Penticton Knights.
- 1979 – Revelstoke Bruins and Kamloops Rockets merge to become Revelstoke Bruins/Rockets.
- 1979 – Richmond Sockeyes and Nor'Wes Caps join league from Pacific Junior A Hockey League.
- 1979 – Delta Suns, Langley Thunder, and Vernon Canadians leave league.
- 1980 – Vernon rejoins league as Vernon Lakers.
- 1980 – Cowichan Valley Capitals and Coquitlam Comets join league.
- 1980 – Revelstoke Bruins/Rockets change name to Revelstoke Rockets.
- 1980 – Bellingham Ice Hawks move, renamed Vancouver Blue Hawks.
- 1980 – Chilliwack Colts cease operations mid-season.
- 1981 – Langley Eagles join league.
- 1981 – Coquitlam Comets and Nor'Wes Caps cease operations.
- 1982 – Esquimalt Buccaneers and Shuswap/Salmon Arm Totems join league.
- 1982 – Nanaimo Clippers cease operations.
- 1982 – Vancouver Blue Hawks move, renamed Burnaby Blue Hawks.
- 1983 – Revelstoke Rockets renamed Revelstoke Rangers.
- 1983 – Esquimalt Buccaneers move, renamed Nanaimo Clippers.
- 1983 – Kelowna Buckaroos move, renamed Summerland Buckaroos.
- 1983 – New Westminster Royals cease operations.
- 1984 – Cowichan Valley Capitals move, renamed Sidney Capitals.
- 1984 – Vernon Rockets renamed Vernon Lakers.
- 1985 – Delta Flyers and Kelowna Packers join league.
- 1985 – Burnaby Blue Hawks and Revelstoke Rangers cease operations.
- 1985 – Merritt Centennials renamed Merritt Warriors.
- 1985 – Abbotsford Flyers renamed Abbotsford Falcons.
- 1985 – Salmon Arm Totems renamed Salmon Arm/Shuswap Blazers.
- 1986 – Sidney Capitals move, renamed Juan de Fuca Whalers.
- 1987 – Salmon Arm/Shuswap Blazers renamed Salmon Arm Tigers.
- 1987 – Merritt Warriors renamed Merritt Centennials.
- 1987 – Langley Eagles move, renamed Chilliwack Eagles.
- 1988 – Summerland Buckaroos and Abbotsford Falcons cease operations.
- 1988 – Juan de Fuca Whalers move, renamed Cowichan Valley Whalers.
- 1988 – New Westminster Royals rejoin league.
- 1988 – Delta Flyers move, renamed Powell River Paper Kings.
- 1989 – Kelowna Packers renamed Kelowna Spartans.
- 1989 – Chilliwack Eagles move, renamed Ladner Penguins.
- 1989 – Cowichan Valley Whalers renamed Cowichan Valley Capitals.
- 1989 – Salmon Arm Tigers cease operations.
- 1990 – Penticton Knights renamed Penticton Panthers.
- 1990 – Victoria Warriors join league.
- 1990 – Ladner Penguins move, renamed Bellingham Ice Hawks.
- 1990 – Richmond Sockeyes move, renamed Chilliwack Chiefs.
- 1990 – Cowichan Valley Capitals cease operations.
- 1991 – New Westminster Royals move, renamed Surrey Eagles.
- 1993 – Cowichan Valley Capitals rejoin league.
- 1993 – Victoria Warriors cease operations.
- 1994 – Victoria Salsa, Langley Thunder, Royal City Outlaws join league.
- 1995 – Bellingham Ice Hawks sell franchise rights to Trail Smoke Eaters of the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League; Trail joins BCHL.
- 1995 – Vernon Lakers renamed Vernon Vipers.
- 1995 – Kelowna Spartans cease operations.
- 1996 – Royal City Outlaws sell franchise rights to Prince George Spruce Kings; both Prince George and the Quesnel Millionaires of the RMJHL join the BCHL.
- 1996 – Surrey Eagles renamed South Surrey Eagles.
- 1998 – Burnaby Bulldogs join league.
- 1998 – Powell River Paper Kings renamed Powell River Kings; Langley Thunder renamed Langley Hornets.
- 2001 – Coquitlam Express and Salmon Arm Silverbacks join league.
- 2002 – Williams Lake TimberWolves join league.
- 2002 – Burnaby Bulldogs move to Alberni Valley.
- 2003 – South Surrey Eagles renamed Surrey Eagles.
- 2004 – Penticton Panthers renamed Penticton Vees.
- 2005 – Coquitlam Express move to Burnaby.
- 2006 – Langley Hornets move, renamed Westside Warriors.
- 2006 – Chilliwack Chiefs move to Langley.
- 2006 – Victoria Salsa renamed Victoria Grizzlies.
- 2007 – Williams Lake TimberWolves take leave of absence from league.
- 2009 – Williams Lake TimberWolves active in league.
- 2010 – Williams Lake TimberWolves declared "not in good standing"; operations suspended.
- 2010 – Burnaby Express move to Coquitlam.
- 2011 – Quesnel Millionaires move, become Chilliwack Chiefs.
- 2011 – Langley Chiefs renamed Langley Rivermen.
- 2012 – Westside Warriors renamed West Kelowna Warriors.
- 2015 – Wenatchee Wild join league from the North American Hockey League.
- 2020 – Cranbrook Bucks will join the league as an expansion team.
- Most goals in a season: 105, Brett Hull, Penticton, 1983–84
- Most assists in a season: 111, Bob Ginetti, Burnaby, 1986–87
- Most points in a season: 188, Brett Hull, Penticton, 1983–84
- Most goals in a season, defenceman: 38, Campbell Blair, Vernon, 1986–87
- Most assists in a season, defenceman: 77, Bruce Harris, Bellingham, 1978–79; Ian Kidd, Penticton, 1984–85
- Most points in a season, defenceman: 109, Campbell Blair, Vernon, 1986–87
- Most goals in a season, rookie: 84, John Newberry, Nanaimo, 1979–80
- Most assists in a season, rookie: 103, Doug Berry, Kelowna, 1974–75
- Most points in a season, rookie: 185, John Newberry, Nanaimo, 1979–80
- Most shorthanded goals in a season: 14, Greg Hadden, New Westminster, 1988–89
- Most powerplay goals in a season: 32, Dan Bousquet, Penticton, 1993–94
- Longest consecutive shutout streak: 250 minutes, 25 seconds, Brad Thiessen, Prince George, 2005–06
- Winning streak in a season: 42 Games Penticton Vees 2011-2012
- Most wins in a season: 54 Penticton Vees, 2011-2012; 52, New Westminster Royals, 1989–90; Vernon Vipers, 1998–99
- Most points in a season: 110, Penticton Vees, 2011-2012
- Most goals scored in a season: 498, Penticton Knights, 1984–85
- Fewest goals against in a season: 130, Penticton Knights, 48-game schedule, 1981–82; 115, Powell River Kings, 60-game schedule, 2010–11
Names in bold indicate inductees of the Hockey Hall of Fame
- "Wenatchee Wild Join the BCHL for the 2015-16 Season". www.bchl.ca. Archived from the original on 2015-06-05. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- "BCHL ANNOUNCES CRANBROOK BUCKS EXPANSION". BCHL. October 8, 2019.