BCHL feels Hockey Canada and BC Hockey are making a nasty name on referees and their league

The BCHL went unbiased this summer season and BC Hockey is holding agency on not permitting refs to leap between sanctioned and unsanctioned leagues

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The B.C. Hockey League and Hockey Canada might use a referee for his or her dispute over officiating crews.

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The BCHL introduced the 26 referees and 24 traces individuals who had signed on to work the upcoming season within the 17-team Junior A loop final week.

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Because it sits now, these 50 folks received’t be capable to officiate any Hockey Canada sanctioned video games within the marketing campaign. The BCHL cut up from the game’s nationwide governing physique on June 1, changing into an unbiased league, and Hockey Canada has strict guidelines concerning participation in non-sanctioned competitors.

Hockey Canada states {that a} participant, coach or official who takes half in a non-sanctioned recreation after Sept. 30 is ineligible for any Hockey Canada motion for the rest of the season, and that features issues like nationwide choose groups.

BCHL commissioner Steven Cocker says his group want to see Hockey Canada and provincial physique BC Hockey open issues up for officers. He sees the present stance as limiting growth for referees and features folks. The BCHL is likely one of the prime ranges of play within the province.

Cocker additionally says that the 50 officers in query are being taken out the combo in the case of minor hockey video games of their native areas and “we’re fearful that it’s going have a detrimental impact on grassroots and youth hockey.”

BC Hockey CEO Cameron Hope balks at that evaluation.

“We all know what the numbers are and we don’t see any extra stress being placed on the sanctioned system,” Hope mentioned. “We are going to proceed to observe it and work with our members.”

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Longtime NHLer linesmen Brad Lazarowich is the BCHL’s vice-president of hockey operations and oversees the officers. 

The league listed 63 referees and 72 traces folks when it unveiled its officiating workforce final yr, and Cocker guesses that they used greater than 100 referees by yr’s finish, as a result of “Brad likes to work with a number of the youthful guys and ladies, and provides them a recreation right here or there in order that they will get a style of what the league is like.”

The league listed six officers with Hockey Canada assignments final season, highlighted by referee Graedy Hamilton doing world junior match video games. Hamilton isn’t on the BCHL listing for this season; his LinkedIn web page has him working for the American Hockey League and the WHL.

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The BCHL grew to become the primary Junior A league within the nation to have an all-female officiating crew for a recreation when Grace Barlow and Megan Howes have been referees and Melissa Brunn and Colleen Geddes labored the traces in an Oct. 17 matchup final season between the Langley Rivermen and Surrey Eagles.

bchl referees
From left: Colleen Geddes, Megan Howes, Grace Barlow and Melissa Brunn officiate a BCHL Junior A recreation between the Langley Rivermen and the Surrey Eagles at South Surrey Area on Oct. 17, 2021. Photograph by Arlen Redekop /PNG

Geddes is the one one of many quartet on the present officiating workforce listing. Cocker says the others needed to maintain their eligibility to work worldwide ladies’s video games, which might fall underneath the Hockey Canada banner. 

“That’s what they attempt to do,” Cocker mentioned. 

Hope says that the BCHL understood the ramifications.

“The non-sanctioned coverage has been in place for a very long time. Leagues which have operated exterior the system has at all times identified that they have been doing issues like placing officers in a tough spot by leaving sanctioned hockey,” Hope mentioned.

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Additional complicating all of that is that Hope has made it clear that BC Hockey has designs on creating one other Junior A league to interchange the BCHL and have this province represented at that degree within the Hockey Canada system.

There are three Junior B leagues throughout the province — the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, the Pacific Junior Hockey League and the Kootenay Worldwide Junior Hockey League — underneath the Hockey Canada umbrella, and the VIJHL and the KIJHL have each publicly made pushes to be bumped as much as Junior A.

Hope hasn’t been clear on whether or not a brand new Junior A league will likely be prepared by the autumn. He did say Monday that they hope to have information on the plans going ahead within the coming weeks.

Cocker has repeatedly mentioned that the BCHL isn’t your typical unbiased league. It has historical past, with the primary video games relationship again to 1961. It’s additionally probably the most profitable league within the nation at shifting gamers to the NCAA. The league web site lists 190 NCAA Div. I commitments for gamers who took half within the 2022-23 season.

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There had been rumours in regards to the BCHL desirous to exit by itself for years, annoyed with the principles set forth by Hockey Canada and its Canadian Junior Hockey League, the umbrella group designed to supervise the nation’s 10 Junior A leagues and function occasions such because the Centennial Cup nationwide championship.

The BCHL made its emotions decidedly public once they formally pulled out of the CJHL in April 2021, after which once more final September when it posted the 35-page white paper entitled “Modernizing Junior Hockey in Canada — Supporting Two Junior Growth Paths for Canadian Athletes” that it had despatched to Hockey Canada.

Amongst BCHL’s complaints was the shortage of freedom with recruiting for Junior A leagues. Underneath Hockey Canada’s guidelines, an Underneath-18 participant can’t play for a Junior A workforce in one other province with out his household shifting. The BCHL needed to have the ability to recruit 16- and 17-year-old gamers from coast to coast, they usually’re doing that now this season. They’ve additionally added European gamers.

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The BCHL didn’t like {that a} WHL workforce just like the Vancouver Giants was in a position to herald a 16-year-old participant from as far east as Manitoba with out his mother and father shifting.

Hope says the present system implies that “there’s a algorithm we reside by — we perceive the coaching, the vetting, the insurance coverage, that pathways.”

BC Hockey did a web page on its web site pertaining to the BCHL cut up. 


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