British Columbia Hockey League

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British Columbia Hockey League
Current season or competition:
2023–24 BCHL season
Region(s)Pacific Northwest
CEOChris Hebb
Former name(s)
  • Okanagan-Mainline Junior "A" Hockey League (OMJHL) (1961–67)
  • British Columbia Junior Hockey League (BCJHL) (1967–95)
Founded1961; 62 years ago (1961)
No. of teams17
Recent ChampionsPenticton Vees (2023–24)
Most successful clubPenticton Vees (14) Edit this at Wikidata

The British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) is a Junior A ice hockey league from British Columbia formerly under Hockey Canada and BC Hockey. Founded in Vernon in 1961, the BCHL now includes 17 teams.

From 1993 to 2021, the league was a member of the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), an association of Junior A leagues across Canada that would play for the National Junior A Championship. The winner of the BCHL playoffs (Fred Page Cup) would continue on to play the Alberta Junior Hockey League champion in the Doyle Cup for the right to then compete in the National Junior A Championship. In 2021, the BCHL left the CJHL.[1] On May 1, 2023, the league voted to become an independent league.[2]


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 of the original (1962–1967) Pacific Coast Junior Hockey League. 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.

During the 1980–81 season, the Coastal division season was interrupted by a Ferry strike in late January. Since the mainland teams could no longer reach the island teams, the Coastal Division stopped playing, and began extended playoff rounds in place of the regular season.

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.

For the 1995–96 season, the BCJHL was renamed to British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and changed its logo twice, in 1995 (with a logo that featured B.C. (comic strip) artwork and again in 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. In July 2013, the listed the BCHL as the sixth best developmental league, professional or amateur, in North America.[3]

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.[4] The BCHL announced the Cranbrook Bucks as a 2020–21 expansion team, replacing the recently relocated Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League.[5]

In March 2021, the league withdrew its membership from the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), the association of Junior A leagues across Canada that participated in the Junior A national championship each season. It had been a member of the CJHL and its predecessors since the Canadian Hockey League split from Junior A in the 1970s and BCHL/BCJHL teams had won more Junior A titles than any other league.[6] In April 2021, the BCHL gave notice of its interest in leaving the CJHL from Hockey Canada or BC Hockey.[7]

On May 1, 2023, the BCHL voted not to renew the league's agreement with Hockey Canada, meaning the league and its 18 franchises would operate independent from Hockey Canada system effective June 1, 2023.[8] The BCHL cited improved recruitment opportunities for 16 and 17 year old players in Canada as well as anticipated improved interest from Americans and players outside of North America as important reasons for the decision.[9]


Locations of 2023–24 BCHL teams
Coastal Conference Interior Conference
Conference Team City Arena Joined BCHL
Coastal Alberni Valley Bulldogs Port Alberni, British Columbia Weyerhaeuser Arena 1998 as Burnaby Bulldogs

2002 as Alberni Valley Bulldogs

Chilliwack Chiefs Chilliwack, British Columbia Chilliwack Coliseum 1996
Coquitlam Express Coquitlam, British Columbia Poirier Sport & Leisure Complex 2001
Cowichan Valley Capitals Duncan, British Columbia Cowichan Community Centre 1980
Langley Rivermen Langley, British Columbia George Preston Recreation Centre 1990
Nanaimo Clippers Nanaimo, British Columbia Frank Crane Arena 1972
Victoria Grizzlies Victoria, British Columbia The Q Centre 1967
Powell River Kings Powell River, British Columbia Hap Parker Arena 1988
Surrey Eagles Surrey, British Columbia South Surrey Arena 1976
Interior Cranbrook Bucks Cranbrook, British Columbia Western Financial Place 2020
Merritt Centennials Merritt, British Columbia Nicola Valley Memorial Arena 1961
Penticton Vees Penticton, British Columbia South Okanagan Events Centre 1961
Prince George Spruce Kings Prince George, British Columbia Kopar Memorial Arena 1972
Salmon Arm Silverbacks Salmon Arm, British Columbia Shaw Centre 2001
Trail Smoke Eaters Trail, British Columbia Cominco Arena 1987
Vernon Vipers Vernon, British Columbia Kal Tire Place 1961
West Kelowna Warriors West Kelowna, British Columbia Royal LePage Place 1994

National champions[edit]

The Centennial Cup is the Junior A National Championship, also previously known under the sponsored name of Royal Bank Cup and RBC Cup, and has been captured by a BCHL team 14 times since the trophy's founding:

BCHL Fred Page Cup champions[edit]

Note: In the 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
Modern era
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
2020 Not awarded[a]
2021 Not awarded[b]
2022 Penticton Vees Nanaimo Clippers
2023 Penticton Vees Alberni Valley Bulldogs
  1. ^ The 2020 playoffs were cancelled by Hockey Canada after the first round due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[10]
  2. ^ The league decided that they would not hold playoffs for the 2020–21 season because continued public health restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[11]

BCHL Fred Page Cup Playoffs[edit]

As of 2021, the top eight teams from each conference advance to the playoffs. The postseason consists of four rounds, all consisting of a series of best-of-seven games, with the Coastal and Interior Conference playoff champions meeting in the league finals to play for the Fred Page Cup. The team that wins the Fred Page Cup championship advances to the Doyle Cup, a best-of-seven series against the champion of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The winner of that series moves on to represent the pacific region in the Centennial Cup, the national Junior A championship. For the 2021-22 season the BCHL dropped their association with Canadian Junior Hockey and no longer eligible for the Doyle Cup or Centennial Cup championships.

Timeline of teams[edit]

  • 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 join the league as an expansion team
  • 2023 – Wenatchee Wild cease operations as a BCHL team, buying out the Winnipeg Ice franchise, and joining the Western Hockey League

BCHL records[edit]

Individual records

  • 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

Team records

NHL alumni[edit]

Names in bold indicate inductees of the Hockey Hall of Fame


  1. ^ "CJHL STATEMENT REGARDING BCHL". Canadian Junior Hockey League. April 9, 2021.
  2. ^ "BCHL to become independent league". British Columbia Hockey League Hockey League. May 1, 2023.
  3. ^ "Top 10 Best Ice Hockey Leagues".
  4. ^ "Wenatchee Wild Join the BCHL for the 2015-16 Season". Archived from the original on 2015-06-05. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
  6. ^ "BCHL rumoured to be unhappy with national Junior A body, looking to go out on its own". March 25, 2021.
  7. ^ "BCHL confirms exit". April 9, 2021.
  8. ^ "CJHL STATEMENT REGARDING BCHL". Canadian Junior Hockey League. April 9, 2021.
  9. ^ "BCHL pulls out of Hockey Canada, becomes an independent league". The Province. May 1, 2023.
  10. ^ "CJHL Announces Official Cancellation For Remainder Of 2019-20 Season". CJHL. March 13, 2020.
  11. ^ "BCHL announces season will end with no playoffs, plans for alternate set of pod awards". BCHL. April 28, 2021.

External links[edit]