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2024 BCHL Annual General Meeting Recap

The BCHL held its 2024 Annual General Meeting (AGM) May 29 and 30 in Richmond, B.C. with several noteworthy items coming out of it.

Chair of the BCHL Board of Governors

After six years as the Chair for the BCHL Board of Governors, Penticton Vees owner Graham Fraser has stepped down from his position and will be replaced by Trail Smoke Eaters owner Rich Murphy, effective immediately, after he was elected by his peers on the Board.

“I am honoured that the Board of Governors has elected me as the new Chair of the BCHL,” said Murphy, who purchased the Smoke Eaters along with his wife Annie in 2016. “This is an incredible honour, not only for me, but for Trail – the smallest market in the league, but one that has had a profound and historical impact on Canadian hockey. I share the honour and joy of holding this important position with my team and with our community.”

“Graham Fraser has done an excellent job and laid an incredible foundation for me and for our league. I look forward to doing my part in modernizing hockey within the BCHL and witnessing the positive changes happening in the ever-evolving world of junior hockey.”

Fraser will remain on the league’s Executive Committee going forward.

“The BCHL would like to thank Graham Fraser for his tireless work over the past six years as Chair,” said Commissioner Steven Cocker. “He helped guide this league through some of its most formative years and his contribution was invaluable.”

“We are excited about the election of Rich Murphy as the new Chair. We are looking forward to picking up where we left off and continuing the growth of the BCHL for years to come.”

Committee Elections

The following governors were elected to committees at this year’s AGM.

Executive Committee:

  • Brendan Kenny – Spruce Grove Saints
  • Dana Matheson – Langley Rivermen

Franchise Committee:

  • Jamie Schreder – Langley Rivermen

Governance Committee:

  • TJ Brar – Surrey Eagles
  • Lindsey Leckelt – Spruce Grove Saints

Futures Committee:

  • Brad Kwong – Nanaimo Clippers
  • Adam Sergerie – Sherwood Park Crusaders

Marketing Committee:

  • Tyler King – Okotoks Oilers
  • Fraser Rodgers – Penticton Vees

Competition Committee (Coach Position):

  • Ryan Donald (Cranbrook Bucks)

2024-25 Alignment and Playoff Format

With the five Alberta teams being fully integrated into the BCHL next season, the conference and divisional alignment will be as follows.

COASTAL CONFERENCE                                                         INTERIOR CONFERENCE

Coastal West                                                                              Interior West
Alberni Valley Bulldogs                                                            Penticton Vees
Cowichan Valley Capitals                                                         Salmon Arm Silverbacks
Nanaimo Clippers                                                                     Trail Smoke Eaters
Powell River Kings                                                                     Vernon Vipers
Victoria Grizzlies                                                                        West Kelowna Warriors

Coastal East                                                                               Interior East
Chilliwack Chiefs                                                                       Blackfalds Bulldogs
Coquitlam Express                                                                   Brooks Bandits
Langley Rivermen                                                                     Cranbrook Bucks
Prince George Spruce Kings                                                   Okotoks Oilers
Surrey Eagles                                                                             Sherwood Park Crusaders
N/A                                                                                              Spruce Grove Saints

The league will continue with its existing playoff structure with the first seed in each conference playing the eighth seed in the first round, the second playing the seventh, and so on. Five teams will not make the playoffs – two from the Coastal and three from the Interior.

The regular season will continue to consist of 54 games.

Universal Affiliates

The Board of Governors voted in favour of adding universal affiliates going forward, meaning that affiliate players from the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) and Junior Prospects Hockey League (JPHL) may dress for any BCHL team during the year. This new system will allow them to experience different league markets and organizations to better help them make a decision should they play in the BCHL full time in the future.

Coaches Challenge Pilot

The Board of Governors also voted in favour of adopting a coaches challenge pilot at the 2024 BCHL Showcase.

The pilot project will allow BCHL coaches to challenge plays that were not penalized, in order to assess a double-minor, major or match penalty. If the challenge does not meet the criteria, the challenging team will be assessed a minor penalty for Delay of Game.

If the challenge is successful, the challenging team will have the right to a second challenge in the game.

League Office

The BCHL has extended the contract of Commissioner Steven Cocker, as well as Vice President of Hockey Operations Brad Lazarowich.

The league has also hired a full-time Manager of Events, Connor Ewert, who began work in early May and will be focused on the continued growth of league events and properties.