2020–21 BCHL season

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The 2020–21 BCHL season is the 59th season of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). Originally, eighteen teams from the Interior and Coastal Conferences were to play 54-game schedules, but due to delays caused by COVID-19 pandemic, sixteen teams will play 20-game schedules in five pods of three to four teams each. In normal seasons, the top teams from each conference would play for the Fred Page Cup, the BCHL Championship, in March, but no playoffs are to be held in 2021.

2020–21 BCHL Season
LeagueBritish Columbia Hockey League
SportHockey
Duration2 April – 11 May 2021
Number of teams16 (2 dormant)
BCHL seasons

In previous seasons, the BCHL playoff champion represented the league in the Doyle Cup, a best-of-seven series against the Alberta Junior Hockey League champion, to determine who represents the Pacific region in the Canadian Junior Hockey League's (CJHL) National Junior A Championship, the Centennial Cup, that would have been held in Penticton in 2021. However, the 2021 Doyle and Centennial Cups were cancelled by Hockey Canada.[1] In March 2021, the BCHL withdrew its membership with the CJHL and is no longer eligible to compete for the Doyle Cup or Centennial Cup.[2]

OffseasonEdit

Pandemic impactEdit

Due to ongoing restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the league announced a tentative start date of December 1,[3] with an extended training camp and exhibition season starting on September 25. This was to serve as a test for how the BCHL envisioned the regular season would work out, with the 17 teams able to participate while divided in to four groups playing in their home arenas. The league had made a number of changes to ensure the health and safety of its players, such as requiring full-face shields. Players were also required to separate as soon as play stops with ten minute misconducts being given out for failing to do so.

However, as British Columbia started to experience a second wave of infections, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry introduced new restrictions on November 7 barring non-essential inter-regional travel for sporting competitions in the Lower Mainland. This effected the Chilliwack Chiefs, Coquitlam Express, Langley Rivermen, Powell River Kings and Surrey Eagles, and all remaining exhibition games were cancelled between them. Two weeks later, these restrictions were expanded to the rest of the province on November 23, as well as the suspension of all adult sporting activities. Because the league has 19 and 20-year-olds on its roster, the remainder of the exhibition season was cancelled and plans for the regular season were put on hold.[4] In the meantime, the Wenatchee Wild announced that they had withdrawn from the regular season due to the ongoing Canada-United States border closure as it is a US-based team.[5]

With restrictions having not been lifted by March, and continued talks between the league and the Provincial Health Authority still ongoing, the BCHL considered a possible cancellation of the season. On March 12, the Provincial Health Authority approved the league's return-to-play plan and it was announced that the 2020–21 season would go ahead,[6] with teams playing 20 game schedules divided into five pods of three to four teams each starting in April, with only the Langley Rivermen opting out of the season.[7]

Before the start of the season, the BCHL notified the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) that it was withdrawing its membership effective March 24, 2021.[8]

League changesEdit

  • The Cranbrook Bucks joined the league as part of the Interior Conference.
  • The Prince George Spruce Kings moved to the Interior Conference. The remaining nine teams in the Island and Mainland Divisions were merged into the Coastal Conference.
  • The regular season schedule was reduced from 58 games to 54.
  • The top eight teams from each conference would qualify for the playoffs. As a result, crossover spots were eliminated.[9]
  • Players would be suspended after their second fight of the season, (previously fifth) and discipline would increase exponentially for every fight after. Players would now receive automatic suspensions for instigator and aggressor penalties.[10]
  • A number of changes were made as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including requiring full-face shields for all players and attempting to reduce the amount of contact between teams during stoppages in play, including assessing ten minute misconducts for failing to separate.
  • Due the United States-Canada border closure during the pandemic, the Wenatchee Wild withdrew from the season.
  • The Langley Rivermen opted-out of the league's plans to restart the season.

StandingsEdit

Final standings:[11]

GP W L OTL Pts
Chilliwack Pod
Prince George Spruce Kings 20 14 5 1 29
Chilliwack Chiefs 20 13 7 0 26
Merritt Centennials 20 3 17 0 6
Coquitlam Pod
Surrey Eagles 20 17 2 1 35
Powell River Kings 20 7 11 2 16
Coquitlam Express 20 6 11 3 15
Penticton Pod
Penticton Vees 20 18 1 1 37
Trail Smoke Eaters 20 9 11 0 18
Cranbrook Bucks 20 3 16 1 7
Port Alberni Pod
Victoria Grizzlies 20 14 6 0 28
Alberni Valley Bulldogs 20 11 5 4 26
Nanaimo Clippers 20 8 11 1 17
Cowichan Valley Capitals 20 7 11 2 16
Vernon Pod
Vernon Vipers 20 13 5 2 28
Salmon Arm Silverbacks 20 9 7 4 22
West Kelowna Warriors 20 8 10 2 18

PostseasonEdit

Due to the pod-based season and ongoing pandemic-related restrictions in Canada, the BCHL announced there would be no postseason in 2021.[12]

Players selected in 2021 NHL Entry DraftEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Hockey Canada statement on spring 2021 national championships". Hockey Canada. 2021-02-05.
  2. ^ "BCHL confirms exit". Castanet.net. April 9, 2021.
  3. ^ "BCHL Announces A Tentative Dec. 1st Start Date". BCHL. July 17, 2020.
  4. ^ "BCHL Delays Season Start Due to COVID-19 Restrictions". BCHL. 2020-11-23.
  5. ^ "Wild take hiatus for 2020-21 season due to border closure and state restrictions". BCHL. November 24, 2020.
  6. ^ "BCHL Board of Governors Approve 2021 Season". bchl.ca. 2021-03-12.
  7. ^ "Langley Rivermen (@langleyrivermen) / Twitter". twitter.com. 2021-03-13. Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  8. ^ "CJHL STATEMENT REGARDING BCHL". Canadian Junior Hockey League. April 9, 2021.
  9. ^ "Board of Governors Approve Realignment for 2020/21". BCHL. February 23, 2020.
  10. ^ "BCHL Approves Several New Initiatives and Protocols after AGM (Part 1)". BCHL. June 3, 2020. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  11. ^ "2020–21 BCHL Standings". BCHL. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  12. ^ "BCHL announces season will end with no playoffs, plans for alternate set of pod awards". BCHL. April 28, 2021.
  13. ^ "Silverbacks defenceman Lemay selected by Capitals in fourth round of draft". BCHL. July 24, 2021.

External linksEdit