Junior Hockey describes the level of hockey generally played by athletes age 16-20. In British Columbia / Yukon, there are three levels of hockey. Beginning with most advanced, they are: Major Junior, Junior A and Junior B.
The Western Hockey League (WHL) is the Major Junior league located in Western Canada and the Northwestern United States. It is comprised of teams in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Oregon and Washington. The WHL is one of three Major Junior Leagues that fall under the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).
Because players from this league receive a small stipend, they are considered professional by the NCAA and ineligible play for United States universities. They can, however, still play for and receive scholarships from Canadian universities.
The best teams from each league compete annually for the Memorial Cup, the National Major Junior Championship.
The British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) is the Junior A league in BC. More players from the BCHL have gone on to play university or college hockey than any other league in Canada. These athletes have gone on to both US and Canadian schools.
There are 10 Junior A leagues across the country who battle to become the national champions and take home the Royal Bank Cup.
Every year the Junior B champions from each league as well as a host team square off to determine who will win the Cyclone Taylor Cup and become the BC Champion.