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News - Details

Continued Ramifications of Participation in Outlaw Leagues
Monday, September 17, 2007

BC Hockey would like to remind individuals of the consequences of participating in Outlaw Leagues. Outlaw leagues are those leagues that are not affiliated with or endorsed by Hockey Canada.  Participants in such leagues will render an individual ineligible for programming and other benefits offered to BC Hockey members.

Some of the benefits that will be lost if an individual chooses to participate in an outlaw league are:

  • Ability of players, coaches and officials to participate in BC Hockey and Hockey Canada programs, leagues and competitions.
  • Option of participating in Major Junior, Junior A and / or Junior B leagues, which are all members of Hockey Canada.
  • Commitment to involving females as well as males in hockey programming. Female participation has increased 400% over the last 10 years.
  • Inclusion in national and international championships. The International Ice Hockey Federations requires that all teams from Canada be members of Hockey Canada.
  • Ability to tryout and become members of BC Hockey and Canadian National teams.
  • Access to the best trained coaches, referees and linesmen in the country.
  • Most comprehensive insurance program, made possible by the national volume of member participants.
  • The ability of players to transfer from branch to branch and from Hockey Canada to USA Hockey and International Ice Hockey Federations.
  • Coach, official and safety certification programs developed by the leaders in each field. These training programs are created to ensure the safety and proper development of athletes participating in hockey.
  • Player development programming that is continually examined to ensure that our nation’s athletes are receiving the most effective, safest and enjoyable training experience available. These programs provide the proper development that can lead to eventual inclusion in International Ice Hockey Federations competition.
  • Parent education programming to aide parents in understanding the development process of minor hockey and learn the importance of as well as how to make their child’s hockey experience both fun and safe.
  • National appeals process which allows members to appeal decisions made by Hockey Canada and its branches and member leagues.

The existence of the non-registered league in BC and the Northwestern United States has led to the need to clarify the participation in outlaw leagues policy.  The non-affiliated league has been advertised in the media, touting their complete freedom from BC Hockey and Hockey Canada policies, in particular the regulations in place as a result of the Canadian Development Model.  The model restricts fifteen year old players from registering with Junior teams and also limits the participation of sixteen year olds in the Junior division. 

Ironically, BC Hockey was the sole dissenting vote when the model was adopted by the Hockey Canada membership in May 2005, but their support of the decision is unwavering.

 “BC Hockey works very hard with our member partners across the country in providing outstanding hockey programs,” notes BC Hockey President Al Berg.  “We all have our own views and don’t always get our way on all issues but we support the system overall and maintain that it is working.  You can’t argue with the results of our efforts over the years as our system has played a huge role in the development of every top Canadian professional and amateur hockey player.”

“Upstart or breakaway leagues can no doubt service certain special interest groups very well,” says BC Hockey Executive Director Barry Petrachenko, “but they rarely survive over the long haul because they are focused solely on the products of our system while failing to contribute to the development of those individuals.” 

As a result, BC Hockey has announced their support of the Hockey Canada directive that limits access to Hockey Canada programming for players, coaches and referees who participate in the upstart league.

“Basically, our approach is that we are not telling anyone what they should do,” says Petrachenko.  “But too often people make decisions without knowing the whole story.  Our goal here is to provide that information to our members prior so that there are no surprises down the road.”

For more information about BC Hockey, please email



BC Hockey is a non-profit organization and member branch of Hockey Canada in charge of governing amateur hockey at all levels in British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.

Approximately 150 minor hockey associations, 55,000 players, 4,500 referees, 20,000 official volunteers and countless others make our great game possible here in Pacific Canada.



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