The Western Hockey League (WHL) and BC Hockey announced today they have entered into a new long-term partnership which will provide additional financial support for the hockey system in the province of BC and the Yukon territory.
The new agreement will include the WHL serving as a lead sponsor of the BC High Performance Programs at the Under 16 and Under 17 levels, as well as the BC Major Midget Hockey League (BCMML). The agreement between the WHL and BC Hockey will extend for a four (4) year period commencing with the current 2009 – 10 season through the 2012 – 13 season. The WHL has been a sponsor of the BC Cup U16 Program since its inception in 1997 and has also been a major partner in the BCMML since the League was established in 2004.
The new partnership will officially be launched this weekend in Kelowna as BC Hockey stages the BC Major Midget League All-Star Weekend. The weekend will include the WHL sponsored BCMML All-Star Game Friday, January 15 at 7:00pm at the Memorial Arena. The BCMML All-Star Game will showcase the top players in BC’s premier Midget League.
On Saturday and Sunday in Kelowna, 10 BCMML teams will take to the ice with ten regular season games being played at the Memorial Arena and the Capital News Centre. In its sixth season of operation, the BCMML has become a major source of talent for the WHL, producing many top-calibre WHL players including; Evander Kane (Vancouver North West Giants BCMML; Vancouver Giants WHL; Atlanta Thrashers NHL), Stefan Elliot (Vancouver North West Giants BCMML; Saskatoon Blades WHL), Brandon McMillan (Valley West Rangers BCMML; Kelowna Rockets WHL), Colten Teubert (Vancouver Hawks BCMML; Regina Pats WHL), Brett Connolly (Cariboo Cougars BCMML; Prince George Cougars WHL) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Vancouver North West Giants BCMML; Red Deer Rebels WHL).
The WHL’s sponsorship will also include serving as an official sponsor of the Under 16 and the Under 17 BC Cup in the BC Hockey High Performance Programs. The next BC Cup will be held in Prince George April 15 – 17, 2010 and will feature the top-rated players in the Under 16 age category who are eligible for the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft. Many of the top-ranked players in the WHL participate in BC Hockey’s Under 16 and Under 17 evaluation camps which is an integral part of Hockey Canada’s National and Regional team programs.
“The WHL is very pleased to have reached a new long-term partnership agreement with BC Hockey”, commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison, “the BC Hockey system is a major supplier of player talent to the WHL and we look forward to expanding our involvement with BC Hockey’s High Performance programs and the BCMML in the seasons ahead.”
“The extension of our partnership with the WHL over the next four years will provide a substantial boost to our Male High Performance Program and the Major Midget League,” said BC Hockey Executive Director Barry Petrachenko. “The effects of this agreement will reach the player level and will assist us over the long term in working with those players as they strive to reach their full potential.”
About the Western Hockey League
The Western Hockey League is comprised of 22 Member Clubs based throughout Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The WHL is regarded as one of the finest development Leagues in the world today and continues to be a leading supplier of talent to the NHL as over 20% of NHL players are WHL Graduates. The WHL is a leading provider of hockey scholarships in Western Canada, awarding over 360 scholarships to current and graduate players each season. The WHL is also a leading supplier to Hockey Canada’s National Teams including the World Junior and Olympic hockey teams.
About BC Hockey:
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 Yukon Territory. Approximately 150 minor hockey associations, 55,000 players, 4,500 referees and 20,000 official volunteers are overseen by BC Hockey.