BC HOCKEY JUNIOR A PATHWAY UPDATE
For Immediate Release
December 18, 2023
Saanichton, B.C. - BC Hockey is excited to share a progress update on the Junior hockey pathway in B.C., and the teams looking to move from Junior A Tier 2 to Junior A Tier 1. Behind the scenes this hard work continues as a part of our commitment to elevate the Junior hockey experience in British Columbia and Yukon.
The Junior Hockey Task Group continues to meet and have taken steps to establish a clear course for the future of Junior hockey within British Columbia. During both virtual and in-person meetings this fall, the primary focus was on developing standards that prioritize the player experience, with the aim to initiate a step-by-step process of improvement and growth.
The rebuilding of the Junior model has been a collaborative effort, involving key stakeholders such as the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), Western Hockey League (WHL) and Hockey Canada (HC). Our partnership with these entities will ensure that the pathway is aligned with high standards and best practices.
“Behind the scenes, there is extensive work happening to lay the foundation for this journey,” BC Hockey CEO Cameron Hope said. “I want to acknowledge the tremendous efforts that leagues and teams have put into this transition process to this point. It’s a collective effort to ensure that players, coaches and fans alike experience the best of what junior hockey programs in British Columbia and Yukon have to offer.”
Currently, the Junior Hockey Task Group is finalizing an independent evaluation group with subject matter expertise to begin the evaluation process for the leagues. The group will play a pivotal role in assessing teams and leagues' readiness for advancement to the Junior A Tier 1 level.
The evaluation process is slated to begin in early 2024. This undertaking will take time and will be an important part of an extensive process for creating our Junior landscape. Transparency, credibility, fairness, and having all stakeholders committed to the process, will ensure that everyone involved can benefit.
As part of these efforts, we are simultaneously working together with our stakeholders to enhance the current player experience. The Junior Hockey Task Group continues to identify key standards that will provide the foundation for our Junior leagues.
Key standards that players can expect from BC Hockey’s Junior A Leagues:
- A commitment to B.C.-born players.
- Teams must be financially viable and vetted.
- Player development is a primary focus.
- Education, safety, and mental health programs are priorities.
- Respect in Sport is a priority.
- High risk management standards.
- A dedication to delivering a high-value player experience.
- Access to an independent Third Party for dispute resolution.
- Access to insurance through Hockey Canada.
- Integration with the Canadian Development Model.
“The work that is underway is clearly exhibiting that the change to Junior A Tier 2 goes well beyond a name change,” Junior Hockey Task Group Chair Jeremy Ainsworth said. “Of paramount importance is ensuring that we champion the growth of the junior game within our province. We will closely monitor the percentage of B.C. and Yukon based players within the league to ensure that local athletes have ample opportunities to showcase their talents and continue their development. Also, we emphasize the importance of officiating and coaching development. As part of the Hockey Canada model all participants will have the opportunity to earn a chance to represent Canada at an international event, such as the World Junior A Challenge.”
The Junior Hockey Task Group will continue to meet throughout this process and will provide periodic updates.