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For Immediate Release

April 22, 2022

Saanichton, B.C. –  The British Columbia Elite Hockey League (BCEHL) is pleased to announce a partnership with a group of South Island Minor Hockey Associations to develop a more comprehensive South Island Royals program, with the common goal of delivering an exceptional hockey experience for hockey families and their athletes in the South Island. 

The South Island Royals will field teams in both the U18 AAA and the U17 AAA categories for the 2022-23 BCEHL season. This partnered approach includes shared oversight of the two teams, including assignment of a general manager to oversee the two squads, vetting of coaching staffs, and integrated minor hockey mentorship initiatives. The Royals’ new home arena will be the Ian Stewart Arena at Victoria Racquet Club.

“We are extremely excited for this new partnership between the BCEHL and these Minor Hockey Associations,” BC Hockey Chief Executive Officer Cameron Hope said. “BC Hockey has overseen the operation of all the teams within the BCEHL for many years, and watched these programs triple in size to now include more than thirty teams. More direct integration with the grassroots associations is probably overdue, and this kind of partnership is an important step in the continued health and strength of great elite-level hockey within the non-profit model.” 

The South Island Royals will continue to draw high performance athletes for their rosters from throughout the South Island Draw Zone.

"As a collective group of South Island MHAs, we are happy to form this new partnership with the BCEHL,” Nicki Reich President of Victoria Minor Hockey Association said. “It is important that we continue to give athletes the option and opportunity to compete at an elite level while staying at home. This partnership gives minor hockey a stronger voice in guiding and leading AAA programming. We are committed to the success of the program and the success of our players that have the skill and desire to compete in the BCEHL.”

There are two key dates in the immediate future for returning and prospective players. The Royals will be running an Identification Camp on May 1st, 7th and 8th. For all U17 and U18 players interested in trying out for the 2022-23 teams click HERE to register and for further information. For all 2021-22 South Island Royals players and families, we are offering an online Q&A about the new partnership and the upcoming season for you to attend. Participants should check their emails for their invite and further information in the coming days. 

“This partnership will provide the athletes the opportunity to find success both personally and from a team standpoint,” BCEHL Commissioner Fred Zweep said. “To have the support and local community knowledge of this group of MHAs will allow the Royals’ program to operate at a high level and with integrity.”

The BCEHL’s own Female U18 AAA Fraser Valley Rush and the U18 AAA North East Chiefs will both be competing for their respective National Championships next month when the take part in the Esso Cup and Telus Cup. Cheer on the Rush and Chiefs by following along at @BCEHL on Twitter, @BCEHLAAA on Instagram, and join the conversation by using #BCEHLAAAHOCKEY.