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Chilliwack teams have differing views on BC Hockey’s announcement

Chilliwack teams have differing views on BC Hockey’s announcement

The Chiefs have long been Chilliwack’s junior A club, but they have company for the 2023-2024 season. An announcement on Tuesday (July 25) by BC Hockey suggests that the formerly junior B Chilliwack Jets will be elevated to junior A status as BC Hockey creates a new development trajectory.

The move is in response to the BCHL’s split from BC Hockey and Hockey Canada to become an independent league, but the Jets will not immediately become a full junior A club. They start at level two and are committed to an improved player experience and greater grassroots involvement in hopes of progressing to level one.

Being promoted to junior A status is a big step for the organization, and this is a huge opportunity for BC players to be able to play at home and play at the top provincial level, which has been missing at junior A level for some time, said Chilliwack Jets owner/president/general manager Clayton Robinson. As you can see from other moves related to the workforce in the organization, our goal is to become a junior level tier 1 franchise. The transition will be a process, but we are excited to be the top tier of junior hockey within BC Hockey.

All 45 teams in the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL), Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL), and Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) are reclassified as tier two junior A.

We are excited about the opportunities this new path will create for junior hockey players in BC and Yukon, said Stephanie White, BC Hockey’s Chairman of the Board. If these teams commit to higher standards, first to junior A tier 2 and eventually junior A tier 1 for some, more of our talented players will get a better player experience at the highest level in our province. BC Hockey is convinced that this transformation will immediately strengthen the development trajectory and improve the overall hockey experience for players, coaches and fans.

BC Hockey said each of the former junior B teams will be evaluated over the next three seasons. Those who rise to the top can eventually join the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), making their players eligible to participate in the World Junior A Challenge and compete for the Centennial Cup, Canada’s national junior A championship.

The BCHL left the CJHL in 2021.

BC Hockey is committed to this new junior A landscape, said BC Hockey CEO Cameron Hope. These already strong teams and leagues have earned their chance to fill this layer of the trail. It is important that youth players in BC and Yukon have the opportunity to compete at a high level, and eventually at the national level as part of the CJHL.

During the evaluation period, the Jets will remain in the PJHL.

Contacted by The progressChilliwack Chiefs head coach and general manager Brian Maloney seemed unimpressed by the BC Hockey announcement.

Label leagues whatever you want, but it’s the product on the ice that separates them, he said. We could be junior Z. I do not give a hoot. It’s about developing hockey players who have the opportunity to use the sport to earn a college degree or become a pro, and we’re more interested in building our league by continuing to hand out scholarships and National Hockey League draft picks.

There is a big divide between junior B and A and there is also a big difference between junior A and the BCHL. So the BCHL and junior A (really junior B) is like comparing apples to oranges.

View the full BC Hockey announcement at

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