British Columbia Hockey League

British Columbia Hockey League
British Columbia Hockey League
Current season or competition:
2011–12 BCHL season
BCHL Logo.jpg
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1961
Commissioner John Grisdale
No. of teams 16
Country(ies)  Canada (16 teams)
Most recent champion(s) Vernon Vipers
Most titles Vernon Vipers10
Official website

The British Columbia Hockey League is a Junior "A" ice hockey league from British Columbia under Hockey Canada, a subsection of the Canadian Junior Hockey League. Founded in Vernon in 1961, the BCHL now includes 16 teams. These teams play in two conferences, known as the Coastal and the Interior. The winner of the BCHL playoffs (Fred Page Cup) continues on to play in the Doyle Cup in a best-of-7 series against the champion of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The winner of the Doyle Cup will compete in the Junior "A" National Championship for the Royal Bank Cup.



Locations of BCHL teams (Coastal Conference teams in red; Interior Conference teams in blue)

In 1961, the heads of four junior "B" hockey teams in the Okanagan region of British Columbia got together and formed the first ever Junior "A" league in British Columbia's history. The Okanagan-Mainline Junior "A" Hockey League, the precursor to the BCHL, was comprised originally of the Kamloops Jr. Rockets, the Kelowna Buckaroos, the Penticton Jr. Vees, and the Vernon Jr. Canadians.

In 1967, the league expanded out of the Okanagan region, bringing in the New Westminster Royals and the Victoria Cougars. With the expansion, the league decided that since it had stretched out of the Okanagan region, that it need a new name - The British Columbia Junior Hockey League. A year later, the Vancouver Centennials joined the league as well. In the 1970s, the Victoria Cougars jumped to the Western Hockey League and the New Westminster team was forced to fold due to the invasion of the Estevan Bruins into their arena. In 1972, the Bellingham Blazers and the Nanaimo Clippers expanded the league to 8 teams.

On a side note, in the early 1970s the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association separated the two tiers of Junior "A" hockey. The BCJHL, being a Tier II league, was disallowed from competing for the Memorial Cup. Therefore, the variety of Tier II Junior "A" leagues across Canada agreed to compete for a new trophy called the Centennial Cup. The '70s also saw the rise of a rival league for the BCJHL. The Pacific Coast Junior Hockey League, which briefly existed in the 1960s, was resurrected by Fred Page, the man that the Eastern Champion Junior "A" Fred Page Cup and the BCHL Championship trophy are named for. The Richmond Sockeyes were the PCJHL's most dominant team, which even defeated Nanaimo in the BC Championship, the Mowat Cup, to move on to what was the precursor to the Doyle Cup. In 1979, the PCJHL and the BCJHL merged. The 77-78 season proved to be a strange one. The BCJHL sent their regular season champion, the Merritt Centennials off to play in the interprovincial playdowns as league champions without playing a single playoff game. The BCJHL continued their league playoffs without them, crowning Nanaimo as the playoff champion after Penticton refused to finish the playoff finals due to a series of brawls in the third game of the series. Merritt played off against the Prince Albert Raiders of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in the Abbott Cup (the Western Canada Championship) and lost in 5 games (best-of-7). The Raiders lost the Centennial Cup finals to the Guelph Platers of the Ontario Hockey Association.

In 1986, Penticton won the BCJHL's first ever National Championship defeating the Metro Valley Junior Hockey League's Cole Harbour Colts by a score of 7-4 to win the Centennial Cup. A year later, the BCJHL's Richmond Sockeyes won the league's second national title as well.

In 1990, the BCJHL was renamed to its current name, British Columbia Hockey League, and changed its logo twice, in 1990 and 2000, continues to expand with new teams and young players.

The most notable star to come from the BCHL is Olympian and National Hockey League hall of famer Brett Hull who played for Penticton. Hull holds the BCHL record for most goals in a season (105), which he set in 1983-84, a record that still stands today. Other NHLers who once played in the BCHL include Chuck Kobasew of the Colorado Avalanche who played for the since-renamed Penticton Panthers, Scott Gomez of the Montreal Canadiens, who played for South Surrey, and Carey Price of Montreal Canadiens who played for the Quesnel Millionaires. Willie Mitchell of the Los Angeles Kings is a native of British Columbia and played in the BCHL, as a member of the Kelowna Spartans, in 1994-95.


Coastal Conference
Team City Arena Joined BCHL
Alberni Valley Bulldogs Port Alberni, British Columbia Weyerhauser Arena 1998
Cowichan Valley Capitals Duncan, British Columbia Island Savings Centre 1980
Nanaimo Clippers Nanaimo, British Columbia Frank Crane Arena 1972
Victoria Grizzlies Victoria, British Columbia Bear Mountain Arena 1967
Coquitlam Express Coquitlam, British Columbia Coquitlam Sports Centre 2001
Langley Rivermen Langley, British Columbia Langley Events Center 1990
Powell River Kings Powell River, British Columbia Powell River Recreation Complex 1988
Surrey Eagles Surrey, British Columbia South Surrey Arena 1976
Interior Conference
Team City Arena Joined BCHL
Merritt Centennials Merritt, British Columbia Nicola Valley Memorial Arena 1961
Penticton Vees Penticton, British Columbia South Okanagan Events Centre 1961
Prince George Spruce Kings Prince George, British Columbia Prince George Coliseum 1972
Chilliwack Chiefs Chilliwack, British Columbia Prospera Centre 1996
Salmon Arm Silverbacks Salmon Arm, British Columbia Sunwave Centre 2001
Trail Smoke Eaters Trail, British Columbia Cominco Arena 1987
Vernon Vipers Vernon, British Columbia Wesbild Centre 1961
Westside Warriors West Kelowna, British Columbia Royal Lepage Place 1994

Not active

Royal Bank Cup champions

The Royal Bank Cup has been captured by a BCHL team six times since the trophy's founding:

Centennial Cup champions

The Centennial Cup was the forerunner to the Royal Bank Cup. The Centennial Cup was awarded for 25 years from 1971 to 1995 inclusive:

BCHL Fred Page Cup champions

For the Pacific Regional playoffs, please go to the Doyle Cup.
For the National Championship, please go to the 2011 Royal Bank Cup.

Please note: In chart, league champions are bolded.

Year League champion League runner-up
Memorial Cup era
1962 Kamloops Rockets Kelowna Buckaroos
1963 Kamloops Rockets Kelowna Buckaroos
1964 Kamloops Rockets Kelowna Buckaroos
1965 Kelowna Buckaroos Kamloops Kraft Kings
1966 Kamloops Kraft Kings Kelowna Buckaroos
1967 Penticton Broncos Kelowna Buckaroos
1968 Penticton Broncos Kelowna Buckaroos
1969 Victoria Cougars Penticton Broncos
1970 Vernon Essos Victoria Cougars
Centennial Cup era
1971 Kamloops Rockets Vancouver Centennials
1972 Vernon Essos Penticton Broncos
1973 Penticton Broncos Chilliwack Bruins
1974 Kelowna Buckaroos Langley Lords
1975 Bellingham Blazers Kelowna Buckaroos
1976 Nanaimo Clippers Penticton Vees
1977 Nanaimo Clippers Penticton Vees
1978 Nanaimo Clippers Penticton Vees
1979 Bellingham Blazers Kamloops Rockets
1980 Penticton Knights Nanaimo Clippers
1981 Penticton Knights Abbotsford Flyers
1982 Penticton Knights New Westminster Royals
1983 Abbotsford Flyers Kelowna Buckaroos
1984 Langley Eagles Penticton Knights
1985 Penticton Knights Burnaby Blue Hawks
1986 Penticton Knights Richmond Sockeyes
1987 Richmond Sockeyes Kelowna Packers
1988 Vernon Lakers Richmond Sockeyes
1989 Vernon Lakers New Westminster Royals
1990 New Westminster Royals Vernon Lakers
1991 Vernon Lakers Powell River Paper Kings
1992 Vernon Lakers Bellingham Ice Hawks
1993 Kelowna Spartans Powell River Paper Kings
1994 Kelowna Spartans Cowichan Valley Capitals
1995 Chilliwack Chiefs Powell River Paper Kings
1996 Vernon Vipers Langley Thunder
1997 South Surrey Eagles Vernon Vipers
1998 South Surrey Eagles Penticton Panthers
1999 Vernon Vipers Chilliwack Chiefs
2000 Chilliwack Chiefs Vernon Vipers
2001 Victoria Salsa Merritt Centennials
2002 Chilliwack Chiefs Vernon Vipers
2003 Vernon Vipers Chilliwack Chiefs
2004 Nanaimo Clippers Salmon Arm Silverbacks
2005 Surrey Eagles Vernon Vipers
2006 Burnaby Express Penticton Vees
2007 Nanaimo Clippers Vernon Vipers
2008 Penticton Vees Nanaimo Clippers
2009 Vernon Vipers Powell River Kings
2010 Vernon Vipers Powell River Kings
2011 Vernon Vipers Powell River Kings

Timeline of teams

  • 1961 - Okanagan-Mainline Junior Hockey League founded with Kamloops Jr. Rockets, Kelowna Buckaroos, Penticton Jr. Vees, and Vernon Jr. Canadians.
  • 1962 - Vernon Jr. Canadians become Vernon Blades.
  • 1963 - OMJHL changes name to Okanagan Junior Hockey League.
  • 1963 - Penticton Jr. Vees leave league.
  • 1964 - Penticton returns as Penticton Broncos.
  • 1964 - Kamloops Jr. Rockets become Kamloops Kraft Kings.
  • 1967 - OJHL changes name to British Columbia Junior Hockey League.
  • 1967 - Vernon Blades become Vernon Essos.
  • 1967 - Kamloops Kraft Kings become Kamloops Rockets.
  • 1967 - New Westminster Royals and Victoria Cougars join from Pacific Coast Junior A Hockey League.
  • 1969 - Vancouver Centennials join league.
  • 1970 - Chilliwack Bruins join league.
  • 1971 - New Westminster Royals and Victoria Cougars leave league.
  • 1972 - Vancouver Centennials become Vancouver Villas.
  • 1972 - Nanaimo Clippers join league.
  • 1972 - Bellingham Blazers join league.
  • 1973 - Kamloops Rockets move and become White Rock Centennials and then Merritt Centennials.
  • 1973 - Vancouver Villas leave league.
  • 1973 - Langley Lords join league.
  • 1973 - Vernon Essos become Vernon Vikings.
  • 1975 - Penticton Broncos become Penticton Vees.
  • 1975 - Bellingham Blazers become Maple Ridge Blazers.
  • 1976 - Kamloops Braves join league.
  • 1976 - Maple Ridge Blazers become Bellingham Blazers.
  • 1976 - Abbotsford Flyers join league.
  • 1976 - Chilliwack Bruins become Maple Ridge Bruins.
  • 1976 - Langley Lords become Langley Thunder.
  • 1977 - Maple Ridge Bruins become Revelstoke Bruins.
  • 1977 - Kamloops Braves become Kamloops Chiefs.
  • 1978 - Vernon Vikings become Vernon Canadians.
  • 1978 - Kamloops Chiefs become Kamloops Rockets.
  • 1978 - Bellingham Blazers become Bellingham Ice Hawks.
  • 1978 - Chilliwack Colts and Delta Suns join league.
  • 1979 - Penticton Vees become Penticton Knights.
  • 1979 - Revelstoke Bruins and Kamloops Rockets merge to become Revelstoke Bruins/Rockets.
  • 1979 - Richmond Sockeyes and Nor'Wes Caps join league from Pacific Junior A Hockey League.
  • 1979 - Delta Suns, Langley Thunder, and Vernon Canadians leave league.
  • 1980 - Vernon rejoins league as Vernon Lakers.
  • 1980 - Cowichan Valley Capitals and Coquitlam Comets join league.
  • 1980 - Revelstoke Bruins/Rockets change name to Revelstoke Rockets.
  • 1980 - Bellingham Ice Hawks move and change name to Vancouver Blue Hawks.
  • 2011 - Quesnel Millionaires sell and move to Chilliwack, change their name to the Chilliwack Chiefs.

BCHL records

Individual records

  • Most goals in a season: 105, Brett Hull, Penticton, 1983–84
  • Most assists in a season: 111, Bob Ginetti, Burnaby, 1986–87
  • Most points in a season: 188, Brett Hull, Penticton, 1983–84
  • Most goals in a season, defenceman: 38, Campbell Blair, Vernon, 1986–87
  • Most assists in a season, defenceman: 77, Bruce Harris, Bellingham, 1978–79; Ian Kidd, Penticton, 1984–85
  • Most points in a season, defenceman: 109, Campbell Blair, Vernon, 1986–87
  • Most goals in a season, rookie: 84, John Newberry, Nanaimo, 1979–80
  • Most assists in a season, rookie: 103, Doug Berry, Kelowna, 1974–75
  • Most points in a season, rookie: 185, John Newberry, Nanaimo, 1979–80
  • Most shorthanded goals in a season: 14, Greg Hadden, New Westminster, 1988–89
  • Most powerplay goals in a season: 32, Dan Bousquet, Penticton, 1993–94
  • Longest consecutive shutout streak: 250 minutes, 25 seconds, Brad Thiessen, Prince George, 2005–06

Team records

NHL alumni


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