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BCHL introduces new initiatives following 2021 annual general meeting


The BC Hockey League has announced a variety of new rules and initiatives following its annual general meeting on May 19 and 20.

The rules and initiatives were released Monday, including stricter penalties for fighting and an increase in the authority of the Department of Player Safety, which was established at last year’s AGM.

The league now has the ability to add an instigator or aggressor penalty to a fighting major penalty after a review. Previously, fighting majors were reviewed by the Department, but the assessment of an instigator or aggressor was left to the on-ice officials.

Players deemed to be the instigator and/or aggressor in a fight receive a suspension upon the first offense. Subsequent instigator and/or aggressor penalties after the first one results in a significant increase in suspension.

The BCHL also implemented a new rule last year that sees a player receive supplemental discipline upon their second fighting major.

According to the league, these rules around fighting are the stiffest in North American junior hockey.

Each team is also now responsible to have someone appointed as a live scorer to confirm scoring plays during a game’s BCHL TV broadcast. If a goal or assists are incorrectly attributed, the live scorer will change the box score on the BCHL website. The public address announcer and play-by-play broadcaster will announce scoring changes for the live crowd and online audience respectively.

The BCHL office plans to review scoring changes to verify their accuracy.

After playing the 2020-21 pod season with a full visor, the league says players will return to wearing half-shield visors for 2021-22.

League brass established for 2021-22

The league’s executive committee had its tenure extended for the 2021-22 season, including the addition of Trail Smoke Eaters owner Rich Murphy as a vice-chair of the board. Penticton Vees owner Graham Fraser remains chairman of the board while Wenatchee Wild owner David White keeps his role as vice-chair.

Other members of the executive committee include Salmon Arm Silverbacks general manager Brooks Christensen, Alberni Valley Bulldogs president David Michaud, and Victoria Grizzlies owner Ron Walchuk.

In addition, the BCHL extended the contracts of all staff in the league office, including commissioner Chris Hebb, executive director of business development Dave Cannon, and director of officiating and player safety Brad Lazarowich.

Executive director Steven Cocker is promoted to deputy commissioner, Jesse Adamson sees his role change from coordinator of content services to manager of communications and events, and Jake Baker moves from coordinator of financial services and events to manager of finance and events.