BCHL Today: 19 and 20-year-olds allowed to rejoin practices, Chiefs bring in goaltender Cristiano for 2021-22, and more


19 and 20-year-old BCHL players allowed to rejoin practices

viaSport, which is the British Columbia government’s lead delivery agency for sport programs, gave junior hockey teams across the province some good news on Monday.

Previous COVID-19 restrictions didn’t allow 19 and 20-year-old players to practice with their teams because they are over the age of majority and considered adults.

The new restrictions don’t allow players 22 and older to participate in any group sport, but junior and minor hockey is now considered sport for children or youth, as long as the participants are 21 years old and under.

Players are still only allowed to participate in Phase 2 activities, including fundamental movement skills and modified training and drills, but at least it will include the entire team now.

As well, physical distancing on the ice remains at three metres.

Chiefs add Cristiano to their crease for 2021-22

The Chilliwack Chiefs announced the addition of 2004-born goaltender Nicholas Cristiano for the 2021-22 season.

The Langley product is set to play for the Fraser Valley U18 Thunderbirds in the BC U18 AAA League in 2020-21. He was 15-4-1 with a 2.86 goals-against-average and three shutouts with the Thunderbirds U16 team in 2019-20.

Three BCHL alumni earn ECAC awards

The ECAC Hockey conference came out with its three stars of the week on Monday and all three are former BCHL players.

Forward Matthew Verboon (28 goals, 28 assists in 50 games with Salmon Arm in 2018-19) was named third star after scoring a pair of goals for Colgate University in a 5-4 overtime win against Clarkson last Wednesday.

Quinnipiac University forward Ethan De Jong (22 goals, 73 assists in 102 games with Prince George from 2015-18) earned second star honours after posting goals in four straight games to go along with three assists.

De Jong’s teammate Odeen Tufto (25 goals, 40 assists in 57 games with Vernon in 2015-16) was named first star. The Quinnipiac captain torched opponents to the tune of a goal and nine assists in four games as the Bobcats won four straight last week.