The BC Hockey League lists 387 players on the official season-opening rosters of the 16 teams participating.
Included in the 387 are players signed as affiliates, signified by an ‘A’ next to their name on the BCHL website. Rosters are restricted to 25 this season, which is two more than usual.
All data is per the official rosters from the BCHL website.
Where do players come from?
Of the 387 players on season-opening rosters, 245 (63.3 percent) are from British Columbia.
Vancouver is the city represented the most, with 16 players hailing from BC’s largest city. Victoria is next with 14 players coming from the provincial capital.
The defending Fred Page Cup champion Prince George Spruce Kings has 16 players listed from BC, although Corey Cunningham is the only player remaining from that championship roster.
Ontario is the province with the next highest representation after BC with 41 players (10.6 percent) followed by Alberta at 23 players (5.9 percent).
With each team allowed to have a maximum of six imports on their roster, there is the potential for 96 of them to play in the league during the pod season. However, the closure of the US-Canada border and the delays to the season start impacted the number of American-born players in a big way.
Note as well, that players who have dual citizenship are not counted as import players, so there is a number on BCHL rosters who have international hometowns listed, but they do not count in the import totals.
There are 31 players (8.0 percent) with hometowns located in the United States on season-opening rosters, but as mentioned, that doesn’t mean they are all considered imports. The Penticton Vees lead the BCHL overall with four import players. The Vernon Vipers and Victoria Grizzlies are next with three and two respectively.
The Vees have players from three countries on their roster: 18 Canadians, six American players, and Switzerland’s Stefano Bottini, who has dual citizenship and doesn’t count as an import.
A total of 226 players (58.4 percent) on season-opening rosters are 2002-born or younger. 41.6 percent (161 of 387) are 2001-born or older.
The league has two 2005-born players, with forward Walker Gelbard of the Cranbrook Bucks being the youngest, he turned 16 on Feb. 9. The other 2005-born player is Victoria Grizzlies forward Matthew Wood, who turned 16 just three days before Gelbard on Feb. 6.
Of the 69 players in the league born in 2000, 24 of them are already 21-years-old when the season starts. Nanaimo Clippers forward Liam Ryan is the oldest player in the BCHL this season, he turned 21 on Jan. 2.
As it relates to overage players, the Chilliwack Chiefs, Nanaimo Clippers, Penticton Vees, Surrey Eagles, and Victoria Grizzlies each have the maximum of six on their rosters. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs, Powell River Kings, and Trail Smoke Eaters each have the fewest number of 2000-born players on their rosters at two.
There are 194 players (50.1 percent) designated as rookies, meaning they have 30 games or less of junior A experience. The Powell River Kings lead the way with 18 freshmen while the Cranbrook Bucks are next with 17 and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs roster features 16 first-year players.
NHL and college prospects
There are three players in the BCHL this season who have already been selected in the National Hockey League Draft.
Chilliwack Chiefs forwards Massimo Rizzo and Ethan Bowen, along with Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenseman Kieran Ruscheinski all have their rights with NHL clubs.
Rizzo was chosen by the Carolina Hurricanes in the seventh round, 216th overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft, Bowen went to the Anaheim Ducks in the seventh round, 207th overall, at last year’s draft, and Ruscheinski is a Montreal Canadiens pick, going to the Habs in the seventh round, 206th overall, in the 2019 draft.
The Chilliwack Chiefs lead the way in NCAA-committed players with 14 of them on their 2020-21 pod season roster, with all but one heading to college this September. Penticton is next with a dozen college-bound players on its roster of 25.
The Surrey Eagles and Salmon Arm Silverbacks are tied for third, each with eight NCAA-committed players.