No holiday trade freeze in the BCHL this year

Although customary in previous years, the British Columbia Hockey League’s departure from the Canadian Junior Hockey League and Hockey Canada this past spring means there’s no holiday trade freeze this year.

In the past BCHL clubs weren’t permitted to make trades with CJHL teams between Dec. 10 and New Year’s Day. Since the BCHL is now an independent league (non-sanctioned in Hockey Canada’s terms), it isn’t allowed to make trades with those CJHL clubs at all.

However, BCHL teams are still permitted to trade with each other at any time during the holiday season. In fact, with the BCHL trade deadline coming on Feb. 10, 2024, teams have a lot more runway in which to mold their rosters over the next 10 weeks, compared to past years when the deadline was on Jan. 10 — because that’s when Hockey Canada’s deadline was.

Related: 2023-24 BCHL Trade Tracker

Despite being independent, teams in the BCHL have still been active on the trade front — although some more than others, and overall, not as much as last year since there are no in-season trades with teams outside of B.C.

The Penticton Vees were the busiest team before the holiday break, being involved in both trades completed this month. One move saw the Vees send 2003-born forward Parker Murray to Chilliwack for 2004-born defender Lucas Sorace. The other had Penticton send 2004-born defender Austin Cameron to Cowichan Valley for future considerations.

Since transactions for the 2023-24 season started on June 1, BCHL clubs have made a total of 55 trades, with only one of them involving a team in the CJHL. A year ago, 65 per cent of all trades by BCHL teams were made with teams outside of the league.

TeamNumber of trades since June 1
Cowichan Valley Capitals10
Langley Rivermen10
Merritt Centennials10
Coquitlam Express9
Prince George Spruce Kings9
Chilliwack Chiefs8
Powell River Kings7
Salmon Arm Silverbacks7
Surrey Eagles7
Alberni Valley Bulldogs5
Vernon Vipers5
Cranbrook Bucks4
Nanaimo Clippers4
Penticton Vees4
Victoria Grizzlies4
West Kelowna Warriors3
Trail Smoke Eaters2

The 2022-23 season saw 11 trades consummated between BCHL teams from Dec. 13, 2022, through to the trade deadline of Jan. 10, 2023. In comparison, there were nine deals between BCHL clubs and teams in the CJHL over the same period.

With the 2023-24 season at the halfway mark and all teams either in a playoff position or within striking distance of a post-season spot, trade activity leading up to the Feb. 10 deadline should ramp up as teams tinker with their rosters in anticipation of the second half of the season, the stretch drive, and post-season sprint to the awarding of the 2024 Fred Page Cup.