The timeline of each BC Hockey League franchise

 

In case you’ve ever wondered how your favourite BC Hockey League team wound up where it is today or what the franchise lineage is, here you go.

I’ve used websites like Elite Prospects, HockeyDB, and Paul C. Beugeling’s excellent site at Vernon Junior A Hockey History to piece together a timeline of each BCHL franchise.

What the list shows is that Merritt is currently the BCHL’s longest continuously-run franchise – barely.

If Penticton hadn’t missed the 1963-64 season and disbanded midway through the 1989-90 season, then it would have been run continuously since the league formed as the Okanagan-Mainline Junior Hockey League in 1961.

Vernon’s situation is similar to Penticton’s. After joining the OMJHL for its inaugural season in 1961-62, there is a gap for the 1979-80 season when there wasn’t a BCHL franchise in the North Okanagan city.

If Nanaimo hadn’t moved to Esquimalt for the 1982-83 season, then the Clippers would have been operating in their current city longer than the Centennials.

So as it stands, the longest continuously-run franchises in their current locations are, in order, Merritt, Vernon, and Nanaimo.

This list starts with those three and moves onto the other current franchises and then defunct franchises after that.

Wenatchee and Langley each show a break in their franchise lineage because both the Wild and Rivermen took a hiatus for the 2020-21 season due to various impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current franchises

 

 

 

 

Merritt Centennials

  • Kamloops Jr. Rockets (1961-64)
  • Kamloops Kraft Kings (1964-67)
  • Kamloops Rockets (1967-73)
  • White Rock Centennials (1973-74)
  • Merritt Centennials (1973-85)
  • Merritt Warriors (1985-87)
  • Merritt Centennials (1987-present)

Vernon Vipers

  • Vernon Lakers (1980-83)
  • Vernon Rockets (1983-84)
  • Vernon Lakers (1984-96)
  • Vernon Vipers (1996-present)

Nanaimo Clippers

  • Nanaimo Clippers (1972-82)
  • Esquimalt Buccaneers (1982-83)
  • Nanaimo Clippers (1983-present)

Surrey Eagles

  • New Westminster Royals (1967-71), (1981-83), (1988-91)
  • Surrey Eagles (1991-96)
  • South Surrey Eagles (1996-2003)
  • Surrey Eagles (2003-present)

West Kelowna Warriors

  • Langley Lords (1973-76)
  • Langley Thunder (1976-79), (1993-98)
  • Langley Hornets (1998-2006)
  • Westside Warriors (2006-12)
  • West Kelowna Warriors (2012-present)

Langley Rivermen

  • Richmond Sockeyes (1979-90)
  • Chilliwack Chiefs (1990-2006)
  • Langley Chiefs (2006-11)
  • Langley Rivermen (2011-20, 2021-present)

Cowichan Valley Capitals

  • Cowichan Valley Capitals (1980-84)
  • Sidney Capitals (1984-86)
  • Juan De Fuca Whalers (1986-88)
  • Cowichan Valley Whalers (1988-89)
  • Cowichan Valley Warriors (1989-90)
  • Victoria Warriors (1990-93)
  • Cowichan Valley Capitals (1993-present)

Trail Smoke Eaters

  • Langley Eagles (1981-87)
  • Chilliwack Eagles (1987-89)
  • Ladner Penguins (1989-90)
  • Bellingham Ice Hawks (1990-96)
  • Trail Smoke Eaters (1996-present)

Powell River Kings

  • Delta Flyers (1985-88)
  • Powell River Paper Kings (1988-98)
  • Powell River Kings (1998-present)

Penticton Vees

  • Penticton Panthers (1990-2004)
  • Penticton Vees (2004-present)

Victoria Grizzlies

  • Victoria Salsa (1994-2006)
  • Victoria Grizzlies (2006-present)

Prince George Spruce Kings

  • Royal City Outlaws (1993-96)
  • Prince George Spruce Kings (1996-present)

Chilliwack Chiefs

  • Quesnel Millionaires (1996-2011)
  • Chilliwack Chiefs (2011-present)

Alberni Valley Bulldogs

  • Burnaby Bulldogs (1998-2002)
  • Alberni Valley Bulldogs (2002-present)

Coquitlam Express

  • Coquitlam Express (2001-05)
  • Burnaby Express (2005-10)
  • Coquitlam Express (2010-present)

Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Salmon Arm Silverbacks (2001-present)

Wenatchee Wild

Wenatchee Wild (2015-20, 2021-present)

Cranbrook Bucks

Cranbrook Bucks (2020-present)

Defunct franchises

Summerland Buckaroos

  • Kelowna Buckaroos (1961-83)
  • Summerland Buckaroos (1983-88)

Penticton Jr. Vees

  • Penticton Jr. Vees (1961-63)

Vernon Canadians

  • Vernon Canadians (1961-62)
  • Vernon Blades (1962-67)
  • Vernon Essos (1967-73)
  • Vernon Vikings (1973-78)
  • Vernon Canadians (1978-79)

Penticton Broncos hockey logo from 1972-73 at Hockeydb.com

Penticton Broncos

  • Penticton Broncos (1964-75)
  • Penticton Vees (1975-79)
  • Penticton Knights (1979-89)

Victoria Cougars

  • Victoria Cougars (1967-71)

Vancouver Villas

  • Vancouver Centennials (1969-72)
  • Vancouver Villas (1972-73)

Revelstoke Rangers

  • Chilliwack Bruins (1970-76)
  • Maple Ridge Bruins (1976-77)
  • Revelstoke Bruins (1977-79)
  • Revelstoke Bruins/Rockets (1979-80)
  • Revelstoke Rockets (1980-83)
  • Revelstoke Rangers (1983-85)

Burnaby Blue Hawks

  • Bellingham Blazers (1972-75)
  • Maple Ridge Blazers (1975-76)
  • Bellingham Blazers (1976-78)
  • Bellingham Ice Hawks (1978-80)
  • Vancouver Jr. Canucks (1980-81)
  • Vancouver Blue Hawks (1981-82)
  • Burnaby Blue Hawks (1982-85)

Abbotsford Falcons

  • Abbotsford Flyers (1976-85)
  • Abbotsford Falcons (1985-88)

Kamloops Rockets

  • Kamloops Braves (1976-77)
  • Kamloops Chiefs (1977-78)
  • Kamloops Rockets (1978-79)

Nor Wes Caps

  • Nor Wes Caps (1979-81)

Coquitlam Comets

  • Coquitlam Comets (1980-81)

Chilliwack Colts

  • Chilliwack Colts (1978-80)

Delta Suns

  • Delta Suns (1978-79)

Salmon Arm/Shuswap Blazers

  • Shuswap/Salmon Arm Totems (1982-83)
  • Shuswap Totems (1983-84)
  • Salmon Arm Totems (1984-85)
  • Salmon Arm/Shuswap Blazers (1985-86)

Williams Lake Timberwolves

  • Williams Lake Timberwolves (2002-07), (2009-10)

Kelowna Spartans

  • Kelowna Packers (1985-89)
  • Kelowna Spartans (1989-95)

Salmon Arm Tigers

  • Salmon Arm Tigers (1987-89)

Current BCHL cities

  • Cranbrook (2020-present)
  • Wenatchee (2015-present)
  • Chilliwack (1970-76, 1978-80, 1990-2006, 2011-present)
  • Coquitlam (1980-81, 2001-05, 2010-present)
  • West Kelowna (2006-present)
  • Port Alberni (2002-present)
  • Salmon Arm (1982-86, 1987-89, 2001-present)
  • Trail (1996-present)
  • Prince George (1996-present)
  • Langley (1973-79, 1981-87, 1993-present)
  • Duncan (1980-84, 1986-90, 1993-present)
  • Surrey (1991-present)
  • Victoria (1967-71, 1990-present)
  • Penticton (1961-63, 1964-89, 1990-present)
  • Powell River (1988-present)
  • Vernon (1961-79, 1980-present)
  • Nanaimo (1972-82, 1983-present)
  • Merritt (1973-present)

Former BCHL communities

  • Quesnel (1996-2011)
  • Williams Lake (2002-07, 2009-10)
  • Burnaby (1982-85, 1998-2002, 2005-10)
  • New Westminster (1967-71, 1981-83, 1988-91, 1993-96)
  • Bellingham (1972-75, 1976-80, 1990-96)
  • Kelowna (1961-83, 1985-95)
  • Ladner (1989-90)
  • Richmond (1979-90)
  • Delta (1978-79, 1985-88)
  • Summerland (1983-88)
  • Abbotsford (1976-88)
  • Sidney (1984-86)
  • Revelstoke (1977-85)
  • Esquimalt (1982-83)
  • Vancouver (1969-73, 1980-82)
  • North Vancouver (1979-81)
  • Kamloops (1961-73, 1976-79)
  • Maple Ridge (1975-77)
  • White Rock (1973-74)