The BCHL released some newsworthy items today from last weekend’s Annual General Meetings in Richmond. Coaches and Governors from the 16 teams met with league officials over three days to review and discuss the state of the BCHL.
The biggest item on the table was hammering out the schedule for the 2013-2014 season, as the 16 teams have to work in 896 games from early September to early March (I excluded the Showcase games from my count).The will once again incorporate a full interlock schedule, meaning every team plays non-conference / non-divisional opponents twice (once at home and once on the road). Now those interlock games can be schedule for the Showcase, just like the Vees have done, playing Victoria and Alberni Valley; most teams are doing this if I’m not mistaken. What I was told about the scheduling process, is the most difficult part isn’t the interlock schedule but plotting dates and times for divisional play.
One concern for myself is the 16 teams have yet to agreed upon a playoff format for the upcoming season. In the BCHL release today, it was noted teams are asked to submit final ideas/proposals at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack and an announcement will be made that weekend. So with that, what would you like to see the playoff format be?
What about a BCHL “March Madness?”. Hey playoffs start in March, just like everyone’s favorite time of year. Also college hockey incorporates a bracket system for their national playoffs that lead to the “Frozen Four.” Why not seed say the eight-ten teams in a bracket format? Seed teams 1-8 or 1-10 or however many teams that’s determined bye the league which will make the playoffs. Yes, this does away with conference playoffs and there would be the issue of cost associated with travel. However, the league could help subsidize travel to a certain extent and format could be adjusted depending on the two teams playing (2-2-1-1-1 or 2-3-2). This bracket gives you the chance to have the two best teams meet in the league final regardless of geographic location. If the two best were from the Interior, Island or Mainland it doesn’t matter. This format doesn’t punish teams for where they reside.
No on-ice changes coming, as the rules implemented last season I assume were supported by the coaches and governors for another season. As said on Twitter, why mess with a product if it doesn’t need change? I’m glad the league is keeping the same rules and they can start building off a good year of hockey. I still run into people who rave about how good the hockey was in the playoffs, in particular the BCHL Final. I thought parity in the league was at its highest last year, as each of the three divisions had some terrific races and the hockey seemed to have stepped up a notch. It was like snakes and ladders with the standings page and that’s what you want as a league. I look forward to more of that this season.
If there was a rule you wanted implemented this year or rescinded what would it be? Put your ideas or thoughts in the comment section below.