The BCHL is taking a businesslike approach to the 2022-23 season and beyond.
The league formally approved several initiatives at its AGM, which was held May 26-27 in Salmon Arm.
Starting this season, the league will be keeping a scorecard on all 18 teams. According to a news release, it will cover all areas of team operations, including hockey ops, off-ice business standards and facility infrastructure.
“The league standards scorecard acts as a way for each of our 18 teams to recognize their individual strengths and weaknesses and to work towards making improvements that will ultimately benefit their organizations as well as the league as a whole,” said Chris Hebb, whose title is changing from Commissioner to CEO in keeping with a businesslike theme. “It’s hard to gauge progress without measurables and this scorecard will provide that tool to each team and help guide their effort and resources towards improving their franchise.”
According to a news release, each team will have four years to reach a certain level, although Jesse Adamson, the BCHL’s Manager, Communications & Events, said the league won’t be dropping a hammer on franchises that don’t measure up.
“We will work with them to make sure they get there,” he said. “The goal is to elevate our standards across the league, not punish teams who struggle to get there.”
One standard that is expected to be in place in all BCHL arenas by the end of year four is video review. The Chilliwack Chiefs installed video review in the Chilliwack Coliseum last year and a number of other teams are set to introduce it for 2022-23.
The league also plans to eliminate all player fees by year four.
In the wake of high profile incidents at the NHL (Kyle Beech) and major junior level, the BCHL is adopting an official policy to allow its athletes to report any type of abuse, harassment or discrimination they may face while playing in the league.
The league is introducing a ‘Safe Sport Officer’ who will be on call and act independently from the BCHL and its teams. Each team will also have an ‘Athlete Advocate’ who will act on behalf of the players. Players will be able to report incidents to either person, or use reporting methods already in place.
“The safety of our athletes is at the forefront of all that we do,” said Steven Cocker, whose title is changing from Deputy Commissioner to Chief Operating Officer. “We have made strides in recent years to protect our players on the ice, but they need to be protected off the ice as well.”
The BCHL created the policy using the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) as a resource.