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BCHL unveils new divisional format for 2024-25 season

Island teams to play in Coastal West Division
The Victoria Grizzlies and Surrey Eagles will be in different divisions this coming season. (DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST)

The B.C. Hockey League will go to a four-division format, within two conferences, for the 2024-25 season.

The Coastal West Division will feature the Victoria Grizzlies, Cowichan Valley Capitals, Nanaimo Clippers, Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Powell River Kings. The Coastal East Division will include the Chilliwack Chiefs, Coquitlam Express, Langley Rivermen, Surrey Eagles and Prince George Spruce Kings. The two divisions will make up the Coastal Conference.

Penticton, Salmon Arm, Trail, Vernon and West Kelowna will make up the Interior West Division. The newly joining teams from Alberta will join existing Cranbrook and be part of the Interior East Division and include Brooks, Blackfalds, Okotoks, Sherwood Park and Spruce Grove. Those two divisions will make up the Interior Conference.

The regular season will remain at 54 games for each team.

The BCHL will continue with its existing playoff structure with the first seed in each conference playing the eighth seed in the first round, the second seed playing the seventh seed, the third seed meeting the sixth seed and the fourth seed playing the fifth seed. Five teams will not make the post-season, two from the Coastal Conference and three from the Interior Conference.

“It’s not a big change from our perspective,” said Grizzlies president David Michaud.

“The playoffs are still conference-based. We wrestled with it at the board level and concluded it was best to keep the post-season conference-based, and not divisional.”

The league also announced that Trail Smoke Eaters owner Rich Murphy will replace Penticton Vees owner Graham Fraser as the BCHL’s chair of the board of governors, and that the contracts of commissioner Steven Cocker and vice-president of hockey operations Brad Lazarowich have been extended.