Sep 6, 2012 / 5:00 pm
It's all about the talent on the ice - and the peering eyes of the scouts in the stands.
At least, that's what the BC Hockey League brass hopes as it ventures into its own version 'Hockey Idol.'
The league kicks off the regular season with this weekend with a Showcase Event in Chilliwack.
All 16 league teams will be taking part giving college and NHL scouts a chance to get a good look at every player under game conditions over a short period of time.
The concept has worked for other Junior A leagues in Western Canada and BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale hopes the same holds true for this weekend.
He says logistics have prevented the league from taking on the Showcase scenario until now.
"The league was never ready before. We reduced our schedule of games from 60 to 54 as a cost cutting measure so saving money there and elsewhere allowed the league to look at something like this," says Grisdale.
"It's a significant undertaking by the league cost wise without each team having the opportunity to benefit from a return home gate.."
The benefit to the league and players is in the fact it will make it easier for scouts to see players they may be interested in looking at.
While he doesn't have exact figures, Grisdale expects about 100 scouts, similar to those in attendance at the World Jr. A Challenge, to take in the three day event.
"I'm hearing all the colleges will be represented, at least one of two guys, NHL teams like the Canucks and local team's scouts that are here representing their programs will be there."
"It's also a great opportunity for the players. I hear from some families that 'my son is in the best shape he's been,' because he wants to kick off the season and show his stuff right now."
Grisdale says there will be some pressure on players but adds there is always pressure on them to perform game in and game out.
Castanet will be in Chilliwack for the Showcase Event with special emphasis on the West Kelowna Warriors, Penticton Vees and Vernon Vipers.
The Warriors tackle Salmon Arm Saturday at 3 p.m. and Surrey Sunday at 5:30.
Penticton takes on Chilliwack 7:30 Friday evening and the Vipers Saturday at 3:30 while the Vipers also go up against Powell River at 10:30 Sunday morning.
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