The BC Hockey League introduces new initiatives it believes will improve player safety

BCHL rolls new initiatives

The BC Hockey League announced several initiatives Tuesday, including a few it believes will "strengthen player safety."

Following the league's annual general meeting last month, a number of initiatives were approved.

The league's Department of Player Safety will now have the ability to add instigator or aggressor penalties stemming from a fight after reviewing video of the incident.

Prior to this, while fights were reviewed by the league, they relied on the on-ice officials when it came to determining further penalties for aggression or instigator.

The new procedure follows rules put in place a year ago which added an automatic suspension to any player engaging in his second fight in a season. Those suspensions will increase upon subsequent fights.

"With these rules in place, the BCHL now has the stiffest rules against fighting in North American junior hockey," the league says in a news release.

The league is also making it easier to get all scoring plays right in a more timely manner. each team will appoint a live-scoring staffer to double check all scoring plays on BCHL TV and make any pertinent changes immediately.

The league office will review all changes to ensure accuracy.

The BCHL has also agreed to extend the contracts of commissioner Chris Hebb, executive director of business development Dave Cannon and director of officiating and player safety Brad Lazarowich.

The executive committee was also extended, with Rich Murphy of Trail added as a vice-chair.

The BC Hockey League's 2021-2022 season will open in October, a month later than usual

BCHL unveils new schedule

The BC Hockey League will start its 2021-2022 a month later than usual.

The 54-game schedule, released Monday, kicks off on seven fronts Friday, Oct. 8 and concludes Sunday, March 20.

An October start will likely allow the regular season to begin with fans in the stands if current COVID-19 health orders are loosened as expected in phases throughout the summer.

The league has also moved away from the standard four-division format, adopting two conferences instead with nine teams in each.

The seven-team Interior Division will now become the Interior Conference with the addition of Prince George and the expansion Cranbrook Bucks.

The remaining nine island and coastal divisions will make up the Coastal conference.

Teams will play 44 games within their own conference, facing each opponent five times, and two seven times.

They will play each team in the other conference once, and one club twice.

Two of those games will be played as part of the BCHL Showcase Oct. 20 to 24.

Penticton and Vernon kick off their season head-to-head Oct. 8 at the SOEC. The Warriors open up the following night at Royal LePage Place against Prince George.

Penticton Vees return to 54-game regular season in 2021/22

Vees 2021/22 schedule

The Penticton Vees now have their 2021/22 regular season schedule, released by the BC Hockey League Monday.

Their opening game will be at home at the South Okanagan Events Centre against the Vernon Vipers on Oct. 8, followed by a road trip south of the border to face off against the Wenatchee Wild.

Other key dates include Sept. 17, when training camp opens, and March 19, 2021, the final regular season game against the Cranbrook Bucks. The team will play 54 regular season games, a return to normalcy after the 2020/21 pod season.

The 2021/22 season is the 60th anniversary of the BCHL, and in the coming weeks, more events and celebrations will be announced.

Find the full Vees schedule here.

Three former Penticton Vees hit the ice for NHL Stanley Cup playoffs

Former Vees in NHL playoffs

Three former Penticton Vees will be gearing up in their quest for the Stanley Cup, as the National Hockey League Playoffs begin on Saturday night.

Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro, Colorado Avalanche forward Tyson Jost and Boston Bruins defenseman Mike Reilly will step onto the ice.

The Bruins and Reilly begin their playoff series against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night while Fabbro and the Predators face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes beginning on Monday along with Jost and the Avalanche battling the St. Louis Blues, also getting underway on Monday night.

Fabbro, 23, is in his third season in the NHL, spending a total of 108 career regular season games with the Predators. The Coquitlam born player has amassed a career-high 12 points on the backend this season, scoring 2 goals and 10 assists in 40 games played while averaging just under 20 minutes of ice time.

Jost, 23, is in his fourth season with the Avalanches, posting 7 goals and 10 assists for 17 points in 54 games played while tallying 39 goals and 50 assists for 89 points in 262 career NHL games. The St. Albert, Alta. native is playing in his fourth playoffs with the Avalanche and has 4 career playoff goals heading into the 2021 postseason.

Reilly, 27, is in his seventh season in the NHL, spanning time with the Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and now the Bruins teams, where he will make his first trip to the playoffs. The Chicago, Illinois native has played in 259 career NHL games, scoring 8 goals and 72 assists for 80 points in that span. Reilly was traded to Boston earlier this season from Ottawa at the Trade Deadline.

Penticton Vees hand out annual team awards

And the Vees winners are...

The Penticton Vees handed out their annual team awards Monday night at a live-streamed event at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

In typical years, the event takes place on the ice after the final game of the regular season in front of the crowd, but COVID-19 and the unusual pod season made it a more low-key event.

Ahead of the ceremony, fans were asked to cast their ballots for the Fan Favourite, won this year by Ethan Martini.

Below is the full list of winners:

  • Tyler Ho - Unsung Hero (sponsored by Lang Vineyards)
  • Frank Djurasevic - Most Improved Player (sponsored by Sherwood Signs & Graphics)
  • Fin Williams - Best Conditioned Athlete (sponsored by Murray GM)
  • Beanie Richter - Robert Skinner Courage Award (sponsored by Canadian Tire)
  • Tristan Amonte - Most Inspirational (sponsored by Tim Hortons)
  • Jacob Quillan - Most Sportsmanlike (sponsored by Grizzly Excavating)
  • Stefano Bottini - Academic Achievement Award (sponsored by Home Hardware)
  • Tristan Amonte - Vees on Vees Most Popular Player (sponsored by Kirk Chamberlain)
  • Ethan Martini - Fan Favourite (sponsored by Elliott Row 4Her 4 Him)
  • Luc Wilson - Leading Scorer (sponsored by Game Time Sports)
  • Grayson Arnott - Best Defenseman (sponsored by Penticton Alumni Hockey Club)
  • Ryan McGuire - Rookie of the Year (sponsored by BC Hockey Hall of Fame)
  • Entire 2021 Penticton Vees - Most Valuable Player (sponsored by Making Cents Bookkeeping)

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