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First all-female referee team on the ice in the BCHL

The first all-female crew

Four BCHL officials have become the first all-female officiating crew to work a game at the Canadian Junior A level.

The game took place Sunday at South Surrey Arena between the Langley Rivermen and the Surrey Eagles.

Grace Barlow and Megan Howes refereed the contest, while Melissa Brunn and Colleen Geddes worked the lines.

The BCHL has had female officials in the past, but this is the first time that an entire crew is made up of women.

“Being on an all-female crew is both exciting and comfortable,” said Barlow.

“These women beside me have been my friends, as well as my colleagues, for years. Getting the opportunity to make history with them is an honour. I hope other young women can watch this game and know that all aspects of hockey are for everyone.”

All four women have officiated games at various levels over the years, working their way up through the BC Hockey officiating system. Howes and Brunn have worked in the BCHL prior to this year, while Barlow and Geddes are in their first season in the league.

“This is another step towards a more inclusive approach to hockey,” said Vanessa Stratton, female officiating lead for BC Hockey.

“We commend the BCHL’s openness to providing equitable opportunities for females. This game will showcase the abilities of our female officials to perform at this level and, in the future, hopefully becomes commonplace, rather than celebrated.”

“They are leaders for the next generation of young female officials and that is something to be so proud of.”

“I am proud of the hard work and dedication these four women have put into their specific officiating disciplines,” said Brad Lazarowich, director of officiating and player safety for the BCHL. “They have earned this opportunity to be the first all-female crew to work a Jr. A game in Canada.”



West Kelowna Warriors dropped their first game of the season Saturday night

Warriors streak ended

The West Kelowna Warriors season-opening winning streak is over at three.

The Cranbrook Bucks handed the Warriors their first loss of the young BC Hockey League season and, at the same time, earned a split of their two-game set, beating the Warriors 3-2 Saturday night.

The Warriors opened, and closed the scoring but, in between the Bucks scored three unanswered second period goals, the backbreaker, a shorthanded tally that snapped a 1-1 tie and sent the home side on to victory.

Elan Bar Lev Wise opened the scoring with his third goal in three game, snapping home a shot from the hash marks just as a Cranbrook penalty had expired.

But, it was all Cranbrook in the second, peppering rookie Justin Katz with 22 shots and finding the back of the net three times.

With the game tied at one and the Warriors enjoying the man advantage, it was Kellan Hjartarson, who had earlier tied the game at one who again went on the offensive and beat Katz to put the Bucks up for good.

Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero to within a goal just 76 seconds into the third but, despite having the better of the play during the final 18 minutes, were unable to put the equalizer behind Nathan Airey.

Cranbrook outshot the Warriors 41-33 on the night.

The 3-1 Warriors next head to Chilliwack for the annual Showcase next weekend.

They'll face 6-0 Victoria next Friday afternoon before taking on Alberni Valley Saturday afternoon.



West Kelowna Warriors take first of two in Cranbrook, 4-1 Friday

Warriors take down Bucks

The West Kelowna Warriors snapped a 1-1 tie with three goals in a span of less than 30 seconds Friday to beat the hometown Cranbrook Bucks.

If was the first ever meeting between the Warriors and Bucks, who entered the BCHL prior to the start of the shortened 2020-2021 season.

Friday's win was their third straight to start the season, the first time the Warriors have started 3-0 since the 2011-2012 season.

The Warriors spotted the Bucks a 1-0 lead when Noah Quinn beat Johnny Derrick nearly eight minutes into the opening period.

But, it was the second period that decided this one.

Zach Reim drew the Warriors even 12 minutes into the middle frame then, near the end of the period, the Warriors erupted for three goals in just 29 second to break the game wide open.

Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero buried what proved to be the game winner 16:23 into the second, taking a pass off his skate then sending a one-timer past Nathan Airey.

Elan Bar Lev Wise scored his second of the season 13 seconds later when, off the rush, he took a drop pass from Felix Trudeau and sent a one timer from the right circle.

Then 16 seconds after that, Tyler Cristall backhanded his own rebound past a sprawling Airey to give the Warriors a 4-1 lead and close out the scoring.

Derrick stopped all 12 shots he faced in the third period to secure his third win of the season.

After a slow start, the Warriors took over the territorial play over the final two periods, outshooting the Bucks 34-23 over that span.

Over the course of the night, the Warriors outshot Cranbrook 41-37.

Neither team had any success at all with the man advantage. The Warriors were 0-4 on the power play, while the Bucks went 0-2.

The same two teams meet again Saturday night when the Warriors shoot for a team-record fourth straight win to start a season.



The BC Hockey League has unveiled retro throwback jerseys for all 18 teams

BCHL unveil retro jerseys

The BC Hockey League Thursday unveiled throwback jerseys designed by each of the 18 member teams to help celebrate the league's 60th season.

Each team designed retro jerseys as a way to pay homage to hockey's past in their community.

West Kelowna Warriors president Chris Laurie designed the jersey his team will wear on their special retro night, Dec. 29.

The "Westside Grizzlies" jersey depicts the time before the arrival of the Warriors in 2006, when when the minor hockey program on the westside was known as the Grizzlies.

The jersey is the traditional black with green and white piping and recognizable stylized yellow grizzly head.

The Warriors will wear the throwback jersey during a special retro night Dec. 29 against Penticton.

Other confirmed retro nights include:

  • Oct. 16 Cowichan Valley Capitals
  • Oct. 29 Surrey Eagles
  • Oct. 29 Trail Smoke Eaters
  • Nov. 5 Prince George Spruce Kings
  • Nov. 6 Alberni Valley Bulldogs
  • Nov. 12 Wenatchee Wild
  • Nov. 18 Langley Rivermen
  • Nov. 19 Merritt Centennials
  • Nov. 20 Nanaimo Clippers
  • Nov. 27 Vernon Vipers
  • Dec. 1 Cranbrook Bucks
  • Dec. 3 Chilliwack Chiefs
  • Dec. 4 Victoria Grizzlies
  • Dec. 17 Penticton Vees
  • Dec. 29 West Kelowna Warriors
  • Jan. 2 Salmon Arm Silverbacks
  • Jan. 22 Coquitlam Express
  • TBD Powell River Kings TBD

Teams may also use the jerseys at other points during the season as an alternate third uniform.



West Kelowna Warriors kicked off a three-game Kootenay road trip with a 5-4 win in Trail

Warriors snap long streak

John Evans scored twice, including a key shorthanded effort Wednesday, leading the West Kelowna Warriors past the Trail Smoke Eaters 5-4.

The win allowed the Warriors to kick off a three-game Kootenay road trip on a winning note, while also snapping a long losing streak against the Smoke Eaters.

Prior to Wednesday, Trail had won seven in a row against the Warriors, and hadn't lost inside Cominco Arena since Oct. 20, 2018.

Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero and Felix Trudeau each picked up a goals and an assist while Elan Bar Lev Wise also scored.

The game went back and forth all night long with both teams taking turns holding one-goal leads.

Bar Lev Wise opened the scoring for the Warriors just 45 seconds into the game before Trail tied it minutes later.

John Evans with his first restored the one goal lead before Trail again came back when Teddy Lagerback beat Johnny Derrick on a Smoke Eaters power play.

Trail took their first, and only lead midway through the second as the Warriors ran into penalty trouble. With Pat Lawn and Tyler Rubin both in the box, Quinn Disher put the home side up on a five-on-three advantage.

But, Evans got that one back just 22 seconds later with the Warriors first shorthanded goals of the young season, beating Evan Fredette from the top of the left circle while using the defenceman as a screen.

Consecutive goals from Van Houtte-Cachero in the second and Trudeau 58 seconds into the third gave the Warriors a two goal cushion.

Trail cut into the lead 13 seconds after Trudeau's goal, but Derrick shut the door the rest of the way.

Both teams managed 31 shots in the game.

The Warriors struggled on special teams again Wednesday. They went 0-5 with the man advantage while giving up two goals on seven chances on the penalty kill.

West Kelowna continue its three game road trip with back-to-back games in Cranbrook against the Bucks Friday and Saturday.



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