The Canadian Junior Hockey League is pleased to announce a new regional playoff format for its four western provinces beginning in 2013. The British Columbia Hockey League, Alberta Junior Hockey League, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and Manitoba Junior Hockey League will move to a five-team tournament and crown the first-ever Western Canadian Champion.
The Western Canadian Championship will include a host team and the champion from each of the four western leagues. The 13-game tournament will include a round-robin schedule followed by two semifinal games and a championship game. The Western Canadian Champion and the runner-up will both represent Western Canada at the RBC Cup National Junior A Championship.
"Congratulations to the four western leagues on this significant step in the growth of Junior A hockey in Western Canada and across the country," said CJHL Chairman Kirk Lamb. "The new championship format will create a tremendous opportunity to showcase our players, teams and communities and is yet another example of the strengthening relationship among Junior A leagues in Canada. I commend the four western leagues on partnering together in the development of this initiative."
CJHL Chairman Kirk Lamb and the four western provinces are honoured to announce the hosting rights for the inaugural Western Canadian Championship in 2013 have been awarded to the BCHL community of Nanaimo, BC. The 2013 Western Canadian Championship will be held from April 26 to May 5.
"I want to congratulate Nanaimo on being selected to host the first Western Canadian Championship in 2013," said BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale. "I am extremely confident the host committee, the Clipper ownership group, their fans, the City of Nanaimo and the volunteers will work cohesively towards ensuring the championship is not only successful in Nanaimo, but the legacy left will provide a blueprint for the other Junior A leagues to follow."
Nanaimo Clippers owner Ken Wagner is proud to bring the inaugural Western Canadian Championship to Nanaimo during a milestone season for the franchise.
"Hosting the Western Canadian Championship in conjunction with our 40th anniversary is a great way for the team and community to celebrate. I believe the Nanaimo Clippers are a flagship franchise in the CJHL and it is a true honour to be selected as the host city for the first-time event. Nanaimo offers the ultimate in hospitality, beautiful scenery and a strong volunteer base, which will result in a successful experience for everyone involved."
The Western Canadian Championship will be hosted by the BCHL in 2013, followed by the MJHL (2014), AJHL (2015), and SJHL (2016). A Site Selection Committee will be responsible for selecting a host team annually, upon the recommendation of the host league.
About the Canadian Junior Hockey League: There are currently 10 leagues and over 130 teams competing in the Canadian Junior Hockey League. The goal of the CJHL is to enhance and expand development and exposure for its players in order to increase the number of opportunities to further their academic and hockey careers. The annual champion of the Canadian Junior Hockey League wins the RBC Cup.
About the RBC Cup: Since 1971, teams from across Canada have fought for the National Junior A Championship. The RBC Cup National Junior A Championship is currently an annual tournament between the Champions of the four regions within the CJHL and the Host Club in a quest to become the National Champion.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)