The spectacular success of last September’s first ever BCHL Showcase – held in Chilliwack’s Prospera Centre and Hosted by the Chilliwack Chiefs – has earned the city and team the right to host the event again in 2013.
BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale joined Showcase Co-Chairman Glen Ringdal, President of the Chiefs, and legendary Head Coach Harvey Smyl in making the announcement at a Prospera Centre Wednesday morning news conference. Co-Chairman Clint Hames missed the announcement due to a business commitment. however, he sent a message saying, “The inaugural BCHL Showcase was a spectacular success by every measure. The City, the Chiefs and the hockey fans of Chilliwack earned the complete respect of the BCHL and the hockey scouts of North America last September and I am very pleased that the Showcase will return to our City.”
The event will see all 16 BCHL teams return to Chilliwack over the weekend of September 6-8 playing two games each – games that count toward season points.
Commissioner Grisdale said, “The inaugural Showcase surpassed our most optimistic expectations and the response we received from players, coaches and scouts was overwhelmingly positive. Fans, scouts and media are now familiar with the event so it makes perfect sense to bring it back to Prospera Centre in 2013.”
The 2012 Showcase attracted over 200 scouts from every NHL team and most of the major universities and colleges of US and Canada. At least a half dozen players received offers of University scholarships on the spot and dozens more offers have followed throughout the season from some of the finest schools in North America.
Grisdale said, “The BCHL is a developmental league – one that prepares young men for post-secondary education with hockey, or even a professional hockey career. The Showcase gives all players in our League a chance to be seen by the top scouts for not only the best schools in North America, but also from the NHL and other professional leagues.”
Ted Donato, Head Coach of the Harvard University Crimson said, “It’s definitely high on our priority list to come out again for the BCHL Showcase. We have a lot of respect for the League and we’re confident we’ll find more players we want to bring into our program at this year’s event”. (Seven current BCHLers - Luke Esposito, Phil Zielonka, Alex Kerfoot, Kevin Guiltinan, Adam Plant, Riley Hunt and Seb Lloyd are all heading for Harvard after their Junior A careers).
Meanwhile Vancouver Canucks Scout Thomas Gradin said, “The BCHL has a rich history of preparing players for college scholarships and the potential of a professional hockey career. To see all of the players in the same place at one time is a great opportunity for not only fans in Chilliwack, but also for scouts and hockey administrators.”
Philadelphia Flyers Scout Jack McIlhargey added, “I was glad to hear the BCHL Showcase is back in Chilliwack. It is a great way for both pro and college scouts to see all the talent on one weekend at a first-class facility.”
Co-Chairman Ringdal said, “We are so very proud that the BCHL Commissioner and Board of Governors have shown such confidence in our Chiefs organization as well as the City of Chilliwack, our civic partners such as the Chamber of commerce and Tourism Chilliwack, our volunteer corps and the hockey fans of Chilliwack. We will ask those same partners to join us again this year as we strive to provide an even better event for both fans and participants.”
“We learned some valuable lessons from our first Showcase that will only benefit the experience of fans, teams and scouts this September,” he said.
In his comments, Clint Hames recalled the Financial Impact Report prepared after the 2012 event that showed a total economic impact of between $540,000 and $750,000 in benefits to the City of Chilliwack. Spending in local hotels and restaurants alone, he said, amounted to $170,000 over the three days.
Grisdale said ticket prices and other information including games schedules will be released at a later date.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)