The Spruce Grove Saints have announced a finalized franchise agreement with the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and are official members of the league, effective immediately.
Prior to this agreement, the Spruce Grove Saints had agreed to terms on a framework of what joining the BCHL would look like.
Along with the Spruce Grove Saints, the Blackfalds Bulldogs, Brooks Bandits, Okotoks Oilers and Sherwood Park Crusaders will also join the BCHL starting this season.
"We want to provide our players the best possible hockey development opportunities and getting back playing meaningful games is part of that.” said Rob Sklaruk, General Manager of the Spruce Grove Saints. “We want to thank the BCHL and member teams for welcoming the Saints. We look forward to the future growth of hockey in Spruce Grove and surrounding communities as a member of the BCHL.”
“We are pleased to officially welcome these five franchises into the fold as members of our league,” said Graham Fraser, Chairman of the BCHL Board of Governors. “All five are strong organizations from great communities and we look forward to the immediate boost they will give our league.”
Due to the Alberta Junior Hockey League cancelling league games for the 2023-24 regular season, the five teams will engage in competition with each other as BCHL teams for the remainder of the season and will eventually crown an Alberta champion. Following the conclusion of the BCHL Playoffs, there will be an opportunity for the champion from Alberta to meet the champion from B.C. in a year-end competition.
“With the unfortunate situation the Alberta teams have faced in recent weeks with having games cancelled in their previous league, it was imperative to us to get these players back on the ice in meaningful competition,” said BCHL Commissioner Steven Cocker. “This five-team schedule and postseason will give these athletes the chance to get in a full set of games for the remainder of the year, which is the most important thing to us.”
The schedule for the Alberta teams starts tomorrow and can be viewed here.
Details for the post-season competition will be announced at a later date.
About the BCHL:
Sending more players on to Division I college hockey every season than any other hockey league in Canada, the BCHL has established itself as a national leader in the development of young student athletes. Considering approximately a third of today’s NHL is made up of NCAA alumni, the BCHL has become a breeding ground for some the sport’s most elite and successful players. In 2022-23 alone, there were a league-record 190 players in the league with NCAA Division I scholarships. The BCHL is also a leader in player safety, with a full-time Department of Player Safety, the toughest rules on fighting in North American junior hockey, as well as a league-wide independent Safe Sport Officer and an individual Athlete Advocate assigned to all 17 teams.
The BCHL is: Modern Hockey.
Director, Communications & Events
BC Hockey League