When the Alberta Junior Hockey League took the step of removing five teams the league called “defectors” for exploring a move to the British Columbia Junior Hockey League, that put 125 player’s seasons in jeopardy. The Sherwood Park Crusaders, Spruce Grove Saints, Okotoks Oilers, Blackfalds Bulldogs, and Brooks Bandits were barred from playing the other eleven teams set to remain in the AJHL.
That forced the leaders of those five teams to decide to get their players on the ice playing meaningful hockey, with dozens of 20-year-old players about to see their final Junior A season squandered. Leadership of the BCHL was happy to accommodate.
“We wanted to ensure that these athletes had something to play for. Kids at this elite level are thoroughbreds, and to be sitting in a dressing room not playing for was one thing, and then to give them something to play for amongst the five teams, a regular season and a playoff to bring them back into a competitive mode was important,” said Chris Hebb, the CEO of the BCHL.
Hebb is the guest on the following audio feature, which you can also download.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders host their first home game since jumping to the BCHL on Wednesday, welcoming the Blackfalds Bulldogs. The first 100 hot dog sales will be discounted to $2 at a limit of one per customer.