The Chilliwack Minor Hockey Association has clarified its ability to associate with the Chilliwack Chiefs and the British Columbia Hockey League.
In an email to members, the CMHA states that any sort of activity with the Chiefs will have drastic consequences.
“We must emphasize that this is not a mere advisory situation; it carries substantial implications,” the message reads. “Hockey Canada, BC Hockey, and Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association have informed us that any participation in events related to the BCHL, including those involving the Chilliwack Chiefs, could lead to serious penalties. These penalties may include restrictions on participating in tournaments and other significant repercussions.”
Those potential penalties have led the CMHA to advise members to follow those directives set out by the sport’s official governing bodies in the country and the province.
It came out in November that CMHA teams were not allowed to attend Chiefs games as a team, participate in intermission games or attend Chiefs minor hockey night in December due to the issues between the BCHL and Hockey Canada.
Instead, teams are being asked to participate in activities related to the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s Chilliwack Jets or the American Hockey League’s Abbotsford Canucks.
“We are acutely aware of the complexities and sensitivities of this situation and are committed to ensuring that the best interests of our players, families, and the broader CMHA community are at the forefront of our decisions,” the message states.
Barry Douglas, vice-president of business operations for the Chiefs and team governor, told Black Press Media that it is an unfortunate situation for minor hockey players in Chilliwack.
“The Chiefs organization understands the pressure that CMHA is currently under,” he said. “It is our goal for everyone in the minor hockey community to be a part of this new era of the BCHL. For the Chiefs, it is about celebrating hockey at all levels and being involved in helping young people grow. For decades Chiefs players have been role models in our community. No matter what, we are committed to being positive examples for the kids in our area.”
Township of Langley councillor Michael Pratt recently stated in a council meeting that this forced disassociation of the BCHL with minor hockey is “heartless”. He said he is hopeful that some respectful pressure can be put on those in power to allow youth to participate in BCHL-related activities without the threat of penalties.
He added that it’s unfortunate that kids are being punished because of disagreements between adults.
Langley is home to the BCHL’s Rivermen, the PJHL’s Trappers and the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants. Youth in that association are not allowed to participate in Rivermen activities.