BC Hockey has announced that Associations in the Lower Mainland District of the province will take part in a pilot project which offers ground-breaking options for young hockey players.
At a recent meeting of the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association (PCAHA), the Association voted to join the BC Hockey Zone Program Pilot project for the 2019-2020 season in the Bantam age division.
The BC Hockey pilot project has been studying the expansion of residential boundaries over the past two (2) seasons, with new programming being offered in the East and West Kootenays, North Central, North East, North West, Okanagan-Mainline and Yukon. The addition of the Lower Mainland leaves Vancouver Island as the lone area of the province not participating in the pilot, though Associations have until September 30, 2018 to declare their intent to take part.
For the 2019-2020 season, the BC Hockey Zone Pilot Program will include five (5) Major Bantam AAA teams (ages 13-14) in the Lower Mainland participating in the BC Hockey Major Bantam AAA League.
“We are very pleased with this addition to the zone programming pilot project,” said BC Hockey Chief Executive Officer, Barry Petrachenko. “Over the past two (2) years this pilot has provided young hockey players across our membership with enhanced minor hockey programming options and expanding these options to the Lower Mainland is a major step forward for our sport. We thank the PCAHA for their leadership and belief in the project and we are very excited to get to work at building the program with them.”
“The PCAHA has closely monitored this pilot project over the past two (2) years and we found it to be in line with the desire of our Associations to offer this sort of quality program to our participants,” said Lynne Kiang, president of the PCAHA. “Getting everyone onside was a key step in the process, and we now look ahead to working with BC Hockey on the program development and implementation.”
The BC Hockey Zone Program Pilot Project, which is currently in its third season, was developed to provide minor hockey players with access to the highest possible level of play within their age group, regardless of where they reside. Previously, residency regulations limited players to participation with their local Association and led to concerns from participants who sought the opportunity to play at a level appropriate to their skillset. BC Hockey is utilizing the Zone Pilot Program to learn more about the needs and wants of its participants and is working in collaboration with Minor Hockey Associations toward the creation of standardized skill development programming at the local level.