The Alberni Valley Bulldogs were strongly represented at the British Columbia Hockey League annual general meeting in Richmond June 7, 8 and 9 by governor Andy Oakes, head coach Kevin Willison, and assistant coach/assistant director of hockey operations Adam Hayduk. The governors approved a number of changes that will take effect in the coming season.
First, the new BCHL playoff format was officially unveiled. The league goes to a three-division alignment for the 2012-13 season. In the Coastal Conference, which is now made up of the Island Division and Mainland Division, the top four of the five teams in each division will qualify for post-season play (#1 vs. #4, #2 vs. #3). Best-of-five series will be played in each the first two rounds to determine conference finalists and the Coastal Conference final will be a best-of-seven.
In the Interior Conference, which consists of the six-team Interior Division, the top four teams will qualify for post-season play (#1 vs. #4, #2 vs. #3). Two rounds, each a best-of-seven, will be played to determine a conference champion. The Fred Page Cup finals will also be a best- of-seven series.
Alterations to the BCHL regulations were approved with significant changes being that the affiliate draft of 15-year-old players is discontinued, that rosters will now consist of 22 players instead of 21, that coaches are allowed to place an injured player on long-term injured reserve which would free up a spot on the 22-man roster and that penalties are now possible for players with damaged pants.
The Junior A Supplement initiative, begun in the 2010-11 season to curb fighting and checking-from-behind infractions, was also extended for two more seasons.
Finally, a sub- committee made up of BCHL coaches was officially approved. This body, which brings concerns from among the league’s coaching ranks to the board of directors, is co-chaired by Mike Vandekamp of Nanaimo and Jason Williamson of Vernon.
"I thought things went very smoothly and we're happy with how things turned out," said Bulldogs' head coach Kevin Willison. "Bulldogs fans should be very pleased with the schedule once it is officially announced and the changes approved by the governors will have a positive impact on our game," added Willison.
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are kicking-off the start of the 2012/13 regular season with a golf tournament on Saturday, August 18 at the Alberni Golf Club. The golf tournament is open to fans and the general public. It's a perfect way to connect with the team and get to know the players who will be representing the organization this season. Registration forms for golf and dinner are available on the Bulldogs' website at www.albernivalleybulldogs.ca.