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Newly Formatted BCHL Playoffs Right Around the Corner

By Marshall Mackinder on February 16, 2017

Wenatchee Wild forward and Henderson, Nevada native Brendan Harris (front) is the leading scorer in the BCHL and is committed to play with Bemidji State in the Fall. (Garrett James photo)     

The BCHL season has reached the stretch drive as the regular season draws to a close on February 26th, and the playoff picture looks a little less foggy with only two playoff spots left to be claimed. 

The revised 2017 Fred Page Cup playoff format has 14 teams making the postseason, including the top 4 teams from the Island Division, 4 from the Mainland Division and 6 from the Interior Division. A possible crossover scenario could present itself if the fifth place team in the Mainland Division finishes with more points than the sixth place team in the Interior Division – then the Mainland and Interior will have five teams apiece making the postseason. In the current standings (headed into the weekend of February 17th), the Interior Division's Salmon Arm Silverbacks were only six points up on the Mainland's Surrey Eagles.

Currently in the Interior Division, the Penticton Vees earned a first round bye while clinching another Division title. The Vernon Vipers will finish second in the division and also receive a first round bye. The surging Trail Smoke Eaters have clinched a playoff spot along with the reigning BCHL and RBC Cup Champions West Kelowna Warriors. Salmon Arm is hoping to string a few wins together to eliminate the Surrey Eagles and take the Interior’s final playoff spot.

After finishing in the Interior division basement the last few years, the Trail Smoke Eaters have made the playoffs for the first time since the 2010-11 season. The team’s new ownership and a renewed fan base have the city of Trail excited for a deep playoff run. 

Moving west to the Mainland Division, Wenatchee Wild own the top seed just barely over the Chilliwack Chiefs who were runners up in the Fred Page Cup Finals last season. The final two playoff spots in the Division belong to the Langley Rivermen and the Prince George Spruce Kings.

The Wenatchee Wild are in their second season in the BCHL after moving into the Mainland Division from the North American Hockey League. Located in North-Central Washington, the Wild are the only American team in the BCHL. Due to geographical restrictions, the roster must consist of 14 players from Washington, California, Colorado and Missouri. After that, they are allowed to recruit four players from any other state and four players from Canada to make up the roster of 22 players.

Finally, in the Island Division, the Victoria Grizzlies and Powell River Kings are in a fight for the Division title but have playoff spots clinched. The Cowichan Valley Capitals have also clinched a spot, while the Nanaimo Clippers and Alberni Valley Bulldogs are looking to lock up the final playoff spot in the Division. 

The new format has a round 3 matchup between the Mainland and Island champions. The Interior winner will play in the Championship Series against the Mainland/Island winner. All series are a best of 7 format. 

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By Marshall Mackinder| February 16, 2017
Categories:  Junior

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