The Revelstoke Grizzlies, and the other 19 teams in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL), have made the transition to Junior A hockey.
The league announced on Tuesday (July 25) that they, alongside the VIJHL and PJHL, will officially be reclassified as Junior A, Tier 2 status, following a unanimous vote by BC Hockey’s board of directors.
“I think it’s an ideal level for Revelstoke,” said Ryan Parent, head coach and GM of the Revelstoke Grizzlies, about the team’s new status.
“The support that we’ve garnered locally in the past 10 years here, I think hockey is really on the map in Revelstoke,” added Parent.
According to BC Hockey, this transition will allow KIJHL teams to compete for a national championship, the Centennial Cup, in future seasons and introduce a new structure to improve player development.
“This marks a tremendous day for the KIJHL and for all BC Hockey members who aspire to play junior hockey,” said KIJHL commissioner Jeff Dubois.
Parent said that the next couple of years are especially exciting for the Grizzlies, given that the City of Revelstoke is pushing for a new arena.
“Having a bigger venue to play in, a more modern venue to play in, I think would be fantastic,” said Parent.
Parent also added that he was glad to see the positive feedback the City received from public engagement about the new arena so far, calling it a ‘progressive step’ for the community.
“I think there’s a lot of other attributes that could be beneficial for Revelstoke - conference space, event space,” said Parent. “I think Revelstoke’s a growing community and there are a lot of avenues for this new facility that everybody is excited about.”
All KIJHL teams will now be subject to an internal BC Hockey standards-tiering structure, and will all start at Tier 2. The goal for teams who do achieve Junior A Tier 1 status will be to eventually seek membership in the CJHL, which would then create the opportunity to compete for the Canadian Junior A National Championship.
These newly reclassified teams will continue to participate in their established leagues during the evaluation period, and each league will be announcing further information and schedules on their websites soon.
- With files from Paul Rodgers, Kimberley Bulletin.