Chilliwack loses half of BCHL Showcase to Penticton

Chilliwack Chiefs hockey boss Brian Maloney talks about changes to the annual event.

Changes to this fall’s BCHL Showcase aren’t ideal for Chilliwack, but Chiefs general manager/head coach Brian Maloney understands what new BCHL boss Chris Hebb is trying to do.

“The league is trying to create more shows and events,” Maloney said.

Chilliwack has been the sole host of the BCHL Showcase since its inception in 2012, but this year’s event will be shared between Chilliwack and Penticton.

Chilliwack will host the Mainland and Island division teams Oct. 2 and 3.

Penticton will host the Interior division’s teams Oct. 4 and 5, along with a B.C. hockey festival that, according to a BCHL press release, ‘will include other levels of hockey in B.C. outside of junior A as well as several fan interaction areas to celebrate our great game.’

The whole thing is being re-branded as the BCHL Showcase Festival presented by Bauer.

“Our Showcase has grown in stature since its inception in 2012 thanks to the great work done in Chilliwack and we feel the time is right to add another few layers to the proceedings,” Hebb said. “From now on, the Showcase is going to be a marquee event to signify the beginning of the hockey season in our province.”

On the business side, hosting half of the Showcase hurts.

Maloney said it’s not a big hit to the Chiefs, with the league collecting any revenue from past showcases.

But Chilliwack suffers from the loss of hotel room bookings and other economic spinoffs.

There will be seven fewer teams staying/eating in Chilliwack, and there may be fewer scouts in town as well if they’re only interested in an Interior division team/player.

Chilliwack also gets the short end of the stick with the scheduling.

October 2 is a Wednesday and October 3 a Thursday.

Penticton gets the weekend games Oct 4 and 5 (Friday and Saturday) along with whatever buzz comes with the festival.

“We didn’t have much say on this,” Maloney acknowledged. “All that we asked for is if they decided to move the weekend games to Penticton, they allowed us to have an in-division game that weekend.”

The league granted that request, sending Surrey to town Oct. 5.

“That’s so we can capture more revenue and create more entertainment for our fans with a home game that counts towards the league standings,” Maloney noted.

From a hockey ops side, the coach is curious to see how scouts will handle the changes.

It’s been one-stop shopping the last seven years, settling in for two or three days at Prospera Centre.

“They actually like the weekday games because they can come out and watch young players and still have time to get back to their regular teams on the weekend,” Maloney said. “And that’s what most of them will have to do.

“The Showcase is designed for the scouts, so we’ll see how this goes. Hopefully we receive positive feedback.”

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