Every week during the BCHL season, local hockey guru Jacob Bestebroer writes a column in the Chilliwack Progress discussing the Chilliwack Chiefs and goings on around the league.
Last month the BCHL made a decision to reduce the number of regular season games from 60 to 54 (56 if the league goes ahead with a 16 team showcase event in one city that would see each team play two games).
The main reason given for this decision?
Directly from the news release: “This will decrease the number of mid-week games when fans are less able to attend. Now, a greater percentage of home dates can be held on the prime nights of Friday and Saturday.”
You know what else could have improved the weekday to weekend games ratio? Doing a better job scheduling 60 games.
There are examples this season of teams playing weekday games that could have been played on weekends. (Granted, that would lead to less time between games which is a valid concern).
The best example of poor scheduling by the league is evident this week.
The Chiefs played last night (Wednesday) in Salmon Arm. Chilliwack’s next game is Tuesday when they host Salmon Arm.
In between those two games, Salmon Arm plays just once, Saturday night at home versus Prince George. So why were the Chiefs/Silverbacks games scheduled the way they were, when neither team plays Friday or Sunday?
I’ve asked around.
Nobody seems to know.
I’m not saying that reducing the schedule to 54 or 56 games was a bad or wrong decision, because I don’t know enough about the finances of running a BCHL team to be qualified to make that statement.
But I think it’s obvious that improvements to the 60 game schedule could have been made. The Chiefs play 10 of their 60 games this year on a weekday, and with no effort that could have been knocked down to eight.
Remember, the league started a little later this season and reduced the number of playoff teams. By starting earlier that number could have been knocked down to six.
The two holiday games that were played between Christmas and New Year’s Eve should not be counted as typical weekday games. Attendance numbers were strong for those two.
If we don’t count those, you are left with four weekday games out of 60.
That doesn’t sound like a big enough problem to push the league to make the drastic decision to reduce the number of regular season games.
Hopefully that was taken into account before the decision to reduce the number of games was made.