|Current season, competition or edition:|
2020-21 BCHL season
|No. of teams||18|
|Prince George Spruce Kings (1st title) |
|Most titles||Penticton Vees, Vernon Vipers (12 each)|
From 1993 to 2021, the league was a member of the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), an association of Junior A leagues across Canada that would play for the National Junior A Championship. The winner of the BCHL playoffs (Fred Page Cup) would continue on to play the Alberta Junior Hockey League champion in the Doyle Cup for the right to then compete in the National Junior A Championship. In 2021, the BCHL left the CJHL.
In 1961, the heads of four junior "B" hockey teams in the Okanagan region of British Columbia got together and formed the first Junior "A" league in British Columbia's history. The Okanagan-Mainline Junior "A" Hockey League (OMJHL) originally consisted of the Kamloops Jr. Rockets, the Kelowna Buckaroos, the Penticton Jr. Vees, and the Vernon Jr. Canadians.
In 1967, the league expanded out of the Okanagan region, bringing in the New Westminster Royals and the Victoria Cougars. With the expansion, the league decided that since it was no longer solely in the Okanagan region that it need a new name, becoming the British Columbia Junior Hockey League (BCJHL). A year later, the Vancouver Centennials joined the league. In the 1970s, the Victoria Cougars jumped to the Western Hockey League and the New Westminster team was forced to fold due to the relocation of the Estevan Bruins into their arena. In 1972, the Bellingham Blazers and the Nanaimo Clippers expanded the league to eight teams.
Meanwhile, in the early 1970s, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association separated the two tiers of Junior A hockey. The BCJHL, being a Tier II league, was then disallowed from competing for the Memorial Cup, which had traditionally been the National Junior A Championship trophy. Consequentially, the Tier II Junior A leagues across Canada agreed to compete for a new trophy called the Centennial Cup. The 1970s also saw the rise of a rival league for the BCJHL, the Pacific Coast Junior Hockey League (PCJHL), which briefly existed in the 1960s, was resurrected by Fred Page for the 1971-72 season. Page had roots in managing junior hockey leagues, and today there are two championship trophies named for him – the Eastern Champion Junior "A" Fred Page Cup and the BCHL Championship trophy. The PCJHL was elevated to a Junior "A" league for the 1973-74 season, adjusting its name to the Pacific Junior A Hockey League (PJHL). The PJHL champion then competed with the BCJHL champion in a provincial championship, the Mowat Cup, with the winner moving on to what was the precursor to the Doyle Cup. The PJHL's Nor'Wes Caps won the 1976 Mowat Cup, while the PJHL's Richmond Sockeyes won the 1977 and 1979 Mowat Cups. Fred Page agreed to allow a merger between the PJHL and the BCJHL for the 1979-80 season.
The existence of the two Junior A leagues in British Columbia caused an unusual turn of events in the 1977-78 season postseason. The BCJHL sent their regular season champion, the Merritt Centennials, to play as the BC representative in the Pacific region (BC and Alberta) interprovincial Doyle Cup, excusing them from the BCJHL playoffs. The BCJHL continued their league playoffs without them, crowning Nanaimo as the playoff champion after Penticton refused to finish the playoff finals due to a series of brawls in the third game of the series. Meanwhile, the Merritt Centennials won the Doyle Cup and advanced to the Abbott Cup (the Western Canada Championship) against the winner of the ANAVET Cup, the Western region champion Prince Albert Raiders of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The Centennials lost to the Raiders, four games to one.
During the 1980-81 season, the Coastal division season was interrupted by a Ferry strike in late January. Since the mainland teams could no longer reach the island teams, the Coastal Division stopped playing, and began extended playoff rounds in place of the regular season.
In 1986, Penticton became the BCJHL's first Junior A national champion, defeating the Metro Valley Junior Hockey League's Cole Harbour Colts by a score of 7-4 to win the Centennial Cup. A year later, the BCJHL's Richmond Sockeyes won the league's second consecutive national title.
For the 1995-96 season, the BCJHL was renamed to British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and changed its logo twice, in 1995 (with a logo that featured B.C. (comic strip) artwork and again in 2000.
The most notable star to come from the BCHL is Olympian and National Hockey League hall of famer Brett Hull who played for Penticton. Hull holds the BCHL record for most goals in a season (105), which he set in 1983-84, a record that still stands today. Other NHLers who once played in the BCHL include Chuck Kobasew of the Penticton Panthers, Scott Gomez of the South Surrey Eagles, Carey Price of the Quesnel Millionaires, and Willie Mitchell of the Kelowna Spartans. In July 2013, the TheHockeyWriters.com listed the BCHL as the sixth best developmental league, professional or amateur, in North America.
The Wenatchee Wild, previously of the North American Hockey League had been attempting to get into the BCHL since 2012. On June 1, 2015, it was announced that they would be joining for the 2015-16 season, marking the league's return to the US after a twenty-year absence. The BCHL announced the Cranbrook Bucks as a 2020-21 expansion team, replacing the recently relocated Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League.
In March 2021, the league withdrew its membership from the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), the association of Junior A leagues across Canada that participated in the Junior A national championship each season. It had been a member of the CJHL and its predecessors since the Canadian Hockey League split from Junior A in the 1970s and BCHL/BCJHL teams had won more Junior A titles than any other league. As of April 2021, the BCHL has not withdrawn its membership from Hockey Canada or BC Hockey.
|Coastal||Alberni Valley Bulldogs||Port Alberni, British Columbia||Weyerhaeuser Arena||1998|
|Chilliwack Chiefs||Chilliwack, British Columbia||Chilliwack Coliseum||1996|
|Coquitlam Express||Coquitlam, British Columbia||Poirier Sport & Leisure Complex||2001|
|Cowichan Valley Capitals||Duncan, British Columbia||Island Savings Centre||1980|
|Langley Rivermen||Langley, British Columbia||George Preston Recreation Centre||1990|
|Nanaimo Clippers||Nanaimo, British Columbia||Frank Crane Arena||1972|
|Victoria Grizzlies||Victoria, British Columbia||The Q Centre||1967|
|Powell River Kings||Powell River, British Columbia||Hap Parker Arena||1988|
|Surrey Eagles||Surrey, British Columbia||South Surrey Arena||1976|
|Interior||Cranbrook Bucks||Cranbrook, British Columbia||Western Financial Place||2020|
|Merritt Centennials||Merritt, British Columbia||Nicola Valley Memorial Arena||1961|
|Penticton Vees||Penticton, British Columbia||South Okanagan Events Centre||1961|
|Prince George Spruce Kings||Prince George, British Columbia||Rolling Mix Concrete Arena||1972|
|Salmon Arm Silverbacks||Salmon Arm, British Columbia||Shaw Centre||2001|
|Trail Smoke Eaters||Trail, British Columbia||Cominco Arena||1987|
|Vernon Vipers||Vernon, British Columbia||Kal Tire Place||1961|
|Wenatchee Wild[a]||Wenatchee, Washington||Town Toyota Center||2015|
|West Kelowna Warriors||West Kelowna, British Columbia||Royal LePage Place||1994|
The Centennial Cup is the Junior A National Championship, also previously known under the sponsored name of Royal Bank Cup and RBC Cup, and has been captured by a BCHL team 14 times since the trophy's founding:
Note: In the chart, league champions are bolded.
|Year||League champion||League runner-up|
|Memorial Cup era|
|1962||Kamloops Rockets||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1963||Kamloops Rockets||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1964||Kamloops Rockets||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1965||Kelowna Buckaroos||Kamloops Kraft Kings|
|1966||Kamloops Kraft Kings||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1967||Penticton Broncos||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1968||Penticton Broncos||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1969||Victoria Cougars||Penticton Broncos|
|1970||Vernon Essos||Victoria Cougars|
|1971||Kamloops Rockets||Vancouver Centennials|
|1972||Vernon Essos||Penticton Broncos|
|1973||Penticton Broncos||Chilliwack Bruins|
|1974||Kelowna Buckaroos||Langley Lords|
|1975||Bellingham Blazers||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1976||Nanaimo Clippers||Penticton Vees|
|1977||Nanaimo Clippers||Penticton Vees|
|1978||Merritt Centennials||Penticton Vees|
|1979||Bellingham Blazers||Kamloops Rockets|
|1980||Penticton Knights||Nanaimo Clippers|
|1981||Penticton Knights||Abbotsford Flyers|
|1982||Penticton Knights||New Westminster Royals|
|1983||Abbotsford Flyers||Kelowna Buckaroos|
|1984||Langley Eagles||Penticton Knights|
|1985||Penticton Knights||Burnaby Blue Hawks|
|1986||Penticton Knights||Richmond Sockeyes|
|1987||Richmond Sockeyes||Kelowna Packers|
|1988||Vernon Lakers||Richmond Sockeyes|
|1989||Vernon Lakers||New Westminster Royals|
|1990||New Westminster Royals||Vernon Lakers|
|1991||Vernon Lakers||Powell River Paper Kings|
|1992||Vernon Lakers||Bellingham Ice Hawks|
|1993||Kelowna Spartans||Powell River Paper Kings|
|1994||Kelowna Spartans||Cowichan Valley Capitals|
|1995||Chilliwack Chiefs||Powell River Paper Kings|
|1996||Vernon Vipers||Langley Thunder|
|1997||South Surrey Eagles||Vernon Vipers|
|1998||South Surrey Eagles||Penticton Panthers|
|1999||Vernon Vipers||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|2000||Chilliwack Chiefs||Vernon Vipers|
|2001||Victoria Salsa||Merritt Centennials|
|2002||Chilliwack Chiefs||Vernon Vipers|
|2003||Vernon Vipers||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|2004||Nanaimo Clippers||Salmon Arm Silverbacks|
|2005||Surrey Eagles||Vernon Vipers|
|2006||Burnaby Express||Penticton Vees|
|2007||Nanaimo Clippers||Vernon Vipers|
|2008||Penticton Vees||Nanaimo Clippers|
|2009||Vernon Vipers||Powell River Kings|
|2010||Vernon Vipers||Powell River Kings|
|2011||Vernon Vipers||Powell River Kings|
|2012||Penticton Vees||Powell River Kings|
|2013||Surrey Eagles||Penticton Vees|
|2014||Coquitlam Express||Vernon Vipers|
|2015||Penticton Vees||Nanaimo Clippers|
|2016||West Kelowna Warriors||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|2017||Penticton Vees||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|2018||Wenatchee Wild||Prince George Spruce Kings|
|2019||Prince George Spruce Kings||Vernon Vipers|
As of 2021, the top eight teams from each conference advance to the playoffs. The postseason consists of four rounds, all consisting of a series of best-of-seven games, with the Coastal and Interior Conference playoff champions meeting in the league finals to play for the Fred Page Cup. The team that wins the Fred Page Cup championship advances to the Doyle Cup, a best-of-seven series against the champion of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The winner of that series moves on to represent the pacific region in the Centennial Cup, the national Junior A championship.
Names in bold indicate inductees of the Hockey Hall of Fame