A Major Bantam AAA hockey pilot program will be launched for the 2019-2020 season in the Lower Mainland and Okanagan.
“The program will be made up of seven teams based on the Major Midget League (MML) draw zones,” BC Hockey announced in an email Friday (Dec. 7).
The regional all-star teams, for 13- and 14-year-old players, will include Valley West, Fraser Valley, Greater Vancouver, Okanagan, Thompson, Vancouver North East and Vancouver North West.
The Valley West region involves players from Surrey, Cloverdale, Semiahmoo and North Delta minor hockey associations.
Evaluation camps will be held at the end of March and beginning of April.
“Registration for the camps will open in early 2019,” says a post at bchockey.net. “At the conclusion of each evaluation camp, teams will be eligible to commit a minimum of 11 skaters, to a maximum of 17, plus two goaltenders. Team will be finalized on August 31, 2019.”
The initiative was launched to compete with hockey academies that have become more popular in recent years.
For Major Bantam, the cost to attend a evaluation camp is $299, and the cost to play is $6,290 for the fall-winter season.
The pilot program will involve a 30-game season and two “showcase weekends,” according to BC Hockey, the sport’s governing body in the province.
“The schedule was built to have long weekend breaks and bye-weeks so players can participate in Major Bantam tournaments.
“A Major Bantam AAA tournament will be hosted in Kelowna around the MML Showcase Weekend in the 2019-2020 season. Dates will be posted once confirmed and subject to change. At the conclusion of the season, an All-Star Team will be announced, along with the Coach of the Year and Player of the Year.”