New championship to replace Doyle and Anavet cups

The Doyle and Anavet Cup championships will be no more.

The Doyle and Anavet Cup championships will be no more.

On Monday, the Canadian Junior Hockey League announced that a new regional playoff format for its four western provinces (B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) will begin in 2013. Those four leagues will move to a five-team tournament and crown the first-ever Western Canadian Champion.  The WCC will include a host team and the champion from each of the four western leagues. The 13-game tournament will include a round-robin schedule followed by two semifinal games and a championship game.  The WCC and runner-up will both represent Western Canada at the RBC Cup national junior A championship.

This is the last season in which the champions of the British Columbia Hockey League and Alberta Junior Hockey League will battle in a best-of-seven series for the Doyle Cup, while the champ from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and Manitoba Junior Hockey League compete for the Anavet Cup.

“Congratulations to the four western leagues on this significant step in the growth of junior A hockey in Western Canada and across the country,” said CJHL chairman Kirk Lamb. “The new championship format will create a tremendous opportunity to showcase our players, teams and communities and is yet another example of the strengthening relationship among junior A leagues in Canada.”

Penticton Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson said this is to try to have the best teams at the RBC Cup. Harbinson said that other regions do this style of format and that it should be interesting to see.

“They were looking at changes to tweak the system,” he said. “Those teams will approach it like it’s an RBC Cup. I think it could be good.”

Lamb and the four western provinces also announced the hosting rights for the inaugural Western Canadian Championship has been awarded to Nanaimo, which will host from April 26 to May 5.

“I want to congratulate Nanaimo on being selected to host the first Western Canadian Championship in 2013,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale.  “I am extremely confident the host committee, the Clippers ownership group, their fans, the City of Nanaimo and the volunteers will work cohesively towards ensuring the championship is not only successful in Nanaimo, but the legacy left will provide a blueprint for the other junior A leagues to follow.”

The WCC will be hosted by the MJHL in 2014, AJHL in 2015 and SJHL in 2016.  A site selection committee will be responsible for selecting a host team annually, upon the recommendation of the host league.