The Okotoks Oilers are officially part of the BCHL.
In a media release from February 1, the team announced that they finalized a franchise agreement with the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), effective immediately.
Along with the Oilers, the Blackfalds Bulldogs, Brook Bandits, Sherwood Park Crusaders, and Spruce Grove Saints have officially joined the B.C. league, as confirmed in a corresponding release from the BCHL.
These teams are finishing off their season with the BCHL, due to the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) cancelling games these teams were scheduled to play as part of the 2023-2024 season.
"We are pleased to officially welcome these five franchises into the fold as members of our league," explained the Chairman of the BCHL Board of Governors Graham Fraser in the media release. "All five are strong organizations from great communities and we look forward to the immediate boost they will give our league."
According to the media release, these teams will compete with each other for the remainder of the season to see who will be crowned the Alberta champions.
Once the BCHL season is completed, the Alberta champions will have an opportunity to take on the B.C. champions in a year-end competition.
The BCHL Commissioner Steven Cocker says that it is important to get these kids back on the ice after the AJHL cancelled the teams' games.
"With the unfortunate situation the Alberta teams have faced in recent weeks with having games cancelled in their previous league, it was imperative to us to get these players back on the ice in meaningful competition," BCHL Commissioner Cocker said in the release. "This five-team schedule and postseason will give these athletes the chance to get in a full set of games for the remainder of the year, which is the most important thing to us."
The Okotoks Oilers are now scheduled to head up to Blackfalds and take on the Bulldogs on Friday night (February 2).
The game will be broadcast live on The Eagle 100.9, with the pre-game show beginning at 6:45 p.m. and the puck drops at 7 p.m.
To see the new BCHL schedule in Alberta, head over to their website.