BC Hockey, the provincial body that governs all minor hockey in the province of British Columbia, has announced the expansion of its pilot program for a bantam Tier 1 Zone teams, for the North West district of the province. There will now be four teams in the program for this coming season.
The North West Zone Pilot Program will encompass one team at the Bantam Tier 1 level. All players residing within the North West District boundaries will be eligible to attend the North West Identification Camp scheduled for August 11-13, 2017 in Smithers, BC.
Players attending the camp will be selected to play on the zone team based out of Vanderhoof.
The North West District will operate the team and there will not be a Host Minor Hockey Association (MHA).
Staff will be selected by BC Hockey and the North West District. An operations manual and team budget has been developed for the operation of the team.
Marty Floris (Vanderhoof) has been named the head coach.
Floris has been involved with BC Hockey’s Program of Excellence for eight years including Director of Operations for Team BC at the Western U16 Challenge Cup and a district evaluator in the north west.
Floris played minor hockey in Berwick, Nova Scotia and after playing AAA Midget, he played Junior A with the Antigonish Bulldogs, then played a year at St. Francis Xavier University.
After moving to BC, he played Senior hockey for the Fort St. James Stars winning a pair of Coy Cup titles.
Marty has coached minor hockey in Vanderhoof since 1995, leading teams to five BC Hockey Championship finals, winning twice. Floris has acquired his High Performance 1 coaching certification and has a master’s degree from Gonzaga University.
The remaining team staff for the Bantam North West Lumberjacks will be announced at the identification camp taking place August 11-13, 2017 in Smithers.
Along with the North West, the East Kootenay, Okanagan and Yukon districts will participate in the pilot program aimed at providing opportunities for players to participate on regional teams.
This past season, the Regional Zone Pilot Program was implemented in the Okanagan and was very successful, allowing players in the region the opportunity to participate in Tier 1 and Tier 2 hockey.
The pilot project was developed to allow players to play at the highest level and allows districts to provide regional teams and pull from a greater draw zone.
The Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association (PCAHA), which governs hockey in the Lower Mainland, voted this spring to postpone a decision to create a Bantam Zone team league for this coming season. The issue will be revisited again next spring.