KIJHL, Blackfin partner on Jr. A assessment

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, along with BC Hockey’s Junior Hockey Task Group, have engaged Vancouver-based Blackfin Sports Group to continue the assessment process for the Junior A franchises across British Columbia.

This strategic partnership will have Blackfin Sports Group conduct impartial and comprehensive evaluations of all franchises that choose to move forward and be evaluated as a Junior A (Tier 1) franchise.

Blackfin Sports Group, a comprehensive sports and entertainment consulting agency with expertise in sports management and administration, will spearhead these evaluations. They will oversee the analysis of each franchise that applies to be evaluated, reviewing areas that include organizational structure, business operations, player development programs, player experience, and overall operational efficiency. Other factors considered in the evaluations include the home venues and facilities available to teams. Some of the parameters for these evaluations are set out in the BC Hockey Junior A Operating Standards, which has been developed by the Junior Hockey Task Group.

“BC Hockey’s Junior Hockey Task Group, and our member leagues, felt that Blackfin Sports Group would be the right fit to evaluate these franchises as they grow and strengthen,” Cameron Hope, BC Hockey’s Chief Executive Officer, said. “The Blackfin team brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, uniquely positioned to fairly evaluate teams across the province. The results should be an important part of the roadmap for the evolution of Junior A hockey in British Columbia.”

Work on the evaluation application process is already underway, with a goal of concluding all required evaluations during the 2024-25 season. Following these evaluations, and the comprehensive reports are in hand, the Task Group as well as the teams and leagues will work with BC Hockey in an analysis of next steps.

“The KIJHL is excited to work with Blackfin during an important period of change and growth for our league,” says KIJHL Commissioner Jeff Dubois. “Blackfin’s leadership group brings a tremendous amount of industry expertise and their oversight of the Junior A assessment process assures professionalism and credibility for all stakeholders.”

Blackfin Sports Group is comprised of Chris Gear, Chris Beardsmore and James Douglas, sports executives with 50 years of combined experience in the sports and entertainment industry in British Columbia. They have held senior roles within the National Hockey League, American Hockey League, National Lacrosse League and Olympic Winter Games.

“Our team is excited about the opportunity to provide valuable input to BC Hockey, its member Junior A Leagues and their franchises as part of this process,” Blackfin’s Chris Gear said. “This exercise will allow us the opportunity to deliver results that will ultimately lead to teams being positioned correctly within the junior hockey landscape across the province.”