The History of the Pacific Junior Hockey League
The origins of the Pacific Junior Hockey League date back to 1965 when teams from Chilliwack, Burnaby, Grandview and Coquitlam created a Juvenile/Junior league for local players who wanted to continue to play competitive hockey. One year later the West Coast Junior Hockey League was officially formed with six teams, including the Grandview Steelers who still compete in the league today.
The first ever League Championship was won in 1967 by the Richmond Juniors, but the formative years of the WCJHL were dominated by the Nor Wes Caps who claimed the West Coast Junior Championship four times in the first seven seasons. The Caps were among a group of teams that chose to leave the league in the mid 1970s, to form a junior A circuit, and many new franchises jumped in to replace them. It was during this time that several WCJHL mainstays, including the North Shore Flames and Seattle’s Northwest Americans joined the league. Two teams, the Burnaby Blazers and Richmond Rebels, also won Championships in the late 70’s, but both teams eventually had to be relocated.
The Northwest Americans won their first Championship in 1976, but really became the WCJHL’s dominant franchise in 1980, when they won their first of three consecutive League Championships. The Americans won an amazing total of five titles between 1976 and 1986. The WCJHL’s next dynasty team was the North Shore Flames, who also won three Championships in a row from 1983-1985. In fact from 1980 to 1986 the Americans and Flames were the only teams to claim the WCJHL title. By the late 80s the Burnaby Bluehawks and White Rock Whalers had etched their name’s on the Championship trophy, but neither franchise could make a go of it and relocated to other cities. The late 80s also saw the Port Coquitlam Buckeroos admitted to the league, and the Mission Pilots relocated to Abbotsford where they quickly claimed the WCJHL crown.
The Richmond Sockeyes joined the league in 1990, and before the start of the 1992-93 season the Flames relocated from the North Shore Winter Club to Maple Ridge. Also in 1992, the WCJHL underwent a name change and emerged as the Pacific International Junior Hockey League. By the mid 90’s the PIJHL had shrunk to six franchises, with just five of them located in the lower-mainland. After three seasons as a six team circuit, the league added the Delta Ice Hawks in 1997. The Northwest Americans exited the league at the end of the 98-99 season and, apart from a two year experiment with the Washington Totems, brought about the end of American involvement in the PIJHL.
In 2002 a franchise was relocated to North Delta and the modern look of lower-mainland junior hockey began to form. Following the 2005-06 season, the Hope Icebreakers and Port Coquiltam Buckaroos relocated to their current homes of Mission and Port Moody. Those moves, followed a year later by expansion franchises in Squamish and Aldergrove, grew the league to ten teams and allowed the PIJHL to convert to the current two conference system. In 2012 a minor adjustment to the name of the league (PIJHL to PJHL) was made and franchises in Squamish and North Delta relocated to North Vancouver and Langley respectively. At the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, the Langley Knights moved to North Surrey. In 2017-18 an expansion franchise was awarded to Langley. The new team was named the Trappers and placed in the Harold Brittain Conference. The following season, the White Rock Whalers joined the Tom Shaw Conference, growing the league to a dozen teams for the first time since the 1970’s. The League expanded further out into the Fraser Valley with the addition of the Chilliwack Jets in time for the 2020-21 season.
The PJHL – Year by Year
2019-20 . . . The North Van Wolf Pack won their second straight regular season title, this time in record setting fashion. The Wolf Pack won 40 of 44 games and finished an astounding 22 points ahead of their nearest rival. North Van and Aldergrove advanced through the conference playoffs and were ready for the best-of-seven finals when the season was suddenly cancelled due to COVID-19.
2018-19 . . . The North Van Wolf Pack and Delta Ice Hawks finished tied for the regular season lead with 69 points each with the Wolf Pack claiming the title by virtue of two extra wins. North Vancouver claimed the PJHL Championship winning 12 games against just two losses.
2017-18 . . . The Delta Ice Hawks dominated the regular season standings with a record of 37-4-3 and stormed through the playoffs with an equally impressive 12-1-0 record enroute to the PJHL Championship.
2016-17 . . . The Aldergrove Kodiaks finished the regular season with an impressive record of 36-7-0, winning the PJHL regular season title by nine points. Their success continued into the playoffs where they lost only twice in 14 games and claimed the third PJHL Championship in their history, defeating the Delta Ice Hawks in the final series. Kodiaks forward Eric Callegari won the PJHL scoring title with 73 points and also took home the MVP award.
2015-16 . . . The Mission City Outlaws won the PJHL Championship, defeating the Grandview Steelers four games to two. It was the first ever title for the Outlaws franchise as well as the first for the city or Mission. Bryce Pisiak scored 47 goals and was named Most Valuable Player, while teammate David McGowan broke the single season assist record with an amazing total of 67. The PJHL celebrated its 50th anniversary season.
2014-15 . . . The North Vancouver Wolf Pack won their first ever Shaw Conference Championship and defeated the Mission City Outlaws, who also had claimed their first conference title, four games to two in the PJHL Championship series. It was North Vancouver’s first league championship in their seven year history. Troy Kaczynski won the league scoring title by ten points over Bryce Pisiak and took home the MVP award. Both players scored more than 40 goals.
2013-14 . . . The Richmond Sockeyes and Aldergrove Kodiaks finished 1-2 in the regular season standings, and dominated their respective Conferences, before meeting in an epic seven game Championship series. In the Finals, the Kodiaks fell behind three games to one before rebounding with three straight wins to take their second PJHL title in five years. Stephen Ryan was the first forty goal scorer in more than a decade and took home MVP honors.
2012-13 . . . The Richmond Sockeyes took the regular season title by two points over Shaw Conference rivals Delta Ice Hawks and defeated the Aldergrove Kodiaks four games to none for the PJHL Championship. The Sockeyes toughest test came in the semi-finals when the Ice Hawks pushed them to seven hard-fough games. Delta’s Mak Barden took home the scoring title and Abbotsford Pilots goaltender Aaron Oakley was named MVP.
2011-12 . . . The Richmond Sockeyes claimed the regular season title with a dominating defence, allowing just 69 goals in 44 games and registering 10 shutouts. In the end though, the Delta Ice Hawks knocked them out in the Semi-Finals before claiming the PJHL crown, four games to two over Abbotsford. Thomas Hardy (Aldergrove) and Spencer Traher (Delta) finished tied for the scoring title, but the MVP nod went to Hardy.
2010-11 . . . The Richmond Sockeyes won the regular season title by seven points over Delta and then battled the Ice Hawks for an epic seven games in the Shaw Conference Finals. The seventh game was decided by one goal and four of the games required overtime to settle. The Sockeyes then swept the Abbotsford Pilots to claim their second title in three years. Liam Harding (Delta) edged Danny Brandys (Ridge Meadows) by one point for the scoring title and took home MVP honors.
2009-10 . . . The Aldergrove Kodiaks, in just their second season of operation, won the PJHL Championship four games to two over the Delta Ice Hawks. The North Delta Devils dominated the regular season, but failed to make it through a bizarre post season that saw the top four teams eliminated before the final series. Aldergrove and Delta finished 5th and 7th in the ten team league. Abbotsford’s Riley Lamb won the scoring race and Grandview goaltender Khaleed Devji won MVP.
2008-09 . . . The Aldergrove Kodiaks and Squamish Wolf Pack joined the PIJHL, growing the league to ten teams which were divided into the Tom Shaw and Harold Brittain Conferences. The Richmond Sockeyes dominated the regular season standings and breezed through the playoffs losing only one game on their way to their fourth league championship. Grandview’s Bill Smith led the league in scoring and was named Most Valuable player.
2007-08 . . . The Abbotsford Pilots edged the Richmond Sockeyes by a single point, for the regular season title, but the Grandview Steelers stunned Richmond in the semi-finals before rolling over Abbotsford for their first championship in fourteen years. The Steelers Jackson Friesen won the scoring title and Richmond’s Kyle Nishi was awarded the trophy for Most Valuable Player.
2006-07 . . . After three unsuccessful seasons in Hope, the Icebreakers were relocated to Mission where Eric Friesen won the league scoring title and MVP honors, amassing an astounding 47 goals. The Abbotsford Pilots finished first in the regular season standings and cruised through two rounds of playoffs before defeating the Grandview Steelers four games to two in the Finals.
2005-06 . . . The Delta Ice Hawks, Abbotsford Pilots, North Delta Devils and Grandview Steelers finished 1-2-3-4, in a highly competitive regular season, before the Ice Hawks claimed their second PIJHL Championship four games to two over Abbotsford. Delta’s Adam Hartley won the league scoring race and Ronnie Smith (Richmond) took home the Most Valuable Player award. After eighteen seasons in Port Coquitlam, the Buckeroos relocated to Port Moody at the end of the season.
2004-05 . . . The Abbotsford Pilots finished six points up on the Delta Ice Hawks in the regular season standings and then edged the Hawks in an epic seven game series for the league championship. Clayton Spalding (Grandview) won the scoring race and Abbotsford goaltender Travis Dyck was named Most Valuable Player. The Washington Totems played their first of two seasons in the PIJHL.
2003-04 . . . The league expanded to eight teams with the addition of the Hope Icebreakers, who struggled through their inaugural campaign, winning just one game. The Delta Ice Hawks finished atop the standings, in a year that saw six teams finish with winning records, but it was the Richmond Sockeyes who took home the League Championship. Delta’s Kyle Ross won the scoring title by a wide margin and was named MVP.
2002-03 . . . The Abbotsford Pilots edged the Ridge Meadows Flames by a single point to win the regular season title, but it was the fifth placed Richmond Sockeyes who got hot at the right time. The Sockeyes, who sported a losing regular season record, stormed through the PIJHL playoffs and knocked off first placed Abbotsford four games to three in the Finals. Brian Leitch (Ridge Meadows) won the scoring race and Richmond goaltender Kevin MacKay took home MVP.
2001-02 . . . The Abbotsford Pilots blew away the competition during the regular season and then swept the Delta Ice Hawks in the PIJHL Championship series to claim their third title in four years. The Pilots Kiyomi Parsons was named Most Valuable Player after winning the scoring title by twelve points. After three losing seasons in New Westminster, the Queens Park Pirates were relocated to North Delta and renamed the Flyers.
2000-01 . . . Three teams battled for first place in the regular season standings, but it was the Port Coquitlam Buckeroos who edged the Ridge Meadows Flames and Delta Ice Hawks by two points. In the playoffs however, it was the Ice Hawks who took home the big prize, defeating the Buckeroos four games to one. Ridge Meadows forward Rich Kellington narrowly won the scoring race over teammate David Luniw who was awarded the Most Valuable Player award.
1999-00 . . . The Queens Park Pirates joined the league and struggled through the usual growing pains, finishing last and winning just five games. The Abbotsford Pilots were clearly the best team in the league, easily topping the regular season standings before sweeping fifth placed Grandview for their second straight championship. Brock Currie (Abbotsford) led the league in scoring and Marko Segovic (Ridge Meadows) was voted MVP.
1998-99 . . . The Abbotsford Pilots finished atop the standings by ten points and went on to win their first PIJHL Championship in a decade. It was a highly contested season with five of the seven clubs enjoying winning seasons. Abbotsford’s Josh Chapman led the league in scoring with 107 points and is the most recent player to eclipse the century mark. The Nor-Wes Caps left the league, at the conclusion of the season, after two disappointing seasons in the league.
1997-98 . . . The Delta Ice Hawks and North Shore Griffins joined the league. The Ridge Meadows Flames dominated the regular schedule, losing just seven times and cruised to their second championship in three seasons, defeating the Delta Ice Hawks three games to one. Steve Reeves (Abbotsford) won the scoring race and became the first player to be awarded the MVP award twice. The Northwest Americans, one of the most successful teams in league history, disbanded at the conclusion of the season.
1996-97 . . . The Port Coquitlam Buckeroos finished well atop the regular season standings and went on to win their second Pacific International Hockey League Championship in three seasons. Abbotsford’s Steve Reeves was named Most Valuable Player after winning his first of two consecutive scoring titles.
1995-96 . . . The Richmond Sockeyes won the regular season title by seven points over Ridge Meadows, but it was the Flames who won the ultimate prize, defeating the Sockeyes four games to one in the league championship series. The Flames’ Rob Marion won the scoring race, while Jeff Overgaard (Richmond) and Darcy Frederick (Ridge Meadows) shared the MVP award.
1994-95 . . . In their seventh season since joining the PIJHL, the Port Coquitlam Buckeroos climbed to the top of the league standings and then stormed through the playoffs to claim their first ever league championship. Mark Davies (Port Coquitlam) took the scoring title by ten points over Mike Gerrits (Abbotsford) who was awarded the MVP trophy.
1993-94 . . . The Grandview Steelers finished the regular season ten points behind the regular season champion Richmond Sockeyes, but ultimately swept the Sockeyes in the Championship series to win their first league title in more than a quarter-century. Richmond’s Trent Bakken led the league in scoring with 85 points. The New Westminster Royals folded at the end of the season, leaving the PIJHL with six teams.
1992-93 . . . The league changes its name to Pacific International Junior Hockey League. The Richmond Sockeyes and Coquitlam Warriors battled all season long, with the Sockeyes edging the Warriors for the regular season pennant, and the Warriors taking the Championship by sweeping the Sockeyes in three games. It would be the last hoorah for Coquitlam however as they disbanded before the next season. Drazen Bezic (Richmond) won the scoring title and MVP award.
1991-92 . . . The Richmond Sockeyes lost the regular season race by one point to the Abbotsford Pilots, but got their revenge in the playoffs; defeating the Pilots for the WCJHL Championship in just their second year in the league. Darren Webb (Hastings) won the league scoring title and goaltender Judd Lambert (Richmond) was named Most Valuable Player. This was the final season for the Hastings Express, and the league was left with eight teams.
1990-91 . . . The Coquitlam Express finished fourth in the league standings, behind Abbotsford, Richmond and the Northwest Americans, but went on a surprise championship run in their second season in Coquitlam. Andrew Graham (Burnaby) won the scoring title and MVP awards in the last season for the Burnaby Bluehawks, who relocated to New Westminster in the off-season.
1989-90 . . . The Burnaby Bluehawks easily won the regular season pennant and went on to win their second WCJHL Championship in four years. David Ruck, of the Coquitlam Warriors, took home the Most Valuable Player award and the Richmond Sockeyes joined the league in time for the 90-91 season.
Trevor Alto (2020-present)
Ray Stonehouse (2016-2020)
George Richards (2004-2016)
Harold Brittain (2001-2004)
Tom Shaw (1992-2001)
Joe Gabbs (1991-1992)
Ken Burry (1989-1991)
Fraser McDonald (1988-1989)
Bill Colbourne (1986-1988)
Tom Shaw (1981-1986)
Les Jeboult (1975-1981)
Tom Shaw (1970-1975)
Ken Anderson (1969-1970)
Gus LaFleur (1966-1969)