John Grisdale to step aside as BCHL commish at season’s end

The BCHL’s boss for 14 years is ready to hand the reins to someone new.

After 15 years on the job, John Grisdale is ready to step aside as BCHL boss.

The league’s first ‘commissioner,’ Grisdale has held the league’s top job longer than any person in league history.

He succeeded Ron Boileau, who was league president, in 2003.

“The BCHL has meant a lot to me and I’m happy with the work we’ve done but the time is right for me to step aside and let a new face run the show,” said Grisdale. “I believe the league is in a good place and I think I’m leaving it in a better position than when I began so I take great pride in that.

“The strength of our league is in our history, 56 seasons now, and in our 17 member franchises. Our league enjoys an overwhelmingly positive reputation in the hockey world.”

The BCHL has produced five national junior A champions during Grisdale’s time and 67 BCHL players have been selected in the National Hockey League draft, including five first-rounders.

For 2017-18, there are already 120 players in the BCHL committed to NCAA Div. I hockey, more than all the other Canadian Junior A leagues combined. By the end of this season, the BCHL should top its record set in the 2016-17 season of 151 college-committed players.

Going back to the start of Grisdale’s tenure, it was his vision that ushered the BCHL into the Internet age with the creation of the league website for the 2003-04 season and the introduction of pay-per-listen audio broadcasts which have given way to today’s pay-per-view broadcasts of all games.

The league is a constant draw for scouts from the college and professional ranks and remains a destination of choice for players planning to advance to the next level.

“John’s contributions to the BCHL are significant and we certainly respect the job he’s done as commissioner,” said Mark Cheyne, owner of the West Kelowna Warriors and the interim chairman of the BCHL board of directors. “Because John established such a high standard when he started for the operation of the league, we now attract top players from across North America and have a proven record in developing them for college and pro hockey and for success in life.”

Grisdale’s last official day as commissioner will be on June 1. The BCHL board of governors has begun a search process to find Grisdale’s successor and will be accepting applications starting immediately.

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