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Surrey Eagles set to take on Cowichan in Round 1 of BCHL playoffs

Expansion of league means new playoff format includes Alberta teams
Surrey Eagles centre Zachary Wagnon skates onto the Olympic-sized sheet at South Surrey Arena, also known as The Nest, where the BCHL team will enjoy home-ice advantage when Round 1 of playoffs start April 5 and 6 vs. the Cowichan Valley Capitals. (Tav Morrison photo)

It will likely be a large and loud hometown crowd at South Surrey Arena Friday night (April 5) as well as Saturday (April 6), when the No. 1-seed Surrey Eagles take on the Cowichan Valley Capitals in Round One of British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) playoffs.

The Surrey Eagles, whose loyal fans and Olympic-sized sheet at The Nest gives them extra home ice advantages, lead the BCHL with 90 points at the end of the regular season, eight ahead of the Interior Conference’s top-seeded Penticton Vees, who finished the season with 82 points.

After winning their final regular season home game 10-6 over Nanaimo March 22, the Eagles went on to defeat Langley 5-3, before wrapping up with a 3-2 loss in their final game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

When the best-of-seven playoff series against Cowichan – the No. 8 seed in the Coastal Conference – begins, fans in The Nest will be ready.

“This year we’ve had exceptional support from the community and it’s created a really fun environment for the kids to play in… which, I think, has contributed to our home ice success,” said Eagles head coach and general manager Cam Keith. “We’re hoping for the same for Games One and Two… (it’s part of) having home ice advantage.”

“The biggest question going into playoffs is (how) the game changes. We’re hoping that the kids respond and embrace the challenges that come with this time of year, and the style of hockey you have to play,” Keith said, noting players often have to fight through injuries during playoffs.

“It’s also the most rewarding time of year. We believe we have a team that is going to be comfortable in that setting and that’s excited for the challenge.”

Keith said the team was expecting the newly formatted BCHL playoffs, as the league recently expanded to include five Alberta-based clubs, which paved the way for a new competition to mark the complete end of the 2023-24 BCHL season.

Dubbed the Rocky Mountain Challenge, the best-of-three series will pit the postseason winner from B.C. against the champion from the Alberta division.

“With the addition of the five teams from Alberta midseason and having them play a separate schedule from our B.C. teams, this felt like the perfect way to introduce competition between the two provinces, while giving the athletes a memorable event to cap off 2023-24,” said BCHL Commissioner Steven Cocker.

The two playoff winners will play the best-of-three series from May 31 to June 2, at the Albertan team’s arena.

The Rocky Mountain Challenge is a one-off event, as the Alberta-based squads will be fully integrated into the BCHL for 2024-25 as a 23-team league.

The Alberta postseason schedule starts on Wednesday, April 10.

The BCHL also addressed a Sunday (March 31) announcement from the Merritt Centennials – an Interior Conference team that announced it intends to leave the BCHL for the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League – with a post on X on Monday (April 1).

“The league wants to reassure the athletes and fans that there will be no disruption to their playoffs,” the post stated.

For Surrey Eagles playoff tickets, visit

– with files from Bowen Assman

Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’m a lifelong writer, and worked as a journalist in community newspapers for more than a decade, from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey, from 2001-2012
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