South Coast Women's Hockey League: SCWHL - A Look Back
About South Coast Women's Hockey League
The league began as the B.C. Girls Ice Hockey Association in the 1983-84 season, with three age groups Junior (Under-14), Intermediate (Under-18), and Senior (18+). North Shore won the provincial championship in the Senior division and the Newton Blazers took the Intermediate title.
In the late 1980s the league was renamed to become the Lower Mainland Female Ice Hockey League (LMFIHL), with 11 teams in the Senior AAA/Senior AA categories, all in the Greater Vancouver area. Within a few, short years the league grew significantly, both at the senior and minor age levels.
The Surrey Selects Midget rep team of the Surrey Female Ice Hockey Association played in the Senior AA division in the 1992-93 season. Two seasons later, a second midget team from Surrey joined the league, which was now at 20 teams.
Efforts by the LMFIHL executive to promote the game at the youth levels led to female-only minor hockey associations being formed in Langley, Meadow Ridge (Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows), New Westminster/Burnaby, Tri-City (Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam), North Shore, and Richmond. Both Midget and Pee Wee
female divisions were formed under LMFIHL for the 1996-97 season. Membership in the league had reached 50 teams, with minor teams outnumbering senior for the first time.
A resolution from the LMFIHL to BC Hockey to form a Senior A division in female hockey was adopted in September 1997, and LMFIHL operated a five-team division in the new category.
After rule changes were adopted by BC Hockey at its annual general meeting in 1998, female minor and female senior hockey became separate divisions. As a result, LMFIHL was no longer permitted to include minor female teams/associations, all of which became members of the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association
A decade later, at its annual general meeting of May, 2008, PCAHA recognized the contribution of LMFIHL, presenting it with a Special Appreciation Award ?in recognition of outstanding service to the development of female hockey.?
Now a senior-only league (players aged 18+), another name change was adopted and approved by BC Hockey prior to the 1997-98 season. The 18-team group became the South Coast Female Amateur Hockey League.
Growing to 27 teams in four levels of competition (Senior AAA, Senior AA-1, Senior AA-2, Senior A) for the 2001-02 season, SCFAHL began to decline in numbers over the next several years due to competition from non-sanctioned leagues run by private arenas. SCFAHL began to offer membership for recreational teams, but the decline continued.
The Senior AAA category, the highest level of female hockey in British Columbia, was no longer a division within SCFAHL following the 2005-06 season. One year later, only three carded teams remained to the league. Although the league had played interlocking games with teams from Seattle and Victoria on numerous occasions in the past, those teams were never full members of SCFAHL and therefore rarely played a full league schedule and never participated in league playoffs.
Following the 2007-08 season, the league changed its policy. Teams from outside the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley were welcome to join as full voting members. The Kamloops Vibe were admitted as the first full member from outside Greater Vancouver. A year later, the Mid-Island Hawks out of Parksville and Victoria?s Island Pacific Phantoms joined for the 2009-10 season.
Over the years, SCFAHL teams have won several BC Hockey championships. From its inception in 1983-84, SCFAHL league champions claimed 21 consecutive Senior AAA titles, led by the Surrey Flyers with five, and the Brittania Blues with four. Winning two each were North Vancouver, the New Westminster Silverhawks, Vancouver Bladerunners, Richmond/New Westminster Lightning, Vancouver Griffins and Richmond Steelers. The Killarney Knights won six Senior AA provincial championships in a seven-year span. The first came in 2004-05, the most recent in 2010-11. The only interruption was a championship won by the Langley Legends in 2006-07. Other winners include the Newton Blazers (1983-84), Burnaby Sharpshooters (1989-90), Burnaby Raiders (1999-2000/2002-03), Brittania Blues (2000-01), GPF Lightning (2001-02), Burnaby Shadows (2003-04), and BC Thunder 2011-12).
SCFAHL?s Senior A Provincial Champions include the Delta Jets (1999-2000), Victoria Phantoms (2008-09 and 2009-10), the Kamloops Vibe for five consecutive years (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14), and South Fraser TNT (2014-15).
Winners of the BC Senior A & AA Provincial Championships then go on to participate in the Western Shield. In 2011-12 the BC Thunder (AA) and Kamloops Vibe (A) qualified for the Western Shield with the Kamloops Vibe winning their division.
In 2013 the BC Thunder hosted the Western Shield with the Thunder, and Delta Jets participating in the Senior A division and?the Kamloops Vibe and the Richmond Devils qualifying for the Senior B division.
In the 2013/2014 season the league welcomed two new Senior A teams -- South Fraser TNT and the Meadow Ridge Moose. That season Meadow Ridge qualified for Senior A division of the Western Shield whereas Kamloops and South Fraser participated in the Senior B division with the Vibe winning Gold.
In 2014/2015 South Fraser TNT and the Kamloops Vibe played in the Western Shield with the TNT winning Silver.
The following year South Fraser TNT and Kamloops met again with TNT taking the banner. In 2016/17 Kamloops defeated South Fraser by a narrow 1-0 score to tkae the championshipship banner. The Richmond Devils won their first league banner.