CALGARY, Alberta – The early season is already showing some surprises as the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) are well underway. The Powell River Kings of the BCHL appear to have regained their traditional strength through strong defense under Head Coach Kent Lewis, and the Cowichan Valley Capitals have had an instant return to respectability under new Head Coach Bob Beatty. In the AJHL, defending national champion Brooks is off to a good start. But the hottest in the AJHL, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, remain undefeated after seven games and early on look to have a team that could remain atop the CJHL Top 20 Rankings all year.
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) and Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) have just started their seasons. Humboldt and Portage played great in the first weekend, with the early surprise in the MJHL looking like the Selkirk Steelers.
In the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL), there is a dead heat already between the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners and perennial stalwarts, the Soo Thunderbirds. The Dryden Ice Dogs have jumped out quickly, and time will tell if they have the consistent scoring to hold on to top spot in the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL).
Trenton has started well in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL), and two surprise teams are catching people off guard with their strong play early in the new season – the Hamilton Red Wings and Milton Icehawks are in unfamiliar spots near the top of the West Division. The Ottawa Jr. Senators and Carleton Place Canadiens haven't skipped a beat since last season in the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL).
Les Cougars de Sherbrooke of the Quebec Junior AAA League, (LHJAAAQ) might be making the biggest impact in the CJHL with their first eight games under their belt and an undefeated record. Princeville is already a distant four points behind les Cougars in the Perron-Burrows Division. In the Maritime Hockey League (MHL), Truro has started strong, but Yarmouth, host city of the upcoming World Junior A Challenge in November, are nipping at the Bearcats heels in the Eastlink Division.
Top 20 Rankings
1. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL)
2. Les Cougars de Sherbrooke (LHJAAAQ)
3. Humboldt Broncos (SJHL)
4. Truro Bearcats (MHL)
5. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
6. Powell River Kings (BCHL)
7. Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)
8. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL)
9. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)
10. Dryden Ice Dogs (SIJHL)
11. Portage Terriers (MJHL)
12. Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL)
13. Hamilton Red Wings (OJHL)
14. La Ronge Ice Wolves (SJHL)
15. West Kelowna Warriors (BCHL)
16. Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL)
17. Penticton Vees (BCHL)
18. Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
19. Kindersley Klippers (SJHL)
20. Steinbach Pistons (MJHL)
Honourable Mention: Cowichan Valley Capitals (BCHL), Selkirk Steelers (MJHL), Milton Icehawks (OJHL), Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL), Titan de Princeville (LHJAAAQ).
About the Top 20 Rankings
The CJHL Top 20 weekly rankings are based upon a variety of factors, including the league in which the team plays, winning percentage, win-loss record, total points accumulated, goals-for versus goals-against ratio, etc.