Castlegar's Anthony Delong

Castlegar's Anthony Delong

If the shoe fits – A look at Cinderella in the KIJHL

A column on KIJHL play-off teams and their successes and the possibilities of upsets.

Hockey media and fans alike seem to enjoy nothing more than ‘a Cinderella story’ come playoff time.” The Hockey Research Journal, SIHR.  We are attracted to the underdog hoping to say that I was there when an unexpected event occurred. Does this event occur in the KIJHL? What is the true indicator of the best team, Regular Season or Playoffs?


The data covering 44 years (1967-68 to 2010-11) – see below – doesn’t support the Cinderella desires of fans in the KIJHL, as there is a strong correlation between regular season standings and playoff results leading to the league championship.


With only two exceptions, Castlegar (4th place in 1977-78) and Fernie (5th place in 2007-08) the KIJHL League playoff champion finished the regular season within the top three teams in the standings. More notable, an impressive 89 per cent of playoff champions finished in first or second place in the regular season standings. First place finishers have won the Playoffs 59 per cent of the time, while second place finishers won 30 per cent of  KIJHL Playoff series.


Who then are the giants of the KIJHL? Cranbrook (eds. Note: the Cranbrook Colts left the KIJHL in 1998)  led the league with 10 league championships on their way to win more provincial titles, seven, than any other team in BC. Trail follows with seven league championships, Beaver Valley and Nelson follow with five each.

Playoffs Regular Season Finish

Team # of Titles 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th

Cranbrook 10 8 2

Trail 7 4 3

Beaver Valley 5 4 1

Nelson 5 4 1

Castlegar 3 1 1 1

Columbia Valley 3 1 2

Sicamous 3 3

Revelstoke 2 2

Osoyoos 2 2

Fernie 2 1 1

Kimberley 1 1

North Okangan 1 1




Total 44 26 13 3 1 1

59% 30% 6.8% 2.2% 2.2%




What of 2011-12? Will one of the 89 per cent of league champions, such as Beaver Valley or Castlegar who finished 1st and 2nd in the regular season standings, hold true to form and capture the KIJHL title? History is on their side. Or will it be a Cinderella year with Kelowna (11th in Regular Season) or Sicamous (13th in Regular Season)? both of whom upset the number one seed in the first round of their respective divisions.