Ball Hockey Edmonton officially kicks off its 37th year of summer ball hockey with a slate of 21-games this Monday night.
795 different clubs have amassed almost 2900 team seasons of ball hockey. By June of this year, the ball will drop on regular season game number 35,000. A staggering number.
Ten divisions make up this year's league. While division 1 and 2 are separated when it comes to the standings and playoffs, they will play through an inter-division schedule. Both divisions are made up of just four teams, so spreading the schedule out between the two divisions will give them some variety in match ups.
All four division 1 teams are returning teams from last year including the reigning National Champion Savages, who also hold the division title from last season. Last year's Alberta Tier 1 Provincial Champions, Top Whale, could prove to be the Savages biggest challenger, but the Nighthawks, who finished the regular season in 2nd place...will have some say in that. Rounding out the division are the Raging Bulls, a team with more than 300 regular season games under their belts.
Last year, after a fourth place regular season finish, the Gators rolled through the playoffs, eventually knocking off the Cobras for the division 2 title. The Gators will look to repeat this season, while the Cobras...who also finished as the runner-ups in the Alberta Tier 2 Provincial Championships will look to improve on those 2nd place finishes. Redline, the team that knocked off the Cobras in the Provincial Finals, has hopes of bettering last years 5th place regular season finish. Team Pending, who placed 3rd a year ago, will round out division 2.
Division 3 is back, after a one-year hiatus. Coming down from division 2 are the Dirty Birds, who finished atop the division 2 standings a year ago, and the Jedi Knights, who finished their first season in BHE at the bottom of the division 2 standings. Moving up are the division 4 champion, Flying Picos...as well as the runner-up Silvertips and the 3rd place Killer Bees. The X are a newly formed team made up of a number of players from The Xtreme who previously played out of division 1.
Three teams...the Reapers, Rush, and Sharks...make their return to division 4. The Snipers, one of the league's most storied franchises, make the jump up after winning the division 5 title a year ago. Bar South, the division 6 champs...and a team whose 23-1 record from a year ago put them 8th on BHE's All-Time Single Season winning percentage list. They capped their remarkable season by bringing home the Alberta Tier 3 Provincial Gold. Victorious Secret, who are the winners of this years biggest move, are climbing all the way up from division 7. Rounding out the division are the Lions (formerly from SDBHL division 3) who finished second to Bar South at last year's Provincials, and a new summer team...Smashville.
Three teams also make the return to division 5. The Rockets, Human Centipedes and Rink Rats finished 4th, 5th and 6th respectively a year ago. Up from division 6 are the 3rd and 4th place Colonels and Haggard. Jumping two divisions from 7 are the Ukraine Athletics and the Farm Team. The Ukraine Athletics paced the way during the regular season with a 20-3-0-1 record, while the Farm Team captured Tier 4 Gold at the Provincials. New to the league are the Edmonton Mighty Ducks and Generals.
Division 7 features three of the leagues longest-running clubs. The Silver Kings sit alone atop the BHE Franchise records with 596 regular season games played...and counting. YDP sits in a tie for 4th all-time with 408 regular season games completed. The Horsemen have done battle 335 times, which is good enough for 17th all-time. 795 different clubs have suited up over BHE's previous 36 seasons. The Regime return to division 7, and carry with them the title of div 7 champs. The Warriors and Masters of Evil move up from division 8, having finished last years regular season in 1st and 2nd respectively. The battle-weary Soldiers drop all the way down from division 4 a year ago. New to the league are the Drillers.
The Kings return to division 8 as champs. The McMuffins, Afterburners, MYC Knights and Southside BHC also make their way back. Up from division 9 are the 7 C's. While new to the league are the Burger Kings and Jokers.
Six of the eight teams in division 9 are returning from a year ago including the champion Tigers. The GD Bulldogs (3rd), Spartans (4th), Rampage (6th), Snipes (7th) and Blitz (8th) are the others. Coming down from a 6th place finish in division 6 are the Wolfpac. While moving over from division 6 in the SDBHL are the Mad Dogs.
Division 10 sees another large contingent of returning teams. The Tin Bashers (2nd), Thunder Buddies (3rd), Regulators (6th), Shockers (7th) and Jay & the Canadians (8th) are back for another year. Moving down are the Capitals (9th in div 9), while the Outcasts (division 11 champs) take a step up. New to the league are the Predators.
The Piranhas, veterans of 336 regular season games (16th all-time) are the highest-ranked returning team to division 11. Their 4th place finish put them one spot ahead of the Wookiees and two up on the Gremlins. The Nine-Nine (4th), GWOPS (9th) and Squids (10th) all drop down from division 10. Slightly Above Average played to a 10th place finish in division 9 a year ago. New to BHE are the Huskies...who spent last summer winning division 6 in the SDBHL.
And finally...division 12. Since there was no division 12 a year ago...all 8 teams are new. Snakearm (7th) and the Blazers (8th) slip from division 11. The Edmonton Cobras and Edmonton Reapers move over from 4th and 5th place finishes in SDBHL's division 9. The Cobra Kai, Falcons, Hellions and Storm are new to BHE this year.