Monday September 29, 2014




SJHL eyeing new western championship

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It has long been rumoured that the SJHL would be part of a new venture taking the four western Junior A hockey leagues out of the RBC Cup and into a new western championship.

The Mercury has obtained a document outlining the strategic plan for such a move, to begin in time for the 2012-13 season.

Phone calls to SJHL president Bill Chow were not returned.

The proposed new format would see the four leagues – the BCHL, AJHL, SJHL and MJHL – governed under the terms of the Junior A Supplement and would allow them to begin their regular season later in September, ending in March.

According to the document, a major reason for the change is to get away from Hockey Canada's overbearing rules for hosting tournaments, which restrict profit for the host community by forcing them to change most or all of their advertising to Hockey Canada sponsors.

The document cites "Hockey Canada exclusivities" and "administrative fees for event management" among the reasons for taking this initiative.

It also stipulates that the leagues would maintain their membership in the CJAHL as well as the World Junior A Challenge and annual prospects game.

It also says that the four western leagues "shall remain open to the principle of a national championship if the dates and format can be worked out."

The schedule proposed in the strategic plan would see the western championship played during the first week in May, with an equal rotation among the four leagues.

The proposed format would also do away with the current regional championships, the ANAVET Cup for Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and the Doyle Cup for Alberta and B.C.

A section of the plan titled "threats" lists possible resistance from Hockey Canada and its sponsors, particularly RBC, and push back from the eastern leagues, as items to consider.

A running theme throughout the strategic plan is putting teams on strong economic standing, with part of the mission statement aimed at "creating economic wealth and team stability."

The proposal includes a plan to hold the inaugural western championship in May 2013 and, within the next two or three years, finalize the rotation for the first four years, through 2016, with the event being hosted by each of the four leagues in that time.


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