Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Four to return for sure, maybe Five ... as CIHL makes its plans for 2018-19

Senior Men's hockey in Northern British Columbia will be heading into the 2018-19 season with four returning franchises and maybe a fifth, as the CIHL wraps up their Spring discussions to chart the course ahead for the league.

The Kitimat  Ice Demons have still to make a final decision on their plans,  with the final go ahead dependent on whether there is enough interest from local players to take on the challenges of a CIHL season and the travel commitments that come with it.

And while they await word from the Aluminum City, the CIHL will move forward with four confirmed teams for the year ahead, the Northwest will see the Prince Rupert Rampage and Terrace River Kings return to the ice this fall, while the Cariboo will send the Quesnel Kangaroos and Williams Lake Mustangs to the rink.

Hopes of a return of the Smithers Steelheads to the fold still seem to be a  bit off in some future distance, the Bulkley Valley team having followed the path of previous members of the league, suspending operations in the summer of 2017.

Bowing out at the time owing to difficulties in keeping an active roster of players available for the four to five month run that Senior Hockey calls for in the winter.

Over the last decade the circuit has seen its share of similar departures with the Houston Luckies, Omenica Ice, Burns Lake Braves, Hazelton Wolveriines and Lac La Hache Tomawhawks all bringing their operations to an end. 

Optimism however remains the theme, for those returning to the ice in the fall, as well as the loyal fans who follow the action.

With the remaining teams making for the foundation for the league and what CIHL fans hope one day will see some of the old communities come back to the Senior hockey circuit.

The existing teams will be able to draw on some of those players of the past who may still wish to play at the Senior Hockey level, some of whom have already migrated to the remaining squads.

That has delivered the strong sense of parity that the league has seen for the most of the last few years, a trend that is expected to be prominent when the next campaign gets underway.

For now, the summer months beckon, with the first of the training camp sessions to come once the ice returns to the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

You can review our notes from the 2017-18 Rampage season from our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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