The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League held its 2023 Annual General Meeting on Saturday, June 17th in Sicamous, with the meeting generating a number of news items that will be of interest to KIJHL fans:
APPLICATION TO RECLASSIFY AS JUNIOR A
The KIJHL has submitted an application to BC Hockey to have the league and its members reclassified as Junior A for the 2023/24 season. If approved, all 20 KIJHL clubs would transition to the Junior A level under a set of newly-adopted operating standards designed to enhance the player experience league-wide. The KIJHL’s application to BC Hockey was submitted after an exhaustive consultation process with the league’s minor hockey partners that resulted in letters of support from all four of the regional minor hockey districts in which KIJHL teams operate, as well as 19 separate minor hockey associations.
“The reality for our league is that the departure of the BCHL to independent hockey has left a major hole in sanctioned junior hockey programming in our province,” says KIJHL Chairman Brett Holt. “The KIJHL has continued to thrive in large part due to our reputation for offering a highly affordable development path to higher levels of hockey. Not having a sanctioned Junior A league in B.C. creates a significant void that we are well-positioned to help fill. It was very exciting to witness the positive feedback from our partners at the minor hockey level and their enthusiasm to see increased Junior A playing opportunities for B.C. athletes. We’re looking forward to further dialogue with BC Hockey on our application and our desire to further the growth of grassroots junior hockey in our province, and ultimately a vote by their Board.”
2023/24 SEASON DATES & SCHEDULE FORMAT
The puck will drop on the 2023/24 KIJHL regular season on Friday, September 22nd with the league’s 20 teams each playing a 44-game schedule. All clubs will play a total of 10 inter-conference games as follows:
- Teams in the Doug Birks division host teams from the Eddie Mountain division
- Teams in the Eddie Mountain division host teams from the Bill Ohlhausen division
- Teams in the Neil Murdoch division host teams from the Doug Birks division
- Teams in the Bill Ohlhausen division host teams from the Neil Murdoch division
KIJHL clubs will continue to play six games each against division rivals, while teams will continue to play twice against teams from the other division within their conference. As a result, the 44-game schedule breaks down as follows:
- 24 games against divisional opponents
- 10 games against conference opponents
- 10 games against inter-conference opponents
The regular season will conclude on Sunday, February 11th and the 2023 Teck Cup Playoffs will begin on Friday, February 16th. After a successful trial run during the 2022/23 season, KIJHL members have opted for a playoff format that includes Friday start dates for each playoff series in all four rounds:
- First Round begins Friday, February 16th
- Second Round begins Friday, March 1st
- Third Round begins Friday, March 15th
- Teck Cup Finals begins Friday, March 29th
The KIJHL’s Board of Governors approved a number of new regulations, including a waivers process that will apply to all out-of-league transactions in which a participant is dealt in return for a Player Development Fee only from September 1st to January 10th. Also ratified were the formal creation of a Hockey Operations Committee and a Marketing Committee that will help consult League Office staff on matters in their respective areas.
Mark McNaughton (Princeton Posse, Bill Ohlhausen division) and Matt Kolle (Kamloops Storm, Doug Birks division) were re-elected to the KIJHL’s Executive Committee, which oversees day-to-day league business on behalf of the Board of Governors, on new two-year terms. They join Brett Holt (Columbia Valley Rockies, Eddie Mountain division) and Jake Swanson (Beaver Valley Nitehawks, Neil Murdoch division), whose terms expire in June 2024, with Holt continuing in his position as the Chair of the KIJHL.