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KIJHL announces season start, new initiatives following weekend AGM

League members covered a wide range of topics and approve a number of new measures and initiatives as the Junior B league looks to return to fulltime operations.

In a media release Monday, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) announced approve a number of new measures and initiatives following a virtually hosted 2021 Annual General Meeting on Saturday, June 12th.

During the virtual meeting, league members covered a wide range of topics and approve a number of new measures and initiatives as the Junior B league looks to return to fulltime operations after the league was forced to halt operations during the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19 complications.

2021 Season Dates & Schedule

The KIJHL is excited to continue planning for the 2021/22 season, which is slated to kick off on Friday, October 1st and conclude on Sunday, February 20th.

All 20 of the KIJHL's member clubs will complete a 42-game regular season schedule that includes eight games against divisional opponents and two games each against teams in the opposing division within the same conference. 

The playoffs will begin on Tuesday, February 22nd as 16 teams compete for the KIJHL's Teck Cup championship and the honour of representing the league at the 2022 Cyclone Taylor Cup in Delta, BC.

"After a difficult season for our teams, staff and players, we're very excited by the positive indications that we will be back on the ice under normal conditions this fall," says KIJHL commissioner Jeff Dubois.

"Most of all, we are looking forward to welcoming fans back into our arenas and enjoying the in-game atmosphere that makes our league special."

The KIJHL will continue to follow all guidance and protocols from the BC government, ViaSport and BC Hockey in planning a safe return to the ice.

New Initiatives

The KIJHL approved a number of resolutions to enhance league operations, including the creation of a Letter of Intent that will allow teams to formalize commitments to incoming recruits prior to the traditional start of the upcoming Hockey Canada season on June 1st. 

The KIJHL has also created four new awards.

The Scholastic Player of the Year and Community Player of the Year awards will recognize outstanding KIJHL athletes for their  accomplishments in the classroom and service away from the rink, while the Broadcaster of the Year and Volunteer of the Year awards will honour the efforts and contributions of those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to help provide a great experience for players, their families and fans.

The Board of Governors approved a number of recommendations put forward by KIJHL Director of Health & Safety Cory Cameron, including measures to enhance concussion management and further utilize the PRIVIT injury management app.

The KIJHL is pleased to announce a partnership with InStat that will see member teams have access to InStat's suite of coaching, scouting and player development tools. The league has also renewed its partnership with Gamesheet Inc. for continued use of their online game sheet platform.

Education

The Board of Governors approved the creation of an Education Services department that will be led by newly-appointed Director of Education Tom McEvay.

McEvay is a retired high school principal from Port Alberni, B.C. who has worked with a number of Junior A and Midget AAA teams providing education advising for college-bound student-athletes.

With the KIJHL, he will assist member clubs in refining their own academic advancement programs while also engaging directly with players through a series of online seminars.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee, which oversees day-to-day league business on behalf of the  KIJHL's Board of Governors, has two new members after Kamloops Storm governor Matt Kolle and Princeton Posse governor Mark McNaughton were selected to serve two-year terms representing the Doug Birks and Bill Ohlhausen divisions, respectively.

Kolle and McNaughton join returning members Brett Holt (Columbia Valley Rockies) and Jeff Wright (Nelson Leafs), whose terms on the Executive Committee continue through 2022.

Departing the Executive Committee following the completion of their terms are former 100 Mile House Wranglers president Tom Bachynski, who had chaired the KIJHL's Board since 2018, and North Okanagan Knights owner Dean Keller.

Brett Holt will now assume the role of Chairman, while Wright will continue as Secretary and McNaughton will serve as Treasurer.

"On behalf of our league office and all our member teams, I'd like to thank Tom and Dean for their years of service to the KIJHL," says Dubois.

"Tom, in his role as Chairman, provided outstanding leadership in steering the growth and direction of our league, and we're very appreciative to him and Dean for their contributions and service."