The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League is continuing to make preparations for launching its 2020-21 season after announcing Tuesday its cohort structure and groupings for the upcoming campaign, scheduled to commence Friday, November 13th.
Murdoch Division rivals, Nelson Leafs, Castlegar Rebels and Grand Forks Border Bruins will be joined in its four-team cohort by the Osoyoos Coyotes.
Beaver Valley Nitehawks, 100 Mile House Wranglers and Spokane Braves last week opted out of entering into the 2020-21 season.
The KIJHL said in a media release Tuesday its cohort structure and groupings meets the guidelines set forth by the B.C. Provincial Health Officer and Phase 3 of Viasport's "Return to Sport" framework.
The KIJHL said clubs will be placed into one of five cohorts — the league has structured a pair of four-team cohorts as well as a trio of three-team cohorts.
The other four cohort division has Columbia Valley Rockies, Creston Valley Thundercats, Fernie Ghostriders and Kimberley Dynamiters.
The three, three cohort divisions are:
- Kelowna Chiefs, Princeton Posse and Summerland Steam.
- Golden Rockets, Revelstoke Grizzlies and Sicamous Eagles.
- Chase Heat, Kamloops Storm and North Okanagan Knights.
The KIJHL said in order to provide an equitable travel schedule and maximize the number of potential opponents, the season will be split into two phases for clubs participating in four-team cohorts and three phases for those clubs in three-team cohorts.
Phase 1 will begin on Friday, November 13th and run for a total of six weeks, concluding Saturday, December 19th. All teams will play a total of 12 games during Phase 1.
The KIJHL said, Phase 2 begins following a 14-day Christmas break on Saturday, January 2nd with teams shifting into different in cohorts.
'For clubs in four-team cohorts, Phase 2 will run through the remainder of the regular season and include a total of 18 games (six against each opponent)," the KIJHL said. "For the three-team cohorts, Phase 2 will last a total of four weeks through January 23rd and include eight regular season games (four against each opponent)."
The KIJHL said slubs in three-team cohorts will see the season conclude with eight additional games as part of Phase 3 following an additional 14-day break. Beginning February 5th, the composition of the three-team cohorts will change again for another four week period that includes eight games (four against each opponent).
Clubs in three-team cohorts will also play two additional games against a regional opponent in order to complete a 30-game regular season schedule.
The KIJHL will announce its playoff structure at a later date, as guidelines concerning Phase 3 competition and cohorts may change before March 2021.