The Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) hosted the 2022 Annual General Meeting of the Board of Governors as well as the Annual AJHL General Managers and Coaches Meeting on June 3rd & 4th, 2022. New initiatives for the 2022-23 season were finalized as the AJHL prepares for its 59th campaign beginning on September 16th, 2022.
All 16 AJHL teams will compete in a 60-game regular season schedule, including two regular season games at the Annual AJHL Showcase, and 16 interlock games in 2022-23. The 2022 AJHL Showcase will be held from September 29th – October 2nd, 2022 at the Eagle Builders Centre in Blackfalds, AB - a magnificent new facility for families to enjoy the exciting weekend of entertainment that the AJHL Showcase brings to a community. The League Schedule will be announced on June 22nd, 2022.
The Alberta Junior Hockey League will implement a four-man referee system at all AJHL regular season and playoff games in the 2022-23 season. The League has consistently increased the number of games utilizing the four-man system each season.
The following rule changes will be in place for the 2022-23 season, which impact a puck out of play, and modify how coincidental penalties are served:
• When a minor penalty is assessed to one player of each team at the same stoppage in play (coincidentals), these penalties will be served without substitution provided there are no other penalties in effect, resulting in both teams playing four-on-four for the duration of the minor penalties.
• All pucks deflected out of play in the attacking zone will stay inside the attacking zone for the face-off, regardless of who or what the puck was deflected off of.
The Alberta Junior Hockey League will introduce a pilot program for video review on goals at several AJHL arenas across the province. The project will be reviewed at the mid-point of the season for the purpose of expanding and adapting the program.
A new league-wide digital media strategy will launch in August 2022, which will enhance AJHL game broadcasts and statistics integration and include expanded multimedia components. The launch will also feature a new network of team and league websites for the AJHL.
The AJHL was pleased to present Cindy Waronek with the Ken Bracko Award as AJHL Executive of the Year during the annual meeting. Cindy and Monte Waronek served as the principal owners and governors for the Drayton Valley Thunder since 2017. Cindy was nominated for the honour by Thunder President Leighton Grey, “Although Monte was the inspirational face of the franchise, it has become abundantly clear since his untimely passing that Cindy was always the quiet but wise operating mind of the hockey club.”
“Cindy is one of those rare people who does everything, and more than that—does it par excellence. Cindy is the principal owner of the team and serves on our Board. She looks after all of the team’s finances, is chief liaison between our Coach / GM and the Board, she negotiates with the Town on issues as various as ice rental rates, concession operations, and Covid-19 compliance. She attends local Town Council meetings to inculcate support for the Thunder and our youth programs. She manages all of our staff, keeps team statistics at home games, works in our team store, and even serves drinks at the rink during home games.”
“This past season, Cindy spearheaded the drive to achieve one of Monte’s goals, which was to acquire a Team Bus equipped with seatbelts that would safeguard our players and coaches as they travel around AB on wintry roads. That bus is affectionately dubbed Monte’s Express.”
“In addition to all of these efforts on behalf of the team and the community, she has worked as senior manager for a local health care provider throughout the pandemic, and adapted to meeting the challenges of running a multi-million dollar oilfield services company that was the principal concern of her late husband. All of this would be amazing in and of itself; but when you consider that she has continued to be a pillar of the Drayton Valley community and our hockey club despite the loss of her husband, through the crushing grief of losing the man she built her life around over more than 30 years, one can only conclude that this is a truly remarkable human being. In short, she is a true lady who admirably represents the best values and traditions of the AJHL.” Congratulations Cindy!
The AJHL Management Committee for 2022-23 will include Noel Moriyama (Brooks Bandits), Kevin Pratt (Camrose Kodiaks) and Wayne Lauinger (Okotoks Oilers) as the South Division representatives. The North Division will be represented by Dave Fitzgerald (Fort McMurray Oil Barons), Kevin Love (Sherwood Park Crusaders) and Jeff Suggitt (Spruce Grove Saints). Special thanks to Rod Knelsen (Drumheller Dragons) and Ron Rusnak (Bonnyville Pontiacs) for completing their terms on the Management Committee.
The Alberta Junior Hockey League is operating under the direction of Chairman Greg Wood and Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk, as well as Charla Flett (Executive Director), Fran Gow (Vice President, Hockey Operations), Curtis Nichols (Vice President, Officiating) and Dean Laschowski (Video Review Manager).
The AJHL Board of Governors will meet next at the 2022 AJHL Semi-Annual Meeting on November 23rd, 2022.