The 2016 Semi-Annual Meeting of the Alberta Junior Hockey League concluded with a new direction for future seasons and improvements in the methods teams will use to protect prospects.
The AJHL Board of Governors voted to approve a full interlock schedule for the 2018-2019 season, which will see all 16 teams playing each AJHL opponent four times. Currently, teams play their divisional rivals six times and only two games in the divisional crossover (North vs South).
AJHL Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk applauded the Board on this major decision, “After a lengthy discussion that included various factors ranging from divisional competitiveness and balance, fan and community interest, and the route to becoming League Champion our Board has approved this direction for the 2018-2019 AJHL Season. The timeline will provide the League and its' Members with the opportunity to align and prepare for the benefits of the change.”
The 2017-2018 AJHL schedule and format will remain consistent with current 2016-2017 season. The 2017 AJHL Regular Season will commence on Friday, September 15th, 2017. The 480-game schedule will include 16 teams participating in 60 regular season games apiece, including two games at the 2017 AJHL Showcase in Camrose, AB.
The Alberta Junior Hockey League will also eliminate the ability for prospects to be signed to an AJHL White Card effective January 11th, 2017. All players signed to an AJHL White Card Certificate were deemed to constitute that team’s Reserve List, which included a maximum of five players.
AJHL Prospects will now have the opportunity to commit to an AJHL Member Team through a Letter of Intent, which will protect the player as a member of the respective team. The Letter of Intent will be in place starting January 11th, 2017.
The World is coming to Bonnyville, AB for the 2016 World Junior A Challenge from December 11th – 17th. Three exhibition games will be played on December 9th in the Alberta communities of Fort McMurray, St. Paul, and Cold Lake.
The 2017 AJHL Gas Drive Playoffs will open on March 9th, 2017. The top team in each division will receive a first-round bye. The Viterra AJHL South Division and Viterra AJHL North Division will playoff to determine a divisional champion at the conclusion of Round Three. The North Division Champion and the South Division Champion will then compete in the AJHL Gas Drive Cup Final.
The AJHL and its three Western partners, the BCHL, SJHL and MJHL, have reached the final year of the Western Canada Cup agreement. The 2017 event will be hosted by the Penticton Vees of the BCHL from April 28th – May 7th, 2017. The decision to continue with the current format or explore an alternate championship structure is under review.
The 2017 RBC Cup National Championship will take place from May 13th – 21st, 2017 in Cobourg, ON.
A new partnership between Hockey Alberta and the Alberta Junior Hockey League provided the opportunity for 80 athletes (2000 born) to participate in a development camp in July 2016. The AJHL / Hockey Alberta Development Camp will continue for a second year in July 2017.
The Alberta Junior Hockey League is currently operating under the direction of Chairman Greg Wood and Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk. The AJHL Staff consists of Fran Gow (Vice President of Hockey Operations), Charla Flett (Vice-President, Communications), George McCorry (Vice President, Officiating), Dean Laschowski (Video Review Manager), Curtis Nichols (Supervisor of Officials) and Ken Dentzien (Referee Assignor).
The 2017 AJHL Annual General Meeting will take place in Red Deer, Alberta on May 27th, 2017.