The Alberta Junior Hockey League held its Annual League Meetings on May 23rd & 24th in Red Deer, Alberta. The weekend opened with the League Marketing Meeting and Coaches Meeting on Friday, and continued on Saturday with the 2014 Annual General Meeting of the AJHL Board of Governors. Each of the league’s 16 member teams was represented at all three meetings throughout the two-day event.
A brief summary of the decisions approved at the 2014 AJHL Annual General Meeting are listed below:
AJHL Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk completed site visits in all 16 AJHL markets throughout the 2013-2014 season, and held team meetings with each franchise in an effort to evaluate the strengths and challenges of the league across the province. The data collected was shared with the teams during the Annual League Meetings and resulted in productive discussions throughout all aspects of team and league operations.
The league has adopted a new mission and vision statement, which defines the direction and ultimate goals of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Our Mission: To facilitate and contribute to the personal and athletic development of young athletes through the positive life experiences and opportunities garnered through the game of hockey. Our Vision: To create an environment that inspires trust and confidence among our organizations, athletes, fans, partners and stakeholders in order to be recognized as the preeminent Junior ‘A’ Hockey League in North America.
The 2014-2015 AJHL Regular Season will commence on Friday, September 5th. The 480-game schedule will include 16 teams participating in 60 regular season games apiece, including two games at the 8th Annual AJHL Showcase in Spruce Grove, Alberta from September 25th – 27th, 2014. The complete 2014-2015 League Schedule will be announced in late June.
The following rule changes will be implemented beginning in the 2014-2015 season:
- Line Change on Icing – A team that is in violation of icing shall not be permitted to make any player substitutions prior to the ensuing face-off. Should the offending team elect to utilize their team time-out at this stoppage of play, they are still not permitted to make any player substitutions. However, a team shall be permitted to make a player substitution to replace a goalkeeper who had been substituted for an extra attacker, to replace an injured player, or when a penalty has been assessed which affects the on-ice strength of either team.
- Puck Out of Play – When any player, excluding the goaltender, shoots or bats the puck directly out of the playing surface while in the defensive zone (including contact with the scoreboard, ceiling or any other facility specific objects that are determined out of play) except where there is no glass, the offending team is not allowed to change its on-ice personnel before the next faceoff which will occur in the offending teams’ defensive zone.
The League will introduce a revised overtime format for the AJHL Playoffs. If a game is tied after three regular periods of play, the teams shall now break for a 15 minute intermission then resume playing 20 minute overtime periods. As per usual, the team scoring the first goal in overtime shall be declared the winner of the game.
Following the 2013 AJHL AGM, the League established a committee to review the option of an AJHL Draft. The committee presented an analysis of the concept, including format options, advantages, disadvantages, and the effects it has on player recruitment, registration and scouting. The AJHL Board of Governors has voted against proceeding with the concept as it was not identified as the preferred choice of the individual teams.
Fort McMurray was selected as the host of the 2015 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup in November 2013. The Host Committee provided the AJHL Board of Governors with a brief event update, which included positive progress in the areas of entertainment, sponsorship and community support. The champions of the BCHL, AJHL, SJHL, and MJHL will participate in a five-team tournament with the host Fort McMurray Oil Barons for the 2015 Western Canada Cup. The 13-game tournament will include a round-robin schedule followed by two semifinal games and a championship game. The Western Canada Cup Champion and the runner-up will both represent Western Canada at the 2015 RBC Cup National Junior A Championship.
The Lloydminster Bobcats have submitted a bid to host the 2016 RBC Cup National Junior A Championship. Hockey Canada will announce the host committee at the 2014 Hockey Canada Annual General Meeting on May 31st-June 1st, 2014.
The 2014-2015 AJHL Management Committee will include Rod Knelsen (Drumheller Dragons), Paul Seaton (Brooks Bandits) and Wayne Lauinger (Okotoks Oilers) as the South Division representatives. The North Division will be represented by Kyle Chase (Sherwood Park Crusaders), Dave Britt (Fort McMurray Oil Barons) and Ray Mildenberger (Grande Prairie Storm).
The Alberta Junior Hockey League will continue to operate under the direction of Chairman Greg Wood and Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk. The AJHL Staff will consist of George McCorry (Vice President, Officiating), Fran Gow (Vice President, Hockey Operations), Charla Flett (Vice-President, Communications), Dean Laschowski (Video Review Manager), Ken Dentzien (Referee Assignor), and Bob Clark (Special Advisor).
The 2014 AJHL Semi-Annual Meeting will take place in Red Deer, Alberta on November 22nd, 2014.