The Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) held the 2023 Annual General Meeting of the Board of Governors as well as the Annual AJHL General Managers and Coaches Meeting in Canmore, AB from May 25th-27th. The Alberta Junior Hockey League is preparing to celebrate its 60th Anniversary in the 2023-24 season.
A new schedule format will be executed in the 2023-24 season with the League moving away from divisional play and to a balanced schedule. All 16 member teams will play each other four times in the regular season plus an additional two games against select opponents at the Annual AJHL Showcase in the new 62-game schedule. The Calgary Canucks will host the 2023 AJHL Showcase at Ken Bracko Arena in September. The complete League Schedule will be announced in mid-June 2023.
Hockey Canada has approved a new facemask policy for all Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) teams. Beginning in the 2023-24 season and in every season afterwards, CJHL players born after December 31st, 2004 must wear full facial protection during participation in all on-ice activities. The birth year and player ages who will be mandated to wear full face protection is outlined as follows: (CJHL players, leagues and teams may opt in earlier)
- 2023-2024 season – 16, 17 and 18 year old players (2005/2006/2007 birth years)
- 2024-2025 season – 16, 17, 18 and 19 year old players (2005/2006/2007/2008 birth years)
- 2025-2026 season – all players must wear full facial protection
The Alberta Junior Hockey League will continue to implement a four-man referee system at all AJHL regular season and playoff games in the 2023-24 season. The League has increased the number of games utilizing the four-man system each season with the 2022-23 season being the first for all games.
The Alberta Junior Hockey League will introduce a pilot program for video review on goals at specific AJHL arenas across the province. The project will be reviewed at the conclusion of the season for the purpose of expanding the program.
Fort McMurray Oil Barons President, David Fitzgerald, was presented with the Ken Bracko Award as 2023 AJHL Executive of the Year during the annual meeting. Over the past 14 years, David has served as a selfless volunteer in a number of roles and capacities including off-ice official, Director, committee leader and is currently a League Governor, Team President and a valuable member of the AJHL Management Committee.
The Northern Alberta Athletic Association nominated David with excitement and pride, “Dave has volunteered with a servant’s heart and is always eager to share insightful knowledge and always with humility. His Leadership qualities are undeniable and are clearly notable with the manner our organization is managed and the team culture of our organization.”
“Dave’s leadership trademarks may best be described as honesty, integrity, and transparency. With this Dave is always prepared to take action on behalf of our organization with our collective best interest first and foremost. David remains very much a keen participant in our team and organization’s continued success – always willing to assume any, and at times, all administrative duties.”
The AJHL Management Committee for 2023-24 will include Blake Parker (Olds Grizzlys), Kevin Pratt (Camrose Kodiaks) and Wayne Lauinger (Okotoks Oilers) as the South Division representatives. The North Division will be represented by Ray Mildenberger (Grande Prairie Storm), David Fitzgerald (Fort McMurray Oil Barons) and Jeff Suggitt (Spruce Grove Saints). Special thanks to Noel Moriyama (Brooks Bandits) and Kevin Love (Sherwood Park Crusaders) 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 hold the 2023 AJHL Semi-Annual Meeting on November 22nd, 2023.