Wednesday, 28 March 2012

SJHL Says No to Cold Lake Expansion

In what may have been a situation of 'only a matter of time', the SJHL has released a statement ending any speculation on the league's possible expansion to the community of Cold Lake, Alberta.

From the SJHL Website:

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League says it's content with the current twelve team set up and will not be moving into Alberta in the near future.
News reports, in recent days, have come out of Cold Lake concerning a possible expansion into that community.  SJHL President Bill Chow acknowledges a group has, indeed, shown interest in the league.  “We have decided not to prolong the process or a decision about a franchise in Cold Lake.” 
The Alberta Junior Hockey League, which runs pretty much a mirror league to the SJHL, currently has a franchise 51-kilometres outside of Cold Lake (Bonnyville) and the two leagues have an extremely good working partnership.  “It would be difficult to grant a franchise to the group with the existing Bonnyville franchise so close,” says Chow.
Chow says there are other logistics involved of having a team in Alberta playing in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and there is considerable required involvement of numerous levels of hockey to establish a new franchise based out of the boundaries of Saskatchewan. 
Chow also says he's grateful of the Cold Lake group showing interest in the SJHL as a viable means of entertainment for the community; however expansion outside of Saskatchewan isn't on the horizon.
Unfortunately for Cold Lake, this means the odds of Junior-A hockey coming to the city in the near future are slim.  The AJHL seems to be shying away from bringing another team into the Bonnyville/Lloydminster area and there were just too many issues for the Cold Lake franchise to overcome to join the SJHL.
With the AJHL's vehement rejection of an SJHL franchise in Cold Lake, it was likely just not something the SJ was willing to go to battle for.  As the release states, the league is pretty content with the twelve team league.  That's not to say expansion somewhere in Saskatchewan isn't a possibility, but it doesn't look to be on the table for the next couple of seasons.

Do you think the SJHL should consider expansion within Saskatchewan?  Where should the league look at bringing a franchise?  Let me know in the comments section.


1 comment:

  1. i think onion lake or warman would be a good thing to join the leauge it would be nice to see two more teams in the leauge.if the ajhl can have 16 we can have 14 teams to play against and it would help how leauge out too.