A message from the CIHL

January 24, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following message from Canadian International Hockey League president Tim Clayden addresses the completion of the 2014-2015 season and future plans.

To our fans and supporters,

The 2014–2015 season has been a tremendous challenge. We have learned a great deal, which has provided us with insight how to make things move forward with our vision and intent for our worldwide student athletes in a better and more professional manner.

The many roadblocks that came before us in our first season included having the wrong ownership groups in too many strong communities. This has hurt all involved, especially players and parents who continue to believe in our vision for junior hockey, especially here in Northern Ontario and along the North Shore.

We will have to do a better job as a league executive next season, especially with our screening process for selecting franchisees. Implementing more efficient league standards will allow us to avoid the many pitfalls that we have experienced this season.

Junior hockey teams at this level are very lucky to end up in the black at the end of each season. There is a lot of time and passion that many put into their teams just to keep their teams and players on the ice. Unfortunately, we made the mistake of having too many inexperienced operators involved this year who lacked both expertise and commitment to finish what we started.

It’s not the individuals fault. The guy in the mirror made the mistake of allowing too many inexperienced operators to join in our vision.

All teams needed a lot of help along the way and a great many dedicated volunteers are still needed to continue to move their teams forward each season with renewed energy and excitement into the next. Teams also need a strong and dedicated season ticket base to build on each season. A creative marketing team is essential to continue to find new ways to satisfy their many community area team sponsors, big and small, who help to help keep junior hockey in our many smaller towns.

The best example that I can think of is the Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Jr. Hockey League, which is headed up by Marty Abrams. He, along with his many long-standing community volunteer members, have done a masterful job in operating a team at that level in a small eastern Ontario town for more than a dozen years now. Marty and the Wellington Dukes have set the bar for all teams playing at this level and have for many seasons now.

We will continue to move forward for the remainder of the 2014-2015 season with our three teams — the Espanola Rivermen, the Batchawana Attack and the Kalkaska Rhinos. We are committed to fulfilling our commitment to these clubs and the communities who have continued to support the CIHL vision, no matter the odds.

Here is the following schedule for the three teams through the rest of the season:

Tuesday, January 27
Espanola Rivermen @ Batchewana Attack 7:00 p.m.

Friday, January 30
Kalkaska Rhinos @ Espanola Rivermen 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 31
Kalkaska Rhinos @ Batchewana Attack 7 p.m.

Hosted by Detroit Fighting Irish of the Midwest Jr. Hockey League, February 6-8.

Friday, February 13
Detroit Fighting Irish (MWJHL) @ Espanola Rivermen 7:45 p.m.
Espanola Minor Hockey Celebrations

Saturday, February 14
Batchewana Attack @ Kalkaska Rhinos 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 15
Detroit Fighting Irish @ Batchewana Attack 2:00 p.m.

Friday, February 20
Batchewana Attack @ Espanola Rivermen 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 21
Espanola Rivermen @ Batchewana Attack 7:00 p.m.

Friday, February 27
Kalkaska Rhinos @ Espanola Rivermen 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 28
Kalkaska Rhinos @ Batchewana Attack 7 p.m.

CIHL round-robin playoffs: March 6-8

CAN-AM International Independent College Showcase Championship Tournament hosted by the Detroit Fighting Irish, April 2-4.

As you can see there will be plenty of hockey for the three teams to play over the next two-plus months on both sides of the border, along with the opportunity for CIHL student-athletes to show off their skills at two college showcase tournaments.

The following is where CIHL Hockey is headed next season:

* We plan to have four teams along the Highway 17 corridor leading into the State of Michigan along with another four Michigan-based communities that wish to join the CIHL for the 2015-2016 season. This will create better college exposure for our student-athlete players. We believe such and remain committed to our direction to head into Michigan on a regular basis. With the inclusion of new ownership in Sudbury, all teams will be able to have games within same day/same night travel. This will ease the travel costs for all teams involved, considering the number of regular season interlocking games and bi-monthly college showcase weekend games with other existing American-based junior teams.

* The Espanola Rivermen, who have three years remaining on their contract, will return next season and play out their contract with the Town of Espanola. Sudbury — under new ownership — and the Batchewana Attack are committed to moving forward into the 2015-2016 CIHL season.

* All teams and fans, including the most loyal North Shore junior hockey fans in Espanola, have taken one on the chin this season. The Rivermen hockey club is committed to staying in Espanola and finding new ways to keep its fans happy and in the rink, where we also believe re-storing a CIHL team in Sudbury allows for a year-round rivalry that is fun to watch and attend at home and on the road.

* What can one say about Batchewana other than the Attack have been the class of the CIHL from the very first time the puck dropped to start the season. From management to bench boss Denny Lambert being constantly first class in his guidance of the team, this franchise has certainly set the bar for all others on the ice.

* In the end, we will regroup, carry on the next 60 days and into the 2015-2016 season and do our very best to surround ourselves with better, more-experienced hockey people that keep their communities, their parents, their teams in mind at all times and also operate in a manner that puts their student-athlete players first with a dedicated commitment to finish what they start.

What you think about “A message from the CIHL”

  1. Hmmmmmmmmmm yes no mention of Kalkaska. I am happy to see that there will be a team in Sudbury. That is good News. Lets hope that Mr. Clayden and the CIHL have learnt from there mistakes.

  2. Tim and the Rivermen are a Class Act who have made Junior Hockey work here when it did not many time’s before Remember the awful Screaming Eagles and the Kings!!?? I am fan of the Rivermen and I will continu to be a fan. Here is to better days ahead for the C.I.H.L. League.

  3. Wow this is a joke league it fell apart after the first month of the season and never gain anything form that point on

  4. I admire Clayden for trying, and driving the highways all summer and taking I. Owners to get started, however not even he could “maneuver” threw this one, espanola has. New NOJHL team and if I was Clayden I would quit while I was ahead to many people are put to get him and let’s face it the NOJHL is muchore talented top to bottom and the fans will turn to that league (IN MY OPINION.)

    1. The problem with the NON is they should be junior b teams like KL last year go to the Dudley and get wiped out. Junior b is cheaper and would allow teams the luxury of having locals and filling the stands.

  5. In hind sight Clayden should of waited a year before starting his new League. He had to put this together in a short time to play this Season and it showed with poor Ownership in many of the franchises and making a misteak going into Southern Ontario. In reading his message he does seem to have learnd from his misteaks and he sure as hell does not mind admitting them which to me is the sign of an honest leader. Hopefully his new plan which includes Northern Ontario and Michigan works out for next season. I do like the concept of the CIHL being as tho I am not a fan of the way that the NOHA and the NOJHL do business by putting the players second if you ask me. Best of Luck to you moving forward Tim.

  6. Well the Cihl has sent players to the Ushl this year and the Noj cant say that now can they. Also the Cihl has 3 Coaches that played 500+ games each in the NHL and the Noj cant say that neither. The Cihl admitts that they have problems where as the Noj does not want there fans and ssponsers to no about all there $$$$$$# problems in Blind River, Iroquois Falls n Mattawa. I am willing to bet that there will be no Noj team in the Sault next year neither.

  7. I will support Claydonn before I ever supporrt Mazzuca that is all I will say. Claydon is up front and a good man and Mazzuca is a horses ass imo.

  8. Hey hockey 12 mistakes were made and one was letting the people that run the royals in yep the same royals you are apart of. That team owes money to the city and will never be allowed to rent ice. The league had to pick up the tab for their last game. The management of the team is a joke things will need to be put in place to get next year going. Beals never had any plans to help further the hockey/education of his players. Showing up to games in a party bus and posting it on the Internet like it was a joke. Losing players because they could see what this guy was all about.(IN MY OPINION.)

    1. I’ve heard that rumour as well , it’s just like the gmhl except the gmhl is 10.X more organized then e cihl in my opinion the cihl won’t be around much longer , if Tim were smart he would jump into the gmhl .

  9. CIHL naysayers, have you actually watched any games? Look at the Showcase, an ACHA team, which NOJ players hope to play for, just beat Espanola 2-1, and LOST twice to Batchewana. There are some good teams in the NOJ and some bloody awful ones. Why is it so hard to accept that in fact all 3 CIHL teams play at a legit junior level?

  10. The way I see it is that Mazzooca and his Flock of Sheep from the NOJHL are obsessed with the CIHL and are hoping beyond hope that the CIHL folds up the tent. I hope the CIHL manage to keep going as we do like having the Attack here and Denny has been absolootley great with the Players, Fans and Arena Staffs.

  11. Hey Gates apparently you apart of the ego team haha.
    Clayden does not own the attack but nice try oh and the GMHL is not allowed back in Espanola as they still owe money to the town. Isn’t there GMHL ownership in the NOJHL?

  12. keep a you chin up Tim. It was good to meet you in Kalkaska. Don’t give up you have a good product that you put out there.

  13. Truth is that the NOJHL Board cant handle the presents of the CIHL in the North and will do what they can to try to get rid of them even to stoop very low levels.

  14. I hear Soo Firehawks are folding … owner is getting out as his son is too old for next year. And their Coaches are not very displined and parents are getting sick of the circus at Big Bear.

  15. Tim Clayden keep your head up you have admitted to your mistakes the Nojhl is jealous of your league. I Think next year you will have 6-8 teams, and it will be more than the nojhl. I would like to see 3-4 american teams. Maybe couple teams from nojhl may join

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