Two more teams have confirmed their membership into the new Canadian International Hockey League.
Central Ontario HTI Stars and St. Charles Spirit are the latest additions into the CIHL, giving the new league five confirmed teams to date.
Central Ontario — which will be based out of the Barrie-Innisfil-Angus area — and St. Charles join the Colborne Cramahe Hawks, Milton Battle Arts Cobras and the flagship Espanola Rivermen as teams that have cleared the United Hockey Union screening process and will begin play in the new CIHL effective the upcoming 2014-2015 campaign.
CIHL president and founder Tim Clayden, who also owns the Espanola franchise — formerly of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League — said he expects to announce more teams to the new loop within the next week to 10 days.
Clayden said two of the teams will be from Northern Ontario and be part of a geographical alignment with Espanola and St. Charles.
St. Charles is located about 80 miles northeast of Espanola along the French River.
CENTRAL ONTARIO HTI STARS
Russian-born Evgeni (Jenya) Feldman leads the Central Ontario HTI Stars into the new CIHL as coach and general manager.
The 38-year old Feldman played junior hockey in Russia before moving to Canada in 1994 where he skated for the North York Rangers and Shelbourne Wolves of the erstwhile Metro Jr. A Hockey League.
Feldman later captained the Israeli national team and played at the minor-pro level in the Central Hockey League before moving up to Second Division in Germany.
He is president of Hockey Training Institute (HTI) and has coached at the junior level in the Ontario Jr. Hockey League and Greater Metro Jr. Hockey League.
Serbian-born Nemanja Jankovic will serve as head of European scouting and be involved in hockey operations and coaching for the HTI Stars.
The 26-year old Jankovic played on the Serbian National Team and spent four years playing Division 3, National Collegiate Athletic Association hockey at Michigan-based Finlandia University.
Jankovic has also coached the Serbian National Team.
Assisting Feldman and Jankovic on the HIT Stars hockey operations staff will be Egor Mironov and Oded Orgil. Both have extensive experience abroad and in Canada.
Meanwhile, former Russian Elite League, Olympic gold medalist, National Hockey League all-star and Stanley Cup champion defenceman Dmitri Mironov will serve as the senior hockey advisor for the HTI Stars.
The 48-year Mironov played in more than 600 NHL games and had 296 points as a skilled defenceman with Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals. He won a Stanley Cup while playing for Detroit.
ST. CHARLES SPIRIT
The growing little hockey hotbed of St. Charles — located 45 miles northeast of Sudbury — moves onto the junior scene led by team governor Kim Young, director of hockey operations Richard Miness and general manager Scott Ginson.
Along with the municipalities of French River and Markstay-Warren, St. Charles is part of the region known as Sudbury East.
The Spirit will play out of St. Charles Arena.
Ginson, as general manager, is no stranger to junior hockey.
As an assistant coach, he was part of three Dudley-Hewitt Cup championship teams with the erstwhile Rayside-Balfour Sabrecats of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
Ginson has also coached and managed in the NOJHL with Manitoulin Islanders and Sudbury Cubs and most-recently was the associate coach under Tom McCarthy with the Espanola Rivermen in 2013-2014.
The 34-year old Ginson has also scouted for Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League and Georgetown Raiders of the Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
Young, Miness and Ginson are currently going through a list of potential coaching candidates for the Spirit.
As members of the sanctioned UHU, under the umbrella of the Amateur Athletic Union, the new Canadian International Hockey League is affiliated with three American-based leagues — Midwest Jr. Hockey League, Northern States Hockey League and Western States Hockey League.
The Ontario-based CIHL and the MWJHL will combine to play host to a pair of Showcase Tournaments in 2014-2015, the first of which will be in the hockey hub of Traverse City, Michigan.
The MWJHL is a nine-team league, eight of which are from Michigan.
Michigan-based teams in the MWJHL are Soo Firehawks, Traverse City Hounds, Alpena Street Cats, West Michigan Freeze, Michigan Ice Dogs, MC Monarchs, Berkley Bruins and Detroit Fighting Irish. The Illinois-based Decatur Blaze is the other MWJHL entry.