Armed with a signed ice rental agreement and a signed dedicated space (dressing room) agreement, the fledgling Canadian International Hockey League plans to have a new franchise in Greater Sudbury for the 2015-2016 season.
The agreements are signed by the City of Greater Sudbury.
The new Sudbury franchise will be owned and operated separately from the failed Greater Sudbury Royals, who dropped out of the CIHL in January of this year when owner KB Beals folded the team.
CIHL founder and president Tim Clayden said he expects to formally announce the new Sudbury ownership in early spring.
“We have learned from past mistakes,” Clayden said evenly. “Our ownership committee is moving forward with a final screening of approval now that our new Sudbury area team has secured game ice, terrific practice time and a dedicated dressing room.”
Clayden said there are no shortage of hockey players in the Greater Sudbury area to choose from.
“Having a new team in Sudbury for next season is very exciting for the Sudbury area kids to be provided with choice and opportunity. We are looking for the second-and-third-level-entry players who may have been passed over for some reason and miss out on a place to play. There is no question Sudbury has the players and the talent to field a complete, competitive roster,” Clayden noted.
Meanwhile, effective its second season of operation in 2015-2016, the league will operate under a new name that will include ‘hockey academy.’
“We made some mistakes and we realize that the academy hockey format is recognized throughout the world and is not considered outlawed. Moving in the direction of academy hockey gives us an opportunity to work with all the major bodies in the hockey world and provide opportunities for the second-and-third-level-entry players,” Clayden added.
Clayden said he expects the CIHL will operate with “four or five teams from northern Ontario and northern Michigan” in 2015-2016 and play an interlocking schedule with the Midwest Jr. Hockey League. Currently, the MWJHL is a seven-member league with six teams based in Michigan and the other in Illinois.