Officials connected to the proposed Canadian International Hockey League met on Tuesday evening in Toronto.
Long-time junior hockey operator Tim Clayden, who is the force behind the formation of the CIHL, said the new league will be ready to go for the 2014-2015 season with eight-to-ten teams.
Confirmed as having stated their intention to apply to have a team in the CIHL are representatives from Espanola, Sudbury, Bracebridge, Barrie, Collingwood, Colborne, Markham, Milton, Thornhill and Wexford.
Clayden, who owns the Espanola Rivermen, has already said his team will leave the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League for the CIHL effective the end of the current season.
Clayden said the CIHL has obtained insurance to operate as an independent league as it awaits approval to affiliate under the umbrella of the American-based Amateur Athletic Union. He is scheduled to meet with officials of the AAU at its Tier 3 national championship tournament that will be held in Las Vegas from April 16-20.
From Tuesday’s get-together in Toronto, the CIHL said it will hold a prospects camp for junior-aged players in Barrie, Ont. from May 23-25.
“As far as we are concerned, all junior hockey players who are not currently registered with a team in an AAU-sanctioned league are considered free agents to the CIHL,” Clayden said evenly.
Meanwhile, present at Tuesday’s meeting with CIHL officials were representatives from Pointstreak Sports Technologies.
Pointstreak, which is based in the Toronto area, serves as a provider of statistics and player information for a multitude of teams including those within the Ontario Jr. Hockey League, Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League, North American Hockey League, North American 3 Hockey League, MidWest Jr. Hockey League and Western States Hockey League.
Brian Secord, a former Ontario Hockey League forward with Belleville Bulls and Soo Greyhounds from 1992 to 1996, now works for Pointstreak as an account executive.
And Secord said he likes the idea of the CIHL, which will be a league for Canadian, American and European players.
“I think the CIHL is great concept and will be a great junior hockey league with a lot of exposure for kids,” said Secord.
“I think it’s great that kids from all over the world can play together in league. Having players from all over the world will make for a better league.”
Secord noted that Pointstreak has been in the business of promoting players to higher levels of hockey — including the National Collegiate Athletic Association — for 15 years.
Linked with Pointstreak, the CIHL will officially launch its own website later this month.
MWJHL SUPPORTS CIHL
MidWest Jr. Hockey League commissioner Scott Gardiner said he supports the formation of the Canadian International Hockey League under the umbrella of the Amateur Athletic Union.
Gardiner, who was a first-line forward over a three-year Ontario Hockey League career with Belleville Bulls and Windsor Spitfires from 1981 to 1984, told HockeyNewsNorth.com that if the proposed CIHL is approved by the AAU for the 2014-2015 season, an interlocking schedule with the MWJHL “would be of mutual benefit to players and teams from both leagues.
“We could run a pre-season showcase tournament that would promote the players and teams in both leagues and provide that much-more exposure for all of us,” continued Gardiner. “I see this as a win-win proposition.”
In fact, Gardiner said he and CIHL officials have already discussed staging a pre-season tournament in Traverse City, Mich.
Traverse City is where is where Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League hold their annual training camp.
A second-year league, the MWJHL operates within the sanctions of the AAU.