Possible MWJHL, CIHL scenarios

January 20, 2015

Here’s to hockey without borders.

It is possible — if not probable — that teams from the Midwest Jr. Hockey League and the Canadian International Hockey League could be part of expanded interlocking play effective the 2015-2016 season.

Now in its third season of operation, MWJHL membership currently stands at seven teams — Detroit Fighting Irish, MC Monarchs, Michigan Ice Dogs, Traverse City Hounds, Alpena Flyers, Soo Firehawks and Decatur Blaze. All, with the exception of Illinois-based Decatur, are from Michigan.

The first-year CIHL currently operates with four teams — Batchewana Attack, Espanola Rivermen and Sudbury Royals from northern Ontario along with the northern Michigan-based Kalkaska Rhinos.

The MWJHL operates under the United Hockey Union as part of the Amateur Athletic Union.

The CIHL is the lone affiliate of the Canadian International Amateur Hockey Federation.

Teams from both leagues have met multiple times thus far this 2014-2015 season in exhibition and tournament play and more games are planned with the Fighting Irish of the MWJHL set to play host to an international showcase on February 6-7-8 that will feature entries from the CIHL.

To be sure, Fighting Irish coach-general manager Dan Vasquez and team owner Lisa Cruz are proponents of playing CIHL teams. Detroit has already played a number of games against Batchewana, Espanola and Kalkaska this season.

Yet to be determined is the status of the MWJHL and its member teams for next season.

At least two MWJHL members were part of a group of Michigan-based applicants that included teams from the Minnesota Jr. Hockey League that recently applied to USA Hockey to join the United States Premiere Hockey League, which is based along the Eastern Seaboard.

While USA Hockey has turned down the initial proposal, multiple sources close to the situation say the matter has yet to be fully resolved though it should be — one way or another — by early February.

The MnJHL and the USPHL both operate under the USA Hockey umbrella.

As to the future of the MWJHL, sources are saying that it is uncertain whether the league will remain under the umbrella of the UHU-AAU or make a move to USA Hockey for next season.

Additionally, at least two MWJHL teams are considering playing as independent operators next season.

Whether the MWJHL remains with UHU-AAU or opts to join USA Hockey, there is a strong desire from at least three teams to associate with the CIHL on an interlocking basis beginning next season.

And though the CIHL is currently operating with the aforementioned four teams, it does have expansion interest for 2015-2016 from two towns in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that could be travel partners for Kalkaska.

Two words to close out this column, at least for now: Stay tuned.

PHOTO: Detroit Fighting Irish of the MWJHL and Kalkaska Rhinos of the CIHL, in tournament action from January.

What you think about “Possible MWJHL, CIHL scenarios”

  1. I am told that the Monarchs are 1 of the teams that enquired about joining up with the USPHL. I do not see what going there will accomplish.

  2. these College Programs are Committed to scouting the Shamrock Showdown that Randy mentions the Fighting Irish will be hosting from February 6 to 8:

    University of Michigan Dearborn ACHA 2

    University of Michigan Flint ACHA2

    Oakland University ACHA1& ACHA3

    Indiana Tech University ACHA1& ACHA3

    Davenport University ACHA 1 & ACHA 3

    Rochester College ACHA 2

    Lindenwood University ACHA 1 & ACHA 2

    Adrian College NCAA 3 ACHA1 , ACHA2 & ACHA 3

    University of Toledo ACHA2 & ACHA3

    Central Michigan University ACHA1 & ACHA3

    Wright State University ACHA1

    Robert Morris Universtiy Chicago ACHA1, ACHA 2 , ACHA3

    University of Wi Stevenspoint NCAA Div 3

    Bradley University ACHA Div 3

    Eastern Michigan University ACHA Div1

    Western Michigan University ACHA Div2

    Also these teams from the NAHL:

    Keystone Miners NAHL

    Minnesota Magicians NAHL

    Kenai River Brown Bears NAHL

    Wenatchee Wild NAHL

  3. I am all in in supporting the Fighting Irish playing the teams from Canada ………. Playing the Teams from Canada will make our Players that much better.

  4. Hey Randy this would help the CIHL grow. Also i am seeing NOHA people at the games in Espanola,any news on that.

  5. The NOHA is in espanola trying to back door the rivermen, there is a group looking to put a second team in espanola joining the NOJHL. The NOHA was part of a recent town meeting

  6. The thing if there was two teams is 1) of course one team would fail but most importantly 2) minor hockey would be left with zero ice time so if it’s true i hope the NOHA takes that into heart.

  7. Now that would be dirty pool by the NOJ. Time will tell I guess. I will continue to support the Rivermen, but minor hockey would have no choice than to support a Hockey Canada entry. 50-50 alone is worth thousands to minor hockey which they have lost due to Hockey Canada sanctions against associating with a team outside it`s umbrella. A small town with a single pad arena, it would be insane to try to put another team here.

    1. I believe that the Espanola Rivermen have another 3 years left on their arena lease that includes rights to all rink board advertising, concession, bar and — of course — their own dressing room.

  8. Big Mouth Mazzuca should mind his own business … but of corrse we know that he can’t. The only thing bigger than his mouth is his ego …

  9. I hear that a former resident is trying to put the team in,but he may not be the most trust worthy of folk. with some comments made last year by Mr.Mazzuca about the people of espanola it would make me wonder why they would get involved with him again. The town would lose a lot of money in payout by breaking a contract and the town can’t afford that.

  10. Yes yes yes yes !!!! to these Inter Locking Games !!!! This is a bout advanncing our Player’s dammit !!!!

  11. Is there any truth to the rumour that the Sudbury Royals no longer exist?

    Three teams does not a league make! Hopefully, this isn’t true, and if it is other teams will step forward.

  12. The way that Sudbury was run is disgusting. This kid named piette running around like a moron,don’t get me wrong this kid can skate and play but not smart. When you have a manager taking kids out to the strip joint thinking that’s ok. They showed up in Espanola one night in a party bus. Posting videos online only consisting of hits ,fights and cheap shots not real smart

  13. Good one mason maybe you need to get your facts straight and not spread rumours .Making false accusations and try and make someone guilty of trying to make things work in a tough situation is wrong

  14. The royals have not paid their ice to the city of Sudbury so not sure how they can play or even practice. Clayden had to rent ice off of the city for last Sunday’s game. They have lost players to sturgeon falls and Toronto. Taking school buses and stripper buses to games as no bus companies will deal with them. No goalies left hasn’t had insurance for the players. The worst of all in my books is he hasn’t really done any education development for his players. Tell you what your buddy Scott ginson has extra money (haha) you can team up with that dirt bag cause really Beals you are no different IN MY OPINION. Hey here’s an idea maybe you can run games on a frozen pond that way there you can still play in Sudbury.

  15. I guess the cihl is not what people were expecting kudos to espanola and batchewanna for actually providing jr hockey to there communities and shame on the royals organization

  16. The CIHL has to regroup with Sudbury now gone. The ownus is on Tim Clayden to right what has gone wrong … … Begin planning now for next Season dammit!!!!

  17. There have been a slew of reports on this site already about next season. Potential expansion is in the works, interlocking schedules, showcases… Thank you to RR for keeping us in the loop and looking forward to future announcements.

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