President and founder Tim Clayden wants to set the record straight regarding players who choose to play in the new, eight-team, Ontario-based, junior-level, Canadian International Hockey League.
The CIHL — which is sanctioned by the United Hockey Union under the auspices of the Amateur Athletic Union — will begin its inaugural season in October and is open to student-athlete players from North America and Europe between the ages of 15-20 who are looking to achieve their own personal goals.
This, according to Clayden, could result in players eventually moving on and up to the Ontario Hockey League, United States Hockey League and North American Hockey League, for example.
Or, said Clayden, the CIHL can be used as a stepping stone for players seeking National Collegiate Athletic Association or American Collegiate Hockey Association commitments.
As far as eligibility for any CIHL player who may wish to return to the Hockey Canada system after this season, Clayden had this to say.
“Every participating CIHL student-athlete who plays with us this season is eligible to play or return to wherever they wish within the Hockey Canada system come June 1, 2015, should they decide to pursue another junior hockey opportunity. Players are free to come and go as they wish.
“The scare tactics that some organizations continue to put kids and their parents through is a sin, and at the very least a forum of bullying, and is quite simply not true.
“We still live in a free country and keeping kids out of hockey and or punishing them for playing hockey in a league outside of Hockey Canada is against our inherited human rights in this country and frankly throughout North America,” Clayden said evenly.
“Some of these so-called adults need to get over themselves and stop misleading players and their parents. Should they choose to leave the CIHL, all of our players become eligible for Hockey Canada programs next season as of June 1, 2015, end of story,” Clayden added.
As a sidebar, Clayden noted that the CIHL has aligned itself with reputable coaches and managers who have played in the OHL, at the Division 1 NCAA level and in the National Hockey League — and who have coached in the OHL, the Ontario Jr. Hockey League and the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
Clayden cited names such as Denny Lambert, Dennis Maruk, Tom McCarthy, Rico Fata, Brian Drumm, Dennis Bolton, David Maciuk, Trevor Blanchard and Scott Ginson.
“We have so many great people involved in CIHL hockey, of which many have played in the NHL and or participated within the OHL and NCAA,” said Clayden. “We all grew up in Hockey Canada programs, some with more than 30 years of experience at all levels of, and perhaps one of the best amateur hockey programs in the world. This is not a contest, we all have some very good friends at all levels of junior hockey throughout North America.
“The CIHL is simply providing a different junior hockey opportunity without borders that invites world-wide student-athletes to participate in with an understanding that our league has been structured on a like-minded vision of putting our players first in both development and promotion,” Clayden concluded.
The CIHL will begin its first season in 2014-2015 with eight Ontario-based teams — four in the north and four in the south.
Making up the North Division will be Batchewana Attack, Espanola Rivermen, St. Charles Spirit and Sudbury Royals.
Making up the South Division will be Colborne Cramahe Hawks, Collingwood Ice, Milton Battle Arts Cobras and Toronto Junior Hockey Academy.
PHOTO: CIHL president and founder Tim Clayden with Batchewana Attack president and director of hockey operations David Maciuk. (Photo by Theresa DeSimone Leask.)