The CIHL advantage

July 8, 2014

Time may not be on the side of the new Canadian International Hockey League as its teams prepare to take the ice for an inaugural 2014-2015 season.

But teams in the Ontario-based CIHL — which is sanctioned by the United Hockey Union under the umbrella of the Amateur Athletic Union — do have an advantage over other junior leagues when it comes to recruiting players.

The way the CIHL is set up, Canadian and American players share equal status as non-imports and all teams in the new league can roster up to 12 Europeans — and that is something that no other sanctioned junior league in Canada or the United States can lay claim to.

Founder and president Tim Clayden may have been in a race against time when he decided in late February of this year to move his Espanola Rivermen out of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League to start the new CIHL but the man had a plan in place and he has moved forward with it.

Clayden quickly billed the CIHL as “a league without borders” and the fact that Canadian and American players are one in the same and teams can use as many as 12 Europeans is a stroke of brilliance on the part of the visionary founder.

So while there are teams in the NOJHL that do not have a pool of local talent to draw from and are restricted in the number of imports they can sign, CIHL clubs face few limitations as they recruit players from North America and Europe while also allowing the use of 15-and-16-year-old local talent.

As time moves forward, smaller-market NOJHL clubs such as the Abitibi Eskimos, Cochrane Crunch, Mattawa Blackhawks, Elliot Lake Wildcats and Blind River Beavers figure to be at a player-recruiting disadvantage to teams in the CIHL.

To be sure, the CIHL is new and the NOJHL is established, which is an advantage for the latter. But how long will that advantage last?

Time will tell.

What you think about “The CIHL advantage”

  1. Hmmmm for certan the CIHL is in busines and those who doubted and shit on Claydon are the one’s who are scrambling now and with there pants down.
    The NOJHL is now at 9 Teams and that is more than ever but as a fan of the League for many years I have concerns over the direction of the NOJHL and weather or not team the NOJHL will last for how much longer in Blind River, Elliot Lake, Maattawa and from what I red in the Timmins paper a while back Abitibi is $100 grand in debt and that is NOT good.

  2. well stated RR and I might ad imo that it will only be a matter of time before the Cihl surpasses the Nojhl as the League of choice imo.

  3. Looking forward to seeing the CIHL season actually excited would be the word. Will be interesting to see how Elliot Lake turns out this year I hear there still really isn’t any more excitement than years past but I really do hope they can turn it around. I talked to a guy from Cochrane last week and he said the season ticket drive is not turning out that well. Also for them I hope that things go better then again I think owners shouldn’t coach teams.

  4. This new league does not ogger well for the Beavers I am afraid to say or the Elliott Lake team for that matter. How can the Beavs possibly recruit players when this new league has such advantage in getting Amerikans and Euros to play for them I ask!

  5. As always in our modern day hockey, costs are what dictates whether teams survive or disappear. I would like to see the player costs differential between the 2 leagues per team. The CIHL and the NOJHL both have to rely on this type of funding to be successful and that is what I’m curious to see. I understand each team operates differently but a true estimate would help both the parents and players in their choices.

  6. Good points Charlie . I believe both leagues will eventually find their niche . Costs an opportunity will decide where the players go . I worry that major midget AAA will be hit hard by this and will suffer here in the north . If it’s cheaper for 16 and 17 year old’s to play junior that will be a big factor . The NOJHL will benefit from Hockey Canada’s rule change that makes all Canadian born players non imports if the change provinces but will suffer from the drop in American import quotas . Hockey as we know it is changing in Canada and its business at the junior level so money talks as do results . The unsuccessful attempt by the GO to try and move from junior B to tier two this season is a major event that will play out over the next few years . Will be an interesting time for fans of junior hockey .

    1. Not sure about player cost for other teams in the NOJHL, but he Abitibi Eskimos do not charge players to play for the team. Seems like a deal that would be hard to beat … unless the new league is paying players to play for them.

  7. I do not see that there are enuogh players to fill 2 North Bay Area teams and Powassan has the advnatage as affiliates of the OHL Battalion. So .. Bye, Bye Mattawa I do not think the Black Hawks will last the Season but to quote RR from this article “Time will tell” ..

  8. NBT 1975 if Mattawa fails it will soly on Beauchamp, I’ve heard around town he has 20 players committed, and more on the way, I’m personally billeting two kids, and with there full coaching staff it should be interesting to see how they perform with a full staff, the only people around town that are not exited is the brown way bus lines, because apparently they purchased there own bus. Not to mention the people of Mattawa need hockey our town has lost enough, plus Dean Backer and council made a lease that is 5 plus years as per the town website

  9. Bring back my Montreal Expos missing Hockey I guess ! Can’t wait to see how this big battle brewing,between these two leagues plays out. I’d liked to see them both be successful it only benefits the players, parents, fans and owners. So this way everybody stays happy good luck to both leagues ! enjoy summer all !

  10. Charly Murray, thanks for asking the same questions I have asked but no one seems to answer with specific numbers. As I research this more, here is what I come up with. The CIHL and the NOJHL appear to be cheaper options than Midget AAA which in SSM is $7k to play. I am a parent of a 17 yr old and I would definitely steer him toward junior over midget for the savings of a few thousand dollars if he decided to play. One would assume the same would apply to most teams in the Great North Midget League.

    Right now my kid wants to return to High School hockey, if he decides to go elsewhere we’ll have some very difficult decisions to make.

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