Changes coming to Central Interior Hockey League

Lac la Hache Tomahawks will be facing some new competition in the CIHL

When the Lac la Hache Tomahawks lace up their skates for the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) in a few months, the league will have a new look.

There will be different teams than the 2012/13 campaign and different way of resolving ties at the end of 60 minutes of regulation time.

At the recent CIHL annual general meeting in Smithers, the Vanderhoof Omenica Ice organization announced it won’t be putting a team on the ice. The team struggled getting enough players to ice a squad.

However, the Hazelton Wolverines will be rejoining the CIHL after folding at the end of the 2011/12 season.

The Wolverines met the deadline and have provided all of the necessary credentials and documentation, so they will be playing this season. This will mean the east/west scheduling spilt will still work.

Lac la Hache Tomahawks coach Al Navrot says he would have liked to see Vanderhoof stay.

It would have given us a 10-team league and more balanced. They were also closer for us.”

Meanwhile, the executive voted to get rid of the automatic shootout in the event of a tie. In a near unanimous vote by the CIHL board and player reps, games that end in a tie during regulation time will go to a five-minute, four-on-four overtime period before proceeding to the shootout.

Navrot was the only one at the meeting not in favour of the change because he thinks it will will be hard on his players.

It’s a working-class league, not the NHL. After travelling to games, the guys are already burned out and tired. This just leaves us longer on the road.”

The 2013/14 season will have an 18-game schedule with three divisions. The west includes Prince Rupert, Terrace and Kitimat; the central includes Hazelton, Smithers and Houston; and the east includes Quesnel, Williams Lake and Lac la Hache.