The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League held their Annual General Meeting on June 8th and 9th. The meeting was bookended by a KIJHL coaches and general managers meeting on Thursday and the BC Hockey AGM on Saturday.
Kimberley Dynamiters head coach and general manage Derek Stuart said that this years AGM was much more interesting because the coaches and general mangers meeting laid the foundation for the KIJHL AGM.
Stuart said there were two highlights from attending his second KIJHL AGM.
First was that all four playoff series for this coming season will be a best of seven.
"The players and coaches would rather have four best of seven. It was a unanimous vote to bring that back."
The league has set aside 42 days to complete the four rounds of playoffs. A worst case scenario would see a team playing 28 games in 42 days.
Second was the league, and eventually BC Hockey, withdrew from the Keystone Cup.
"Even though I have never been to the Keystone, I have heard enough horror stories to not want to go. Withdrawal from the Keystone is big for our team, league and province."
While no replacement for the Keystone Cup has been determined it is being discussed by a committee. It appears that this may be the end of the Keystone Cup, a tournament that BC has dominated in the past ten years winning seven golds, two silvers and one bronze.
There were several other changes made as well.
The successful Prospects Game will be returning to the KIJHL again this season. The league will be blacking out the schedule during the weekend of the game. Also this year, five 18 year-olds to be allowed on each conference team.
"We thought that it wasn't fair last year, since a lot of the 18 year olds are being recruited to on the basis to play here on year as a stepping stone to get into Junior A"
An All-Star game for the league was tabled, but not pursued.
The controversial no cross-over games will remain for this coming season as it was a two year agreement by the teams and will be reevaluated at the 2018 AGM.
Stuart added that there has been a new way for coaches and officials to work, evaluate and develop together through an online forum. The hope is to be able to recruit more officials.
Stuart feels that all these changes that have been made will make the KIJHL a better product, and a better place to recruit players.