CIHL Hockey addresses wind-up of 2014-2015 season and its future

ESPANOLA—“Although the 2014-2015 season has been a tremendous challenge at times, our Canadian International Hockey League (CIHL) Hockey executive remains committed to moving forward in our shared vision to develop, educate and promote student-athlete players that have committed to the CIHL Hockey vision,” CIHL President Tim Clayden states in a press release, addressing a rocky first season for the new league.

“We have learned a great deal, which has provided us with insight of how to make things move forward with our vision and intent to better serve our worldwide student-athletes in a better, professional manner.”

Mr. Clayden continued, stating, “although we have experienced many pitfalls this past season, we remain committed to finishing what we have started in providing strong development and promotion for each of our student-athlete players. There is no question that many players involved this season have had an opportunity to develop and grow as both a player and a person, where many will play at a higher level of play next season because of their development here in CIHL Hockey this past season,” he added. “We have players already committed to NCAA (National College Athletic Association) and ACHA (American Collegiate Hockey Association) programs next season and other higher levels of junior hockey that include the NAHL (North American Hockey League), USHL (United States Hockey League), OJHL (Ontario Junior Hockey League) along with a couple of kids that have also caught the eye of OHL teams, and that is what CIHL Hockey is about, providing development and promotion to each of our student-athlete players this season, for next.”

Some of the roadblocks the CIHL faced in its first season included, they state, “having the wrong inexperienced ownership groups in too many strong junior hockey communities. This has hurt all involved especially the players and parents who continue to believe in our CIHL Hockey vision for junior hockey, especially here in Northern Ontario and along the North Shore.”

“We will have to do a better job as a league executive next season, especially in our screening process for selecting franchisees,” Mr. Clayden said, “implementing more efficient league standards that will allow us to avoid the pitfalls that we have experienced this season where student-athlete development and promotion will remain at the forefront, promoting each student-athlete player to a higher level of play.”

“It’s not anyone individual’s fault—the guy in the mirror made the mistake of allowing too many inexperienced operators join in our vision and league operations this past season,” Mr. Clayden added. “Junior hockey is a great game, but it is big business now too and it takes special people and a lot of them willing to give up so much of their time each and every season to ensure the success of their community junior hockey programs year after year. It’s not easy and it takes money and a ton of dedication and time to continue season after season. I made many mistakes this past season and the easiest thing to do is quit. Quitting on our teams, our community, our players and their parents won’t happen as we have to many good people involved that share the same vision and passion for this great game and our CIHL Hockey vision moving forward.”

Mr. CLayden said he stands by his vision that CIHL Hockey also provides opportunities for many local players to finish their high school education in their own homes, giving kids an opportunity to play junior hockey in front of their hometown friends and family members for a year of two before moving on.

“We will continue to move forward for the remainder of the 2014-2015 season with our teams committed to finishing the season: the Espanola Rivermen, the Batchewana Attack and the Kalkaska (Michigan) Rhinos,” he said. “All are committed to fulfilling our commitment to their student-athlete players; their parents, their team and the communities who have continued to support the CIHL Hockey vision no matter the odds.”

The Espanola Rivermen, who have three years remaining on their contract, will return next season and continue to play out their contract in the Town of Espanola. Sudbury, under a new ownership group, and the Batchewana Attack are all committed to moving forward into the 2015-2016 CIHL hockey season.

“All teams and fans, including the most loyal North Shore junior hockey fans in Espanola, have taken one on the chin this season,” Mr. Clayden added. “The Rivermen hockey club is committed to staying in Espanola and finding new ways to keep its fans happy and in the rink, where we also believe keeping a CIHL Hockey team in the Sudbury are allows for a year-round rivalry that is fun to watch and attend at home and on the road. All teams will be back.”

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