Hazelton is back in the CIHL for the 2013-2014 hockey season.
This was just one of the changes announced after the CIHL annual general meeting was recently held in Smithers.
“The Hazelton Wolverines met the deadline and have provided all of the necessary credentials and documentation. They will be playing next season,” said CIHL president Ray Hallock of the team that folded at the end of the 2012 season.
“This is good news for the league … the return of the Wolverines makes the existing east/west split continue to work for scheduling.”
The Wolverines may be in but the Omenica Ice of Vanderhoof are no longer part of the senior men’s hockey league. The Ice, who finished with a 6-10-2 record but struggled with finding enough players, informed the CIHL of its intention to fold during the meeting.
As for the product on the ice, the executive voted to do away with the automatic shootout in the event of a tie. By a unanimous vote of executive and player reps, games that end in a tie during regulation time will enter a five-minute, 4-on-4 overtime period before proceeding to the shootout.
“It was something that a player from Kitimat brought forward and something everyone agreed with. From a player perspective, going straight from regulation to a shoot-out isn’t the best way to go, so we’re looking forward to giving the fans that extra entertainment,” said Prince Rupert Rampage defenceman Derek Baker.
Steelheads head coach Tom DeVries said in his time with the team, he has never had to select players to take part in a shootout but felt it was a good decision.
“I think it’s a great idea,” DeVries said.
“I haven’t been in a shootout in two years so I don’t even know what they’re like but I think the fans will like it.”
The 2013/2014 season will include 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.
The Smithers Steelheads will hold their tryout camp in mid-September.