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League that Banned Five Teams From Playing Disappointed Those Teams Have Now Left

Published February 2, 2024 at 8:35
This whole situation has been awkward from the start, and it just got ramped up even more. Five teams announced today that they are officially leaving the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) immediately and joining the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) after the AJHL banned them from playing.

A few weeks ago, the BCHL announced that the teams (Blackfalds Bulldogs, Brooks Bandits, Okotoks Oilers, Sherwood Park Crusaders, Spruce Grove Saints), would be leaving the AJHL after this current season and move to theirs. The AJHL seemed completely unaware that this announcement was coming, and decided to ban those five teams from playing any others in the AJHL, allowing them to still have exhibition games against each other. The five were, understandably, unhappy, and everything came to head today when the BCHL announced those teams would be joining their league effective immediately. The AJHL has since issued a release saying it's disappointed, and also indicated the five teams continued to deny anything was happening since the initial announcement from the BCHL.

"We are disappointed - but not surprised - that the five defecting clubs now intend to drop out of the AJHL to immediately participate in an unsanctioned exhibition series. For the past week, they have repeatedly denied any agreement with th' BCHL, but today's admission of "finalized franchise agreements and integration' has helped clarify their true position. The full impact of this decision on our ongoing investigation remains to be determined, as the teams have now eliminated a route back to the AJHL for their players this season."

The news release seems to indicate that very little, if any communication had been taking place between the defecting teams and the AJHL over the past few weeks, which seems very strange. And, in all honesty, expecting five teams to stick around for the rest of the season when they are only allowed to play each other seems silly, at best.

Unlike the AJHL, the BCHL is not a member of, or sanctioned by Hockey Canada. That allows teams extra freedom when it comes to recruiting players, among other things. 11 teams now remain in the AJHL.

February 2   |   413 answers
League that Banned Five Teams From Playing Disappointed Those Teams Have Now Left

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