The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League held its Annual General Meeting this past weekend, and we’re now hearing some of the details which came out of the meeting. Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman chatted with Phil Iddon, vice-president of the KIJHL’s Eddie Mountain Division, about the discussions in this article.
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs announced two trades on Tuesday, both involving players entering their final seasons of junior hockey. The Bulldogs sent forward Everett Putz to the Calgary Mustangs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for future considerations. In 57 games with Alberni Valley in 2014-15, the 19-year-old had 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists). The Calgary native added one goal in seven playoff games.
The Bulldogs also sent defenseman Drew Weich to the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder as the future considerations to complete the December 10, 2014 trade which saw Alberni Valley acquire veteran forward Eric Therrien. Weich, who’s also from Calgary, had 18 assists in 39 games with the Bulldogs after being picked up from Okotoks in November. The 20-year-old was selected in the 11th round, 235th overall by the Everett Silvertips in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.
Forward Ryan MacMurchy (Vernon, 2000-01) signed a two year contract with Adler Mannheim of the German Elite League. The 32-year-old spent 2014-15 with ERC Ingolstadt in the same league, posting 52 points (21 goals, 31 assists) in 42 games. Next season is the Regina, SK native’s fifth straight playing in Europe. McMurchy was a 9th round selection, 284th overall, of the St. Louis Blues in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
Among the highlights is the fact that the KIJHL may expand to former BCHL markets in Quesnel and Williams Lake. There are apparently groups in place who could potentially own a team in each of the communities. Iddon feels that one or both cities could be admitted into the KI in 2016-17 as expansion franchises. Currently, the most northern KIJHL team is the 100 Mile House Wranglers, which is 92 kilometres from Williams Lake and 210 kilometres from Quesnel. The minimum expansion fee for the league is $150,000 and the deadline to apply for an expansion franchise is December 1.
The KIJHL has also introduced a 30-day suspension for players failing to report following a trade. The rule mirrors a similar one in place in the BCHL. The intent, according to Iddon, is to help protect small market teams. For many small market or struggling teams, players refuse to report and the team is forced to make another trade, which usually yields a much lesser return.