The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League completed its 2020 Annual General Meeting on Saturday, June 13th via video conference, dealing with a number of topics including ongoing Return to Play planning and protocols.
The KIJHL's 20 teams are looking forward to getting back on the ice and are working towards a planned regular season start date of October 2nd, 2020. As has been the case since the league's 2019/20 season was cancelled on March 13th, all decisions related to Return to Play will be made with the health and safety of players, staff, fans, volunteers and sponsors as our top priority.
"We've received a wealth of information from the Province of British Columbia, through Viasport, and from Hockey Canada since the beginning of June," says KIJHL commissioner Jeff Dubois. "There are still a number of obstacles for us to navigate ahead of resuming league play this fall, but I'm confident that we're trending in a positive direction."
Following Hockey Canada's lifting of their ban regarding on-ice activities, KIJHL teams will be able to move forward with the scheduling and delivery of summer camps and programs under the guidance of the league and BC Hockey. All on-ice events must comply with all current health and hygiene guidelines set forth by the provincial and regional health authorities as well as Hockey Canada.
Fans will notice some rule changes when the KIJHL season gets underway, including a new overtime format. All three B.C.-based junior B leagues have adopted an NHL-style overtime that includes five minutes of three-on-three play followed by a shootout, if necessary. The league has also adopted NHL face-off rules that allow the attacking team to pick which dot the face-off will occur following an icing call or at the beginning of a power-play.
The KIJHL is also placing an increased emphasis on certain types of dangerous penalties including charging, boarding, slew-footing and blindside hits.
Off the ice, longtime KIJHL volunteer Jim Harrington has announced his retirement following 16 years as a vice president and deputy commissioner. Jim's involvement with the league stretches back to the late 1970s when he was instrumental in bringing the Columbia Valley Rockies to Invermere.
"On behalf of everyone involved with the KIJHL, I'd like to thank Jim for his many years of dedicated service to our league," says Dubois. "Jim has contributed thousands of hours spread over a number of roles and he's respected and appreciated by all who have worked with him."
And in a move that may fly under the radar with fans, but will be widely appreciated by league and team staff, the KIJHL will be partnering with Gamesheet, Inc. to convert from paper to digital gamesheets. This move will modernize and streamline the tracking of penalties and delivery of supplementary discipline.
Additional news regarding the 2020/21 KIJHL season will be announced in the coming weeks.