Changes coming to CIHL

When the Terrace River Kings take to the ice this fall, the league will be much different.

When the Terrace River Kings take to the ice this fall, the league will be much different than when the final whistle blew at the end of last season.

The Omenica Ice of Vanderhoof are no longer a part of the Central Interior Hockey League. The team, which finished with a 6-10-2 record but struggled with icing enough players, told  CIHL of its intention to fold during the annual general meeting in Smithers.

The departure of the Ice, however, is offset by the return of a familiar foe.

“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.”

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 Derek Baker, Prince Rupert Rampage defenceman.

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.