Major changes to the Central Interior Hockey League were approved at the league’s annual general meeting May 28.
A new third division, a south one, has been added to the previous two-division league that was divided into east and west.
The restructuring came about as the league accepted the applications of hockey teams from Quesnel and Lac La Hache, as well as the withdrawal of the Burns Lake team.
Playing in the west division will be the Terrace River Kings, the Prince Rupert Rampage and the Kitimat Ice Demons. The east division will be the Smithers Steelheads, Houston Luckies and Hazelton Wolverines. The new south division will house the Omineca Ice, the Quesnel Kangaroos, the Williams Lake Stampeders and the Lac La Hache Tomahawks.
According to the league, all teams will play an interlocking 18 game schedule. This will include home and away games within each division with remaining games to be played by the west and south divisions against their closest competition in the east division.
The top two teams from each division will advance for Coy Cup playoffs along with two wild card teams.
Ray Hallock, general manager for the River Kings, said the addition of these two teams will bring some new life to the league as fans across the CIHL will look forward to seeing some new match-ups.
He said while final coaching staff has not yet been decided, the River Kings will be back stronger than ever next season with the goal as always to bring home the Coy Cup.
The Demons won the cup in Prince Rupert last March, making it their fourth CIHL win out of six seasons.