Representatives of the Central Interior Hockey League voted to accept applications from the Quesnel Kangaroos and the Lac La Hache Tomahawks to join the league for the 2011-12 season, and created three divisions for the new season’s schedule.
The three-team West Division will now comprise the Prince Rupert Rampage, the Terrace River Kings and the Kitimat Ice Demons. The East Division will be the Smithers Steelheads, Houston Luckies and Hazelton Wolverines. The remaining four teams, the Omineca Ice, The Quesnel Kangaroos, the Williams Lake Stampeders and the Lac La Hache Tomahawks will make up the South Division. The league accepted the withdrawal of the Burns Lake Braves from the lineup.
All teams will play an interlocking 18 games schedule featuring home and away series with teams in their own division, with the remaining games against the closest competition in the East Division.
For playoffs, the two top teams in each division will advance along with two wild card teams, with the highest points total — with the remaining two lowest-point teams eliminated.
J.C Brown of Smithers Peak Radio was elected president of the league and will be drawing up an official schedule as quickly as possible. Former Smithers goaltender Jamie Deba will take over as league statistician. Josh Armstrong of the Prince Rupert Rampage will remain as vice-president, while Terry Marleau of the Kitimat Ice Demons will become past president. Former league president and treasurer, Rose Ruffell of the Burns Lake Braves, has turned over duties of league treasurer to Colin Smith, general manager of the Hazelton Wolverines.
Al Navrot, a former coach of the Williams Lake Stampeders, presented details of plans for the Lac La Hache team while Curtis Gassoff, who played last year with the Williams Lake Stampeders, made a presentation on behalf of the Kangaroos, in Quesnel.
The league will continue to use the Pointstreak statistical system.
The league representatives also agreed to support an application from the Kitimat Ice Demons to BCAHA to host the Coy Cup in 2012. The team won the Coy Cup for the fourth time in six seasons in Prince Rupert in March. This coming season will be the Ice Demons’ 10th anniversary season.