CIHL loses a team, adds another

When the Williams Lake Stampeders take to the ice this fall, the league will be much different.

When the Williams Lake Stampeders take to the ice this fall, the league will be much different than when the final horn sounded at the end of last season.

The Omineca Ice of Vanderhoof are no longer a part of the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL).

The team, which finished with a 6-10-2 record but struggled with icing enough players, informed the CIHL of its intention to fold during the annual general meeting in Smithers recently.

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,” said CIHL president Ray Hallock of the Wolverines, who folded at the end of the 2012 season. “They will be playing next 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 next season will enter a five-minute, four-on-four overtime period before proceeding to the shootout.

“It was something that a player from Kitimat brought forward and something everyone agreed with,” said Prince Rupert Rampage defenseman Derek Baker. “From a player perspective going straight from regulation to a shootout isn’t the best way to go, so we’re looking forward to giving the fans that extra entertainment.”

The 2013/14 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.