Junior league eyes expansion

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Junior hockey teams in High Prairie and Slave Lake could get some more competition after a rival league apparently folded.

The High Prairie Red Wings and the Slave Lake Icedogs could add players from four Alberta teams who played in the Western States Hockey League that ceased operation recently.

“Our competing league folded, which provides opportunity for us,” says Derek Prue, expansion director of the West Division in the Greater Metro Junior League [GMHL].

The Barrhead Bombers, Edson Aeros, Hinton Timberwolves and Cold Lake Hornets were in the Provincial Division that played two seasons.

Incidentally, Prue was expansion director who developed that division that started play in 2018-19.

The West Division in the GMHL prepares for its second season with four teams.

High Prairie, Slave Lake, and the Northern Alberta Tomahawks in Enoch welcome Fox Creek to the fold, which could include more from the WSHL.

“We’re in discussions with some teams,” Prue says.

“We will entertain any Alberta team that wants to join our division.”

He suggests two viable teams that would provide good competition.

“Edson and Hinton are the stronger hockey markets of the four teams,” Prue says.

“They had two successful seasons, so I’m sure they want to keep that going.”

He and the GMHL are in talks with the Alberta teams.

“There will be a lot of interest developing on this in the coming weeks,” says Prue, who expects to make some announcements soon.

Players on those Alberta teams will be available for the GMHL teams in the West Division, he says.

“My focus is to keep teams in the division strong,” Prue says.

“Fox Creek will be a great addition.”

He says Alberta teams are welcome to the West Division.

“The operation expenses are lower and teams get more support from head office,” Prue says.

The 2020-21 GMHL season is scheduled to start Oct. 2, he says.

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