February 1, 2024
I’m sure all of you are aware of the ongoing rumours that five Junior A teams were planning to leave the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) and join a league that is not sanctioned under the Hockey Canada umbrella. As of this afternoon, the Blackfalds Bulldogs, Brooks Bandits, Okotoks Oilers, Sherwood Park Crusaders and Spruce Grove Saints have formally committed to a non-sanctioned league and, effective immediately, are non-sanctioned teams that are no longer part of the Hockey Canada system.
This change will impact Hockey Alberta Member Organizations in different ways.
For MHA’s or Junior B or C Leagues with Teams that had players affiliated to these five non-sanctioned teams, those affiliation agreements are now void. Players registered with any Hockey Alberta Member Organization are not able to participate as affiliates with a non-sanctioned team. Players from non-sanctioned teams are also not eligible to participate as an affiliate with any Hockey Alberta or Hockey Canada registered team (including WHL Teams). Hockey Alberta and the AJHL are working with Hockey Canada to determine if there are options available for players that were affiliated to one of these five teams, to enter into a new affiliation agreement to finish this season.
Players or team officials who wish to leave their non-sanctioned team prior to participating in any non-sanctioned games, to finish the 23-24 season with a Hockey Alberta registered team, are eligible to register with a new team without requiring a release. As of today, any player or team official who participates in a game under the governance of the non-sanctioned league will not be eligible to return to Hockey Alberta sanctioned play for the remainder of this 23-24 season.
Hockey Alberta is working closely with the AJHL as they refine their plan for the remainder of the 23-24 season and beyond. There are many discussions to have before any specific commitments are made, but alongside the AJHL (and their eleven Member Teams), Hockey Alberta remains committed to ensuring there are Junior A hockey options across our Province for Alberta players to access and develop within.
If you have other questions that are not addressed within this update, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly to us.
Director, Hockey Operations