The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) recently held their annual general meeting and announced that this year will see the return of inter-conference play.
This means teams in one particular conference will host teams from one division in another conference, while travelling to the other division.
• Teams in the Doug Birks division host teams from the Neil Murdoch division
• Teams in the Eddie Mountain division host teams from the Doug Birks division
• Teams in the Neil Murdoch division host teams from the Bill Ohlhausen division
• Teams in the Bill Ohlhausen division host teams from the Eddie Mountain division
“I know our players and clubs are excited to see the return of inter-conference play, which also provides our fans with the opportunity to see a greater variety of opposing teams up close,” says KIJHL Commissioner Jeff Dubois.
With two conferences and four divisions, the 20 teams will play a 44 game schedule that includes 24 games against divisional opponents, ten games against conference opponents and ten games against inter-conference opponents. Last year the league operated with 19 teams, but this year Spokane returns to league play, bringing the number up to 20.
Opening day of the regular season is Friday, September 23, 2022 and it will conclude on Saturday, February 11, 2023, with playoffs beginning on February 17.
Last year’s playoff schedule was packed into just 40 days and this proved to be a lot for players, who sometimes played five games in seven days. This year the playoff time frame has been extended to 53 days with Friday start dates for each playoff series in all four rounds. This will mean more rest days.
That decision was made in the best interests of the athletes and will result in a better product on the ice, said Dubois.