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AJHL seeking clarity on teams’ future plans


Confusion has arisen as to what agreements if any five AJHL teams supposedly headed to play in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) have in place.

More than a week ago the AJHL announced the Brooks Bandits, Blackfalds Bulldogs, Spruce Grove Saints, Okotoks Oilers and Sherwood Park Crusaders were relocating to the BCHL for the 2024-25 season.

However, on Thursday, the five teams issued a joint social media statement denying agreements were in place with the BCHL and that the teams had every intention of fulfilling this season’s commitments. They disagreed with an AJHL decision to cancel games.

“We strongly believe that our players should be back on the ice playing hockey and competing for an Inter Pipeline Cup, and we will do everything we can to bring this unfortunate situation to a positive resolution.”

On Friday, the AJHL followed up by saying it was attempting to seek “clarity on conflicting statements” coming from the BCHL and the five teams.

“In addition to contradicting the BCHL, last night’s statement is at odds with earlier statements from the five clubs. This includes a media comment from Bandits President Paul Seaton, who said two days ago that ‘nothing had been signed yet but an agreement has been reached and our board has agreed unanimously.” The AJHL went on to say, “Given the suggestion by the five clubs that the BCHL issued a false statement, and the inconsistent and conflicting information coming from the five clubs themselves, the AJHL is calling on the BCHL and the clubs to provide immediate clarification.”

The league also noted that until such time as it is satisfied there are no plans for the five clubs to leave the league “to play unsanctioned hockey,” the current scheduling decisions will remain in place. Currently, the implication for team standings and playoff format is still unknown.

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