This afternoon Ice Hockey Australia announced via statement on their Facebook page that the Australian Junior Ice Hockey League is ready to go. Andrew Hewitt with more.
Earlier this afternoon, Ice Hockey Australia (IHA), the governing body of the sport in Australia announced via its Facebook account that the much rumoured Australian Junior Ice Hockey League (AJIHL) will go ahead later this year.
There has been murmurs and gossip doing the rounds within the Ice Hockey community over the past 12 months in regards to a potential national hockey league for juniors and with today’s announcement these rumours can now be confirmed.
The AJIHL will start on the weekend of the 20th/21st of October and consist of nine double-header rounds with the AJIHL Finals to be played at the Medibank Icehouse in Melbourne on the 9th and 10th of March.
The league will consist of four teams in its inaugural season; two from Ice Hockey New South Wales (IHNSW) and two from Ice Hockey Victoria (IHV) with plans to include a further two from Ice Hockey Western Australia (IHWA) in time for the start of the 2013/14 season.
This will serve as a stepping stone to the programs of the National Junior Teams as well as the AIHL which can only be seen as a great growth initiative for the sport in this country.
This will only help to build the sport in Australia, however cost at any level let alone juniors is a major factor. Regular travel and the constant updating of gear to keep the standard of a national competition will add to an already expensive sport for junior to compete in.
Some may also see the formation of two teams from NSW and two from VIC as a continuation of the dominance Australia’s two most populous states, however one can only envisage that this has been a deliberate act to keep costs at a minimum and the league a viable option moving forward.
This is a venture that will only help to secure the future of hockey in Australia. Not just at the AIHL level but in the lower senior leagues throughout the state associations. Looking outside the leagues within Australia, this progression will also strengthen the National Team programs as they look to continue their impressive recent performances.
HSN contacted IHA for further comment, however they were unavailable at the time of publishing.
by Andrew Hewitt
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