Six teams who had previously played in the Western States Hockey League announced on Tuesday they have left the AAU-sanctioned circuit to form the Can-Am Junior Hockey League. The new CAJHL will continue their regular season with a few schedule changes to crown their first champion this spring.
Five of the member teams (Barrhead Bombers, Cold Lake Aeros, Edmonton Eagles, Hinton Timberwolves, Vegreville Vipers) are based in Alberta, Canada while the Vernal Oilers play out of Utah.
Reasons for the change included in the league press release were “change in leadership and direction is necessary” as well as “the COVID pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and enhanced approach are required to provide value and support for the players wishing to move on to the next level of hockey.”
For the remainder of the season the league will govern themselves. A search for a league commissioner is underway while any announcement would not come until the off-season.
No mention was made of the teams who are sitting out the 2021-22 season although the Bellingham Blazers did share the news on their social media channels. The Seattle Totems have been idle while the Rogue Valley Royals are owned by Ron White – president of the WSHL.
Team owners recently met while competing in Las Vegas during the Western States Shootout. Owners expressed their concerns with White and discussed options and opportunities moving forward, but in the end were not satisfied. A decision was made during the holiday break to to form the new Junior circuit.