The CIHL was officially announced on April 8, 2014 with the unveiling of its website.The league was started by Tim Clayden, current owner of the Espanola Rivermen, a team that just finished their first year in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and then left.
In May 2014, the league was accepted into the Amateur Athletic Union's United Hockey Union The AAU provides insurance and oversight to its leagues, but is not a recognized governing body of ice hockey by Hockey Canada or the International Ice Hockey Federation.
The league initiailly announced two other confirmed teams other than Espanola, the Bracebridge Phantoms and the Colborne Cramahe Hawks (formerly Bobcaygeon Bucks) from the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League. A week after announcing Bracebridge as a team, the team decided to stay with the GMHL under new ownership.
In late July the Central Ontario Stars withdrew from the league to join the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League as the Shelburne HTI Stars. On August 27th, the Toronto Junior Hockey Academy was added as the 8th team replacing the Stars.
The league withdrew from the AAU/UHU on November 10, 2014. In the internet article the league stated that the departure was over the need for additional insurance required for US players playing in Canada and Canadian players playing in the US. The league also stated that the AAU was preventing the league from expanding it playing area of Southern Ontario to include areas in Michigan and other areas south of the Great Lakes. The league announced that they purchased additional insurance for the players from a different source. The same release announced the immediate addition of the Michigan-based Kalkaska Rhinos. The league release stated that the league and its members will be under the sanction of the Canadian International Amateur Hockey Federation.
On November 13th, an article on the hockeynewsnorth.com website stated that the league had revamped its' schedule for the weekend of November 14-16 due to four teams (Collingwood, Colborne, Milton, and Toronto) not having insurance coverage and advising the teams not to play or even practice due to the issue. The same website had another posting on November 14th to clarify some of the issues and Colborne and Collingwood were having financial issues and Milton and Toronto were being hesitant in continuing due to the financial issues of the other two franchises leading both teams not to pay the league dues or insurance fees as well as the other two teams. The league also shifted its mid-season showcase (CIHL Winter College Classic) event to Kalkaska. The league has also had contact with the Detroit Fighting Irish of the Midwest Junior Hockey League and they will host a showcase tournament for the league in February. The league president, Tim Clayden stated that he hoped the teams will be able to return to the league for the balance of the season for the good of the players and their parents who already paid for the whole season. He also stated that if the teams wished to leave after the season they could.
On February 18th the league announced on its website that it had acquired a lease to play in a facility in Greater Sudbury. The league also stated that the ownership of the team has not been decided by the league and that the decision on who would own the team would be made in early summer.
The league announced in the same release that the league would be renamed as of the start of the 2015-16 season as the "CIHL Jr. Hockey Academy". "We made some mistakes and we realize that the academy hockey format is recognized throughout the world and is not considered outlawed. Moving in the direction of academy hockey gives us an opportunity to work with the all the major bodies in the hockey world and provide opportunities for the second-and-third-level-entry-players ." The league founder and president Tim Clayden further stated that the league would play an interlocking schedule with the Midwest Junior Hockey League and operate with four or five teams from northern Ontario and northern Michigan. According to an article on thejuniorhockeynews.com website. The league will be taking the 2015-16 season off to re-organize
Members (including former members)Edit
Potential member locationsEdit
- Barrie, Ontario
- Collingwood, Ontario
- Markham, Ontario
- Milton, Ontario
- Sudbury, Ontario
- Thornhill, Ontario
- Wexford, Ontario
- Bracebridge Phantoms (was to be renamed in the new league, but withdrew to rejoin the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League when new ownership was found.
- Central Ontario Stars withdrew from the league before playing to join the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League as the Shelburne HTI Stars; team was later sold and pushed back to 2015-16 start