The board of directors of the inaugural Superior International Junior Hockey League and representatives from the seven teams nixed the idea of putting a two-fight rule into effect this season, citing costs and reputation as the major reasons.
Instead, players automatically will be ejected from games after one fight.
The two-fight rule would have cost teams an additional $3,500—on top of the $13,500 league entry fee. Of that, $2,000 was to go the Canadian Hockey Association to implement the rule and $1,500 towards medical insurance.
“This year, they’re kind of working on the budget. We have to make sure we keep the costs down as much as possible,” SIJHL president Jerry Blazino said.
But more importantly, Blazino said putting a two-fight rule would have stymied the hockey and presented an “immature atmosphere.”
“And I’ve seen that kind of hockey. It happens everywhere,” he noted. “It’s a part of our hockey but when I go to a game, I like to see hockey and not fights.”
He added Shawn Jourdain, president of the local Borderland Thunder franchise, raised the argument at a meeting Saturday in Thunder Bay.
“[Jourdain] stressed that putting together a nice, clean program was very important for presenting ourselves to other leagues and U.S. colleges,” Blazino said.
Jourdain said it was important not to lose sight of why the league was started in the first place.
“We’re supposed to be developmental league. If we go to a two-fight rule, this will just promote fighting,” he argued.
“Our objective is to move our kids along. And while we might have one or two that might jump to the bigger level, they’re basically looking for that scholarship to play college hockey,” he added.
Saturday’s meeting was a final discussion ground used to finalize the rest of the SIJHL’s rules. Blazino said a bare-bones Web site—www.sijhl.org—lists league and tournament schedules.
All seven squads will hit the ice for a showcase tournament Sept. 14-16 in Thunder Bay.
The Borderland Thunder, owned by Couchiching First Nation, will play their very first game Sept. 14 at 8 a.m. against the Featherman Hawks, a First Nations team based in Thunder Bay.