Batchewana Attack and Espanola Rivermen of the new Canadian International Hockey League, in conjunction with the host Traverse City Hounds and their Midwest Jr. Hockey League partners, the Soo Firehawks, are slated to take to the ice as part of the first-ever, International College Classic Summit Showcase junior hockey tournament.
The event, to be hosted by two-time defending MWJHL regular-season and playoff champion Traverse City, will take place at the Hounds home arena, CENTRE Ice, this Friday and Saturday.
The CIHL and the MWJHL are both members of the sanctioned United Hockey Union.
As well, Batchewana and Espanola will both play games this weekend against the Kalkaska Rhinos, an independent junior team that is coached by former National Hockey League forward Krzysztof Oliwa.
“As a former NHL player, seeing the vision that Tim Clayden of CIHL Hockey and his UHU partner Scott Gardiner of the MWJHL and what they have planned for their league players moving forward suggests to me they each have their players interests at heart. Their shared league plans has to be one of the best laid visions I have seen in junior hockey to date,” said Oliwa.
“Providing the players with an opportunity to play in front of college scouts on a regular season basis is amazing and every athlete’s dream to be able to compete and showcase the hard work they have each put in. Myself as a coach, I only want all players to succeed at every opportunity that we can provide as junior hockey team operators and the CIHL vision is certainly working diligently in that direction each day,” Oliwa added.
Beyond the teams competing, various techniques and systems will be on display as all five squads will feature players from the United States, Canada and Europe – lending to a very diverse international player pool that will be taking part this weekend.
“This will be a very exciting weekend for our two teams, as well as those joining us from the CIHL,” said MWJHL commissioner Scott Gardiner. “As the MWJHL grows, along with CIHL Hockey joining the AAU this season, we are always looking at new ways of improving and moving the game forward and this showcase will serve that exact purpose.”
CIHL Hockey president Tim Clayden exclaimed that, “my first-ever phone call regarding our CIHL Hockey vision was with Mr. Gardiner, and it is a very exciting time to see our vision start to come into play. Scotty has a very good handle on Canadian junior hockey as he himself was an active member of the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League and he has also been a very active member executing the growth of junior hockey in the State of Michigan. This is just the tip of the ice visions we have shared as we plan to introduce three more very exciting college showcase weekends this season as well as our own CIHL Hockey Showcase in Collingwood, Ontario later this coming January, 2015.
“USA-based showcase weekends will be a very big part of CIHL Hockey regular season play moving forward, and why not, Canadian kids want to play in the USA seeking maximum NCAA and ACHA college exposure and both American and International lads want an experience of playing Canadian junior hockey teams. It’s a great match,” Clayden concluded.
Friday, September 26
12:30 p.m – Batchewana Attack vs Kalkaska Rhinos
6:15 p.m. – Soo Firehawks vs. Espanola Rivermen
8:15 p.m. – Traverse City Hounds vs. Batchewana Attack
Saturday, September 27
11:30 p.m – Espanola Rivermen vs Kalkaska Rhinos
6 p.m. – Soo Firehawks vs. Batchewana Attack
8 p.m. – Traverse City Hounds Espanola Rivermen
“We are very much looking forward to the beginning of our own league vision of helping players advance as we promote them to their next level of play and that most certainly includes playing in front of NCAA and ACHA colleges along with our participating United Hockey Union partners of the Midwest Junior Hockey League,” said CIHL Hockey Director of Operations Randy Blake.