Sources are reporting that the Dallas Ice Jets U-18 program is being shelved for the 2013-2014 season.
While no official word has been made available, a visit to the Ice Jets website no longer lists a U-18 program as part of the organizations offerings for this season.
Citing differences with the Texas Amateur Hockey Association, sources are reporting that the Ice Jets struggled to recruit this summer when TAHA pulled its certification from the program. While a decision on that certification was expected late last week, no official word has been released to the public as of today.
The Ice Jets have long proven that they operated what many would call a “premiere” level Midget AAA program. Playing a mixed schedule against HPHL, NAPHL and Tier 1 Elite league teams over the last few seasons has provided many players with an increased level of visibility that many teams in Texas had not previously been afforded.
Many players have graduated from the Midget and WSHL Junior programs that have gone on to have very successful Junior Hockey careers.
Players from the Ice Jets program that have moved on recently include Nick Felan to the NAHL’s Corpus Christi Ice Rays, and Max Glashauser to the NOJHL’s Elliot Lake Bobcats. Goaltender A.J. Smith is attending main camp with the NAHL’s Lone Star Brahmas.
While it is technically possible for the U-18 program to make a return in the future, sources are saying it is unlikely unless a deal can be made with the Texas Amateur Hockey Association that would allow for re-certification of the program.
The Ice Jets are still planning on icing U-16 and U-15 teams for the 2013-2014 season. The question is, are there enough of those players to move up to the U-18 level in 2014-2015 to re-start the team?
TJHN will update this story as more information becomes available.