TJHN sources are reporting that the Superior International Junior Hockey League will play the 2013-2014 season with six teams.
While some details are still yet to be ironed out sources are reporting that the SIJHL will have teams in Spooner Wisconsin, Hoyt Lakes Minnesota, Fort Frances Ontario, Ear Falls Ontario, Dryden Ontario,and Thunder Bay Ontario.
While the Sioux Lookout Flyers were hopping to return for the 2013-2014 campaign sources are now reporting that the Flyers will not be able to return from dormancy this season. Those same sources are also reporting that Sioux Lookout is looking to make a return in 2014 with a new ownership group.
A six member league in 2013-2014 could be something that makes the SIJHL stronger moving into the future. With a smaller footprint travel costs should be reduced.
Fewer teams, means less competition in the local marketplace for local players. This should help all teams in their recruiting efforts. Recruiting was an issue for several teams last year.
Another advantage not being over looked by players is the lower cost to play in the SIJHL compared to other leagues based in Ontario. The SIJHL will likely be one of the, if not the least expensive Tier II leagues in Ontario. Compared to the CCHL and OJHL player fees will be dramaticaly lower.
Contraction was a strengthening and purposeful decision made by the OJHL a few years ago. If the OJHL is to be used as an example of how you can raise the level of play within a league by reducing the amount of players within a league, then the SIJHL may also experience that raise in level of play.
TJHN will update this story as more information becomes available.