Eight Teams Join The Minnesota Junior Hockey League

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Eight Teams Join the Minnesota Junior Hockey League

Smart people make smart business decisions. The Minnesota Junior Hockey League, USA Hockey Junior Council and eight former members of the GLJHL made some smart decisions. After a straw pole, an affiliation leading to full membership in the MNJHL is on the way for eight teams. The decision is expected to gain full approval in June at the USA Hockey Annual Congress.

New teams entering the league will be the Central Wisconsin Saints, Wisconsin Rampage, Chicago Bulldogs, Ft. Wayne Federals, Kalkaska Roughnecks (being relocated), St. Louis Frontenacs, Tri City Ice Hawks, and the Wooster Oilers. These eight teams will make up the new Eastern Division of the Minnesota Junior Hockey League.

Over night, the MNJHL goes from eight (including expansion Steele County Blades) to sixteen teams. Creating one of the largest and most well organized leagues in the United States. The territorial expansion will consume the Western Great Lakes region, while solidifying their presence in the Northern Mid West.

The Minnesota Junior Hockey League has been known to develop and promote players to the highest levels of junior and college hockey for nearly forty years. The only way to describe a program with this kind of longevity and continued development is successful.

Lead by Commissioner Rich Raknes, Director of Player Development Tom Brower, and an experienced group of owners, the MNJHL has placed themselve in an excellent position. A larger geographic area to recruit from, more exposure to Mid West College programs, and more teams to compete against will allow the league to continue to raise the level of play.

The USA Hockey Junior Council not only got this decision right for the team owners and arena operators, but they got it right for the players. Players now will have more opportunity, better competition, and more teams to play against. Most importantly, teams in the Minnesota League are held to higher operation standards than the GLJHL held owners to. This means a better junior hockey experience for all.

Often times many of us complain that USA Hockey moves too slowly, often times many of us complain that the rules may be too strict. But this time everyone came together quickly, efficiently and worked in the best interest of hockey. Well done, this is a great day for hockey.

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