The KIJHL, did what so few leagues can resist doing, they rejected two expansion opportunities. This is probably the best and most recent examples of team and league operators making the decision to improve hockey rather than enriching themselves with franchise fee’s.
Most times it is nearly impossible for leagues to resist the opportunity to expand. Not accepting franchise fee’s or resisting the urge to increase the “footprint” or the brand reach is a very hard decisions to make.
The KIJHL got it right. They not only got it right for themselves, but they got it right for the small towns looking to secure an expansion franchise.
Everyone understands the “thought” that it would be great to have a team in these small locations. Community pride and entertainment options all make sense.
What doesn’t make sense is increased travel costs for the other teams. Or the risk involved if one of these small town locations can not afford to keep a team after a few seasons. What happens when the money runs out? Or, what happens when the money people had hopped would be there, does not materialize?
I am sure some people are disappointed. At the same time, I am sure some current KIJHL owners have just collectively let out a deep sigh of relief.
The KIJHL is doing good things. They are working on improving the product they currently have. That’s smart team and league management. You cant improve through expansion, that approach has never worked though many have tried. Bigger is not always better.
There may be an opportunity for those locations to purchase and relocate a team. There may not be. Twenty teams in any Junior B league is more than enough.
Congratulations on showing self restraint to all KIJHL owners. You have done what few could resist and in doing so have shown your true commitment. To maintaining the integrity of the league, and improving the quality of play that it offers. That is simply smart business.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher