In 2012, the MWJHL was formed and was said to be starting with sixteen Tier II franchises. The end of the MWJHL saw eight franchises finish the season in one regard or another.
Without rehashing what was a rather humorous start to last year, the MWJHL is said to be seeking stability in 2013. The question becomes how to accomplish that stability.
A few weeks ago, the Growl left the MWJHL and stopped payment on its final check to the league while applying to join a USA Hockey sanctioned league. One of the Growl owners is now seeking re-entry to the MWJHL.
Also a few weeks ago, the Rhinelander Street Cats were told they would not be welcome back in the MWJHL. This week, they have been welcome to come back and move to Alpena Michigan as long as they can produce an ice contract.
Again, a few weeks ago, the dormant Traverse City franchise was sold after being moved to Marquette Michigan. The same seller group also owns the Hartland Hounds. Now that the transaction is complete, sources in Traverse City are reporting the Hounds are looking to move to Traverse City.
Meanwhile, two MWJHL teams are looking to join USA Hockey sanctioned leagues. Yes, two teams preaching loyalty to the MWJHL are seeking entry into USA Hockey santioned leagues while preaching that loyalty.
If this all seems a little confusing to you, it is too many. In a league said to be searching for stability, examples of foundation building do not appear to the casual observer.
Stability could have been found in expansion of teams to fill in geographic targets limiting or becoming more efficient in travel spending. Selling and moving franchises that exist or were dormant does not sound the horn of stability but rather rings the bell of indecisiveness and instability.
While the MWJHL sits in a prime geographical footprint to recruit and develop players, the league itself remains under scrutiny from those same players they would hope to recruit. Leadership is failing to address the most critical items that would provide the MWJHL the stability it says they seek.
Until the MWJHL addresses multiple issues it will continue to be viewed as the destination for players who have exhausted all other options. This is not something any league would ever aspire to become.