Late last night information surfaced that the Duluth Clydesdales of the Superior International Junior Hockey League may be folding immediately. TJHN reached out to Clydesdales General Manager Butch Williams this morning to get clarification on what if any issues with the team existed.
Williams explained that the Clydesdales were not in dire financial straights as some rumors were reporting. Williams confided to TJHN what is a minimal amount of debt to the SIJHL for league dues, and a minimal amout of operating debt associated with the team. Neither of these debts amount to anything near a crisis level that would force the team to fold.
The problems are player related. With the “card system” in place for Canadian Hockey League sanctioned teams, the Clydesdales are down to one remaining player card. Deceminated by injuries as late, the Clydesdales can not sign new players to replace the injured players.
Another problem is what may be perceived as a “poaching” issue.
Gone are three players from the Clydesdales to the Arizona Redhawks of the Western States Hockey League. The SIJHL is sanctioned by Hockey Canada and the Clydesdales are sanctioned by both Hockey Canada and USA Hockey. The WSHL is sanctioned by AAU, and because no reciprocating agreement exists, players can move between the two governing bodies with no immediate reprecusions.
The problem for these players exists down the road. Any player with junior eligibility left can be placed upon USA Hockey Suspension nation wide if they have not completed their financial obligations to any USA Hockey team. If in the future these players look for a USA Hockey team, they can not play again until the Clydesdales are paid what they may be owed.
Todays and tomorrows games have been cancelled in order to allow the Clydesdales more time to get healthy and be able to ice the minimum amount of required players for next tuesdays game. TJHN will update this story as it continues to develop.