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This article was published 12/10/2018 (1202 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Not only will the St. Malo Junior Warriors be marking a significant milestone this year as they celebrate their 25th season, they also will be joining a new league this year called the Capital Region Junior Hockey League.
The Warriors, since their inception in 1993, first competing in the Manitoba Junior ‘B’ Hockey League, then the Keystone Junior Hockey League, having skated to several championships along the way, will be looking to do more of the same in the fledgling CRJHL beginning this season.
St. Malo lost in the Keystone Junior Hockey League finals last spring to the Peguis Juniors.
This year the Warriors have joined four other Winnipeg and area teams to form the CRJHL, predominantly to reduce the amount of travel required in past seasons in the KJHL.
Along with the Warriors, the new Junior ‘B’ loop includes the Selkirk Fishermen, North Winnipeg Satelites, Arborg Ice Dawgs and Lundar Falcons, who also all competed in the KJHL in past years.
The CRJHL will include players 16-21 years of age.
The inaugural CRJHL game will take place tonight (Friday) at St. Malo as the Warriors will host the Selkirk Fishermen at 8:00 p.m.
Each team will play a 32-game regular season schedule.
Warriors’ head coach and general manager Ralph Collette says there were a number of reasons in taking this step to form a new league, teams which will also be within a maximum 90-minute drive from Winnipeg.
With the extensive travel to communities in northern Manitoba, it was getting increasingly more difficult to get commitments from players because of the time away from work or studies.
Collette says with the Humboldt Broncos tragedy last spring, it also brought into focus other aspects with all the bus travel. "Travel costs were also enormous," said Collette.
He says he has had more interest in players wanting to join the team this year because there is less travel involved. He says there has also been interest from other teams wanting to join the league following this season.
The KJHL will continue to operate with the northern Manitoba teams this year.
Playoff formats for the new CRJHL have not yet been announced.
Meanwhile, Collette says the Keystone Cup, which was the Western Canadian Junior ‘B’ Hockey Championship, which was not held last year, is something that the CRJHL teams would like to be able to compete for, "we are currently negotiating with the Keystone Cup."
After Friday’s season opener, the next game for the Warriors will be Tuesday, Oct. 16 versus North Winnipeg at 8:00 p.m. at Mosienko Arena.