SBD/Issue 181/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Central, Int'l Hockey Leagues To Merge, Form "AA" Level League

 

The Central Hockey League and Int'l Hockey League have entered into a letter of intent to form a "AA" level league beginning with the '10-11 season that will operate under the CHL moniker. Operating guidelines, including teams competing in the CHL, divisional alignment, the '10-11 regular-season schedule and various hockey operations issues will be discussed at the CHL league meetings that run today through Sunday in Gilbert, Ariz., and will continue at the June 21-23 IHL meetings in Las Vegas (CHL). In Louisiana, Roy Lang III noted the identity of the IHL will be "maintained through various aspects announced in the future." The CHL consisted of 15 teams and the IHL seven during the '09-10 season. CHL franchises in Amarillo and Corpus Christi, Texas, "have already been removed from the 2010-11 schedule," while Muskegon, Ill., "has dropped out of the IHL" (SHREVEPORT TIMES, 6/2). In Texas, Lee Scheide noted the Amarillo and Corpus Christi franchises "both have announced they will compete in the North American Hockey League." The CHL, "like the IHL, has been suffering from team's exiting because of financial situations the past two seasons." But the CHL at the same time "also has added teams" in Allen, Texas, Rapid City, S.D., and Independence, Mo. (ODESSA AMERICAN, 6/2). In Tulsa, Eric Bailey noted the CHL and IHL "are considered Double-A level leagues" and "fall below the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, which is considered a AAA league." The "only other 'AA' league remaining will be the East Coast Hockey League." CHL Tulsa Oilers Owner Jeff Lund said, "This will bring in new teams and new rivalries for our fans to see and experience. It will obviously help our league when you are adding teams. The league is growing" (TULSA WORLD, 6/2).

SORTING OUT THE DETAILS: In Indiana, Justin Cohn noted issues to be sorted out "include length of season, salary cap, roster makeup and a proposal for a collective bargaining agreement with the Professional Hockey Players' Association" (Ft. Wayne JOURNAL GAZETTE, 6/2). IHL Quad-City Mallards Managing Owner Chris Lencheski "predicted the two leagues will settle on playing by CHL rules -- enlisting its $10,450 weekly salary cap, 19-player roster and four-veteran limit." Lencheski "also predicted the league will play a 64-game CHL schedule that is two games fewer than the IHL was scheduled to play next year and six fewer games than the IHL played last winter" (QUAD-CITY TIMES, 6/2). The JOURNAL GAZETTE's Cohn noted the IHL hopes to remain "its own entity under an umbrella within the CHL." IHL Commissioner Dennis Hextall: "Right now we're going to work out all the details, but we've put a working agreement together, and we're scheduling between the two leagues. All the details will have to be worked out in the next two to three weeks" (JOURNALGAZETTE.com, 6/1). IHL Ft. Wayne Komets President Michael Franke added, "The thing you have to understand is that the CHL is a publicly traded company, so that goes into what you can and cannot say right now until we get the logistical stuff taken care of. With the Securities and Exchange Commission you can not promote any details until they are final and complete" (Ft. Wayne NEWS-SENTINEL, 6/2).

LABOR ISSUES KEY: In Texas, Brian Sandalow wrote "one of the, if not the biggest, issues figures to be related to the presence of the Professional Hockey Players' Association." CHL players in the spring of '08 "certified the PHPA and went on strike briefly in October of that year." However, the PHPA "is not in the IHL." Hextall "sounded optimistic" about reconciling that difference, though he is "not exactly sure how to do it." Hextall: "If you figure that one out let me know. That's going to be part of the conversation this week. It's going to get worked out" (McAllen MONITOR, 6/2).

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