The Smithers Steelheads and Prince Rupert Rampage take part in a game during the Steelheads’ last season in the CIHL. (File photo)

Expansion newcomers bolster CIHL

Smithers and Hazelton set to join the league this season

The Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) will have a pair of new teams taking the ice this season as Smithers and Hazelton get set to join the league.

The additions were confirmed at the CIHL annual general meeting in May, and will bump the league up to seven teams, its highest total since the Prince Rupert Rampage joined the league back in 2009. The Smithers Steelheads ceased operations after the 2016-17 season. Hazelton has not had a team in the CIHL since the Wolverines folded after the 2011-12 season.

CIHL president and Rampage general manager Ron German is excited for the move, saying it strengthens the league and also makes the idea of joining more attractive for other small towns. There have been discussions with Vanderhoof about bringing back their team in the future as well; the town previously boasting the Omineca Ice in the league. Cariboo town Lac la Hache also used to have a CIHL team.

The Prince Rupert Rampage downed the Kitimat Ice Demons 11-3 in a game at the Civic Centre last season. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

READ MORE: Two Rampage players named in the CIHL regular season awards

German says the expansion will also allow local hockey fans more variety in the number of teams visiting the Civic Centre over the course of the 16 game season.

“We’ll get a little more variety than just Terrace and Kitimat all the time,” German said.

While the developments are good news for the long term health of the league, and the state of hockey in the north, German explained that the new teams will likely come into conflict with Prince Rupert and the surrounding area while they build their new roster. CIHL teams often feature players from out of town, meaning there will be more competition for the region’s top talent this year.

READ MORE: Junior A hockey on the horizon for Prince Rupert player

The final schedule has just been finalized, so fans will soon know when the Rampage will hit the ice, and when they will get their first look at the new CIHL squads. The season will start in late September.

Aside from Prince Rupert and the expansion teams, the league consists of the Terrace River Kings, Kitimat Ice Demons, Quesnel Kangaroos and Williams Lake Stampeders.


Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
Alex Kurial 
Send Alex email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Two temporary voyages between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan added to AMHS schedule

October and November will see service to Alaska during the last week of each month

Police still looking for more info on missing mushroom picker in Nass Valley

65-year-old Greg Agnew was reported missing on Sept. 30

Conrad is giving thanks

Conrad students celebrate the holiday with a special meal

Last house standing from Third Ave. fire demolished

Leftover debris has also been cleared from the site

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands in Prince Rupert

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

WATCH: Fire department’s open house the hottest event of the weekend

Fire Prevention Week comes to a close with family fun, and some big numbers for charity

Potent power play paces Canucks to 5-1 win over Detroit

Miller nets a pair as Vancouver wins third straight

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

Police still looking for more info on missing mushroom picker in Nass Valley

65-year-old Greg Agnew was reported missing on Sept. 30

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

Most Read