Spokane Braves withdraw from 2022/23 KIJHL season
The international will be missing from the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) again during the 2022/23 season as the Spokane Braves have informed the league it would not be able to commit to operating by an August 1 deadline.
“The Braves have been working hard over the last number of months in preparation to rejoin the KIJHL this fall and celebrate their 50th season,” said Commissioner Jeff Dubois. “The Braves’ primary challenge has been recruiting players at a time when athletes and team staff must be fully vaccinated in order to enter into Canada.
“Despite their best efforts, the Braves look unlikely to be able to fill a roster of players who meet that requirement, and we reached a point where a decision needed to be made as to whether our season would proceed with or without Spokane. To be clear, we fully support those measures that have been taken to keep our communities safe from COVID, and we look forward to the Spokane Braves rejoining the KIJHL as soon as they are able to do so.”
“The Spokane Braves are very disappointed that we will not be hitting the ice in September as planned,” said Braves owner Bob Tobiason. “We thank all our volunteers, sponsors and prospective players for their continued understanding and patience, and we remain committed to competing as the KIJHL’s lone American team in 2023.”
As a result of Spokane’s withdrawal, the KIJHL has made a number of adjustments to its 2022/23 regular season schedule.
The five Eddie Mountain Division teams that were scheduled to play two games each against Spokane will instead make up those games against divisional opponents. These five games are as follows:
Tuesday, January 10: Fernie Ghostriders at Creston Valley Thunder Cats;
Tuesday, January 31: Creston Valley Thunder Cats at Kimberley Dynamiters;
Sunday, February 5: Kimberley Dynamiters at Golden Rockets;
To Be Announced: Columbia Valley Rockies at Fernie Ghostriders;
To Be Announced: Golden Rockets at Columbia Valley Rockies.
Two additional games between Eddie Mountain Division and Neil Murdoch Division opponents have been rescheduled:
Friday, November 4: Golden Rockets at Beaver Valley Nitehawks (previously scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 6);
Friday, November 18: Columbia Valley Rockies at Castlegar Rebels (previously scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 20).