by Morinville News Staff
Morinville, along with five other western communities have been shortlisted for a Junior Western Provinces Hockey Association (WPHA) A team in 2018-19.
Western States Hockey League (WSHL) Commissioner Ron White visited Cold Lake Feb. 8 to announce the new Canadian locations joining the 25-year-old USA Junior hockey league.
The six shortlisted municipalities shortlisted to start teams in 2018 include Alberta communities Morinville, Edson, Hinton, Slave Lake, and Cold Lake, as well as Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. Four additional communities have expressed interest but are not as far along in planning and auditing their facilities for scheduling availability.
White was joined at the press conference by WPHA International Expansion Representative- Derek Prue and Seattle Totems owner Gordon Whitaker.
The WSHL’s main priority is developing players to get them to the next stage in their hockey and academic careers.
“We wanted to improve our league’s level of play and compete for college spots, so we made our own rules,” White said. “Last year on my team in Long Beach, we had five Canadian 20-year-olds that were aged out and wanted to keep playing. All five continue to play hockey for the University of Arkansas.”
In December of 2017 WSHL held their annual College Showcase in Las Vegas. At that event, 111 college scouts handed out 160 college or professional commitments out of 250 eligible players.
The WPHA say season ticket drives will begin in the shortlisted communities soon, and the league says equity positions have been arranged for local community and business leaders.