Morinville Jets to host provincials in 2025

Above: Morinville Jets’ President Bent Melville stands outside his downtown office with the sign board for an upcoming game. A year from now, the Jets will host the Junior B provincials at the Morinville Leisure Centre. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

With a few games left in the Capital Junior Hockey League (CJHL) regular season and the Jets soon readying for playoffs, preparations for the 2024-2025 provincials are underway behind the scenes. Next year, the Jets will host the provincials from Apr. 2 to 6.

Morinville Jets’ President Brent Melville said there are five leagues in Alberta, and every five years, one of the CJHL’s 14 teams gets to host.

“Hockey Alberta put out a bid in November, and we put a bid forward for us hosting it,” Melville said, adding they were up against two other league teams for the honour. “What has changed in the league is they used to have eight teams in the provincials. Now there are only six, so we only need one rink. Before, you needed two rinks, so we couldn’t do it at that time.”

With the bid completed in late December, Melville discovered in mid-January that the Jets are hosting in 2025.

As the host team, the Jets are guaranteed a spot in provincials next year, along with one other CJHL team. Divisional winners from the leagues in Calgary, Northern Alberta, North-Eastern Alberta, and Central Alberta will also be invited.

Melville is looking forward to it as it is an opportunity for players to experience something they may not have in their career thus far. “It’s kind of a neat thing because winning the provincial championship is one thing, but being in it is another,” he said. “It’s quite an experience.

Although Melville said Hockey Alberta does a great job of putting many things in place for the host community, the Jets must secure sponsors and create a committee, which will commence well ahead of the event in the coming months.

Although the Jets are guaranteed a spot in next year’s provincials as the host, Melville is confident the Jets could have a chance at provincials this year and should do well when hosting next year.

“We have a very good team this year,” Melville said. “In Junior B, you are allowed four overage kids up to 21 years. We have one, whereas St. Albert has four, and most teams have four. Next year, we’ll have four. We’ll be an older team next year.”

While the event should provide some great hockey entertainment for locals, Melville sees the provincials as advantageous for Morinville and the broader region as five teams will be from out of town, and four of those from outside the Capital Region.

“They’ll be using the restaurants, the gas stations, everything, really, for five days,” Melville said. “It’s putting Morinville on the map, and people not realizing what we have. We have a fair amount to offer.

The Morinville Jets currently sit in second place in the CJHL’s West Division with no opportunity to be edged out of that spot by their closest rival. As such, the Jets will receive a bye in the first round of playoffs.

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