SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – It’s a tough day for scrappers in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League, as the league has taken steps to eradicate fighting.
In perhaps the biggest news coming out Friday’s annual general managers’ meeting, the league adopted a Code of Discipline handed down by the Canadian Junior A Hockey League (CJHL), the collective body for the nation’s junior A leagues.
The new code enforces a “one fight rule,” meaning players assessed a five-minute fighting major will also be handed a game misconduct.
The rule was in effect in five of the CJHL’s nine leagues last season. It’s part of an effort in recent years to reduce the number of fights in a game, which started with automatic suspensions for players with five or more fighting majors. This past fall, the CJHL officially endorsed the one-fight rule for the rest of its leagues.
Also ratified after some discussion was a motion to shorten the season to 48 games. Over the last three years, the league had played a 52-game schedule. The move is an effort to eliminate the need for weeknight games, to free up time for students. In doing so, the league hopes to attract more university students to play.
The schedule will be implemented on a one-year trial basis before undergoing review.
“I felt the meeting this morning went very well”, said Derryl Smith. “There was plenty of good discussion and everyone left in a generally positive mood. For me, that’s a sign that it was a success.”