Status quo. What you saw for teams last year in the NPHL is what you will almost certainly see again this season.
NPHL holding its annual spring meeting in Fairview Tuesday night, with all eleven teams that participated in the 2012-13 campaign pledging to be back for '13-14. While nothing is set in stone until play actually begins in the fall, it appears all eleven clubs are viable for the next season.
As an expansion franchise last year, the Manning Comets were on probation all of last season. The other ten member teams readily voted to accept the Comets back as a full-fledged member of the league. League president Jack McAvoy went so far as to commend the Comets on how they handled being away from the league for five seasons by coming back stronger than ever, with a well-run organization and great community support.
The Horse Lake Chiefs, however, are not being admitted back into the league, after being granted a one year exemption from play this past season. Instead of sending anyone to represent the club, the Chiefs merely emailed the league and said they wanted back in. In an unamimous vote, the existing clubs rejected the Horse Lake petition.
Much of the discussion on the evening actually focused on how to settle ties in the standings, should two or more teams finish with an equal number of points. Since not all teams play the same number of games, this has been a matter of contention. Plenty of ideas were put forth, but ultimately it was decided to table the discussion until the league's fall meeting.
There had been talk going into the meeting that the Spirit River Rangers would be putting in a bid to host the Senior A/AA provincials. The Rangers are still considering that option, but are not entirely satisfied with how the provincials are structured. Until they can get some answers from Hockey Alberta, they will hold off on submitting a bid.
Also, there's a good chance that the Fort St John Flyers will participate in NPHL playoffs this coming season. The last two years the Flyers opted out, instead going the Allan Cup route. Team representatives say its unlikely they'll compete as a AAA squad again this coming year.
Flyers Finished (04/18/13)
It was a tough start for the Fort St. John Flyers, and things would only get worse from there as the Flyers fell to the Kenora Thistles 8-2 in quarter final play from the Allan Cup.
The Thistles would open the scoring 44 seconds into the first period as Jeff Richards put Kenora out in front, and by the time the first had come to an end, little was in doubt as Kenora led 6-0.
Scoring for the Flyers were David Alexander in the 2nd period, while Jeff Shipton rounded things out in the 3rd.
The host Bentley Generals ended up going on to win the Allan Cup Final, blanking the Clarenville Caribous 3-0 Saturday in Red Deer.
Rangers NPHL Champs (03/16/13)
Lakeland Eagles 1 @ Spirit River Rangers 10 -Rangers win series four games to none.
-Second Campbell Cup championship for Rangers in past three years.
-Mike Lefley named playoff MVP.
-Game was tied 1-1 after one, with Rangers up 3-1 thru forty minutes.
-Rangers put things away with seven unanswered goals in the third.
-Dan Nicholls and Jordan Hack each scored twice for Rangers.
-Tyler Cunninghan had lone goal for Eagles, who brought just 14 players.
-Shots on goal were 74-18 for Rangers.
-Seventh overall league title for the Rangers.
-Eagles have been to NPHL Finals seven times now, but have never won.
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