The Minnesota Junior Hockey League is pleased to announce an affiliation agreement with eight teams from the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League; one that will transform the MnJHL into a 16-team, two-division grooming grounds for college hockey prospects.
The move, which was mutually agreed upon between all parties, will have the eight clubs coming over from the GLJHL playing in what will be called the Great Lakes Division of the Minnesota Junior Hockey League.
The eight teams will be full members of the MnJHL, a quest that started a year ago but wasn't completed until this week.
"We are more than excited to have this opportunity to bring these teams into the fold and to expand our league footprint," said Minnesota Junior Hockey League president Ralph Hayne. "We have our work cut out for us, but we intend to make this transition a seamless one and as quick as possible."
Details of how the affiliation agreement will work in regards to scheduling for the 2012-13 season will be announced in the near future.
As of now, the eight teams will be joining the Minnesota Junior Hockey League to play in the Great Lakes Division are the Wisconsin Saints, the Wisconsin Rampage, the Chicago Junior Bulldogs, the Fort Wayne Federals, the Tri-City Ice Hawks, the Wooster Oilers, the St. Louis Frontenacs and the Kalkaska Roughriders.
Prior to then, the MnJHL consisted of the Dells Ducks, Edina Lakers, Hudson Crusaders, Maple Grove Energy, Minnesota Owls, Rochester Ice Hawks, Twin Cities Northern Lights and Steele County Blades.
The MnJHL played as a seven-team league in 2011-12. An eighth member was added in the expansion Blades, which will begin play in 2012-13.
"We think this is a move that will beneift all of junior hockey as a whole," said Wisconsin Rampage owner and president John Blankenship. "The MnJHL's vision and what they are about mirrors what we want to do. It made sense to join forces and help turn the MnJHL into the best junior hockey league in the country."