SPORTS – A’s return to NPHL, Jets next?

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The North Peace Hockey League could swell to nine teams before the 2016-17 season begins.

The Grande Prairie Athletics returned to the league after teams voted unanimously to re-admit the team at the spring meeting in Fairview April 2.

The A’s were on a leave of absence.

Before taking a year off in 2015-16, the A’s had the longest consecutive streak of being in the NPHL at 17 years, having joined in 1998-99. The A’s won their only league title in 2009-10 and won two Lawrence Cup titles for placing first overall in 2001-02 and 2014-15.

Team spokesman Darren Walker told delegates at the meeting that the A’s were ready to go, having finances in place and a committed player base.

“We’re 99.9 per cent sure we’ll be back,” said Walker.

The A’s were granted full voting privileges immediately.

The league then turned its attention to the Jets’ application. Delegate Rick Yong submitted a player’s list and said the community was starved for senior hockey.

“It’s the only game in town,” said Young.

He added the club had a player base ready to play, and added the team was still recruiting players to be competitive.

Under the NPHL Constitution regarding the admittance of new teams, the existing teams were given until April 10 to submit their vote on the application.

Young also said the Jets were “100 per cent sure” they were ready to enter the league, they were willing to play a full interlocking schedule, and had scheduling venue in their building.

The Jets first entered the NPHL in 1975-76 and played every year until 2012-13, except for 1986-87. The Jets have never won an NPHL title or Lawrence Cup title.

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