JWHL team coming to Kimberley

Women's junior hockey league expanding to Kimberley,

Kimberley will be the hometown of a new junior hockey team, a women’s team that plays in a league dedicated to providing opportunities for young women to develop into collegiate student-athletes.

The Junior Women’s Hockey League announced on Thursday, March 17, that it has approved three new teams for the next season, which will mark the league’s 10-year anniversary.

Mikko Makela, former NHL player and longtime Warner Hockey School coach, will coach the team. Ridley College in St. Catherines, Ont., and the Chicago “Young Americans” (Chicago, IL), will also begin play for 2016-2017.

A press release from the league said that Makela knows the JWHL well and will be able to bring elite players to Kimberley. The league quoted the Kimberley Academy as saying they “are thrilled” ‎at the opportunity presented by the JWHL to be joining one of the premier female hockey leagues in North America.

“We are very excited to build on the long hockey tradition of our community by adding an elite female program to the renowned Dynamiter hockey history.”

The Junior Women’s Hockey League was established in 2007 by Bill Driscoll and Kush Sidhu. It started with four teams, and has since expanded to more than a dozen in Canada and the U.S.Teams in the JWHL are assigned to a division (East or West), based mostly on where the organizations are located (but not always).

Each team plays against the other teams in its division 3 times and against the teams in the other division two times during the regular season for a 27 game regular season.

Following the regular season, a playoff is held to determine the JWHL Champion.

“The JWHL has been successful at developing players because of our commitment to our teams and athletes,” said JWHL co-founder Kush Sidhu said. “With a few teams leaving the JWHL, we are able to take this opportunity to bring in three solid and proven partners who will help us execute on our mission going forward.”

Plans for the 2016-2017 including schedules and special events will be announced soon on the league website www.jwhl.org.