A new champion is guaranteed for this season of the North Peace Hockey League. A lack of players has forced the Spirit River Rangers to take a one year leave of absence.
The five-time defending champions of the North Peace Hockey League let president Jack McAvoy know about their decision on October 14th. As a result, a new schedule is being drawn up and the league says it aims to keep as many existing home dates as possible.
With the Rangers gone, there are now eight teams left in the NPHL. It’s expected their departure will lead to more travel time for most clubs.
Earlier this season, the High Prairie Regals and the Manning Comets returned after each taking a year off due to low player numbers. The Hythe Mustangs remain on hiatus, along with the Lakeland Eagles, who were denied a return to the NPHL in April 2016.