The SHL is growing… and growing up. Last week, the league announced plans to expand to 12 teams in 2018. This week, SHL Commissioner Perry Mitchell revealed that the SHL will be adding a minor league, the Continental Hockey League, which will take the ice next season.
“This is the next step in our evolution as a league,” said Commissioner Mitchell. “It demonstrates the level of success we’ve experienced over the last two seasons.”
The owners began discussing the idea of a minor league at the beginning of the current season. “There was a sense that we wanted to be able to start developing our own younger players, rather than stick them on a reserve list and have them ride the bench,” said the commissioner. “Creating our own pipeline for player development will allow us to stick around for years to come.”
In addition, league sources noted that the creation of a minor league will provide additional flexibility for next season’s expansion draft and in making trades.
The teams in the CHL will have a one-to-one affiliate relationship with the SHL. The initial lineup of CHL teams (and their parent clubs) are listed below:
Baltimore Blue Crabs (Washington)
Cleveland Centurions (Michigan)
Maine Moose (Quebec)
Oshawa Drive (Hamilton)
Virginia Rhinos (Saskatchewan)
Albuquerque Screaming Eagles (Hershey)
Minnesota Freeze (Anchorage)
Muncie Squirrels (Dakota)
Omaha Ashcats (Seattle)
Utah Owls (New York)