The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) announced today a change to their playoff format, which would move the Rockets into fourth in their division, meaning they have now clinched the last playoff spot.
The Creston Valley Thunder Cats, who were one spot ahead of the Rockets in the Eddie Mountain Division, have now been moved to the Neil Murdoch Division, where they will be seeded in third according to their regular season record.
The move means that there are now only four teams in the Rocket’s division, which means everyone will make playoffs.
The Grand Forks Border Bruins will be the lone team out of the playoffs in the conference.
Prior to the move, the Rockets were in fifth in the Eddie Mountain Division, and would have played a crossover play-in to qualify for the playoffs, where they would have competed in the Neil Murdoch Division due to the crossover. This would have created logistical issues with the amount of travel involved, according to Commissioner Jeff Dubois.
“While it was not our intention to deviate from the playoff format that was announced in October, it had become increasingly likely over the past two months that it could produce a first round series involving significant travel and expense between a West Kootenays-based team and the Golden Rockets, who represent the furthest possible conference opponent,” says Commissioner Jeff Dubois.
“In investigating potential alternatives, there became a clear consensus amongst all of our Kootenay Conference teams, including Golden and Creston Valley, that making this change was the best option competitively and financially for all participating teams from both divisions.”
The Rockets will now play the divisional winner in the first round of playoffs, which will either be Columbia Valley or Kimberley.
The Rockets are 12-24-3 on the season, with 27 points.