Calgary, AB -- The Western Hockey League concluded its Annual Meeting yesterday in Vancouver by announcing a decision has been made to maintain the current conference playoff format that has been in place for the past two seasons. The WHL Board of Governors agreed that the conference playoff format will remain in place for the next five years, through the 2013-14 season. Prior to adopting the conference format in 2007-08, the WHL first round of playoffs were based on divisional match-ups as opposed to conference seeding.
The WHL Board of Governors also agreed to adopt video replay during the regular season and playoffs commencing with the 2009-10 season. The WHL introduced video replay for the first time during the 2009 WHL Playoffs.
The WHL also announced it will be expanding its officiating development program to include video training centres for referees and additional linesmen training camps throughout Western Canada.
The WHL also adopted a new player recruitment strategy which will include the hiring of a Director of Player Recruitment who will focus on promoting the WHL Scholarship program and the overall benefits of playing in the WHL to top prospects in Western Canada and the United States.
The WHL has also adopted a new facility standard in which all WHL franchises will work toward installing in venue video display boards by the 2011-12 hockey season to further enhance the fan experience.
The WHL also announced that through the support of the WHL Alumni Association and its corporate sponsors the League will be introducing a series of new online post secondary education initiatives commencing with the 2009-10 season. These new initiatives will improve the access players will have to University courses while playing in the WHL.
“This year’s WHL Annual Meeting was very productive in that we have a clear consensus on the direction we are heading in many key areas within the League,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison, “The new initiatives we have adopted will allow us to enhance awareness of our education program and expand our commitment to development for the players and officials.”
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)