The Cold Lake Jr. A Aeros came to Cold Lake Council looking for help securing referees for the upcoming season.
Axel Axmann went to Cold Lake City Council to ask for $10,000 to help with costs for the referee funding. Last season the Aero’s spent $15,000 in officiating fees.
Council has planned to discuss the funding request during its June 27, 2023 meeting.
Axel Axmann explained the Aeros are part of the Canadian American Junior Hockey League (CAKHL), which is a private league, and being in a private league comes with challenges.
“We struggle to get referees to come to our games. The local Minor Hockey referee in Chief has advised local hockey referees should they referee or a linesman in one of our games they will no longer be able to referee in Minor hockey games.”
Axmann says this is causing the team to get refs from Edmonton, Red Deer, and even in Calgary. An example brought up by a referee living in Edmonton that cost up to eight hundred dollars just to come to one game.
During the meeting councilor Vicki Levebre asked why other refs were not allowed to official games in the Aeros league.
Axmann says refs under Hockey Alberta/Canada are pressured not to work with what Hockey Alberta/Canada deems as an outside league.
Hockey Alberta’s Operational policy: non-sanctioned hockey last updated on October 21, 2021, says these “non-sanctioned” organizations do not support the development of Hockey Alberta or the programs of the Members and choose instead, in many instances, to utilize resources already developed by Hockey Canada and its Members.
“Because Non-Sanctioned Games operate outside of our structure, Hockey Alberta has no way of ensuring that those Leagues implement many of the fundamental safeguards inherent in Hockey Canada sanctioned programs. As a result, those Leagues may not be using the same Playing Rules that Hockey Canada has implemented to protect player safety and may not provide adequate insurance for their participants.”
Any Official who works in a non-sanctioned program will no longer have access to the Hockey Canada insurance program for any injuries that may occur as a result of that participation. Officials will also not be eligible to be selected by Hockey Alberta or Hockey Canada for any Regional, National or International assignments or be eligible to participate as an official in Hockey Alberta’s Officiating Development Programs.
This year the Aeros will have to raise their ticket prices past last year’s 5 dollar prices to help with the costs this year.