The Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) and the Western Hockey League are maintaining their partnership over the next three seasons.
“The CSSHL has become an important part of the player development system in Western Canada and the WHL is please to extend our commitment as an official partner of the league over the next three seasons,” said WHL commissioner Ron Robison in a press release. “This season alone, 90 WHL prospects are continuing their development in the CSSHL and the WHL is pleased to continue supporting these players as they pursue their hockey and academic goals.”
Along with being recognized as an official partner of the CSSHL, which has 10 Okanagan Hockey Academy teams, including OHA Edmonton, the WHL will be a presenting sponsor and awards supplier for the CSSHL Championships.
“The CSSHL is very pleased to partner with the WHL in this three year agreement,” said CSSHL chairperson Andy Oakes. “The WHL is the premier development ground for young hockey players in Western Canada and Western United States and we are excited to be working with them. This agreement will open doors between both leagues that ultimately will create opportunities for the players in the CSSHL. As we strive to be the leaders in education based hockey in the country this is another step moving the league forward in a positive manner.”
A total of 90 former CSSHL student athletes were on WHL opening weekend rosters, while over 80 WHL draft picks are currently competing in the CSSHL. Forty-two CSSHL student athletes were selected at the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, including five in the first round.
The WHL was founded with seven teams in 1966 and now consists of 22 member clubs, with 17 based in the four Western Canadian provinces and five in Washington and Oregon state. The WHL is a leading supplier of talent to the National Hockey League, Canada’s national teams and Canadian Interuniversity Sport hockey as well as offering top young prospects in Western Canada and the U.S. the opportunity to reach their full potential both on and off the ice, by providing an ideal environment to develop as a hockey player while not compromising their academic goals.
The CSSHL was established in 2009 and has grown to feature 19 sport schools and 60 teams across all four Western Canadian provinces as well as the state of Idaho. The league was designed specifically for elite level student athletes, giving them the opportunity to increase their skills off and on the ice, while also providing them with a high level of competition and exposure. Currently, the CSSHL includes seven different divisions at the Bantam, Midget and Female levels.