With the BCHL confirming that five Alberta teams have officially joined the league, the AJHL have released a statement of their own.
This afternoon (Feb. 1), the BCHL and the five Alberta teams released statements to confirm the Alberta teams had signed agreements to officially join the BCHL.
The announcement included details on how the five teams will be finishing the season, with a contained tournament to crown an Alberta champion followed by a match with the B.C. champion to cap the season off, all under the banner of the BCHL.
Soon after the announcement was sent out, the AJHL posted a statement on the "five defecting clubs."
"We are disappointed – but not surprised - that the five defecting clubs now intend to drop out of the AJHL to immediately participate in an unsanctioned exhibition series," reads the statement.
The Alberta league again points to what they believe to be contradictory information from the BCHL and the five teams in question.
"The full impact of this decision on our ongoing investigation remains to be determined, as the teams have now eliminated a route back to the AJHL for their players this season."
The cancellation of all games between the five teams and the 11 remaining AJHL teams instantly proved to be a controversial decision, as it left the five departing teams with only a few games each for the rest of the season.
The BCHL made reference to the cancellations in their statement, saying it was "imperative" that players be allowed back on the ice.
It's unclear how/if the AJHL would have integrated the five teams back into the remainder of the season.
The AJHL also hinted that other franchises are in talks of joining them, saying they've seen interest from "various partners and stakeholders."