Eastern Female Hockey League (EMFHL)

League Changes

Stonewall’s female teams will no longer be playing in the Hockey Winnipeg League and are now part of a newly formed Eastern Manitoba Female Hockey League.

The League will be comprised of teams from the four regions that surround Winnipeg which include:

  •        Interlake
  •        Central Plains (Portage)
  •        Pembina Valley
  •        Eastman

A Constitution governing league and team formation has been developed and approved by Hockey Manitoba;
EMHFL Constitution
EMHFL Executive
EMHFL Q & A

Rosters

 

The Eastern Manitoba Female Hockey League has two registration options for female players

 

Dual roster male/female

  •        this option allows for a player to roster on both a boys and girls team
  •        female players that pursue the dual roster option will play on male teams within their home association, and combine with similar age female players from neighboring communities to form a female team
  •        if a female player wants to dual roster in the SMRHA program – they will be eligible to play on a male team in the SMHRA program, but will NOT be eligible to play on any single roster team within SMHRA – the player will have to join the closest dual roster team within the region

Single Roster

  •        this option allows a player to play on a female team only
  •        Stonewall will continue to be the center for Interlake Single Roster Teams

Dual Roster Teams will not play Single Roster teams at any point during league play – these teams will have different divisions to play in.

 

Team Makeup

Female players registered in SMHRA will be required to attend evaluations as has been done in years past.

 

Once evaluations are complete, each age group will be divided into EVEN/EQUAL teams – there is no tiering  - meaning A1, A2 etc of teams in the EMFHL.

 

In addition to the teams formed for league play – each association is also permitted to form tiered teams in addition to league teams (meaning A, B and C teams) for select tournaments and Provincials if they desire.

 

SMHRA has indicated to Interlake and Hockey Manitoba that it is our intent to form tiered teams at each age level for the purposes of select tournament and provincial play should there be interest at each level. There will be further discussion on this aspect of the program once league teams have been formed.

 

Player Releases

 

As word of the league changeover and new team format has started to spread, several SMHRA Board members have been approached by parents asking about obtaining releases for their female players.

 

SMHRA has been advised that releases will NOT be granted or approved by any governing body (Interlake Minor Hockey and Hockey Manitoba) for players looking to play hockey in other regions – including Hockey Winnipeg. Female players in SMHRA have a league to participate in – regardless of whether or not people “like it” or not.

 

The only exception regarding releases is at the AAA level for areas without regional teams at the U15 age group or higher.

 

How Did We Get Here?

 

It is understood that this is a major change to SMHRA’s female program which has been running successfully for several years. This change was not initiated by SMHRA in any way, however as will be explained the EMFHL is now the only option left for female players registered in SMHRA to play in.

 

Members of SMHRA’s board have had several discussions with officials from Hockey Winnipeg, Hockey Manitoba, Interlake Minor Hockey and neighboring regions in an attempt to gain an understanding of why this new league was formed given the success of SMHRA’s Female program and the seemingly good fit the program had in the Hockey Winnipeg League. From these conversations SMHRA has been advised of the following:

  •        Hockey Manitoba, Hockey Winnipeg and the four regional associations met in early 2021 to discuss the state of female hockey programs from their respective positions within their governing bodies
    •    Hockey Winnipeg advised the group that they had enough players and teams within their program to support their own league, and would no longer be accepting rural teams from the 4 surrounding regions (Pembina Valley, Central Plains, Eastman and Interlake – Stonewall included)
    •    This four regional associations – in consultation with Hockey Manitoba - began discussions about forming a regional female league for female players to play in now that Winnipeg was no longer an option – and after several meetings agreed to the newly formed EMFHL
  •        Interlake Minor Hockey voted to formally join this league in late July of this year (Interlake is the regional governing hockey association for SMHRA, so SMHRA’s female teams are compelled to follow Interlake’s direction).
  •        SMHRA was informed verbally of the decision immediately after the July vote – nothing was provided in writing
  •        In the absence of any formal notification of the new league formation, SMHRA entered teams into the Hockey Winnipeg League in keeping with the standard practices of years previous – Hockey Winnipeg has not yet formally responded to SMHRA’s team applications yet (this is not unusual as the team submission deadline is August 31, 2021)
    •    It should be noted that even if Hockey Winnipeg changed their minds and accepted our teams for some reason, SMHRA would still require the approval of Interlake Minor Hockey and Hockey Manitoba to pull out of the EMFHL – and seeing as how IMH voted to join this new league their approval to withdraw from it would be unlikely – and Hockey Manitoba almost unanimously supports Regional decisions on these types of matters.
  •        SMHRA received formal notification of the formation of the EMFHL Sunday August 22

SMHRA recognizes that these developments are significant, and while we agree that our participation in the Hockey Winnipeg program has been very successful and would have preferred to remain in the league – this option is no longer available to SMHRA.

With this in mind, it was felt by SMHRA that joining the EMFHL was really our only option to give our female players a league to play in. This new league has the potential to be very successful, and you as parents and players have the biggest role of all to play in that regard.

SMHRA Board members will be present during evaluations to speak to the different parent groups directly about these new changes and answer any further questions you may have.

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