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BMHA concludes its season

Association president says move to new league went smoothly for the most part
The Barrhead 13U-2 team poses for a group picture after capturing the NEAHL bronze banner.

BARRHEAD - It was a good year for the Barrhead Minor Hockey Association (BMHA), even though they may have had less success in the playoffs than they may have liked.

BMHA president Tyler Batdorf told the Barrhead Leader in a season wrap-up. Batdorf also coached Barrhead's U13-2 Bandits, which took bronze in the North Eastern Alberta Hockey League (NEAHL) playoffs against the St. Paul Canadiens in a two-game total-points home and home series on March 16 and 17. In the first game in St. Paul, Barrhead won 5-0; in the second, at the Agrena, the Bandits won 5-2.

"It was a little bit of a learning year for everyone involved," he said, adding that it was the first year the association's teams had played in the NEAHL. "Hopefully, we will be able to work with the league to smooth out the kinks, and we will take home a few more banners."

Batdorf added that the BMHA expected that there would be a few hiccups joining a new league.

The BMHA moved after its former league, the Northern Alberta Interlock's (NAI) board, opted to dissolve the league in the spring of 2023. Most of the former associations and teams moved to the NEAHL.

"It was definitely different than what we were used to," he said. 

Batdorf said that the changes, especially in travel, were minimal for the 13-U2 players who played in the Tier 5 division. The only new team they had to play was St. Paul.

But, he said, in certain divisions and age brackets, especially for the higher tiers, Barrhead travelled as far as Lloydminster and Kitscoty.

He said the other thing that differed was the large range of playoff formats.

"It was a learning curve for the NEAHL as well. They had all these additional teams to contend with. Hopefully, the league will have things sorted out a little more next season and be more consistent in how it handles the playoff formats," Batdorf said. "It was essentially left to the governors how they set up the playoff draws; some did it one way, while others did it another."

For instance, he said, for his Tier, the playoffs were the more traditional home-and-home, total point series that the NAI used, while others opted for a playoff tournament. Others chose a best-of-three format and had bronze medal games and/or consultation finals.

"In my opinion, it should be universal, but in the end, that is up to the league to decide," he said.

As for what is this year, Batdorf said the league will be hosting its annual year-end awards night on April 9 followed by the BMHA AGM on April 24.

In May, the BMHA begins ramping up for the 2024-2025 season, taking player registrations.


In 11U Tier 1, Barrhead lost both games they played against Edson and Slave Lake in a playoff tournament in Athabasca, while Barrhead's Tier 5/6 squad lost all their games in another playoff tournament in Bon Acord.


As previously mentioned, Barrhead's 13U-2 contingent won the bronze medal banner, making it to the matchup, beating teams from Slave Lake and Hinton before losing to Athabasca, all in a two-game total point series, while Barrhead's 13U-1 lost to Slave Lake in quarter-finals in the Tier 2 division.


Barrhead's 15U-1 team did not advance past the first round, losing two straight games against Bonnyville Pontiacs.

Barrhead's 15U-2 squad, in the Tier 4 no-body contact division, made it to the second round. They defeated Hinton in two games before losing to the Calihoo CR Knights in a best-of-three match.


The Barrhead Steelers lost in the second round of the playoffs in a two-game, home-and-home total point series against Vegreville, losing the first game 3-2 at the Agrena, then tying them 3-3 on the road. To advance to the second round, Barrhead swept the Fort McMurray Junior Oil Barons in two games, 10-2 and 10-1.

In Tier 3, the Barrhead Renegades eventually fell to the Westlock Warriors in the third round after defeating team a Gibbons and Bon Accord split squad, the CNN Spurs and Edson.

Barry Kerton,

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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