The Erie Blizzard will join the Midwest Junior Hockey League, a new Tier II Junior A league sanctioned by the American Athletic Union, in the 2012-13 season. But first, Curtis Prue, the club’s owner and general manager, will focus on putting a roster together.
The Blizzard will hold a pair of two-day tryout sessions at Ice Center of Erie – Aug. 11 from 3-4:30 p.m. and Aug. 12 from 9-10:30 a.m., as well as Aug. 25-26 from 3-4:30 p.m. The cost for each session is $75. The league’s inaugural season, which runs from Sept. 14 to March 17, features 16 teams separated into two conferences (American and National) and four divisions (North, Central, East and West).
The Blizzard are in the National Conference’s East Division with the Dayton (Ohio) Aeros, Lake Erie Steelheads (Cleveland) and the Northwest Ohio Grrrowl. Teams will play a 50-game regular season, with the top two teams in each division advancing to three rounds of playoffs. Member teams will play in the Veterans Memorial Cup playoffs. The Veterans Cup champion will qualify for the AAU national championship April 8. Prue said the league should release the schedule in the coming days.
The Blizzard played in the much-maligned Continental Junior Hockey League in their inaugural season two years ago. The CJHL had two teams in 2010-11. As Prue said in December 2011, the Blizzard left the CJHL a season ago because it had one team and the AAU, a national sanctioning body for multiple sports, refused to sanction the league. Prue hastily co-founded the East Coast Jr. Hockey League last season, since the team needed a sanctioned league to register players in order to insure them. But they were a Tier III Junior A independent team.