Maritimes to get new hockey league

Play in the Canadian Elite Hockey League begins in mid-October.

The man who brought the Mooseheads to Halifax and the Screaming Eagles to Sydney N.S. is bringing more hockey to the Maritimes.

Harold MacKay announced he was launching a new hockey league – the Canadian Elite Hockey League – during a news conference Tuesday in Dartmouth, N.S.

The CEHL is being pitched as a development league, a chance for players to stay in Canada and play at the highest level below the professional level. The players will come from the major-junior, university, east coast and European leagues.

Four teams wiill play in MacKay's hockey league. There will be a team in Dartmouth, Summerside, P.E.I., Saint John, N.B., and in Sydney.

When Mackay first floated the idea of a league for players who don't make it to the professional level, he played up the fact fans could count on fights. On Tuesday, Mackay downplayed the potential violence.

"We won't be promoting hockey fighting, but there probably will be hockey fighting. It is not as important as the level of play in our league," MacKay said.

"There's not going to be a fan sitting in his seat that is not going to be excited in our hockey games because things do happen in hockey games and some of them are fights."

The CEHL's 36-game schedule starts in mid-October.