A small community in Southern Alberta will have plenty to celebrate as a new hockey team is coming to town this fall. 

Last month, the NJHL, an independent Junior A hockey league, announced it will expand into Claresholm for the 2024/25 season. 

Executive Director of the league, Derek Prue, said talks of a team in the community started a couple of years ago. 

“It's been a little bit of a process, but that's kind of the nature of the beast,” he said, adding that they’re currently setting up social media pages and a website, among other things. 

“There'll be a local unveiling and jersey unveiling and those types of things to follow.” 

The NJHL was formed in 2023 after the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League announced that the teams in the West Division would cease operations. 

All eight of those teams eventually formed the NJHL. Currently, the league has six teams across Alberta with Claresholm being the seventh. 

“Operating the way we do allows us to make our own destiny,” said Prue. “We can expand how we see fit where it's more tailored to an elite program for elite players.” 

Prue said the league draws players from across Canada and internationally. Aside from putting their skills on the ice, they also volunteer their time in local schools through mentoring and literacy programs. 

He added he’s excited to see the atmosphere in Claresholm for the games as the NJHL tries to make the experience unique for its fans. 

“There's a lot going on off the ice just as much sometimes is going on the ice,” said Prue. “Intermission games, usually there's craft tables for the little guys that keep them engaged and raffles. It's something that we're excited to bring to the community of Claresholm.”   

The regular season for the NJHL begins in October with preseason games and main camp for the teams running in September. 

The Radiothon is today.