Abrams to leave post as CCHL commissioner at end of 2022-23 season
Junior A hockey league working on transition plan
The Central Canada Hockey League (junior ‘A’) will be looking for a new commissioner to take the helm following the 2022-23 season, as Kevin Abrams has announced he will be departing from the post.
The Pembroke resident started his role as commissioner in 2006, going on to be the longest-serving leader for Eastern Ontario’s junior ‘A’ hockey league. He came to the post following over 20 years as a coach, general manager, and team owner.
On August 25, 2022, Abrams “informed CCHL chairman Steve Barban that this upcoming season, his 17th, would be his last guiding the league,” states the CCHL press release.
“During his long tenure at the helm, Kevin has been instrumental in adopting many new initiatives to make the CCHL clearly one of the premier junior ‘A’ leagues in all of North America and a preferred destination for both elite local and import players alike. Under his direction, the league expanded from 10 to 12 franchises, adding the Kemptville 73’s and the Carleton Place Canadians as well as relocating existing teams to Rockland and Renfrew.
In order to provide further scouting opportunities for league players, Kevin created the Central Canada Cup event with league all-star teams competing from the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Quebec Junior Hockey League, the Maritime Hockey League, and the CCHL.
He established minimum operating standards for teams as well as player benefits such as post-game meals, travel minimums, a league-wide equipment program, baseline concussion testing, and return-to-play protocols. Students were also provided with a 24/7 tutoring program. He deftly led the league through COVID which saw more on-ice program delivery than any Ontario league in 2020-21. Other firsts for the league during his tenure include being the first junior ‘A’ league in Canada that instituted real-time live scoring and electronic game sheets as well as being the first junior ‘A’ league in Canada to use league-wide video analytics and statistics.
While he was commissioner, CCHL teams advanced to nine national championships in 14 years (two cancelled due to COVID) with the 2011 Pembroke Lumber Kings capturing the national title.
He is the longest serving president/commissioner in league history, who has not only initiated many programs to develop great players, coaches, and executives both on and off the ice, but also taken a keen interest to ensure that CCHL alumni are being developed for great futures beyond their playing careers. The CCHL thanks Kevin for his excellent service over the years and wishes him all the best in his future endeavors.”
“It is with appreciation and gratitude that I announce that the 2022-23 season, my 17th as the commissioner of the CCHL, will be my last,” said Abrams. “This is a bittersweet moment with considerable emotion for me but I feel this is the right move at this time. I want to thank the board of governors of the CCHL, my support staff, and my colleagues at the CJHL for their many years of support and friendship.”
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The CCHL notes that it will develop a leadership transition plan in the coming months “to ensure continued success” of the league.