The Hanover Tache Junior Hockey League will operate with eight teams this upcoming season.

The Lorette Comets, Landmark Blues, Red River Mudbugs, Springfield Xtreme, Niverville Clippers, Macdonald Swarm and defending champion Steinbach Huskies unanimously approved the addition of the St. Clements Gators.

"Our league is about keeping players involved in the game and this is an opportunity," noted HTJHL president Darrell Lupky. "It's a little bit of extra travel involved but here we have an opportunity to add another 20-25 players and keep them in hockey."

Peter Tomko approached the league on behalf of the Gators in early May about the possibility of St. Clements joining the HTJHL this fall.

Lupky said the league took about a month to do its due diligence and once the HTJHL executive was confident with all the information the Gators provided, a recommendation was made to the seven returning teams to support it which they unanimously did last week.

"For the most part we are going to be a weekend league so I think player availability shouldn't be an issue," said Lupky. "In the end, everyone felt it's a different area to go to, it's a new team and it keeps players involved in the game, so they were all for it."

The Gators will be allowed to sign players within a 10-mile radius of their home rink which is the East Selkirk Arena.

The 2023-24 HTJHL season is expected to start in mid-October.