By Dan Walton

Pioneer Staff

The Columbia Valley Rockies have a new geographical advantage over many of their KIJHL (Kootenay International Junior Hockey League) counterparts, after the league relaxed regulations on recruiting,removing the limit of Albertan players allowed on the roster.

Theres Fernie, Golden, Kimberley, and Columbia Valley if youre from Alberta, youre going to want to play in one of those four towns, said Rockies general manager Ross Bidinger. We had a big turnover in players this year, so we were able to find a good amount of quality talent.

Previously, a limit of eight import players were allowed on each team in the league. While the rule still applies to non-Canadian players, there is no limit to those from out-of-province. (Before the rule change, non-B.C. players could have their import status removed if they spent more than one season with the same team.)

Its a major, tremendous rule change for us. Its been a long time coming, said Rockies president Al Miller. Theyve opened up the eastern part of B.C. and made it much more viable.

The Rockies current roster is expected to undergo a few tweaks, but as of last weeks lineup, 18 of the teams 27 players had their hometowns listed in Alberta.