Crees can’t join the Abitibi Midget AA league because it would cause scheduling problems for the other teams, says the league’s president.

“We would have to add games to the schedule. There is not enough time in the season,” Raymond Call told The Nation.

But another minor-hockey official in the Abitibi region says the teams now in the league just seem scared of losing to the Cree Nation team.

“They maybe are afraid of meeting a team that is superior. That’s the feeling I have,” said Jean-Yves Bosse, president of the Federation of Midget AA hockey for Abitibi-Temiscamingue.

Bosse said Stan Jones, who Crees have hired as director of hockey development, is “one of the best, if not the best, coach in Quebec in Midget AA.” “Why do we reject a team that has always shown it is well-organized?”

The Abitibi league now has eight teams, two from Ontario. The federation has asked the league why teams from another province are given priority over teams from its own region.

The federation is threatening not to grant the two Ontario teams permission to keep playing in the league if the Cree team isn’t accepted.

The league’s president called this “blackmail.” “If we kick out the Ontario teams, what will they do?” he asked.