GOJHL Not Granted Junior A Status

Chatham Maroons playoff action - Photo by Helen Heath

Chatham Maroons playoff action – Photo by Helen Heath

After a month of applications and meetings, the Ontario Hockey Association, as determined by its board of directors, has decided not to approve the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s (GOJHL) application to be reclassified as a Junior A League.

The GOJHL will continue to compete as a Junior B loop and play for the Sutherland Cup. Currently, the GOJHL has 27 teams, including the Chatham Maroons, across Southwestern Ontario, and one in Buffalo, New York.

“The Junior B category is a huge part of what the OHA is, has been, and what it can be moving forward,” said Scott Farley, OHA CEO in an official release from the organization. “Our Junior B programs offer tremendous opportunities for players and coaches to advance to higher levels within the game. The GOJHL is arguably the best Junior B league in Canada and they have provided amazing opportunities to players and coaches in the communities they represent. The OHA welcomes change, but it must be done in a thoughtful and forward-thinking manner and work within the OHA’s Tomorrow’s Game initiative and in the best interest of all OHA teams and categories as well as other affected programs.”

In the OHA’s official release regarding the matter, they stated the following as justification for their decision:

  • There was little to no rationale, or supporting reliable information provided in the application for reclassification, nor in any subsequent information provided;
  • The practical effect of approving the applications would be the elimination of all participants in the Junior B category within the OHA at this time without due consideration on the impact on other levels of play under the auspices of the OHA;
  • There was no rationale provided as to the reasoning to have the Junior A category move from the current 22 teams to a proposed 49 teams;
  • The position, as presented by the “GOJHL Transition Team” to have all 27 current Junior B members being reclassified to Junior A, was decided not to be in the best interest of hockey;
  • The OHA Board takes a strong position that there can and should be only one league at the Junior A category and that such league will enter and compete for the Junior A National Championship and operate under one set of rules, regulations, policies, and standards as established and approved. To have “rival” leagues at the same category, operating under different rules, regulations and operating procedures and requirements, is not conducive to the orderly conduct of competition

The OHA did however, state they will keep an open dialogue with the GOJHL.

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