Junior A Still Possible For Chatham Through GMHL

GMHL Junior A

Two players face off in GMHL action – Photo from the GMHL’s Facebook Page

While Chatham-Kent’s hopes of landing a Major Junior OHL franchise may have dried up this month, the community is still on the radar for another expanding Junior A league, the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League (GMHL).

Last year, the GMHL, which was predominantly a Greater Toronto Area hockey league in the past, expanded to Cambridge, Ontario. The league, which also has franchises in Northern Ontario, and one in Quebec, announced this month they would be expanding farther South, with the addition of a team in London, Ontario, to be known as the London Lakers.

According to GMHL president Bob Russell, the league would like to continue moving South, and would like to house a Junior A franchise in Chatham.

“We definitely would like to ice a team in Chatham but we do not have an owner,” Russell told CKSN.ca.

“Normally a group will approach us with a proposal but in this case it has not happened.”

While an ownership group in Chatham, Ontario has yet to surface, the GMHL continues to examine options for expansion, having visited multiple Essex County locations, including Kingsville in recent months as well.

The league, which is not connected to Hockey Canada or the OHA, is considered an independent Junior A loop, and has had much success graduating players to other leagues including the OHL, NCAA, OJHL, and pro leagues. With no cap on import players, and an overage limit of 21-years-old, the league is also a hot bed for international players. Former Wallaceburg Lakers Jeff Nolfo and Bobby Domin each jumped from Wallaceburg to the GMHL, and each is now playing college hockey in the USA.

Until an ownership group is secured for Chatham, the GMHL will continue examining other locations, however the league would like to eventually land a franchise in one of Chatham-Kent’s communities.

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