TORONTO – SPORTS – The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL), a junior B league in southwestern Ontario, is fighting for junior A status with the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA), arguing that its Lower level classification compromises the on and off ice success of its players. In an open letter sent to the OHA, GOJHL members urge the OHA to approve its reclassification request to level the playing field for junior hockey players across the province and improve the overall quality and competitiveness of the game. junior hockey A.

“For years, the level of play in GOJHL has been at or above that of other Ontario Junior A leagues,” said GOJHL Commissioner Brent Garbutt. “We’re just asking the OHA to do the right thing and ensure that our league rankings adequately reflect the talent and skills of our elite athletes.

The open letter cites a number of challenges associated with GOJHL’s Junior B status, including the implicit perception that product on ice is inferior. Therefore, scouts are less likely to seek talent among GOJHL players. This hinders player development and results in fewer opportunities for players to move up to higher levels of play, including the NCAA, U SPORTS, and OHL.

Players in southwestern Ontario who wish to join a Junior A league are required to move up to eight hours outside of their district. Affordability is also a factor, with some Junior A leagues costing close to $ 10,000 for a season of play.

“It’s just not fair. There should be no geographic limit for Junior A hockey, especially with the number of Hockey Canada participants in our footprint, ”Garbutt said. “The rules of the Ontario Hockey Federation state that the reclassification belongs to the member, the OHA, in this case. If the OHA does the right thing and approves our reclassification request, it will level the playing field for all players in southwestern Ontario, keep them in Ontario, and make junior hockey a more accessible sport for them. all.

Approval of Junior A status for GOJHL would see the number of Junior A teams in the OHA increase from 22 to 48, improving the overall quality and competitiveness of junior hockey across the province. As the Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) offers the only Junior C hockey in Canada, this move could also have a spillover effect by reclassifying them as Junior B. This could allow the PJHL to offer its players bigger. opportunities and greater recognition of their skill level within their league footprint.

GOJHL and its member teams failed in their attempts to meet with their association to discuss this issue. A reclassification motion presented by one of its member teams to allow OHA members to vote on the issue at the OHA’s annual general meeting on June 19 was denied.

“The professionalism and integrity that these organizations have demonstrated in their day-to-day operations deserve a Junior A classification,” said Mark Hunter, owner, vice president and general manager of London Knights. “They have demonstrated time and time again their ability to organize a world class operation and their ability to develop players both in hockey and in life. They are constantly losing players to other organizations simply because of the perception of the Junior B ranking. ”

The league is also circulating a petition in support of its request for reclassification. To learn more about GOJHL, visit https://www.gojhl.ca/.



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