DO THE RIGHT THING

The GOJHL is fighting for Junior A status

The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) has been recognized for years as having “Junior A” caliber teams and players. However, its status within the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) and Hockey Canada remains “Junior B”, which poses a number of challenges for the 70,000 registered hockey participants including decreased visibility amongst professional hockey scouts and fewer post-secondary scholarship opportunities.

The GOJHL is requesting that the OHA grant “Junior A” status to the league in order to level the playing field for players across Southwestern Ontario and enhance the overall quality and competitiveness of the sport.

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Read our Open Letter to the OHA

GREATER ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE BID FOR JUNIOR A RECLASSIFICATION

Dear Mr. Campbell:

As you are aware, the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) has been recognized for years as having “Junior A” caliber teams and players. However, our status within the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) and Hockey Canada remains “Junior B”. This poses a number of insurmountable challenges for our players, who collectively make up the second largest registration base amongst junior hockey leagues in the province and Canada. This leaves a significant number of eligible Hockey Canada Registered players with decreased visibility from professional hockey scouts and fewer post-secondary scholarship opportunities.

The GOJHL is requesting that the OHA grant “Junior A” status to the league in order to level the playing field for players across Southwestern Ontario and enhance the overall quality and competitiveness of the sport and association.

In addition to decreased visibility amongst scouts, Junior B players and their families are forced to make life-changing decisions if they want to play in a Junior A league. With most Junior A teams located in the GTA, Junior B players in Southwestern Ontario have to uproot their entire lives and relocate up to eight hours outside of their district, just to be “officially recognized” as playing top-tier hockey. This adds to the high financial commitment of Junior A hockey, which costs players nearly $10,000 per season.

If the GOJHL were unable to advance players to higher levels of hockey, we would understand the OHA opposing our reclassification bid. However, GOJHL players are constantly being poached by Junior A leagues, proving that our players are just as skilled as those in Junior A leagues, but are not afforded the same opportunity in their own geographical area.

Simply put, this monopoly is not fair. GOJHL players should not be punished because of bureaucracy and the possible decrease of other Junior A franchise values. With one of the largest fan bases in the Province and equivalent skill, our players deserve the opportunity to be challenged and compete with teams of equal rank, while remaining in their hometown. GOJHL players already lost the conclusion of the 2019-20 season and entire 2020-2021 season to a global pandemic. Now is the time for the OHA to reassess the GOJHL’s classification and commit itself to lead, develop and promote positive hockey experiences moving forward.

Reclassification could also have a trickle-down effect on the Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL). Currently a Junior C league, the PJHL could become a Junior B league, recognizing the skills of their players and affording them greater opportunities within the existing league footprint. Remember, there is no other Junior C hockey in the rest of the country. This would have tremendous advantages to player development and encourage greater participation in Canada’s most cherished game.

Our ask of the OHA is simple: do the right thing. Approve our bid to be classified as a Junior A league within the OHA. For years, the GOJHL has been pushing for an acknowledgement of what the rest of the hockey community already knows - we are an elite organization that produces some of the most highly-skilled players across the province. They deserve an opportunity to succeed.

Sincerely,
Scott Miller, Chair
Brent Garbutt, Commissioner