We Are Junior A: What Reclassification Would Mean for our Teams and Players

The GOJHL’s fight for reclassification from Junior B to Junior A under the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) has been years long, including multiple refusals on the part of the OHA to grant our players the recognition and opportunities they deserve.

The skill exemplified by the GOJHL is often on-par, if not advanced to the level of play within certain Junior A teams. So, why do we remain a Junior B league? It is a designation that is both arbitrary and incorrect and poses significant harm to the future success of our players.

The time for change is now, and the GOJHL will not stop until our players and communities can continue to enjoy top-tier competitive hockey while developing elite players who can remain in their vibrant and well-established hockey communities across Southwestern Ontario.

“Allowing players to remain at home, continue their education at their home high school, and grow as an individual and hockey player with the support of their family and friends is key. There is no need for these players to continue to be uprooted from their lives in order to play at the Junior A level.”

  • Frank Pietrangelo, former NHL goaltender, 1991 Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins

Coaches, community members, and players recognize the caliber of skill fostered within the GOJHL is worthy of Junior A designation. Multiple GOJHL alumni who have advanced to higher tier hockey have had to make great sacrifices and move away from their family in order to access visibility to scouts and reach the next level of hockey, further fueling their reasons for why current and future generations of GOJHL players should not have to endure the same experience. 

As an alumnus with the Caledonia Corvairs, Jeff Malott was forced to depart to the AJHL for a better chance at being scouted and now has a contract with the Winnipeg Jets. His talent and dedication to his sport are incredible; however, there is no doubt that the GOJHL played a key role in his development and success. Our players deserve to remain within their league in order to achieve their dreams.     

“My time playing for the St. Catharines Jr. B Falcons was crucial in the development of my hockey career. The competitiveness of the league, the professionalism of our staff, the knowledge from our coaches and the caliber of players I was surrounded by made it a formative experience for me.”

  • Riley Sheahan, Buffalo Sabres Center 

The successful and deserving reclassification of the GOJHL to Junior A would not only allow our players to remain at home and contribute to the development of Ontario’s small towns, but it would also catapult our players into opportunities necessary to reach higher tier levels of hockey.

There is no shortage of exceptional talent within the GOJHL. However, a Junior B designation means this talent is often ignored by scouts, perpetuating a culture of mediocrity and inequity within hockey across the province. 

Working for 30 years as a player, coach, and scout for the Detroit Red Wings Organizations, I have observed many facets and levels of hockey in my career. I believe the franchises in the GOJHL offer an excellent quality of developmental opportunities for southern Ontario hockey players. The GOJHL provides professionalism and competition comparable to all Junior A programs. In my opinion, the GOJHL should be considered for Junior A status.”

  • Glenn Merkosky, Detroit Red Wings Pro Scout

Together, we can keep young Ontarians in the sport they love and positioned to excel. Hockey is “Our Sport”. It is time for the OHA to make advancement in hockey accessible to all regions, ensuring no young hockey player is left behind. 

We can’t win this fight alone. We require our communities to take a stand and keep the conversation going. 

To show your support for the GOJHL’s fight for reclassification to Junior A, please sign our petition, share the link with your community, and Like, Comment, and Share the GOJHL’s posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Any small action can make a big difference. Let’s make sure this time, the OHA Does The Right Thing!