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OJHL and OHA “drop the gloves”

OJHL and OHA “drop the gloves”

In a memo sent last Tuesday to the OHA, those unnamed teams behind the rebellion – referred to as “concerned members” – intend to remove OHA directors Gary Moroney, Tim Simmons, Shawn McKelvie, Jeff Beatty and Brad Grant, as well as president Karen Phibbs. It has been reported that Ontario Junior Hockey League is leading

In a memo sent last Tuesday to the OHA, those unnamed teams behind the rebellion – referred to as “concerned members” – intend to remove OHA directors Gary Moroney, Tim Simmons, Shawn McKelvie, Jeff Beatty and Brad Grant, as well as president Karen Phibbs.

It has been reported that Ontario Junior Hockey League is leading the rebellion to create change and are backed, so they say, by 15 unhappy Junior B teams.

After a lot of back room discussions, a motion was made to divide the GOJHL into independent leagues effective this coming hockey season.

The proposal recommends the league would contain 15 teams including St. Marys, Listowel, Stratford, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Leamington, Elmira, LaSalle, Chatham, St. Thomas, Strathroy, Sarnia, Komoka, and St. Catharines.

The OHA’s position is that GOJHL Inc. the new entity, is separate and not sanctioned by Hockey Canada, the OHF or the OHA.

The other league would feature Niagara Falls, London, Pelham, Fort Erie, Brampton, Lockport, Welland, Hamilton, Thorold, and Brantford.

The Brantford 99’ers owner Darren DeDobbelaer has said the 99ers will remain with the OHA, but there is a problem. He also bought the OJHL’s Milton IceHawks and moved them to Brantford this for the 2018-2019 season.

Some owners believe the rebellion will ruin junior hockey in Ontario. Others say the split was inevitable and necessary with so many teams and needed to change.

The first scheduled meeting did not take place, and not much has been discussed since.

In the off-season, Stratford Warriors alternate governor Jason Lott said, “We believe that as part of the GOJHL we’re not being represented fairly by the OHA board of directors.”

The rebellion began to bubble at the OHA’s annual general meeting in 2017, when the new budget was presented and passed without a vote, according to Lott. “That budget included an increase in the OHA player fee to $350 from $300,” he said.

Some say the move was arbitrary and did not consult team owners before passing it amongst the board members era themselves.

When the Cambridge Winterhawks folded at the end of the 2016-2017 season, they tried to sell the franchise to a prospective buyer, but pulled out of the deal when the league requested
a certified cheque or bank draft for $150,000, plus an administration fee of $5,000, it has been reported in a Cambridge newspaper. That is $50,000 more than was to that point being charged by the league to join.

The Leamington Flyers’ new ownership group was informed of a $5,000 transfer fee for the sale or relocation of the team, instead of $1,000 they were originally told.
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There have been many other arbitrary decisions made by the board without the council and input of the owners these decisions will affect, they say.

It was even suggested by the GOJHL inc., that three of its teams, Pelham, Fort Erie and Buffalo, should be charged with fraud for not paying it’s full sum but those charges were dismissed by Waterloo police.

It has been widely circulated although not proven, that GOJHL Inc. teams were trying to have the Pelham, Fort Erie and Buffalo teams charged with fraud. The trio of owners were cleared of any wrongdoing by police in Waterloo and Niagara.

As a result of the clash within the league the annual Jr. B Showcase, which attracts dozens of scouts each year, was postponed after OHA referees refused to work the Showcase until the confusion is cleared up.

It has been suggested that the internal bickering was part of the reason the Pro-Fit Corvairs took a one year hiatus to see where things land.

The only comment by the Corvairs came from Corvairs coach Mike Bullard who would only say that it seems to he and the rest of the Corvairs management and owners that the league is unfairly targeting their team because of their success.

“It’s been terrible for our league, a negative thing all around, and it’s gotta stop,” Niagara Falls Canucks owner and general manager Frank Pietrangelo said. “This is about hockey and the kids, and we gotta worry about the product on the ice and making it better and not the courtrooms.”

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Jim Windle

Jim Windle

Jim Windle is a veteran news and sports reporter who has been published in a number of mediums and publications. contact Jim: windlejim@rocketmail.com

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