GOJHL Expansion To Brantford

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GOJHL Expansion To Brantford December 29, 2012 8:54 AM

For the last few months TJHN has been reporting on expansion opportunity for the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Last year the Ontario Hockey Association thought expanding the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League would be a good idea, especially in the Greater Toronto Area, where Ontario Junior Hockey League teams were contracted as part of the "Tomorrow’s Game" initiative.

Twelve applications by groupss to join the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League were received by the OHA on the Thursday Nov. 15 deadline, according to expansion committee chair Bruce Schlitt. Groups representing cities selected to go on to the next step will be announced shortly.

The goal is to have a six team conference to start. Brantford and the Gretzky Center are certainly on the list of finalists.

The only applicant known for sure at this point is Collingwood Ontario, who let it be known to the media they were making a pitch for a team.

Collingwood had an Ontario Junior Hockey League team in the past, until the end of the 2010-11 season when the team was lost to planned OJHL contraction. Locals Liam Willis and Thomas Webb, who both grew up in Collingwood are the proposed owners. Willis played minor hockey in Collingwood, and Webb played in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. The pair have also enlisted expertise in hockey from a scouting and managerial perspective. Collingwood is also building a new arena that will be ready for 2013-14.

Brantford would appear to be the ideal expansion location for the GOJHL. Brantford rich in hockey history, after all they did produce Wayne Gretzky, and many would say there is a need for junior hockey in the city. Junior hockey has done fairly well in the past in Brantford. Other than the current season and the 1986-1987 season, when the team was suspended for disciplinary reasons, Brantford has had some form of junior hockey since 1970.

It was only seven months ago when Brantford lost its GOJHL team to Caledonia Ontario. Although the loss of the GOJHL Golden Eagles is still fresh in the minds of locals, there is a feeling that a new franchise could succeed.

Smart money has a new team being tied into the youth hockey association and being named the only thing that makes sense; The 99ers.

The 99ers in the Gretzky Center? Yeah, that makes sense.

By Joseph Kolodziej

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