GOJHL Seeks Junior A Tier II Status Again – Could Leave Hockey Canada If Not Granted

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It was only two months ago when I was informed of the GOJHL once again seeking to be recognized as a Junior A, or Tier II level league.

What I was told then was “We are going to look to be Tier II or Junior A by the start of the 2017 season, or we are prepared to leave.”

That was confirmed yesterday when speaking with another colleague who informed me that the entire league is united in the effort and “we are tired of being forced into a position that we should not be in.  How can we be made a party to a back room contract that we never agreed too?  We deserve to be Junior A, and one way or another we will be.”

In April of 2014, the GOJHL had its reclassification request denied.  GOJHL Denied A Level Status By OHA

Representatives from all 26 Jr. B teams in the GOJHL, will try again at a meeting later this month to persuade their governing body that the reclassification is the right thing to do.

Their argument for the new status?  Other than the level of play actually being that of Junior A level?  The GOJHL, which stretches from near Windsor to Fort Erie, north to Listowel and as far east as Brampton, will argue it represents the second largest minor hockey registration in the country.

The arguments not only make sense from the level of play already being that of Junior A or Tier II level, but it is a league using a lot of local players.  “One of the main goals of Hockey Canada and the Ontario Hockey Federation is to have players play at the highest level possible while closest to home,” said GOJHL commissioner Chuck Williams. As said to the Waterloo Record’s Christine Rivet.

Legally speaking, I have requested some clarity from an Attorney I know in Ontario.  The question I pose is one simply relating to business regulations in Canada.

The question I have is; How can anyone other than an actual business owner place any restrictions or classifications on a business that the business owner is never made aware of until after he already owns the business?

This would relate to the OHA deal with the OJHL to allow only them to be Junior A or Tier II in Ontario.  A deal that no one outside of the OHA and OJHL was aware existed until 2014.

In the United States this would be called an unlawful attempt to bind a third party to a contract and would be actionable.  Simply put you cant make a deal that effects other people without those people being aware of it.

Multiple other sources have also confirmed that discussions to leave Hockey Canada and the OHA have gone well beyond the preliminary stages and it is a “real serious option”.

Much speculation has been made about what more Junior A competition would do to the Canadian player market, and not once has the speculation concluded that it would be a bad thing.

In fact, many speculate it would be a very good thing and it would cause some bad operators to close up shop.  One major point of contention for many teams is that most if not all GOJHL teams are Free to Play or almost free to play when the OJHL is not in most cases.

Where this goes now?  Some think a compromise will be made in that the OHA will give the Junior A or Tier II status with a condition that teams charge players to play, or that the OHA will seek to divide the GOJHL by offering the status to only a select few teams.

One thing is clear, the GOJHL is not giving up, and all indications are that they are prepared to move on if the OHA does not provide the upgraded status.

Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher