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An Advisers Life – North American Hockey Association Not A Junior League

A couple weeks ago TJHN reported on the newly formed North American Hockey Association in Ontario Canada. Reports from the local press had claimed that this new league was going to be a Junior A or Tier II level league.

Leading the way are Ian MacInnis and Dustin Traylen. Though it was reported that former CCHL commissioner Kevin Abrams was going to be a team owner, that is not the case, though his brother will be involved.

Always wanting to make sure parents and players get the correct information, the North American Hockey Association is not in fact a junior league but is more like a “prep” league. Some teams in Ontario will operate at the 18U level and others in Quebec area will operate at the U19 level.

What brought these teams to begin this new venture?

It looks as though Hockey Eastern Ontario has reduced the number of AAA teams available to play in the area. Why the reduction in teams? No logical answer has been found or given.

When one HEO member wishing to remain confidential was asked what happens to all the players who are squeezed out of AAA because of this rule change? The answer was “they can play AA”. Thats it, just a simple answer basically saying too bad its life.

As an Adviser, I can say that the HEO member expressing that opinion, clearly does not care about anything other than their own agenda, and does not have young players best interests in mind.

HEO has created their own five team league then intend on managing. This alone is fine and not an issue. The problem is that they are leaving seven existing AAA teams out, and those teams will no longer be labeled AAA. That is a real problem.

Sometimes organizations become too big, to focussed on their own agenda’s and they cannot see the forest from the trees.

Displacing seven AAA teams and forcing them to either, disband, play AA or rally behind the starting of a new league are really the only options HEO left. Now instead of controling the development environment, they created competition for themselves. Sounds like a reversal of what the BCHL did doesn’t it?

People in hockey, at these local levels need to wake up and realise that they have no right to control what everyone else wants to do. They cannot arbitrarily make up their own rules as they go. Players and parents, who are the ones paying the bills have a right to demand the local authorities are acting in the players and parents best interests.

So now HEO has to deal with the North American Hockey Association and HEO has no one to blame but themselves for the creation of it.

Now, while the NAHA is going to be a quasi “prep” league, the organization will be adding Junior Hockey at some point in the future. They are creating their development pool first and then will create the next level. This is actually the model that is ideal in a situation like this.

Still the NAHA will be outside of Hockey Canada. While some will take issue with that, I am betting the parents and players of the seven AAA teams that are being wiped out because of HEO, are not going to have a problem with it.

The NAHA has an easy target set, and plenty of displaced players to fill their needs. While it may be outside Hockey Canada, maybe Hockey Canada should have done more to keep these players within the confines and organizations they allowed Hockey Easter Ontario to kill off.

Business 101. Don’t create an opportunity for competition where there isn’t one already. Looks like HEO missed that class.

Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser

[email protected]

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