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GOJHL Appealing Decision To Ontario Hockey Federation – Allegations Of Collusion Possible

The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League is a rock solid development league.  Every scout knows this, and so does every other league in Canada.  Are they are “Junior A” level league?  That should be left up to the scouts and schools that scout the league to decide.  You would think the number of players developed for higher levels of play, NCAA and CIS alike, that the GOJHL record would speak for itself.

But that’s not the way it works in a political body that has multiple layers.  And the GOJHL is now saying the Ontario Hockey Association is playing dirty politics when denying their request to change the GOJHL classification to Junior A.

OHA chairman Leo Lostracco informed the GOJHL transition team on April 5 that the OHA had entered into a “collaborative agreement” with the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) providing them with “exclusive rights” to be the only Junior A league under the OHA umbrella for the next seven years.

Lostracco said the OHA agreement was done under the direction of the OHF. The GOJHL transition team obtained a copy of the agreement from the OHA, by request, and said  the agreement did not have the approval, or was brought to the attention of, any of the Junior B or C teams, which make up 90 per cent of the OHA membership.

That particular reason was missing from the OHA’s press release describing their reasons for denying the reclassification last week.

Many in Ontario believe that should have been the first reason mentioned, and that by not mentioning the agreement that the OHA was attempting to keep the agreement hidden.

The GOJHL also contends that they knew on April 5th, that this was going to happen and had already begun preparing the appeal in anticipation of the OHA denial.

The appeal will be filed this week under the 15 day appeal rule in place.  If unsuccessful the GOJHL will then appeal to Hockey Canada, and civil litigation is said to be on the table as well if needed.

In a time when leagues that are not Hockey Canada sanctioned continue to expand within the Province of Ontario, one would think that elevating the GOJHL to the Junior A class would be one way to stem the tide of that unsanctioned expansion.  One would think that everything would be done to allow Hockey Canada sanctioned leagues to grow and absorb those unsanctioned teams.

What this appears to be is the many being sacrificed for the few.  The OJHL is in effect controlling all growth of Junior A within the OHA, and would that not need to be voted on by the entire membership?

While the OHA surely believes they are doing what’s best for hockey when they make decisions, the rules may have required them to disclose they may enter into this agreement with the OJHL before they entered into it.  It was an agreement that essentially became binding upon third parties without those third parties being aware of the terms of the agreement or having knowledge that they were bound to it.

Typically those third party agreements are found to be unenforceable under the law.

Joe Hughes

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