OJHL Follow The Money – Brandon Sudeyko – In The O’Radio


I have started and stopped this article more times then an unsanctioned Jr league has been created and folded in the past few years.

This is a delicate article to write because there is so much to write about and because I am never the type of person to map out a 4 or 5 article series I have been debating on what exactly this should say.

So as I sit watching the OJHL playoffs in Winnipeg via an online streaming service that is used by the league, (no free advertising here) I think about how downhill this league is going. But beyond that, the sport of hockey is declining. It is declining in many areas but more than anything, everyone is still looking out for one thing in this sport. Earning a giant paycheck at anyone’s expense.

Now maybe this has been a huge problem before but it is coming to the forefront more than ever.

Think back to this season where so much was exposed in terms of poor owners, teams folding, leagues being as dumb as usual and then the mother of it all the CHL lawsuit where players want to get minimum wage.

So with all of that going on, lets just pick a random topic to discuss and let me go with the OJHL and their money grab.

Go ahead and dispute this if you want. I will gladly have a discussion about this.

So this stems from tweets almost a year old where someone was complaining about an unsanctioned league charging kids for a tryout. Which is common practice in Canada. As spoken about on this website, the main revenue for teams in the US is not charging kids for tryouts, it is sponsorship, but more about that in another story

So the OJHL charges kids roughly $250 for a weekend camp. From there, probably 2-3 kids will get signed. And depending on the organization, you will be signed as a midget player with their affiliate with a ‘promise’ to be an AP for the Jr A club.

But that isn’t a big enough slice and the OJHL now has a combine where kids are being charged for a ‘major junior’ experience. The cost of this experience is $400.

Up to 10 teams per age group, 2 age groups and 17 total players per team…

Can anyone do the math… 340 players at $400 bucks.

Grand total is $136,000

$136,000 freaking dollars they could rake in before expenses are paid.

And considering this is taking place over one weekend, even with the off ice testing the league is walking away with 50K. Now I am more than likely completely wrong with how much the OJHL will make off of this, but consider you could have UOIT students running the off ice combine as extra credit for a final exam or they could pay a top notch company to be the official sponsor of the league and testing.

All could increase or decrease the take by the league.

On top of this you have the OJDL which is a great idea, and yet, individual teams again ask players for money. Last season the OJDL served its purpose with 35% of the players being signed by an OJHL club. Now, did those 35% or 92 players have to pay more fees or was the OJDL payment considered a team fee since they earned the right to play for the Big club?

And of the remaining 170 players, what was their cost for the experience. Well if you want to use 2017 prices it is roughly $2000 a person.

The big pot consisted of 262 players at $2000 which equals $524,000.

Again, the OJHL is not going to be claiming all of that but lets just look at how much this costs one player. You have rookie camp, OJDL and the OJHL Combine for a total of… $300 + $400 + $2000 or $2,700 for one player for all three.

And if he makes the big club, then there is league and team fees. This can range from a total of $2,500 to $10,000 per team. $5,200 minimum before you get into equipment, sticks, training, etc. because unlike Major Junior, you are paying for some of those extras.

To put this in the pocket of the OJHL we calculated that the total pot is roughly $660,000 pre expenses.

Good haul for a league that needs to stay afloat, pay for marketing to increase exposure and improve many facets of their operations that are currently lacking when compared to competitors.

And if one league is trying to get their hands on that kind of money… you can only imagine what greedy parents who want to create their own leagues are going to think. If they can do it, I can do it… and that is where the next article will come in.