With the CCHL pay to play story yesterday, (Canada Tier II Charging Players To Play – CCHL Joins The Growing List Of Leagues) information concerning the Ontario Junior Hockey League moving to a fee or tuition based business model is beginning to leak out as well.
The Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) Annual General Meeting wrapped up this past weekend, with many items being discussed and changes being made.
The OJHL has yet to publicly announce its fee, but it’s expected to be in the range of $3,000 to $4,000 for the upcoming year, in addition to the $300 players already pay to the Ontario Hockey Association and $750 to the OJHL.
It will now cost roughly $4000 to $5000 per year to play in the OJHL according to several sources involved.
Sources are informing TJHN that there are some OJHL teams that do not want to charge a fee at all. None of those sources can confirm or deny whether teams will have an option to charge or not to charge. It is unlikely though that teams will have an option on whether or not to charge a fee.
Fee based teams would become immediately handicapped when recruiting against non fee based teams. This would contradict the leagues basic operating ideal in elevating the play of all teams within the league. Contraction over the course of years in order to elevate the level of play among league members could almost immediately be wiped out if certain teams had a financial advantage over others.
Coupled with Hockey Canada’s change in import restrictions as it refers to Canadian Citizens no longer being considered imports when moving from one province to another would also allow teams with financial advantages to recruit out of the area using those advantages.
Several sources are now very concerned that much of the top level talent will now look to the USHL and NAHL when before they would have prefered to play and live at home. Those same sources also voiced concern that many of the top level Tier III players that would otherwise have looked to Canada for their free to play options will now stay home because the financial advantages may now be gone.
The OJHL like every other league in North America is having to come to grips with the current economic times. How things play out from this point forward will surely be watched closely by all players and parents.
TJHN will update this story as more information becomes available.