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Rating The Junior Hockey Leagues – Canadian Junior B 2017 Edition

I want to remind all readers that this series of articles rating the junior hockey leagues in North America is based upon independent opinions and analysis of scouts throughout the United States and Canada.

This rating is based upon the 2016-2017 season and nothing more.  A leagues history does not come into account in any way.

The criteria that was used in rating these ten leagues, was how do teams within the leagues compare when developing players who move on to the NHL, NCAA, Canadian University, USHL, NAHL, Canada Junior A and Major Junior hockey programs.  The size of the league as in number of teams was also taken into account for depth of player talent throughout the league.

Again this is not a historical account of each league but a rating based upon last season alone.  We hope this series of articles is informative and promotes a healthy discussion.  Due to the volume of Junior B leagues in Canada,  comments are limited in this article, and we are only ranking the top ten.

1.  Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL)
The GOJHL remained the top junior B development league in Canada for the fourth year in a row, and as usual it wasn’t even close.  This league, or at least the majority of teams in the league are seen by scouts as being Junior A level without the Junior A label.  While undergoing changes based upon Ontario Hockey Association mandate, questions of how long they will remain at the top are surfacing.

2. Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL)
A top level league with a lot of very good young players last year.  More work was done with player exposure again this year.  More player movement took place than in previous seasons showing a progressive move toward development.

3.  Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL)
Pretty much the same as the “V” they improved at players moving up last season.  Marketing toward scouts was increased, and players received benefit of increased scouting.

4.  Heritage Junior B Hockey League (HJHL)
Heritage hockey is good, very under rated really.  They try to move kids on to the AJ, and they continue to have success.  The league looked like it made up some ground this season in regaining scouting interest as more were seen attending games early and late in the season.

5.  CCHL2
The CCHL2 looks to be stuck in second gear and the clutch isn’t working. Though the level of play appeared to stay the same, the amount of player movement up did not rise to expected levels.  Concerns have been raised that the league is focused too much upon ancillary income streams and not enough on player promotion.

6.  Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL)
Jumping another position from last seasons rankings, the KIJHL continues to make a serious effort on behalf of the players.  Actually working for the players and trying to move them up is paying dividends.  The question now is what else can they do to make it better?

7.  Prairie Junior Hockey League (PJHL)
The dropped to 7 this year.  Not a bad position, but nothing appears to be in the works to raise the profile of the league concerning scouts.

8.  Quebec Junior B Hockey
There are six junior B leagues in Quebec.  A lot of teams, and a lot of skill.  Nothing is changing and no one seems to care.

9.  New Brunswick Junior B Hockey League
Too bad a good league just doesn’t do much to move players.  If there is a plan, no one seems to know what it is.

10.  Calgary Junior Hockey League
A ton of talent in the league, but again no player marketing plan.

Next week, in what will likely be a hotly debated piece we will rate the Tier III junior leagues in the United States.

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