Southern Ontario Hockey League Moves Up To Junior C

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Southern Ontario hockey league moves up to Junior C

The Ontario Hockey Association’s board of directors has approved a number of changes that will significantly impact the future of local junior hockey.

The biggest change was the approval of the move of the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League from Junior D to Junior C.

For the Ayr Centennials and Wellesley Applejacks, this means a higher level of competition and a wider range of talent.

“For us, I think it’s a positive . . . We can draw from the region. There are a lot of good players around the area,” Larry Brown, general manager of the Centennials, said Thursday. “We played in some C tournaments in previous years and we competed with those teams.”

If an appropriate schedule and playoff format cannot be determined by the start of the 2012-13 season, the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League will be classified as a Junior C league, but will not be eligible to compete for the Junior C Schmalz Cup until the following year.

“As a C team, it’ll give us the same rights as other C teams in the area . . . Our players are protected, where as when we were D before, players could move up,” Brown said.

Regardless of what happens with scheduling this summer, all teams in the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League will be amalgamated and re-aligned into one of the six current Junior C leagues in Ontario in time for the 2013-14 season.

“Once we get amalgamated, there will be a big change as far as how we go about recruiting players and the caliber of player that will be necessary to allow us to compete,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, general manager of the Applejacks.

The association’s board also approved an application by the Owen Sound Greys of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League to relocate the team to Brampton. The Greys are making the move due to financial difficulties experienced in Owen Sound.

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