Now before you light the torches and come knock on my door with pitchforks in hand, let me elaborate on that statement… After all that is the point of writing a column.
Now depending on who you are… you will immediately disagree with that statement and then begin to slander myself, the league and call it beer league Jr F hockey.
If you are one of those people… then keep reading so you can at least add more fuel to your ignorant fire.
The CPJHL has done many good things since dropping the puck for its Inaugural season last month. And they have done a few bad things, but the main thing that makes them an important junior league in Ontario is that they have PR awareness.
You think this would be an easy concept to grasp, but when it comes to these ‘outlaw’ leagues, it goes by the way side. Even sanctioned leagues could do a better job getting in front of stories or providing a league response in general.
Where the CPJHL has shined is recognizing what it is, and what it isn’t. Despite many people wanting to label the league as not being Jr A… the league itself does not even claim to be Jr A level, in fact they don’t talk about what level they are other than being a Jr League.
And what the CPJHL is, is nothing but an unsanctioned league, trying to stay a float and hopefully be recognized in the next few years… but until then, they are playing by the rules and being completely different than what you expect an outlaw league to be.
Lets look at this example form the CPJHL, back on September 27th, the league announced that the Burk’s Falls Bruins would not play this season. They would delay entry for another year, as the management group running two teams could not field 2 teams. Instead of letting the kids go and saying sorry about your luck, they transitioned their roster to their other team in Muskoka.
Now if you read the statement released, you may roll your eyes and dissect the rubbish involved but the main point is that the league made a statement and discussed that the players have a place to play.
But they also did this back on September 16th, and then this weekend, the league posted on its twitter account that a game between Muskoka and Grey Highland had to be stopped because Muskoka did not have enough players to continue due to injury.
Again, make whatever point you want but the league stepped up and informed all who want to know, what exactly happened in the game.
The reason I bring this up is that the other outlaw/unsanctioned leagues don’t say a peep. How many times do you have to find out about a team folding from this very website? As fun as that is, taking responsibility for your member clubs is what a league should do, and they should get in front of all the stories.
It was just this week that the GMHL put out a statement about a team needing to fold for arguably the first time in its 10 year history. Sure, they say that they are expanding, or they sent a player to play in 3rd tier France to play ‘pro’. But they are radio silent when it comes to a team folding… except for this past week when they made a statement declaring the end of the Komoka Dragons.
Great, congratulations, you made one statement. Now tell everyone about Bracebridge shutting down in the same week. Scroll through their past news items and there is nothing about the Toronto Blue Ice Jets folding after 1 week, or potentially merging with another team.
The NCPHL is just the same as all the past mistakes. This league, I imagine, tried to be legitimate and play a full season, and yet, they remove games from the league schedule, teams have folded or ceased existence, and no sound from the league.
And this is a lesson that the legit Jr A leagues can learn from and even Jr B and Jr C… Own up to the mistakes, whether it is yours or an owner’s mistake. In the case of Jr A, B and C leagues under the Hockey Canada umbrella, you don’t have to worry about teams randomly folding, but player suspensions, ownership changes, etc, the leagues should be putting out information for those seeking it.
Every sports team and league copy what they see. Everything is carbon copy, copy and paste and the CPJHL made itself more respectable just by owning up to owners mistakes and saying, we can’t let them take to the ice because it is not safe.
Hopefully this will catch on around the province and the country, at least for the unsanctioned leagues. We all know you are not what you say you are, but if you just admit what you are, and own up to the changes we speculate on, it will go a long way in gaining credibility and respect.