It has been said many times that the days of the wild west are over. Maybe in the United States this could be true, but definitely not in Canada.
It looks as though Western Canada’s appetite for bad hockey, unfulfilled promises, unpaid bills, and the fleecing of players and sponsors knows no bounds.
Two “leagues” both formed at different times out of deceitful means from the former WSHL are now set to battle it out for survival in Western Canada. With similar operational standards, similar meaning next to zero, the CAJHL and the new NJHL will be looking to sign players from the same player pools located mostly on First Nation lands.
The business model of choice for the CAJHL and NJHL is based on signing as many indigenous players as possible who have the tribe pay for their hockey, and then round out the roster with other players who are either dumb enough or deperate enough to say they played “junior hockey” that are willing to pay.
Yes, nothing says “quality” like having the ability to sign anyone with a pulse and a source of payment.
Every once in a while, there is a kid who finds himself in one of these kinds of programs who actually has some talent. The unfortunate part of that is they learn in short order that no scouts are going to watch these leagues games, and it is not Junior A level.
The “commitment” page on the CAJHL website says everything you need to know. And well, there is no commitment page on the NJHL website. Not that those teams had any commitments when they were a part of other leagues that did.
The CAJHL, Canadian American Junior Hockey League, has zero teams in the USA. Brilliant naming strategy there boys. They are also looking for a new “commissioner” after the last commissioner did not even make it a full calendar year.
The NJHL, National Junior Hockey League is the newest brainstorm of “hockey genius” Derek Prue and his band of merry men. National of course not really meaning “Nation Wide” but really meaning any city in Western Canada dumb enough to rent them ice.
The CAJHL has added three teams this year for a net gain of two teams after the Calgary Warriors decided to fold silently and unceremoniously. Giving the CAJHL seven teams moving into the 2023-2024 season.
The NJHL has yet to add teams to its founding seven clubs, there are two potential “expansion” teams being worked on that could get them to nine teams to start the season. Of course multiple teams will fold and they will likely finish with five or six no matter how many they start with.
The beauty of both of these leagues is they will continue to provide TJHN and all of you readers a source of comedy as we look ahead to the coming season. I know we added a bunch of readers from the GMHL who are going to appreciate the gong show comedy of these leagues.
The most unfortunate part of both of these leagues is that they will give players and parents false hope, unkept promises, and piles of disappointment along the 2023-2024 season.
Money will be given, to not be refunded. Buses without heat, registrations, insurance or qualified drivers will be operating on the roads of Western Canada. Players will be sleeping on couches and floors. Meals will come in the form of happy meals and dollar menu items. Drug use will be over looked, and games will be played with less than ten players per side.
Coaches won’t be paid, arenas wont be paid, and sponsors will not get what they did pay for. Parents will send us emails, players will send us information asking to be kept confidential, and billet families who really want to help kids will be taken advantage of.
It’s all about the kids. Eh boys?