Tomorrows Game The Canadian Plan

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Tomorrows Game The Canadian Plan

Known within inner circles as Tomorrow’s Game, Ontario and Canada have an ambitious outline to restructure and improve the Junior Hockey that has simmered on the back burner for a some time.

Followers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League have recognized their league lags behind most other junior A jurisdictions in Canada in terms of competitiveness and professionalism of operation.

Presented in concept about four years ago, Tomorrow’s Game is, at long last, accepted as a course, possibly salvation, for junior hockey in Ontario.
You may recall the model includes a premier level with at least two developmental levels underneath.

The OJHL has made progress toward a premier level. Maybe that’s due to the disarray of the league at the starting point, but trimming down to 23 teams from 36 since Tomorrow’s Game was initially discussed, and widely panned, is impressive. From that standpoint, the OJHL seems to have grasped the necessity of laying the groundwork.

The collection of teams leaving the OJHL causes some to raise an eyebrow, but it’s not a popularity contest. It is not always about the winning team surviving. Just look at some of the teams that have left and some that have remained. On the surface, it doesn’t always make sense. It’s more a survival exercise, with a combination of the fittest franchises, those with the desire and the ones with a business plan and, in some cases, those that simply don’t have the good sense to leave.

Ultimately, there must be more franchises erased to make room for Junior B outfits that would become part of the premier level along with top-end OJHL teams.

No one makes money owning and operating a hockey team at the OJHL level, so how can mandatory ownership dictated by the league be possible? In fact, a lot more franchises are going to vanish if they don’t get their acts together and come up to the recommended standard operating policies the league hopes to have in place by the end of the 2012-13 season.

The climate for change is an about-face from the early days when Tomorrow’s Game scared most of the junior hockey community. Following the initial pushback, progress has been quiet and steady. Sure, there have been glitches along the way and there will be more. The key soon will be bringing together the other junior levels to facilitate a top-to-bottom overhaul within the OHA.

Convincing everyone to get on the same page in that area should be the next great challenge. That means auditing the existing franchises for their strengths and weaknesses and extracting attributes that will help serve the league in its standard operating procedures.

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