OHA APPROVES OJHL SPLIT INTO SEPARATE LEAGUES
Wednesday, August 5, 2009OHA Gives Blessing to OJHL Split into Separate Leagues
The Ontario Hockey Association has granted permission for the Ontario Junior Hockey League's Ontario Conference and Central Conference to operate as individual bodies for the upcoming season.
The Ontario Conference will be known as the Ontario Junior A Hockey League and consist of the Trenton Golden Hawks, Kingston Voyageurs, Aurora Tigers, Bramalea Blues, Brampton Capitals, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, Collingwood Blues, Couchiching Terriers, Georgetown Raiders, Huntsville Otters, Milton Icehawks, Mississauga Chargers, Oakville Blades, Vaughan Vipers, and Villanova Knights.
The Central Conference includes the Wellington Dukes, Cobourg Cougars, Bowmanville Eagles, Peterborough Liftlock Stars, Lindsay Muskies, Whitby Fury, Ajax Attack, Pickering Panthers,Markham Waxers, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, Burlington Cougars, Dixie Beehives, Hamilton Red Wings, Newmarket Hurricanes, North York Rangers, Orangeville Crushers, Seguin Bruins, St. Michael's Buzzers, Stouffville Spirit, Streetsville Derbys, and Upper Canada Hockey Club.
"We are extremely pleased with the decision that OHA has made with the direction of junior A hockey leading into their 'Tomorrow's Game' plan", said Ted Nishi of the Georgetown Raiders. "The Ontario Conference has been busy over the last several months planning and preparing each of our 15 teams to be ready for the premiere division within the OHA. We have developed a very detailed business plan with a number of key initiatives including committees to work on all aspect of the division including the promotion of the league and the development of all players and staff. An announcement will be coming out shortly on these initiatives and planning."
The OJAHL will continue to operate under all of the Hockey Canada guidelines with respect to age restrictions and playing guidelines for junior A hockey in Canada. The OHA's 'Tomorrow's Game' plan, that was passed at the recent OHA annual general meeting, will be the foundation of the newly formed OJAHL. All 15 teams will undergo a detailed audit over the next few months with the support and partnership of the OHA.
The OJAHL also announced the appointment of a new commissioner. Marty Savoy was unanimously selected as the league's first commissioner. Savoy, who was one of the key negotiators in finalizing the arrangements when the OJHL agreed to split into two separate conferences with different rules for each, has a wealth of experience in the hockey world. A graduate of the Oakville Rangers Minor Hockey system, Savoy played four years in the Ontario Hockey Association.
After graduating college, Savoy spent 10 years working for the Hockey Canada where he was responsible for the operations of the five Centres of Excellence across the country. During his time with Hockey Canada, Savoy served as an active member on numerous national and provincial committees including, Hockey Canada's Coaching, Athlete Development, Hockey Development, COE Policy and Risk and Safety Management. In addition to his committee work Savoy was the event manager for a number of Ontario provincial championships. Savoy was a staff memebr with the 2002 Men's World Championship team, where he served as the team leader for Canada.
He left Hockey Canada in 2005 to work in the Marketing Department at Tim Horton's in Calgary, AB. From Tim Horton's he went on to a work for a mobile content distribution company as the director of marketing and communications, where he is currently the director of business development for North America.
"The OJAHL is pleased to have someone with Marty's vast knowledge of both the hockey and business worlds working hand-in-hand with the 15 member clubs", said Ted Magee of the Huntsville Otters. "All 15 teams in our league agree that Marty's leadership has already proven to be a tremendous asset to our member teams and we feel that through his continued leadership the OJAHL will continue to provide a great development environment for everyone involved with the league."
With four OJAHL teams having represented Ontario in five of the last six Royal Bank Cups, Canada's national junior A championships, the league will be sure to provide an entertaining product for the 2009-2010 season.
"My experiences with the Ontario Conference, and now the OJAHL, have shown me that all 15 teams are willing to work together with the best interest of the evolution of junior A hockey within the OHA", said Savoy. "I am thrilled to be able to work with our teams to provide an exciting product for our fans in an environment that allows for the successful development of all our players and staff to become the best junior A league in the world."
Savoy has been working closely over the past few months with the conference's executive committee in developing detailed and measureable objectives for the conference to drive during the upcoming season.
The OJAHL extends thanks to Bob Hooper for his many hours of volunteer work as Commissioner of the OJHL over the past several years. The conference also acknowledges the dedication and efforts of recently retired OJHL executive Finn Poulstrup for his tireless work to build the OJHL. Both Hooper and Poulstrup will continue to offer their support and suggestions to Savoy and the OJAHL as the process moves forward.
By Scott Stevens - Special to The Trentonian