Golden Horseshoe Splitting from GOJHL

I found this article this morning in the Stratford Beacon Herald.

http://www.stratfordbeaconherald.com/2014/10/28/golden-horseshoe-splitting-from-gojhl

Golden Horseshoe splitting from GOJHL

By Steve Rice

Golden Horseshoe Conference teams, concerned by many of the decisions being made by the leadership within the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, have voted to withdraw from the GOJHL.

The Ontario Hockey Association has received an email detailing the Golden Horseshoe’s intentions, Scott Farley, president of the OHA said Monday. They are now waiting for confirmation in writing, after which the OHA board will “deal with it accordingly,” at its regular meeting in November, he said.

“There’s no question regarding their membership in the OHA because membership is based on teams, not leagues or conferences,” said Farley, noting that he expected that little would change because there is no longer interlocking play between the conferences except for the Showcase Weekend held each Thanksgiving in St. Catharines.

“From the OHA’s standpoint it would be business as normal and they will compete for the Sutherland Cup regardless of the position they move forward in,” Farley said.

Messages to GHC convener Paul Quaranta were not returned Monday, but a number of individuals spoke off the record detailing some of the concerns that sparked the move.

A spokesman for the St. Catharines Falcons said “the Golden Horseshoe is not in agreement with the direction this Transition Committee is taking the GOJHL … and we will decide our own future rather than having someone else decide our future for us.

“The eight teams decided the best thing for us is to become independent again like we were before.”

The Transition Team was established last spring as GOJHL teams pressured the OHA to be reclassified Junior A.

The Stratford Cullitons distanced themselves from the Transition Team after threats of legal action against the OHA were made public and a media release from the Transition Team described the OHA as dishonest, among other things.

Another source within the Golden Horseshoe said that their teams still want to be designated Junior A, but they also want to remain part of the OHA and Hockey Canada and not become an outlaw league, as has reportedly been contemplated by some within the Transition Team.

Meanwhile, the GOJHL’s recent hiring of Kitchener’s Chuck Williams as commissioner earlier this month also upset some member teams.

While there was agreement that the 58-year-old retired principal and longtime hockey volunteer was a very capable candidate, there were concerns that he was handed the job without a formal hiring process taking place.

“We all believed there would be a job description made up and then teams throughout the GOJHL would have candidates that they would like to put forward, and then they’d be interviewed,” one source said. “The guy was picked and a memo went out.”

There was also great concern over how Williams would be paid, and how much.

One source indicated Williams would be paid out of a fund that had been established to cover legal fees if the GOJHL moved forward with a lawsuit against the OHA to be recognized as Junior A.

Another source said that teams were also informed that they would be charging each of their players an additional fee beginning next season that would cover the commissioner’s salary — $50,000 according to one source, plus expenses.

“We don’t want to do that,” said one coach. “I think our league’s going to reap the benefit of pay-for-play in other leagues. Charging $400 is fine, but we have no appetite for charging them $1,000 or $1,500 to play junior B.”

Another team official said they were not convinced that there was a need for a commissioner that justified the cost.

The Midwestern and Western Conferences have a meeting scheduled for Mon., Nov. 3 where the Golden Horseshoe’s potential departure will be discussed.

Farley said that a committee has been formed with representatives from the OHA and reps from each of the GOJHL’s conferences to discuss various issues leading up to next year’s OHA Annual Meeting.

As for the GOJHL teams being reclassified Junior A, Farley said that “at this point, the position from our board hasn’t changed that we indicated back in April.”

Some teams indicated that the key issue was a change to the import rule, which they feel puts them at a disadvantage against Ontario Junior Hockey League teams which have unlimited imports.

Farley gave indications that changes could be possible.

“Our organization is prepared to make the changes that need to be made given the climate of demographics and everything else today,” Farley said. “We’ve never said ‘no, we’re never changing it.’ We’ve just said there needs to be a process.”

steve.rice@sunmedia.ca

You all know that I am a die-hard Rockets fan, but I am also a die-hard GOJHL fan, having been watching Jr. B hockey since I was 10 years old. I will only watch the GOJHL and during the hockey season, you never know what arena RG is gonna show up at.

I’m bringing you the games, news, and updates of the GOJHL.

RG is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheRocketGirl16 and you can find me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheRocketGirl16

If you hear of anything about any of the teams in the GOJHL, or have questions about anything, feel free to post it. If I don’t know the answer, I know how to find it.

1 Comment

  1. RocketGirl

    October 29, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    If you want some information on this developing story, listen to the first intermission of the Rockets/Vipers game tonight. Rockets GM Dan Gibson, who is also a member of the GOJHL Board, will be live on the air to discuss this issue. http://www.strathroytoday.ca The game started at 7:00, so I’d say interview should be around 7:30.

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