No Serious Move to get GHC Back

No serious move to get GHC back

By Steve Rive, Stratford Beacon Herald

The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League appears ready to move ahead without the Golden Horseshoe Conference.

At a meeting a week ago involving Midwestern and Western Conference teams, there was concern expressed about the GHC giving notice to the Ontario Hockey Association that it will withdraw from the GOJHL and return to operating as a separate league.

But the only move the two conferences made was to encourage newly-hired commissioner Chuck Williams to reach out to the GHC to try to keep them within the fold, according to Stratford Hockey Club representatives who attended last Monday’s meeting.

The irony of that is that one of the issues that reportedly prompted the GHC to withdraw was the hiring of Williams without other candidates being interviewed.

In fact, a few teams in the Midwestern and Western conferences have also expressed concern over the hiring and the Stratford Cullitons, for one, have said they won’t contribute to pay Williams’ salary.

“To say we’re disappointed that there wasn’t a transparent hiring process completed, would be an understatement,” SHC president Dan Mathieson said last Friday. “The Stratford Hockey Club has clearly said we don’t believe there’s a need for (a commissioner) and we don’t intend to have to pay for it.”

Mathieson also expressed disappointment at what seems the imminent loss of eight of the 26 GOJHL teams.

“We’re only strong when we’re all together and after many years of work, all the teams came together to form the GOJHL, which was a huge step forward for junior B hockey in the province,” he said. “Now that we’re partly fractured it should give pause for concern to all of us that we’re not moving in a concerted effort.

“The Stratford Cullitons have enjoyed playing teams in the Midwest, the West and the Golden Horseshoe, through our history whether it be interlock, Sutherland Cup playdowns or ultimately the Ontario championship.”

Since last spring when a so-called Transition Team was established by the GOJHL to push for reclassification to Junior A, the lines have blurred between that group and the board of the GOJHL.

“I think that’s what (teams) are hoping to get some clarification on now,” Mathieson said. “We’re hoping for some clarity with regards to elected directors, mandate, and other things. People are just saying, ‘where are we going as an organization, who’s on the board?

“Geography dictates that we’re part of the Midwest and right now it’s about putting hockey on the ice for our fans and our players,” Mathieson added. “If over time that means we have to accept certain things, so be it. (But) it’s not the way we’d like to see the junior hockey program run in our part of the province.”

Mathieson said he isn’t concerned that voicing the Stratford Hockey Club’s opinions could result in a backlash from GOJHL rivals against the team.

“I don’t fear retribution because I believe the individuals involved are mature, responsible and I have to believe that they have integrity where they’d respect an organization with a history as long as ours,” he said. “And the fact that we have a divergent opinion shouldn’t mean that they would resort to something that I feel is beneath them.”

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 and you can find me on Twitter at 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.

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