So now that the schedule for this upcoming season has been released, let’s review all the changes to the GOJHL for the 2015-16 season.
First, I’ve heard that there are some issues and possible mistakes with the schedule. I haven’t gone through the schedule myself, but I’m told that the Rockets have 49 games, whereas LaSalle is 51. I presume that everyone is supposed to be at 50, so there are some kinks to be worked out.
Now to the changes.
The first is that Buffalo Regals are back in the Golden Horseshoe Conference. After taking an abrupt season off, the Regals have collected themselves and hired former NHL player Matthew Barnaby as their Player Advancement/Development Co-ordinator. I haven’t seen anything in terms of player signings, but let’s hope the Regals can make a comeback and ice a competitive team. With Buffalo’s return, there are 9 teams in each Conference for 27 teams in the league.
The Showcase, which is usually held in St. Catharines at Thanksgiving weekend, is at the start of the season, Sept. 11-13, in London at the Western Fair Arena. It officially kicks off the regular season with 27 games over the 3 days. Each team plays twice over the weekend, and I see that they are only using 3 of the 4 rinks. The Showcase is when we have our interlock play, for the most part. As has been pointed out, Buffalo and Thorold, both of the Golden Horseshoe, play Sat. evening. With Buffalo’s return, there’s now an odd number teams. As you may recall, 2 years ago at the Showcase, Brantford played a GHC Prospects team in order to make an even number of teams. Prior to that, I believe they had 1 team play twice. Yes, it doesn’t seem fair that Thorold and Buffalo only get 1 interlock game each, but that’s how they decided to do it this year.
I’m excited about the Showcase. Western Fair is literally within a 10 min. drive from where I live, so I don’t have to get a hotel for the weekend, like I did last year. Nor do I have to drive all the way to Niagara. I also like that they’ve gone back to 2 games each. Yes, this is not new to have 2 games at the Showcase. When they first started the Showcase, it was a Sat. & Sun. event with each team playing 2 games. I also like that it’s at the start of the season rather than at Thanksgiving. Back in the early 2000’s, the Western League, this was before we were 1 league, had a kick off weekend to start the season. I can’t remember how many years it lasted, it wasn’t very long, but 1 of the 9 teams would host all the other teams for the weekend to start the regular season.
The draw back to the Showcase being that weekend is that’s the final weekend of the Western Fair, therefore parking will be virtually non-existent.
The third change, the player assessment fee. This is a bit controversial right now mostly because nobody’s really sure what it means or what it’s for. Each player that registers in the GOJHL, meaning they sign a card, must pay a $750.00 fee to the league. Yes, it’s not payable to the individual teams, it’s payable to the league. I know it sounds like a lot, especially after you do the math and calculate how much the league is going to collect, but these fees pay for the following:
This list is not inclusive. I’m sure there are other things that the league has to pay for that nobody has even thought of. Perhaps you’re sitting there thinking, how does the league have to pay for the Showcase? With the Showcase in London, that means the Nationals are technically hosting it, but they’re not paying for the ice rental. They’re also not paying the referees and linesmen. The same goes for the Prospect & All-Star games.
In all the arguments I’ve seen for and against this fee, nobody has brought up the fact that the teams have to pay fees to the GOJHL each season, much like they do to the OHA. When the OHA player fee was introduced, it was to help reduce the membership fees of each team, so that’s most likely what this fee is for too. Without this player fee, that means the costs for all those items listed above falls onto the teams and those that are struggling already to survive, it will bury them and cause them to fold.
A release about the player assessment fee is available on the Guelph Hurricanes website. I’ve also included a link to it here. Assessment Fee Letter
The next change is that shootouts are gone. After seeing it work in the Midwestern Jr. C League last season, it was passed that we now play a 5 min. 4-on-4 OT period, like before, and if it’s still tied, we go to a 5 min. 3-on-3 OT period. If the game is still tied, it ends in a tie. If you win in OT, you still get 2 points and the loser gets 1. In a tie, each team gets 1 point and there is no extra point awarded.
Somebody has asked what happens if there’s a penalty during the 2nd OT. It’s a standard hockey rule, but you are not allowed to have less than 3 skaters on the ice, therefore it would become a 4-on-3 PP situation. It’s the same as in regulation, if player A gets a penalty at 6:10, player B at 6:30 and player C at 7:00, player C’s penalty does not start until A’s finishes, and A is not allowed onto the ice until the first whistle after his penalty is over. With OT, if you end regulation on a 5-on-3, OT starts as a 5-on-3 and changes to a 4-on-3 at the first whistle after the first penalty has expired. So in 3-on-3 play, with a penalty, it’ll become 4-on-3 and will change back to 3-on-3 at the first whistle after the penalty expired. I know it sounds confusing, but you’ll get it once you see it in action.
I first learned about the 2nd OT from an article in the Sarnia Observer on Thursday. http://www.theobserver.ca/2015/07/15/sarnia-legionnaires-gojhl-prepare-for-no-shootouts-and-new-three-on-three-overtime-format
As Mark Davis pointed out, this 3-on-3 OT will be exciting for the fans, but for the teams as well. Playing 3-on-3, or even 4-on-4, is a game of strategy. One mistake and it could cost you the game. This is going to be interesting to see how the teams deal with 3-on-3.
The next change is that each game is going to be broadcast on www.fasthockey.com I don’t know much about this service, only that it’s a subscription service of $26.99 for 1 month or $22.99/month annually. I know that this is going to attract a lot of people, but I am not one of them. I prefer to be at a game live rather than watch it on tv or the internet. For those of you that subscribe to it, you’ll have to let me know how it works, what it’s like, etc.
So those are your changes for the GOJHL this season. While we’re on the topic, let’s cover some changes I’m making to the blog.
So for the past 2 seasons I’ve been primarily covering the West and doing game recaps. After being asked by the OHA to write the GOJHL article for the Blueline Magazine Play-Off Edition, I realized that I need to know more about the other 2 Conferences. I know what happens in the West and I should know what takes place in the Midwest and Golden Horseshoe, so this season I’m going to cover all 3 Conferences.
I’m also no longer doing game recaps. Finding and writing all the recaps takes a lot of time, most of which I do at work, which I shouldn’t, so I’m going to do previews now. They should be easier for me to write at home and on my own time, and I can prepare them in advance. I still have to figure out how I’m going to do the preview, if I’m going to split them by Conference, how many previews I’m going to do in a week, but I have until Labour Day to sort that out.
I’m also going to do profiles again. I’d like to have 1 from each team which would be 27 and would cover the entire regular season, but I’m realistic in that I know there will be teams that won’t be accommodating to me interviewing a player. I’m going to interview as many players from the various teams as I can, and there may be the odd coach interview as well.
So that’s the changes. If you have any questions or comments, sound off below.