A Conversation With GOJHL Commissioner Chuck Williams – by C. Scott Holland
Taking on a new role created to govern the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League and its 26 teams, Chuck Williams is its first commissioner.
Andrew Buttigieg of St. Thomas’ myFM (94.1) had the opportunity recently to ask the GOJHL’s head guy some questions.
Andrew: “Give us an overview of your position as commissioner of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League?”
Chuck Williams, “The GOJHL is the highest level of OHA in southwestern Ontario. My job is to oversee and govern the three conferences (West, Mid-West and Golden Horseshoe), which in turn, all have their own convenors. I make sure that things within the overall 26 team GOJHL run smoothly.”
One of the brightest parts of the GOJHL is that they’ve been named as, and have remained, one of North America’s top developmental leagues for junior players. That fact is something which both commissioner Williams and the GOJHL – from its board of governors to its coaching staffs, players and fans – are all be proud of.
Prior to being named the GOJHL’s first commissioner, Mr. Williams had worked with the Alliance Hockey League and Waterloo minor hockey.
AB: “Can you give us an explanation as to why there will not be an All-Star game this season?”
CW: “On Dec. 28th at Guelph’s Sleeman Centre, we are hosting our annual Prospects Game and it was the scouts and coaches who had pleaded with us to not do an all-star game. All they were interested in was the Prospects contest where they could see some of the best 16, 17 and 18-year-old players around display their skills. Primarily, this was done for the scouts from CIS, NCAA and OHL. With our Kickoff Showcase Weekend, the scouts had the chance to see many of these players already, but this gives them a good opportunity to view the same players and determine how well they play and react with different players.”
AB: “I’ve noticed there is a big shift within not only the West, but the entire GOJHL, to developing younger players.
CW: “Yes. You’ve hit the nail on the head. We have carved out a name for ourselves; we are a developmental league. Most teams are now using more and more younger players and developing them. More scouts are attending games and we are following the push from Hockey Canada to go into this direction. By having many of these young players staying closer to home, it’s creating the highest level of hockey possible.”
AB: “Are there any discussions about changing the rules regarding player eligibility, i.e. having more 16 or 15 year-olds or overage players?”
CW: “We’ve held some talks concerning these issues and while no formal decisions have been made, it is something we are looking at. We are looking at the criteria and rationale behind these concerns and I can assure you that any decision forthcoming will be a league decision – one agreed upon by all 26 teams.”
AB: “How important was it getting the Golden Horseshoe Conference back?”
CW: “Well it was important, especially since the 26 team GOJHL is well-known throughout North America and the hockey world.”
The interview concluded with Mr. Williams rendering a general overview of the GOJHL. “It’s great to see fans come out to games. Our attendance figures are up in most centres from last season. The GOJHL presents an all-around good product and we do our best to promote and elevate the players to higher levels and better educations. All 26 teams are working well together. We are a solid league and proud of what we have, and what we have accomplished.”