Make way for the CIHL


Randy Russon
By
March 26, 2014

Espanola Rivermen owner Tim Clayden has served notice that he intends to move his team out of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and into the new Canadian International Hockey League effective the 2014-2015 campaign.

I asked Clayden why the Rivermen are leaving the NOJHL and what we can expect from the CIHL.

Following is a transcript of the interview.

RUSSON: Why are the Espanola Rivermen leaving the NOJHL?

CLAYDEN: First and foremost, we are leaving the NOJHL because the league has simply become too expensive to operate a successful junior hockey program, in my opinion. With the move of Elliott Lake to Cochrane (effective next season) it is a minimum increase of 25 % in transportation costs to our annual budget each season. We are talking between $25,000 and $40,000 more annually. The Espanola Rivermen simply cannot afford to add that much more money to our annual operating costs.

The way I see it, if travel costs and the travel times are relatively the same for us to play some games in Michigan and the majority of our games in Central Ontario next season at the very same costs as it is now to be playing in the more remote Northeastern Ontario part of the NOJHL, then we think it will be more advantageous for all involved in our organization to look at playing elsewhere, especially if time to travel to games and lodging and food costs remain relatively the same.

Changing leagues means providing better National Collegiate Athletic Association exposure and opportunities for our student-athlete players so we feel the timing for a change in operating venues is at the end of this season. We will begin anew in the best, long-term interest of playing and operating a junior hockey club on the North Shore and in Espanola, Ontario.

Another alarming concern for our hockey club is with the Hockey Canada eventual elimination of American players from the NOJHL and all of Hockey Canada league play. That move will hurt our program and hurt the quality of the entire league and in my opinion, eventually crush the entire Great North Midget League as they simply do not have the talent pool to replace the American players within the NOJHL each season.

We have heard for three years now from that the NOJHL will have more American imports and even two European players each year. Not a chance, it’s not happening in my lifetime. Why would the Ontario Jr. Hockey League or the Central Canada Hockey League and all other Jr. A teams from across Canada allow the NOJHL to have an advantage over all other junior teams and still compete for a national championship ? We no longer believe it is a possibility.

We currently have 42 American lads playing within the NOJHL today, next year we believe that number will be cut in half until USA players have been completely eliminated from playing hockey here in Canada. I have no idea how our team could replace our USA kids.

It really is a shame, someone should cut a hole in the box and have a look outside that very same box, the game of Tier 2 junior hockey in this country is changing. We want to be on the right side of the change and ahead of the curve, and that would be living and playing hockey in a global free market that allows Canadian kids, American kids and European players equal opportunity to speak, live, develop, play and grow on the same team, in the same junior hockey league that develops and promotes student-athlete players as a league wide priority to the next level of play.

We are leaving for what we feel will be a better opportunity for our student-athlete players with better league operations with a franchise business model that works for each and every league member while providing better NCAA exposure for each of our student-athlete players playing within what will be known as the CIHL.

Our executive team believes there are opportunities opening in the junior hockey landscape that will allow the Espanola Rivermen to add value for all of the franchise stakeholders. It is our responsibility to our players, volunteers, staff and the town of Espanola to position the organization where we have the best chance possible to enjoy the most success. We must constantly be re-evaluating our options.

Looking beyond the 2014-2015 season into our three-and-five-year plans, we feel the CIHL is the strongest option for the Rivermen franchise. The players will be given opportunities for increased NCAA exposure and additional resources as student-athlete junior hockey players. Our fans expect to be treated to highest level of junior hockey possible. Political interference in the NOJHL will place roster restrictions eliminating American imports. Our belief is that this will decrease the talent level.

It is our duty to the volunteers and staff of the organization to instill confidence in the club’s operations for many seasons to come. The movement of several teams has increased travel schedule and would be pushing our annual budget to its limits. The move to the CIHL will reduce the risk of financial hardships, giving confidence to our players, their parents, our staff and volunteers and just as importantly, the Town of Espanola.

RUSSON: So, will the CIHL be a go for the 2014-2015 season?

CLAYDEN: We are submitting our 2014-2015 application to the Amateur Athletic Union and if accepted as expected, we would be sanctioned by one of the largest amateur athletic non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the world.

We expect to be playing as a member of the United Hockey Union under the USA-based Amateur Athletic Union, the governing body of all AAU sanctioned junior hockey leagues registered under the AAU umbrella. The AAU is already here in Canada in many other sports including baseball, basketball and soccer.

To answer your question, Randy, we fully expect the CIHL will be officially operating in plenty of time for the 2014-2015 season.

RUSSON: How many teams can we expect to be a part of the CIHL and where will they be located?

CLAYDEN: We are not at liberty to discuss the number of teams in the league at this time. An official press conference will be held in mid-April once the AAU application has been processed and franchise applications have been accepted.

Applications have been received from possible franchise owners across Northern and Southern Ontario. In addition, there has been a proposal to have an interlocking schedule with a USA-based league with teams surrounding the Great Lakes. We are reviewing this option.

We have a meeting in Toronto coming up and we cannot announce anything formal until such a time as our applications have been reviewed and accepted, but I will dare say that we could see an 8-to-10 team division between Soo, Ontario and Markham, Ontario beginning play this September for the 2014-2015 season.

Each team we add will have a very close team rival within nearby travel distance providing naturally-built rivalries that also help to reduce travel costs for all visiting teams.

For example, we have been approached by two groups now that wish to have their own team in Greater Sudbury, which is a great fit for us in Espanola.

RUSSON: Who will be running the CIHL as Commissioner?

CLAYDEN: For sure, it won’t be me, However, we have already been contacted by a number of high-end candidates about the position and will be conducting a formal interview process to ensure the right person is positioned for success.

It is very exciting to have so many quality junior hockey people in the game today interested in becoming involved within the CIHL concept. Some will be surprised by the number of quality candidates that we have lined up, we have more than a few good, experienced and qualified hockey people currently involved in the game today that are interested.

RUSSON: Where will the CIHL draw players from?

CLAYDEN: The long and short of it is, we will have student-athlete players come from throughout the world to play in our league. What our proposed constitution is looking like is a Canadian International Tier II Junior ‘A’ Hockey League that includes unlimited Canadians, with a combination of as many as 15 American and or European players where each team is committed to developing and promoting student-athletes from throughout the world to their next level of play.

I believe we will provide exceptional NCAA exposure for each of our student-athlete players and give Northern Ontario lads an alternative to what is out there now, an alternative that sincerely provides student-athlete hockey players with much better NCAA exposure than they have been provided with today.

All players from Canada and Europe will be free agents to the CIHL and free to come and go as they please, frankly if our hockey programs don’t deliver, players will not be held back for any reason. We are awaiting clarification on USA born players and where they can be recruited from.

RUSSON: Will CIHL teams play an interlocking schedule with an American-based league?

CLAYDEN: It has been a proposed to have an interlocking schedule with a USA-based league currently surrounding the Great Lakes waterway system. We are reviewing this option and consulting with the AAU to determine if this would add value for both parties involved.

It really depends on our AAU application and it is to early to comment on other than to say playing interlocking games in some USA key located communities would certainly set the CIHL apart from not just the NOJHL but set the CIHL apart from all other Ontario based junior hockey leagues.

It’s okay to be different today. We don’t have an axe the grind with any CJHL teams and/or Leagues. Some of my best friends in junior hockey today remain active throughout all of the CJHL, and Hockey Canada-based junior hockey teams and leagues. We are simply providing an alternative opportunity for student-athlete players to play junior hockey — and they can be from throughout the world.

I do not believe our move will have affect my long-term relationships with other current League commissioners and or Hockey Canada-related hockey personnel that I have known and worked with in hockey for as many as 25 years now. We are simply starting a new junior hockey league that provides new opportunities to world wide student-athlete hockey players that we are putting first in each of our junior hockey programs, including top priorities given to league wide to development and promotion of our student-athlete players, on and off the ice, with increased exposure to the NCAA and Canadian university levels of play.

Our hockey club, our community and our management team in Espanola is completely aware of our decision to change leagues. There are a lot of questions out there but many can rest assured that we will maintain some very similar and close rivals that we currently play against today. Hockey is a very small world, we have no intentions other than to include all Rivermen fans and expand on our junior hockey horizons while maintaining some current rivals and creating other new game-day rivals in the near future.

RUSSON: What about leaving the NOJHL behind?

CLAYDEN: We only wish each NOJHL league partner the very, very best, we are moving forward looking through the hole in the box that we have cut out, planning to do something different and innovative with like-minded league executives and team governors that wish to provide something different where we expect to create better business opportunities for all our teams, our players and our fans than what we currently have available to us today.

This is about moving forward in junior hockey without borders and maintaining everyone’s first Charter of Rights to do so, including freedom of speech for all involved. I know many want myself, and some of my friends coming along for a junior hockey ride of a life time to fail miserably, that’s okay, stand in line. All are entitled to their opinion and to speak freely.

RUSSON: What about referees?

CLAYDEN: The leading candidate for on-ice structure replicates the NCAA three-man system. We have an experienced senior man in place now that we have been having several on-going discussions with regarding our new league and its proposed new direction, where he has a bank of experienced officials on standby now.

We are designing a competitive compensation plan to attract and develop quality officials. We are very excited in our discussions to date with this chap as he also has many years of experience officiating both here in Canada and the USA and within the AAU itself.

We will also have an independent discipline committee made up of five current and experienced junior hockey men that includes the head of our discipline committee being a current vice president of an operating junior team with more than 12 years experience in the game of junior hockey and another 25 in provincial police work, whose upstanding reputation speaks for himself of being both honest and stern but fair and understanding.

RUSSON: What will be the cost for players to play in the CIHL?

CLAYDEN: The CIHL will be a pay-to-play league based on the NCAA rules of what we can and cannot provide to eligible student-athlete hockey players. However, league costs will be very similar to fees today within the NOJHL, CCHL and the OJHL. We will be somewhere in the middle of Hockey Canada junior leagues and the current Greater Metro Hockey League teams that operate today.

The difference between the CIHL and the NOJHL for example with be in the consistency of our own junior hockey programs and our league formula for successes throughout consistent league franchise operation standards, that will only help justify to parents and players why they pay to play in our league.

For example, in Espanola we practice 4.5 to 6 hours a week where other teams in our area practice an hour or two a week. We plan to have league-wide standards in place that include the same minimum practice times for all league franchises, where should a player from Espanola be traded to say, Markham, Ontario, the only difference should be his team jersey.

League standards will be an important aspect of our league programs and operations in order to justify CIHL league fees to all players and all parents. It has to be worth their investment — and CIHL programs must deliver.


What you think about “Make way for the CIHL”

  1. Interesting article Randy. Sounds like this could be very interesting times. Question I have is what happens to the current espanola players that have junior elegibility left if this league doesn’t get off the ground for fall 2014 start?

    1. Thanks nojhl fan.

      If it doesn’t get off the ground — though indications are the CIHL is a virtual go — I don’t know what the status of the players would be. I am not in position to answer that.

      Regards,

      Randy

  2. I do believe they can play in the league if they want to. Basically at the end of this year they should be “free agents”

  3. sounds exciting!!!! win win situation for fans, players and ownership! This is exciting!!! Kudos to Clayden for putting the fans and players futures ahead of everything else!!! It makes me feel good to know that our hard working players will no longer go unnoticed by NCAA and CIS scouts and get the recognition they deserve that is virtually non existent in polar bear country.

  4. It will be nice to see some change in Junior Hockey as we have had the same boring ways for to many years now.
    I am not saying this new CIHL will be better than the NOJ as we have to wait and see about the product however I give credit to Tim Clayden for having the balls to say to hell with the old ways and old ideas & “lets try something new.”

  5. The MWJHL needs to become a better League imho. Hopefully having this new C-I-H-L will force the Mid West League to improve there level of play and the caliber of players that we attract esp if there is to be Inter-Locking Play.

  6. Quick question Randy about the financial numbers Clayden provides right off the top.

    With the move of Elliott Lake to Cochrane (effective next season) it is a minimum increase of 25 % in transportation costs to our annual budget each season. We are talking between $25,000 and $40,000 more annually.

    Since there will be 3 Northern towns in the league, one would assume that teams will be travelling up North for games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They now usually go for only two days and not three but still sleep there two nights. Since the teams go up North 4 times a year and will now have to go a day early, what’s a reasonable cost (busing, possibly an extra night for rooms and meals if provided). for these four extra days up North?

    Having been on too many bus trips to tournaments, I’m putting the maximum increased cost at $6000. For rooms and meals if needed, lets go all out and put a number of $4000 even though they already pay for two nights. That’s 10K. From that amount, subtract the Espo-KL cost four times a year ($1000?). That’s a max additional cost of $9000.

    Where does he come up with $40000? Private plane?

    Just the fact that he fudges the truth with such an exaggerated number makes me question his honesty here.

    1. I was running some numbers too, and I’m closer to Mike’s numbers, but who cares, dude says he’s leaving, so be it. Hope it works for the players, because it’s supposed to be about the players, remember.

      1. I agree, tweet. Players should always be the no. 1 priority.

        It shouldn’t be about a coach’s ego or a self-serving board member or anyone connected to the league with his own agenda — it should always be about the player.

  7. with Tim it is always about the players.. and to say it just about the money is wrong.. there is the scouting factor as well.. and a more northerly move to that part of Ontario does little for NCAA scouts in Division 3 schools – lets be honest is where many of the players may end up – will not go there to see players.. the teams I have heard in the new CIHL will definitely have better venues for scouts to come see..

  8. Additional comments and questions

    We are approaching April 2014. If this gets approved, they will have a few months to basically start an International League and get 8-10 teams going, some from scratch. Quite the endeavour!

    The Soo Tbirds are already on board according to Claydon? Have they informed the NOJHL?

    Two Sudbury groups are interested? Unless the Barons fold, this is highly unlikely to succeed. It would have to come together very quickly simply based on available ice times. Even something like having an appropriate dressing room for a Junior team would be a problem.

    The league would be sanctioned under the United Hockey Union under the USA-based Amateur Athletic Union. But, he says that it’s only hopeful that US based teams would be part of it. So far, it seems it might be limited to Northern and Southern Ontario teams. Does this make any sense without the participation of US teams?

    What is this US based league that they may be playing against? For sure it’s not the NAHL. Any other US based league that would be close enough to play against is certainly not a step up in caliber from what I can tell. And this league would not be part of the CIHL?

    There would be up to 15 American and European players per team? So much for developing Northern Ontario players. Don Cherry would love this.

    This is sounding more and more like the GMHL league and that’s fine but with the 3 Jr A leagues, the 2 jr B leagues, the Jr C league, the G league and now this league, the product will be watered down significantly. Having attended a few GMHL games, I don’t care how many Europeans are on the rosters, it’s terrible hockey. Players who get cut from NOJHL teams and play in the G become superstars there.

    Consistency among teams is a very good idea if it is enforceable. It’s true that teams such as Espo and KL do practice three times as much as other teams.

    NCAA exposure would be increased for sure if everything goes as planned. But would it be exposure for Europeans and Americans if three quarters of the rosters are not Canadian? It is true that some NOJHL teams make no attempt at all to promote their players to the next level. They would rather try to convince and 19 year old to return for another year than to seek out opportunities for him at the next level, whether that be NCAA or CIS.

    Lots to do and little time to get all this done. Hopefully it works out for the Espo players (and the Soo players if the team is already committed).

        1. Like I said to you yesterday, Mike, ask Tim Clayden. E-mail him or call him. I provided you with contact info for both. I am sure Tim will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

  9. “We have a meeting in Toronto coming up and we cannot announce anything formal until such a time as our applications have been reviewed and accepted, but I will dare say that we could see an 8-to-10 team division between Soo, Ontario and Markham, Ontario beginning play this September for the 2014-2015 season.”

    His word are often convoluted and contradictory but, after careful reading, it would seem that he means that the teams will be between the Soo and Markham, the Soo not included but Markham definitely included. Unless, there will be another Soo team in this league to compete with the TBirds…. 🙂

    1. Mike

      I really hope you don’t expect anybody to take your ramblings seriously! RR did an amazing job at putting everything very plain and simple in black and white, yet you still don’t seem to have a grasp on anything he had said. You are so out of the loop it’s funny. Maybe RR should start drawing pictures too, so you can keep up!

  10. Mike(friend or relative of Mazzuca ) you make
    no sense and never do. But then again you
    are another self proclaimed genius. Good luck
    as it seems you even need help to get oxygen
    to your brain.

  11. I wonder if one of the teams in the Greater Sudbury area was supposed to be the team that was supposed to be playing out of Capreol in the GMHL?

  12. I want to Thanks to Tim Clayden for providing an opportunity that other’s would not even dream about. Here is to a Sudbury team in the “CIHL.”

  13. get your cheque books out mom and dads, here comes the new Super Outlaw league! 15 k to play! I hope the Rivermen fans were old Bobcats fans who loved the GMHL, cuz your getting a glorified version where owners make even more!

    take a page out of Eskis book and learn to how suck it up and deal with tough playoff schedules (see Soo vs Eskis sched) ! If you guys just kept the cryin and excuses to minimum so that people can still enjoy the game, you might be able draw 600 a game what day of the week you play! Comment about caring for the kids is beyond laughable!

    The TC saga is getting old for the NOJHL, just like it did in the OJHL when he got the same push out the door! His way or the highway, lucky for him Ontario has a whole lot of roads!

    As for all the trashing of mike, you guys have no idea! that is a man who had been involved in the game for a very long time, giving so much of his own time to truly help kids play hockey, at no cost! If you only knew!

    1. Honestly do you think the NOJHL will be any cheaper come on buddy. The Mazzuca era is coming to an end I hear — well hopefully for the NOJHL it is.

  14. With all this Spring Snow I wonder if Comish Mazzuca will be fining Tim Clayden for the Weather ……..Better hope for sunshine Tim

  15. So what happened to the IJHL? Now its the CIHL?… why not just call it GMHL #2?

    The funny thing about this, has anyone called the AAU to get a comment?

    Has anyone called the unsanctioned American League he wants to play in for a comment?

    right now one thing is for sure, nothing has happened. and honestly Randy do you think it will happen?

    Good Luck Miners!

    1. jtrain,

      I have been in touch with an official within the AAU. For now, our correspondence is “off the record.”

      What “unsanctioned American league” are you referring to? If it’s the MWJHL, it is indeed sanctioned — by the AAU. Former OHLer Scott Gardiner is commissioner of the MWJHL, by the way.

      Do I “honestly think it will happen?” That is not for me to answer.

      If it does happen, you will be able to read about it here first, I am sure.

      Regards,

      Randy

  16. hockeyguy,

    I’d love to read your rebuttal to my questions and comments. Your general insults directed at my intellect are surely entertaining for all but lets see some content to your incessant comments here. Take each of my comments and questions and specifically show how they prove lack my stupidity. Go for it. Start with the 40K cost to play 4 games in Cochrane.

    Chesty,
    Same goes for you. Knock yourself out as it’s all black and white as you say. Interesting how you are all so privy to private conversations between Espo management and League officials. Unless you are on the line during the conversations, it’s hearsay. I would imagine that Espo management is not so petty as to divulge the content of these conversations to regular fans at the local Tim Horton’s. That would be very unprofessional.

    1. There isnt enough time in the world to correct each and every one of your points! but I will address the one you brought up and show how you misconstrue everything you read. you say 40k, I go back and read the article and in plain black and white, it says “We are talking between $25,000 and $40,000 more annually.” That is a direct quote from this article we are commenting on!!! not 40k but somewhere in between 25 and 40k, I see a huge difference there!!

      RR: can I send you some crayons and an easel so you can post pictures so you and I don’t have to deal with this tom foolery any more?

      1. And the confusion continues….As reported elsewhere on-line, “Clayden says it’s because the extra $50,000 expense to cover more travel, meals and accomodations is considerable and he can’t come up with the extra cash”. $25K?, $40K? $50K? Who knows…apparently not even the owner.

      2. So lets put the number at $32500, right in the middle. If you can justify this amount and prove that Claydon is not a liar, lets see your arithmetic skills and all will be good in Espo land.

        Then you can move on to my second comment (question) and prove me wrong. How can a question be wrong?

        I would still like to know how you are privy to private conversations on the private matters between team management and league officials? Are you on the phone with? Is it a conference calls where normal fans are invited? Or, are team officials divulging private conversations with fans? Or are you part of management? Interesting to say the least.

  17. “Hockey Guy”, this is your conscience speaking! Be nice to people, it will come back to you ten times over…let the hate slowly seep out elsewhere and take a different angle on this favorite passion of ours! Ease out of the pain and the evil…

  18. I’m confused too….what happened to the IJHL? It’s now the CIHL? Which btw is also the acronym for the existing Central International Hockey League, based in BC.
    And to add further to the confusion, it’s been reported on-line elsewhere that the team is being moved to the Central Upper Pennisula League in Michigan.

    I understand that the team has served notice of their departure from the NOJHL and that they will not be back, however do you think they actually know where they are headed? Let’s hope the move was based on a well thought-out business decision rather than a knee-jerk reaction. At this point, my money is on the latter…

      1. I stand corrected, “The Rivermen are leaving the NOJHL and joining the Upper Peninsula League in Michigan next season”.

        My bad, team is not literally moving.

    1. They are heading to the CIHL – a league that doesn’t exist yet, that will be comprised of 8-10 Canadian teams from the Soo (but not the Soo Tbirds) to Markham, many of whom do not exist yet, with an average of 15 European and Americans on every team, and will be under the American Athletic Union, but will not have any American teams in the league. At best, the Canadian teams might play against teams from an inferior American Jr something league. Travel costs will remain the same and player fees will be somewhere between what is paid in Ontario Jr A leagues and the GMHL. The CIHL will not be sanctioned under Hockey Canada. It seems only a formality for this league to be approved and they will have a few months to get it going. There will be minimum standards imposed on every team and NCAA exposure will be greatly increased if they are successful. Basically, this is what is supposed to happen.

        1. And that applies here in which way? This summary is basically from your text. Which part is laughable or incorrect?

          1. You are a smart guy, Mike. We both know that. And we both know that you know exactly what I am talking about.

            Have a good day, man.

            Regards,

            Randy

    2. What’s the difference if the league was going to be called the IJHL and now it’s going to be called the CIHL? So what?

      1. The difference is that it goes to credibility, imho.

        And the more I investigate, the more questions arise…

        Can anyone locate any information pertaining to the “Canadian International Amateur Hockey Federation” on the web? Apparently the CIHL is a proud member of this federation.

        And a search of http://www.canadianinternationalhockeyleague.net, takes one to the “World Prospects International Summer Hockey Camp” website.

        Hmmm…

        1. Sorry Randy, I’d like to know which part of my summary is laughable or incorrect? I have yet to drink the cool aid but I could be convinced. It seems that everyone has to accept Mr. Claydon’s word as gospel and any questioning of the master plan is not acceptable, but simply dismissed as laughable.

          1. I prefer beer to kool-aid, Mike.

            Also, have you called or e-mailed Tim Clayden? I know that might require you telling him what your name is but come on, man, you can do it.

          2. I’m still waiting for you to indicate which part of my summary is laughable. All of it was taken from your interview with Claydon. You’re a smart guy Randy. You know what I mean about the Kool Aid.

          3. Mike, I already replied about the laughable aspect. Please see below.

            As for the Kool-Aid, Mike, as I already said, I prefer beer.

            You buying?

    1. Your facts are brutal. Where ever your online source is show the link. Yet another case of the internet always being right. By the way fan2 you might want to recind the part about a certain second hand store. Also Tim Hortons is where all the worlds problems are solved. Well when people are in Yarmouth it might be at the crooked stools at the Lobster Shack.

      1. I’d be happy to share my link, but you can search just as well as I can… and did. It is a respected source. I am sorry if the truth hurts.

        Problems may be solved at Tim’s, but IMHO, they start elsewhere…

        Just saying…

  19. Oh by the way Mike as I posted before: did you hear that your beloved commisioner insulted everyone in Espanola especially our seniors by calling them drunks? Real classy.

  20. wow so many jealous haters out there! I think we are all getting away from the point here and that is that this new league offers a great opportunity for our beloved young players to continue there winning ways off the ice and actually get to play in front of some scouts and get scholarships. Continue hating and bashing that which you don’t understand. I support this league because of its potential to be a win win for fans, players and owners. Say what you will but Kudos to TC and all the like minded hockey people who are putting the players educations first!

  21. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” – Abraham Lincoln

    I’m sure there’s a bloggers’ version somewhere, but I do believe this works in a pinch.

  22. i did try on a nice cowboy hat once, but apart from that, i honestly dont think ive ever worn a leather hat! There are better volunteers than I in the community i call home and im not in the financial position to donate funds, but i take pride in the fact that time and energy is something I readily give to many organizations, associations and events in Iroquois Falls. I speak highly of volunteers because i know what volunteering is all about. Without honking my own horn, i dont think anyone who knows me will tell you i dont give back to children or the community in general!

  23. Then you should have remained silent as you are wrong on so many counts. There is a league called the central interior hockey league. I do figure you were talking about yourself

    1. Exactly! Another league already established and known as the CIHL. That will be a bonus come recruitment time.

  24. everyone here talks as if they know all the facts about the CIHL. It is best to leave it to the experts who have the info such as Mr. Russon and comment on what we know to be fact, like what having another junior league that is similar to the GMHL but regulated and how it’s model could impact junior hockey as a whole. Now that is a discussion everyone can have…

    1. Hawkyscout, the problem is that what is presented here is Claydon’s vision for this proposed league. Any questions or comments are unanswered or quickly dismissed as laughable by those who side with Mr. Claydon.

      A question such as : Can the CIHL be part of the AAU if there are no American teams in the league? That is what Mr. Claydon is proposing. Maybe it’s possible. I don’t know for sure. But it’s not laughable to ask the question.

      A question such as : Which USA-based league currently surrounding the Great Lakes waterway system would this proposed league play an interlocking schedule? Well the two leagues Jr leagues that are part of the AAU are Tier III Jr leagues. It would obviously be the MWJHL, a pay to play league (about 10K) per player that is a Tier III league and not nearly competitive. If Claydon’s CIHL league is on par with this Tier III league, it’s a valid question.

      1. Mike,

        Did you just read what you want to read? Or do you just skim?

        Show me where I said what you wrote was laughable.

        I said:

        “He laughs best who laughs last.”

        To spell it out for you, you seem to be laughing at Tim Clayden’s expense. So, what I said to you was — for the third time — “He laughs best who laughs last.”

  25. Randy, that’s fine.

    You are the expert here as it pertains to Junior hockey in Michigan. Can you answer this :

    Can the CIHL be part of the AAU if there are no American teams in the league? That is what Mr. Claydon is proposing. Maybe it’s possible. I don’t know for sure. But it’s not laughable to ask the question.

    Which USA-based league currently surrounding the Great Lakes waterway system would this proposed league play an interlocking schedule? Well the two leagues Jr leagues that are part of the AAU are Tier III Jr leagues. It would obviously be the MWJHL, a pay to play league (about 10K per player) that is a Tier III league and not nearly competitive. If Claydon’s CIHL league is on par with this Tier III league, it’s a valid question.

    You may not like my questions and Mr. Claydon seems to use this site as his pulpit, but I would sure like to see you ask pointed questions to some of his statements and post his responses here. There are two sides to every story. Maybe Claydon is perfectly justified in all his accusations against the NOJHL. Maybe the Rivermen management is justified in divulging their private battles with the league. Maybe Mazzuca is the BAD man that he’s been portrayed as constantly on this site and blog. It’s just that the reporting is so biased toward Claydon and his agenda and your opinion is very evident to all.

    1. Mike,

      The AAU has teams in other sports that are from Canada and compete within.

      Whether I like your questions or not is irrelevant. They are being posted, are they not?

      If my opinion is very evident to all, then I guess my opinion is being clearly stated. Which, when a person gives an opinion, is generally the intention.

  26. Randy,

    Fair enough. I concur that there may be Canadian teams that compete in the AAU. However, I don’t believe that there is a Canadian League comprised solely of Canadian teams that is part of the American Athletic Union. In fact, for Junior hockey, there are only two leagues under their governance and they are US based Tier III leagues. Mr. Claydon would certainly be a pioneer if he was able to do this. But it is question worthy when someone makes this claim.

    Which USA-based league currently surrounding the Great Lakes waterway system would this proposed league play an interlocking schedule? The Tier III MWJHL? It would seem odd that players in the CIHL paid only 2 to 3 thousand bucks to play in the CIHL when their American competitors have to pay 10K or so. It’s a valid question is my opinion.

    Maybe Chesty or Hockeyguy have the answer.

    1. Mike,

      I think that Tim Clayden is a pioneer and trailblazer in this instance of having the CIHL under the AAU umbrella — should it all work out.

      As for the MWJHL and whether it will interlock with the CIHL, that is for others to answer, not me.

  27. a few points…

    Mike I do not see where Mr. Clayden.. not Claydon.. has stated there will not be any US based teams in the CIHL, hence the international portion of the name….I might point out that the CJHL, the OHA, the OHL and more have had American teams in their fold as well… so to use the argument AAU-US teams is moot…

    and as for pay for play … the league has made it clear that it what it is.. what one league pays and another pays is irrelevant…
    so lets stick to what we know… it is better to be quiet and play the part of the fool than to open one’s mouth and make it so..

  28. Hawkscout,

    Two things – Clayden has stated that he wants an interlocking schedule with a US based league… seemingly the MWJHL, a Tier III League that is not very competitive and certainly does not attract many NCAA scouts.

    Next, there may have been US based teams (Buffalo for example) that have been part or are part of the OJHL, no problem there. But your point is completely moot because there has never been an American League comprised of only American teams that has been under the Umbrella of the Canadian Junior Hockey. As you say, it’s better to be quiet and not play the part of the fool…

  29. Fair enough Randy, but Clayden is proposing that this new Canadian Jr A League play an interlocking schedule with teams from an American Junior League. He has stated this on your site many times. Initially, he stated that this league would include teams from Michigan, even Illinois, Wisconsin and even NewYork. Now, it’s a possible interlocking schedule. It would be interesting if he could do so but not if it’s against MWJHL teams. Since you know that league well, can you share how the level of hockey from teams from that league compares to the Tbirds, the GoldMiners or even the Rivermen for example? For the benefit of the readers here?

    1. Mike,

      I have never seen a game in the MWJHL.

      Among other USA junior teams, I cover Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League and Metro Jets of the North American 3 Hockey League.

  30. Well your opinion seems to be flawed as there seems to be players going to d3 from this league also it really does not state anywhere that i have seen where it is the same level as the NA3HL which also sends players to d3 schools. If you are trying to discredit then here we go as I ahve a feeling the NOJHL will be more of jr b league especially when you eliminate the use of american players eventually and rape the aaa midget program. So me dear Mike you seem to be playing the part of the fool

  31. Thanks Randy, I’m asking about this league because this is exactly the league that was mentioned in a discussion with some Espanola friends who attend games. They got this from team management. When I asked about where the teams were from, they didn’t really know but were convinced that they were much closer than Cochrane and KL and they were informed that the team would save lots of money and it was the only way for it to survive in Espanola. Obviously, they were also convinced that the players would gain more exposure… although they didn’t really care about that, they just the level of hockey to be as good as it’s been this year. I don’t think that they were told how weak this Tier III league is. They were also told that there would be some Southern Ontario teams in the league.

    I think that they would be surprised that, if there is an interlocking schedule, the teams aren’t exactly all close to Soo Michigan – but they weren’t told that.

    When Clayden cries about the extra 40K needed to extent a Northern trip by one night, he doesn’t divulge the costs of these interlocking schedule. Maybe the resident math whizzes can make some calculations, but here’s where Clayden proposes to go.

    Traverse City : 500 km away
    Soo 248 km away
    Detroit 800 km away
    Alpena 488 km away
    Bloomington 1334 km away
    Berkley 773 km away
    Wayne 838 km away

    The other team that Clayden confirms will be part of this new league is Markham. For Markham, it’s not much better

    Traverse City : 717
    Soo : 819
    Detroit : 404
    Alpena: 796
    Bloomington :922
    Berkley:403
    Wayne : 420

    Even Espanola to Markham is almost 500km.

    So these trips will be cheaper that an extra night on a Northern trip four times a year? The Kool Aid is getting bitter. How much will they be charging these 15 American and European players? Will Canadian players really choose to pay this money when they have cheaper alternatives in the OJ, the CCHL and the NOJHL?

    1. no one EVER at any time in the Rivermen organization EVER said this would be cheaper solution Mike. The rationale is if they have to spend more on travel why not spend it (INSERT CRAYON PICTURE HERE, the SAME cost) to take their boys to the heart of NCAA exposure as opposed to the flipping Arctic, where they are guaranteed NO exposure. Why do you keep rambling about the same things over and over again? I’ve seen several people try to answer your questions and thoughts but they constantly seem to go right over your head, time and time again! Come on really? are you related to Mazucca and his sidekick Lafleur? It’s obvious to me you all have the same thought process.

    2. Just curious why some of you feel the need to attack Tim Clayden and his concept. Why is that? Because he dares to try something different?

      Why don’t you just let it ride and see what happens?

      Ah, I think I just thought of an idea for a column for Friday. I had better start writing.

  32. Also being a fairly new league which you fail to mention things will get better. There are also talks about a Canadian division with possible interlock with the American teams. Nice try keep digging Mike.

  33. Hmmm again nice try but possible interlocking schedule and you can’t tell me it is cheaper to go north than south. Cheaper alternative when you don’t even know yet what will be charged especially with the OJ charging quite a bit already. Do you think that NOJHL is going to be attractive with 4 or 5 teams. You really need to get out of the bosses behind and see the world my boy.

    1. Mike also needs to factor in the cost to TC for all of Mazzuca’s ridiculous fines. That will probably eat up most of that 40K Mike seems to think is the magic number.

  34. “Mr. Tim Clayden” is going to be accepted by the AAU because he will make our American Leagues to compete better .. and yes that include the MidWest League.
    “Mr. Randy Russon” forgive me but how many morons per capita are there in the NOHL?

  35. I thought this was supposed to be about the Players.
    Instead Lots of agendas here including you Mike. I think that I know what yours agenda is. You are no Saint Mike so drop the ‘Saint Act’.

  36. As a Rivermen fan, I cannot fathom why Clayden wants to do this at all (especially after the Espanola Kings debacle). The former GMHL team that played in Espanola folded because the hockey was atrocious, and becoming another outlaw league may run the risk of the same thing happening to the town of Espanola again…a great hockey town that deserves high-level junior hockey.

    Fact is, if you’re good…it doesn’t matter where you play, the scouts will somehow find a way to see you. Erik Robichaud was one of the top players in the NOJHL this year playing out of Abitibi, and managed to get signed as an overrager by the OHL’s Sarnia Sting…the same Sarnia team that is 928 km away from Abitibi.

    Darcy Haines got noticed in the OJHL and had his rights dealt to Pembroke (Sudbury to Pembroke 341 km), Tait Seguin, former NB Trapper, plays for the London Knights (521 km from London to NB)…and many other players from the NOJHL have enjoyed success after exiting the league. The excuse that scouts won’t find you because you play in a remote spot is hogwash. If you’re good enough for NCAA hockey or OHL hockey..you will get noticed somehow. They don’t necessarily have to attend these games, they could catch the games on fast hockey or some other media outlet and make judgements there too.

    A smarter option might be to create a Central Ontario Hockey League (sanctioned by Hockey Canada), where teams from Sudbury, North Bay, Espanola, Manitoulin Island, Elliott Lake, Blind River, Parry Sound, Huntsville etc play together and take out the Northern Teams like Abitibi, KL, and now Cochrane..all of whom can start the NOJHL with Kapuskasing, Hearst, and Timmins or other Northern communities. Mazzuca can commission that league and run it into the ground for all I care.

    I do agree with Clayden on one point..phasing out the American players is totally wrong and it will hurt Hockey Canada in the long run. Players develop best when pushed. If the Import Americans help push the level of competition up, it only bodes well for Canadians in the future at International events likes the WJHC, World Junior A Hockey Championship, and many other events. Were actually shooting the long-term growth of hockey in Central and Northern Ontario right in the face by doing this…and Hockey Canada as a whole…its no wonder we haven’t won a WJHC gold medal since 2009.

    As a whole…I hope this is just a ploy by Clayden to get Mazzuca ousted as commissioner and to have someone with vision and non-bias brought in…and maybe, just maybe, keep the NOJHL alive in the town of Espanola.

  37. Hey fan you need to know that with the eventual phasing out of americans this will actually hurt development not help. Imagine ,and it happens, pulling kids out of midgets when they are not ready then it hurts them. Sources from places the OJHL say the north is in trouble if things don’t happen soon. Hogwash eh pretty sure Tait was drafted by the Knights from midget,this is not the old days scouts won’t go to the end of the earth to find players. Not to bash you your thoughts are your thoughts outside of the box thinking is needed at times. The Kings were not run very well ownership was very poor and pretty sure he ran the kings to supply his other team. Hockey Canada has been shooting itself in the foot for a long time,I really think that the model the US hockey uses is the way to go now. We have been behind the times for a while now,do we still produce the best players in pro,sure we do but our minor and junior programs are rush rush to get kids playing rep hockey. You should see the politics in the Canadian Jr team we seen it htis year by not taking our best players. NCAA is a great option for these guys and most of their scouts don’t want to go too far north. They rely on other peoples reports I feel for these kids we have to do this. Whether it thrives or fails this will be the future of tier 2 jr a.

  38. Also this league is not “outlaw” it is run by a sanctioned organization from the US as has been pointed out numerous times — Amateur Athletic Union (AAU.)

  39. Pretty much all of them are sanctioned igloomaniac, google search to see.

    Hey hockey guy you talked about lack of eligible Canadian players and the ill effect it will have on the teams. It’s only going to get worse, has anybody else heard that the Powerhouse OJHL is planning to merge with Ottawa’s CCHL and start an OJHL expansion division with the USHL in Canada? Where will that leave the NOJHL? Jr b ? I think TC might be on to something here. The need now for players will be greater then ever. I think the CIHL will set a precedent for delivering talented northern Ontario, US and Euro boys to post jr education. Kudos to Clayden and his crew for being innovative and for being dedicated to their players educations.

    1. Igloomanic,

      FYI,

      As a teen, my daughter was into baton and jump rope and soccer, as a matter-of-fact — and she also played college basketball.

      So what is your point?

      Are you saying hockey is superior to other sports? Are you that much of an elitist?

      Or, “Bob Rosicki”, aka Igloomnanic, are you just a plain and simple jack ass?

      Tell me. I await your response.

      You dare to come on here and lecture others, come on, give us your views on “other” AAU sports.

  40. KL Gold Miners win this in 4 strait and send MCarthy and his Espanola Goons home for good … … and on we go to the dudley!

  41. Espanola goons? Really, Sincalir? You mean Morin with the spear?
    oh wait you might be as biased as your announcers.

    Wonder if Lafleur will shake hands at the end of this series or simply show his lack of class again.

    1. Yeah not to mention Espo really has no fighting-only goons. Their “supposed” goons do actually have some offensive talent, and they’re just a load to deal with on the forecheck…the Gold Miners D better have their heads up.

      The game ended 2-1 and it was a very close affair throughout…those of you saying this is an easy sweep for the Gold Miners might want to re-think what you’ve said.

      Espanola boasts probably the most dominant, experienced top six in the league, and can outgun any team in the NOJHL on any given night…including the Thunderbirds. The real question going forward will be if their young D core can handle the pressure the Gold Miners will bring night in and night out.

      The Rivermen have one overager D on the squad and they also boast three 18 and under defenceman in their top six in Butchart, Busby and Campbell….tough to compete against the likes of Picard-Fiset, Miron, Rosen, Shearer, and Strong..all 19 and older on the backend with NOJHL playoff experience.

      The biggest advantage is in goal though. If Terriault can perform to his capabilities and give his team a chance every night he’s in….the Rivermen could really surprise all of you naysayers. But if he is shaky, gives out rebounds like Halloween candy, and provides no stability there…the series could wind up quickly.

  42. Let’s cut to the chase! Who cares about what league or the questionable caliber in it. What we should do, as good Canadians, is have our Canadian kids quit hockey at the completion of Midget and welcome as many Europeans and Americans to take their place in all levels of Jr Hockey. Oh and maybe we can give our no longer used gear to them as well, We won’t be using it. I’m sure there will be lots of scouts coming to these games after they have been to all the southern Ontario Jr A,B and C Games. My guess is the players may be better served by putting their players fees into their own Education fund and find a school of there liking and play intermural. Just sayin!

  43. “Never before, in the field of sporting conflict, has so much been said, by so many, with so few established facts.” (sorry Winnie)

    What a disappointment to see so much vitriol, so much name-calling, so much aggressive disrespect, with so few exempt from these travesties. Demeans this whole particular blog and its posts.

  44. RR: I am told that Bracebridge & Wexford are for certin to have teams in this new CIHL. With Espanola of course. They are the 3 that I know of for certin.

  45. Hail to the CHL!
    After talking to friends today my sponsership and support will go from the NOJHL to the new CHl.
    I am through with the “Commissioner” & his Posse & there self serving agenda. You are to big for your britches Robbie.

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