Just asking…just saying

December 9, 2014

I have a few questions to ask. I have a few things on my mind.

…Can someone please tell me how 1997 birth-year goalie Mario Culina of the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League was never drafted into the Ontario Hockey League? Do the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL actually have a local scout who follows the local players? If so, who is he and where is he?

…If I am an up-and-coming hockey player who aspires to develop at the junior level and play beyond it — and does not mind living in northern Ontario or northern Michigan — then I want to be coached by Denny Lambert, Tom McCarthy, Paul Gagne, Jordan Smith, Bruno Bragagnolo, Krzysztof Oliwa or Scott Gardiner. Take your pick.

…To be sure, the first-year Canadian International Hockey League has had its shares of issues this season. But I don’t think anyone from the established Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League should be looking down their nose at the CIHL. The NOJHL has major issues of its own to deal with that include failed ownership and player safety concerns in Mattawa, not to mention the sorry state of affairs on and off the ice in Blind River.

…And what about the future of the NOJHL’s Abitibi Eskimos? Iroquois Falls — which is where the Eskimos are based — will soon lose its major employer with the permanent closure of the town’s paper mill and the 180 jobs that will be lost. Methinks the arrogant, self-righteous Scott Marshall — who is the president of the Eskimos — should worry about his own team and his own backyard and refrain from passing judgement on the rival CIHL.

What you think about “Just asking…just saying”

  1. The CIHL is doomed Randy – IMHO. Just no stability from the onset and the parity is not there. I will agree with you on where I would choose to play, some great hockey guys coaching in the league. NOJHL is a 6 team league. Players from the north are shafted regularly in the draft. Numerous examples – it’s a crap shoot after the first couple rounds and they choose to stay with the soft southern boys for some reason.

  2. HockEye – On the contrary I beleive that there is parity in the CIHL now that they have just the 4 teams. Batchawan (Soo) and Espanola are both strong, Kalkaska are coming on strong and Sudbury are a lot better now that Piette is coaching and they brought in more players from over in Warren.

  3. Hi Randy: I am a big fan of your Columns however I do not think it is necessery for you to give a cheap shot to Scott Marshall who I feel has done alot for Junior hockey up this way. Otherwise good points and keep up the good work Randy.

  4. Evrey year the Hounds miss out on many Local and Area boys. They think all of the Good players come from Southern Ontario except for a few such as Speers. They missed out on Amadio, Headrick and now the Sicoly and Baggs kids and the Pillon twins and as RR says Culina now to.

  5. Well Randy another good column and the reason some boys are missed in the OHL draft is this the scouts believe that if the the player is good enough foe triple AAA then they should be playing down south and not the north A and double AA are not even considered anymore for the OHL therefore aren’t even scouted I don’t know maybe I am wrong . As for hockey in the north I believe it is in a decline and has been for some time kids don’t want to play in the north but the northern kids want to play in the south and have a better chance to be scouted I think the only exception is the OHL teams this is only what I think this only my opinion so please don’t be pissed at me I lived in the north and my son played there now I am in the south and this is just what I think I see going on and as for the CIHL or the WUHL I strongly feel that both leagues will fold up like a piece of paper if not at the end of this season maybe 2-3 years from now thanks Randy

  6. Randy I feel your frustration in these questions because hockey should be scouted no matter where the kids play north or south and should done equally the same thanks again Shawn as well the NOJHL should not bad mouth any other league unless it’s own bed is made properly thanks

  7. I think the CIHL will survive and will actually grow into Michigan. The eskis are going to be in trouble,feel bad personaly for the people of Iriquois Falls with the economic situation. Scott Marshall may have done a lot for hockey up there but is an arrogant prick IMHO. The NOJHL has to make changes to stay a float. Some teams will not survive after this year and really shoudn’t be around for the season but some how will stay in tact without player safety in mind. What would be wrong with the north going junior B while stocking local kids,cheaper than junior a and we could still afford the teams.

  8. The bad mouthing came from both sides not just the nojhl. Infact many posters on this site have been anti nojhl from the onset. Lets call it like it is, to date the CIHL has been an utter flop, plain and simple.. Losing all southern ontario teams in the first few months shows that the league wanted to grow quickly but did not have the structure to do so . Big league coaches, big promotions,especially on this site, but the owners chosen were not committed to long term growth for one reason or another. I do think the league can rebound from these past hardships but any further growth must be done with much more due diligence. Clayden’s plan was just too ambitious and too aggressive but really who can blame him for trying. I applaud the CIHL for being able to continue with the present structure but at this point the two leagues nojhl and the cihl are not comparable in any form whatsoever and it is time that many posters here come to that realization. .

    1. hockey critic I believe from the start the NOJHL started the bad mouthing and Tim just followed suit the CIHL seems to of ironed out its issues as well as the WUHL the 2 factions that were once the CIHL . The WUHL looks like it may expand further into southern Ontario as well into the states there seems to be alot of interest in that league as of now but like I said before if the CIHL and WUHL are still doing business next year or within 2-3 years from now is to be seen and from the look of it and from what I have seen about the NOJHL they maybe in the same boat as the other 2 leagues going going gone

  9. Randy
    In my opinion I see little difference in the quality of hockey from last season’s NOJHL to this seasons’s CIHL ( at least lately). The dust seems to have settled in the CIHL and the teams that were well run at the start are still here. I am a loyal espo fan and ( like many others in espo ) just want to watch some good fast clean hockey. The 4 teams that are still in the CIHL are providing that. Tom McCarthy appears to be a top ,top quality coach, getting maximum mileage out of his troops. The other teams appear to be similar to ours now. Clayden ( although his english skills are somewhat suspect) does have the boys best interests at heart and we can’t fault him for that. In conclusion, Randy, you appear to be one of the few people who are into the mainstream of hockey info in the north and I look forward to whatever you may have to say about all things hockey in our north. Keep it coming!!

  10. Randy…I am hearing through the grape vine that the Fighting Irish are looking at possibly joining the CIHL Hockey League for next season. Have you heard this same thing I ask??

  11. Unfortunate situation with the closure of the mill in Iroquois. Eskis will be hard pressed to remain at the Jus Jordan, but they did it in Elliot lake – with a larger population base mind you. If the attendance from Timmins / Cochrane area remains stable there could be a situation where they continue to operate, but I doubt it. Word is there’s a new tendy in town………….

  12. Most OHL scouts just go by Central Scouting and have NO MINDS of there own. Like a Flock of Sheep they just play “Follow the Leader” …

  13. As a fan and a season ticket holder who has put my hard earned money up to watch my hometown Rivermen, I accept I am biased. I have been witness to some hockey that was just as good as the NOJ version of the Rivermen, who I also held season tickets for. I’m happy to be able to bring my family to watch here in Espanola. Parity? One weekend apart the Rivermen played tight overtime games against the then undefeated Attack then the coming from behind Royals. Yes mistakes have been made but you have three model franchises left and I’m very encouraged by the state of the Sudbury Royals. With the MWJHLs swan song being played, I believe we will see and Ontario and a Michigan division next season with established teams to form a solid CIHL.

  14. Again an attack on a man who has GIVEN his time and energy to provide opportunities to for kids to play hockey for FREE. same thing the CIHL knight in shining armour gets praise for, with 2 glaring differences. Scott gives time, his players play for free. Scott is in for the very best reasons. He’s been around the game a long time and given 15 years to the abitibi Eskimos, the community of Iroquois and stability to the nojhl

    Scott is an intelligent hardworking man who is crusty and doesn’t tolerate fools or self serving agendas but at least with Scottie, you knowhes telling the truth and what you see is what get. If he’s pooing on you, its probably for good reason.

    RR, where is the class you had? bring up a devasting story about a town losing its mill to throw a few more stones. shame

    The cihl has done the nojhl no favours. this site has good content I enjoy reading the reports and stories but this crap kills it. noj fans don’t laugh at all the troubles the cihl was forecasted to have nor are they laughing now that its been proven true. if they have, well RR simply doesn’t let it hit the site, but the cihl has had full reign to slander and crap all over the nojhl. must be nice to be able to throw stones and declare or accuse what ever Cihl fans to post without ever having to worry about counter comment or responses

  15. Hey eskisfan ask exactly what happened to a forward that was with the eskis this year. Good penalty killer to. He was all of a sudden let go when the NOJHL was asked about money owing to the kids parents for his brother who was with another team in that league. I ask where was that integrity that you talk about? The poor kid was a victim to politics in hockey.

  16. If the owners in the NO and CI leagues who say they’re in it for the kids really want to prove it, do this. They can all get together and check their egos at the door, like that would happen, and make one nice 12 (or so) league. The sad part is that it’s so easy it will never happen because of owners on both sides. Let Kalkaska play in the MW where they belong and if some of the teams want to have a showcase then do that. Come on team owners step up for the kids.

  17. Spirit Warriors have start to fund raise for next year with a Plan to be in Markstay-Warren for start of 2015-16.

  18. Fanman: Saw Riley Corbin last night – although it was mostly scrimmage. looked pretty solid from what I could tell. Know of him?

  19. Hey Randy – I truly respect you a lot as a writer and a credable source how ever ….. no need for you to chirp Scotty Marshall just because you oviously do not like him.

  20. iI truly don’t understand the inquiry, eskis don’t have any players , active or inactive that have a brother in the league.

    why would a team owe anyone money? Eskimos are not rich and don’t pay players so again, I don’t understand.

    1. From what I hear, Yes there was a brother paid fees to a team in the North Bay area and the fee was used to pay league fees. So yes the league had the money and no they did not return it to the kid.

  21. And of course the north get the shaft again.
    Here’s your team Canada east: OJHL 13, CCHL 7, MHL 2.
    Total farce if you wish to have my opinion.

  22. Lenny, I was at the prospects tourney, and what I will say is the NOJHL team was extremely talented and compared equally player for player with the final four teams. (2 OJHL, QJHL). There is an extreme bias towards the teams from the south – that is clear.

  23. Same players as in the Central Canada Cup in November…..just paired down by area codes 613, 905, 416 predominantly.

  24. very unprofessional remark towards scottie,if the eskis eventually leave it wont be because of ownership or the fans.iroquois falls beeing the hockey town it is,have supported the eskies for many years having the highest attendance in the league and the envy of many,with a population of about 4500,not bad at all.

  25. I think Randy was right on the mark with his comment. As far as I know the Eskis won’t be able to afford to leave unless the deal with having to pay back ice fees was taken out of the contract.

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