If rumours do make the junior hockey world go around then the old mill is really turning.
Rampant rumours are running through the (in alphabetical order) Canadian International Hockey League, Midwest Jr. Hockey League, North American Hockey League and Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
Rumours of the folding of the first-year league are greatly exaggerated, according to founder and president Tim Clayden.
While the CIHL is down to three teams — Batchewana Attack, Espanola Rivermen and Kalkaska Rhinos — Clayden said he expects to be a six-member league in 2015-2016.
Do not underestimate Clayden.
For one, he is relentless and does not know the meaning of the word quit.
In a suitable scenario, the CIHL will be a five-to-seven team league in 2015-2016 with a presence in northern Ontario and northern Michigan.
To be sure, Clayden is well-connected south of the northern Ontario-northern Michigan border.
Six of its seven teams are based in Michigan with the Decatur Blaze being the outsider from Illinois.
Geographically, three of the Michigan teams are from the Metro Detroit area (Detroit Fighting Irish, Motor City Monarchs and Michigan Ice Dogs) and the other three are from up north (Soo Firehawks, Traverse City Hounds and Alpena Flyers.)
There are those who are suggesting the MWJHL will split up after this season just as there is a self-serving faction that is desperately trying to divide the owners of the six Michigan-based entries.
While there may not be perfect harmony within the MWJHL there are some good owners, managers and coaches among the Michigan teams — and that is a positive worth noting.
With the Michigan Warriors being ousted from Perani Arena in Flint after this season to make room for the transplanted Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, there is cause for concern regarding the NAHL footprint in the Great Lakes State.
When the Soo Eagles left the NOJHL in 2012, they became one of four Michigan-based teams in the NAHL’s North Division.
But first the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings folded, then the Port Huron Fighting Falcons departed for Pennsylvania and now the Flint-based Warriors will be homeless after this season with the franchise up for sale.
So where does that leave the Soo?
I am not going to speak for Eagles coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo or primary owner Ron Lavin but I cannot see them leaving the Michigan Soo.
Now in their fifth season of operating the Eagles (two in the NOJHL, three in the NAHL), Bragagnolo and Lavin have built the franchise into a highly-respectable and reputable operation with good people assisting as dependable and committed volunteers.
I just can’t see Bragagnolo and Lavin turning their backs on the Michigan Soo. No way.
Ruled by an ambitious, arrogant commissioner, the NOJHL has grown to nine teams under the watch of the almighty Robert Mazzuca.
Rumour has Mazzuca pushing for expansion and trying to get into territory currently occupied by the Greater Metro Jr. Hockey League, a non-sanctioned outfit that refuses to go away.
The GMJHL was formed in 2006 by Bobby Russell, a former OHL scoring star with the Sudbury Wolves. Few thought the GMJHL would last long but here it is almost nine years later and it is still going strong — and as a nemesis to Mazzuca and the NOJHL.
To another rumour — will the Mattawa Blackhawks leave the NOJHL after one season to return to the GMJHL?
Let the chess match begin.