12 teams for NOJHL?

April 28, 2015

Pending approval from various factions and governing bodies, the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League will expand to 12 teams for the 2015-2016 season, HockeyNewsNorth.com has learned.

Currently a nine-team league, the NOJHL is awaiting approval from the Northern Ontario Hockey Association to approve a new team that will play out of Noelville and be known as the French River Rapids.

The NOHA will hold its annual general meeting in Sault Ste. Marie later this week.

The NOJHL also hopes to return to erstwhile markets in Espanola and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the 2015-2016 campaign.

Any return into Michigan would require the approval of Hockey Canada and USA Hockey.

Should all be approved, the 12-team NOJHL would be a two or three division league in 2015-2016.

If the NOJHL goes with two divisions, it would likely look like this:

EAST: French River, Powassan, Timmins, Iroquois Falls, Cochrane, Kirkland Lake.

WEST: Michigan, Soo, Blind River, Elliot Lake, Espanola, Rayside-Balfour.

Should the NOJHL opt for a three division format, it could look like this:

EAST: Timmins, Iroquois Falls, Cochrane, Kirkland Lake.

CENTRAL: French River, Powassan, Rayside-Balfour, Espanola.

WEST: Michigan, Soo, Blind River, Elliot Lake.

What you think about “12 teams for NOJHL?”

  1. Interesting that the Noj is going back into Espy and Michigan (I take it that is the Sault RR) as RR had hinted for a while now. Lets hope they fix the Mess in Blind River and well have to wait and see about French River But I can see the Noj doing well as a 12 Team League with more American kids and Southern Ont kids.

  2. Good to hear there’s potential for hockey in Espanola this fall. I know no format would make all teams happy, but the 3 division idea would sure stink for Espo. Blind River and Elliot Lake less than an hour away but instead on the road to French River (not bad, hour and a half) but Powassan? As an Espo fan I’d happily drive to Blind River, Rayside, and Elliot for games but wouldn’t French River or Powassan… The two division format re-ignites historical rivalries for Espanola…

  3. I am hearing it might be some of the guys from the Batchewana Attack putting a team in Michigan. I would prefer two division like Brian said this way Espanola fans can go to Elliot Lake and Blind River to watch games.

    1. Ross,

      FYI, what you are hearing about the “some of the guys from the Batchewana Attack putting a team in Michigan” is not correct.



  4. I like the fact that we will see more teams, I worry about the fact there will be a watered down talent level. I didn’t look into the breakdown of the rosters, but I would think there is a large number of players coming from other regions simply due to the fact they are unable to crack the line up in other leagues. Granted from the business side of things it helps costs to take a slightly less skilled local player. I just hope we do not end up with 4 or 5 teams getting blown out of the rink on a regular basis,

  5. Totally agree with earlier posts about 2 Division format. Geography makes sense. 8 games against div rivals, and 2 against opposite div = (5×8)+(6×2) = 52 games. Perfect to control travel expense but provide enough variety for fan interest. Wonderful if Mr. Mazucca can pull it off. Best of success to Soo at Dudley-Hewitt representing all of the NOJ!!

  6. Good article RR…..Soo Eagles re going back to the NOJHA is the rumor around Town. This will be GREAT for the rivlrey with the Dirty Birds n I for one fan canot wait!!!

  7. Last year the NOJHL rep (Kirkland Lake) was the first team sent home at the Dudley after scoring just 5 goals in 3 games. Today, the Soo T-Birds defeated Dryden by a score of 8 to 1.

  8. A local Espo news outlet says Tom McCarthy is pitching the proposed expansion team in Espanola. That would be great news and carry on already established connections in the community!
    Congrats to the Sault on game 1!


    Good news for our Town. At this evening’s council meeting, Tom McCarthy, owner and head coach of the proposed new hockey team, made a presentation to Council asking for approval to bring the ESPANOLA EXPRESS NOJHL Hockey Club to Espanola. Mr. McCarthy stated that he will be moving his family to Espanola and that this proposal will cost our Town nothing…..the Town will be making no investments or improvements to the existing facilities at the Recreation Complex. This is very welcome news for hockey fans and our Town. From tonights Council meeting in Espanola.

  10. A presentation was made to Espanola Town Council by Tom McCarthy on behalf of the Espanola representatives for an NOJHL team to return to Espanola in the Fall.

  11. Awesome. Eagles/Thunderbirds rivalry returned. Please take all my money. I love the Pullar especially when the twin Soo’s are competing.
    12 teams will be a great league. Make it happen NOJHL.

  12. I was at the meeting and the presentation was very good. The council seemed to be interested in it and hopefully they get the yes vote. To have Tom and his wife become apart of our community would be a great thing,they are both passionate and hard working people. This new(ish) ownership group(and their families) are three like minded individuals who have the players and community best interest at heart.

  13. Randy is losing his touch. No “to be sure” phrase in this article. Unacceptable, Randy. Though he did use “erstwhile,” so I guess I can cut him some slack. Hahahaha. Great stuff as usual. Thank you.

  14. Expansion is great news and makes holding on to any potential quality returning players that much more important for any one trying to keep a leg up.
    After going from Trappers to Blackhawks, my allegiance will now be shifting to Voodoo’s.
    All the best to all the teams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *