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.