How about an NOJHL showcase?

February 1, 2016

It is evolving as one of the better junior A hockey leagues in Canada with a reputation for attracting top players and good coaches.

And as the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League strives to build on the number of student-athletes that it develops for the National Collegiate Athletic Association ranks, I am thinking that hosting a showcase tournament should be high on a priority list.

Of the 12 towns that house NOJHL franchises, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan would appear to be a logical site to host a showcase event that would attract NCAA scouts and recruiters.

For starters, as the only American town in the NOJHL, the Michigan Soo is also home to the Lake Superior State Lakers of the Division 1, Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Not only that, three other Michigan-based WCHA programs are within 250 miles of the Soo — Northern Michigan Wildcats (Marquette), Michigan Tech Huskies (Houghton) and Ferris State Bulldogs (Big Rapids.)

Currently, without benefit of a showcase, I happen to know that both Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan already have their feelers out on NOJHL players with both Soo teams, the Eagles and the Thunderbirds.

Imagine what an NOJHL showcase would attract in terms of representatives from Division 1 and 3 NCAA schools?

Under the leadership of commissioner Robert Mazzuca, the NOJHL is gaining in stature within the 10-member Canadian Jr. Hockey League. And not only has the NOJHL had four of its teams ranked among the top 20 in the nation throughout the season, it holds status through the Thunderbirds as the reigning Dudley-Hewitt Cup, Central Canada champions.

The NOJHL has discussed the merits of and the need for having a showcase tournament and I suspect that it will be playing host to one at some point during the 2016-2017 season.

And to me, the Michigan Soo, based at least partly on what is written above, is a good choice to host the event at the upgraded, venerable, fan-friendly Pullar Stadium.

PHOTO: Pullar Stadium, in the Michigan Soo.

What you think about “How about an NOJHL showcase?”

  1. Hey Randy,
    While owning and operating the Espanola Eagles back in the days of the NOJHA and during the 1992-1993 Season, we organized and hosted the 1st Players Showcase for scouts and schools to promote the League and it’s players.
    My intention and hope was that it would be an annual event hosted by different teams in the league but unfortunately it was not continued.
    Currently involved with the Newmarket Hurricanes of the OJHL, we have been part of 2 Showcases in our league this year.
    I hope that Rob (Mazzuca) and the NOJHL Teams more forward with a Players Showcase and make it an annual event to promote it’s players to the next level.

  2. I highly recommend this move. It isn’t a secret that the NOJ has been getting lots of attention since the Central Canada Cup challenge in 2014 in Toronto. Scouts LOVE to see all their prospects at once location for their convenience. And there’s really no replacement for seeing players live compared with the internet feed. There are lots of hidden gems in the NOJ that were simply missed by scouts at earlier stages of their careers.

  3. Great Idea … the NOJHL has more quality player’s now and as such all the more reason for them to promote them.

  4. RR I think that “Hockey News North” should sponser the Showcase Tournament. You are the main Media man when it comes to promotion of the NOJHL no doubt about it.

  5. To me, this is a great idea for promoting our league and helping players get to the next level. With the Canadian dollar where it is now, would it not make more sense to have it on Canadian soil. This is not meant to offend the Michigan squad at all, but, in my opinion, it would make more sense to have a single team come over here, as opposed to sending 11 teams across the border where the Canadian dollar is worth about 70 cents. I am sure the scouts would travel if they have a chance to see all teams play at one location. Just my opinion!!!! Great article as usual R.R. cheers!!!

    1. Showcase in Sault Michigan is a great idea and to promote it, all the vendors, hotels etc. interested in attracting Showcase business could take Canadian Dollars at par during the showcase!

  6. Good suggestion R R …. Anyone know if the East division schedule is equal with all teams playing the same amount of games against ea other. Pow seems to play a lot of games against French River.

  7. The Showcase is a great idea, these players are good and if there is any way to promote them to guys looking for guys who know how to tape a stick make the move!
    Maybe the Showcase can be moved around, say trailing the winning team of the Copeland Cup by a year. This would give each community a chance to prepare. I’m guessing these scouts all take airplanes so location is not so important as good preparation.

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