NOJHL aftermath

June 23, 2014

On the surface, the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League appears to be in good shape in the aftermath of its annual general meeting in which it ended the 2013-2014 season and began the 2014-2015 campaign on one weekend.

Despite the departure of the attendance-leading Espanola Rivermen to the new Canadian International Hockey League, the NOJHL is now a nine-team league with seven franchises returning from 2013-2014 and new ones in Elliot Lake and Powassan added for 2014-2015.

Having lost its previous team via relocation to Cochrane, all is new in Elliot Lake with oldster Todd Stencill on board as general manager. Stencill has prior experience with three different NOJHL franchises.

And the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League has a stake in the new Powassan entry and has directed Chris Dawson to be the general manager. Like Stencill, Dawson has previous NOJHL experience as a manager.

Meanwhile, from its weekend AGM that was held in Sault Ste. Marie, NOJHL governors voted to return to a two-division format for 2014-2015.

Abitibi Eskimos, Cochrane Crunch, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, Mattawa Blackhawks and Powassan will form the East Division.

Soo Thunderbirds, Blind River Beavers, Sudbury Nickel Barons and Elliot Lake will make up the West Division.

All teams will play 52 regular-season games in an unbalanced schedule.

To be sure, NOJHL commissioner Rob Mazzuca is painting a rosy picture for the nine-team league, which is part of his job as an ambassador.

“This is tremendous news for the NOJHL,” Mazzuca said of the addition of the new franchises in Elliot Lake and Powassan.

As of this writing — June 23, to be precise — the NOJHL has nine teams, which is the most it has had since its modern formation as a Junior “A” league in 1978.

Ergo, right now, all is good.

PHOTO: NOJHL commissioner Rob Mazzuca has watched his league grow to nine teams since the end of the 2013-2014 campaign.

What you think about “NOJHL aftermath”

  1. If Mazzuca and his band of merry men were so confidant about the state of the union within the NOJHL, my twitter newsfeed wouldn’t have been taken over this morning by poorly written ( consider spellcheck and a proof reader) fear mongering articles about the CIHL, written by Mazzuca’s henchmen, methinks. What this tells me is that the CIHL must be gaining momentum and doing something right. This tactic was used all of last season when the NOJHL felt threatened. Predictable.

    1. I see this CIHL as a very good option for Canadian players who may want to play in the USHL or the NAHL since they can go there in the future free of compensation. What Canadian junior teams don’t tell their Canada players is that once they play even one game and they want to go play in the States there is a 4000 dollar price tag on their head for any US team that wants them. A lot of US teams won’t want to pay that unless the player is something special. Playing in the CIHL eliminates that fee. Also, by the way there is no sanctions from HC to play in this league. That is propaganda I think this will be a very good developmental league and give the players freedom to go play where he wants.

  2. The Soo is going to run away with the West . I can only imagine what the scores will be against the new team in Elliott Lake . . . Soo will be winning by 10-0 and 10-2 scores routine.

  3. Hmmm do you find it odd that Chris Dawson left Mattawa/North Bay then jumped right into the Powassan team. I don’t find it odd at all why would he want to stay with a poorly run team. Good luck to the NOJHL teams you will need it.

  4. The schedule is not the only thing unbalanced, wow the west is incredibly weak, with one powerhouse. Looks like the Tbirds are getting all the help they need to become the #1 Canadian team again, in the weakest Jr A division in Canada, IMO of course.

    I didn’t see anywhere in the EL budget, where they put some money aside to buy players……does that mean they will have mainly non Jr players playing? Sounds like its going to take a few years for that team to become competitive….if they make it that long, IMO of course.

    1. I agree, the T-Birds get an easier break, but the day they get cocky in any of the Eastern Arenas they usually get a reality check. They draw the best crowds whenever they travel so let them eat cake at home. North of Hwy 17 has never been an easy row to hoe for them and that suits me just fine.

  5. Well said “Junior Hockey Fan”!
    The NOJHL is running scared of the CIHL by telling lies and bull-shit.
    Suck it up NOJHL and tell the kids the truth instead of having your Managers lie thru there frigging teeth. I am becomming a fan of the cihl more and more every day.

  6. This is what I think:
    The NOJHL should mind their own business and not worry about the CIHL.
    “Is it not supposed to be about the kids?”
    If so then stop acting so childish!

  7. Looks like the commissioner of the NOJHL is
    using scare tactics on twitter. Seems to me
    that he is unsure of his own league and needs
    to attack others. Too bad as he is the NOJHL’s
    worst enemy.

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