NOJHL footprint

May 20, 2014

Its upcoming annual general meeting should tell the tale of how many teams will comprise the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League in 2014-2015.

With the departure of the attendance-leading Espanola Rivermen to the new Canadian International Hockey League, the NOJHL is currently made up of seven teams from east to west: Cochrane Crunch (formerly Elliot Lake Bobcats), Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, Abitibi Eskimos, Mattawa Blackhawks (formerly North Bay Trappers), Sudbury Nickel Barons, Blind River Beavers and Soo Thunderbirds.

But NOJHL commissioner Rob Mazzuca is working with factions in the Elliot Lake area to try to put a new team into that town — and the league is also said to be looking at other potential markets.

To be sure, the NOJHL appears to have a firm footprint on the east side.

Cochrane has the excitement of junior hockey coming to town, Kirkland Lake won the 2013-2014 playoff championship over the Soo in front of home crowds that topped the 1,000 mark and Abitibi is in the midst of a season-ticket drive aimed at keeping the Eskimos in Iroquois Falls for the 2014-2015 season and beyond.

Mattawa, we are not so sure about.

Blackhawks owner David Beauchamp is due in court on June 2 to answer a challenge as to who holds the junior hockey rights in Mattawa.

Undaunted, Beauchamp has started a marketing campaign for the 2014-2015 season and from his end, remains confident of operating an NOJHL team in Mattawa.

Heading west, Sudbury, Blind River and the Soo will confirm what their status is for the 2014-2015 season at next month’s AGM.

What shape will the NOJHL be in for 2014-2015?

If Mazzuca is successful in putting a new team into Elliot Lake, if Mattawa is a go as its owner says it is and the other teams maintain status quo, the NOJHL will at least continue as an eight-team operation.

As for Mazzuca’s status as commissioner, he has solid support from the east side of the league, enough it would appear, to keep him in power.

What you think about “NOJHL footprint”

  1. Caveat emptor is the name of the game in the NOJHL!

    No doubt about it — this is ROBERT’S league. Only have to ask the good men he has chased away to be certain of this.

    The latest I hear being Todd Stencil a long time NOJHL coach and manager who was snubbed by Robert who has looked to bring in Darryl Latoski from Horne Payne to run the new Elliot Lake franchise.
    Yet another of Roberts hand picked team reps.( I hear Darryl has declined — perhaps largely to do with the unsure future of ROBERT’S League.

  2. in a perfect junior hockey world there will be teams from Sudbury in the NOJHL, the CIHL and of course the OHL and close by we will have Espanola in the CIHL to continue a rivalrey with Sudbury! Now that would be a good day for Junior Hockey in Sudbury is you ask me!

  3. Randy,
    IS the location, date and time of the upcoming meeting posted anywhere? I certainly have many questions that I would like answered. Don’t really want to ask the question in a public forum as I don’t trust that the meeting wouldn’t go in camera or something similar to avoid some hard questions directed at the commish. Sorry to use this venue to reach you but I’m not sure how to contact you and……you didn’t follow me back on twitter 🙂 ( where I could have sent you a private message) you can use the email attached to this site to contact me with the answers if you have them.

  4. Mattawa is definatly planning to have a team in the Nojhl.
    I say this because Mr. Jay Househandler of called me to offer a spot to my son on Mattawa.
    Mr. Househandler said he was speaking on behalf of the Mattawa G.M. to offer a spot to my son who is a Midget-aged player from the Soo.

  5. Be very leary “Soo hockey dad” I am told some kids went hungry last year in North Bay then the fact that school aged players were told to find their own way after school in North Bay to get to practice in Mattawa. Just what I was told!

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