Smoke and mirrors

May 22, 2014

Intention and commitment are not synonyms.

Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League commissioner Rob Mazzuca may want his trusted followers to believe that intention carries the same meaning as commitment but surely even he knows that can’t be true.

Through his NOJHL communications office, Mazzuca issued a press release on Wednesday stating that Sudbury Nickel Barons, Blind River Beavers and Soo Thunderbirds have “reaffirmed commitment” to the league for 2014-2015.

The press release followed a column I wrote on Tuesday which stated Mazzuca had solid support from the east side of the NOJHL, namely Cochrane Crunch (formerly Elliot Lake Bobcats), Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, Abitibi Eskimos and Mattawa Blackhawks (formerly North Bay Trappers.)

My column also stated that Sudbury, Blind River and the Soo will confirm their status at the NOJHL’s June 20-22 annual general meeting.

I have been told that Mazzuca reacted to that by issuing a press release the very next day in which Sudbury, Blind River and the Soo were urged by the commissioner to pledge their allegiance to the NOJHL.

To be sure, it is rather interesting that the press release only mentioned the three teams — Sudbury, Blind River and the Soo — that were deemed as not being as securely tucked into Mazzuca’s hip pocket as management from Cochrane, Kirkland Lake, Abitibi and Mattawa are.

At any rate, while Sudbury, Blind River and the Soo may have stated their “intention” to be a part of the NOJHL in 2014-2015 — that does not equate to a commitment.

As I stated in my Tuesday column, I expect those three teams to reveal their status at next month’s AGM.

Why was Mazzuca so quick to react to my Tuesday column to make sure there was a press release issued to state commitment from Sudbury, Blind River and the Soo?

I am guessing that is because he has some concerns about the three franchises and whether current ownership/management will remain in place.

I believe that two of the three franchises in question are privately for sale with asking prices that range between $40,000 and $60,000.

And that is a secret that Mazzuca wants to protect and doesn’t want out there for fear of showing a chink in the armour of the NOJHL.

Which is fine.

Part of what Mazzuca does deals with propaganda and word-play. And it works for him.

At the end of the day, the thinking here is that the NOJHL will operate with at least seven teams in 2014-2015, maybe more.

Mattawa may be on the iffy side to some — but not fearless owner David Beauchamp, who has proclaimed that the Blackhawks will definitely be a part of the NOJHL in 2014-2015.

As for Elliot Lake, the word is that there is a 50-50 chance the NOJHL will retain a presence there in the form of an expansion franchise for 2014-2015.

So, all appears to be well within the micro-managed NOJHL.

And I have to hand it to Mazzuca.

He is a smooth operator who writes a good press release and talks a good story.

PHOTO: NOJHL commissioner Rob Mazzuca, at a recent City Council meeting in Elliot Lake.

What you think about “Smoke and mirrors”

  1. The funny thing is did Mazzuca expect these teams to say anything different? of course not, you can’t burn a bridge till the new one is built. The truth will not be known till the AGM next month.

    I took his press release as a sign of weakness and it showed he has fear of these teams defecting and maybe he should have this fear. Asking these teams to pony up $20,30 maybe $40,000 more per year to operate (for extra travel alone) is absurd in Jr hockey. Why not join a league where your expenses would be decreased not increased and with more college exposure for the athletes as well?

    I wonder if he could go back in time and not allow Ryan Leonard to leave EL, would he? the NOJHL world probably would have been all roses if he disallowed the move, Now the league seems to be in jeopardy, with a side of financial downward spiral — all of this IN MY OPINION, of course.

    1. theres no one who can fire up talk about the Nojhl than good ole RR! I bet I have 6 e-mail in the 10 mins telling me to check out latest article by RR! Smoke & Mirrors I love it RR!

  2. I think that RR is right that the NOJHL will hold steddy with 7 or 8 Teams.
    There has and is some turbulance but I don’t see much change except for Espanola leaving and of course Elliott Lake going to Cochrun and North Bay to Mattawa.
    Solid speculation on your part RR that being 7 or maybe even 8 Teams.

  3. 2 months ago someone stated that only 4-5 teams would be in the league , now we’re back at 7 -8 great news .
    Was at coffee shop someone said that Notre Dame are also part of the mix ?
    ain’t that a bit far ?
    travel cost ?

  4. Sudbury will have 3 Junior Hockey Teams in 3 diffrent Leagues in 2014-15: OHL , NOJHL , CIHL or GMHL.

  5. Don’t read so well eh Kim. These three teams have not confirmed their status. NOJHL is missing the boat entirely by not going to juniorB that way the teams could still exist and more local kids could fill these teams. I would say that it is more of an ego stroke for the brass to say they are junior A. This would save the league that most of us grew up watching.

  6. CIHL will be a lot more than Jr C but your obvious lack of sense has clouded your mind. I stated the obvious and you jumped off the edge.

  7. I fail to see what other league will have less traveling expenses than the league in which they are in with all the teams geographically closer than any other existing or noon existing league. Please enlighten.

  8. Bring all those teams into our town ! winter is long in these parts so it will give all us crazy hockey fans more to do !

  9. Hey bayinfo can’t really understand what you wrote but espanola to cochrane is a good 6-7 hours and with winter fuel prices etc… it is crazy expensive plus staying a couple of nights up there in the winter isn’t cheap. Just saying possible fule costs alone to go south would be cheaper.

  10. dont worry Bay info it has been reported by RR, the CIHL plan will be unfolding in the days to come and all your questions will be answered and then some.

    Kim: who wants to play in the North Pole (NOJHL) in front of absolutely zero scouts or play in front of the scouts in Southern Ontario and Michigan?
    The winning AAU team last season sent on 9 players alone to ACHA 1 and NCAA D3 schools.
    Also the MWJHL which will be partnering with the CIHL sent on 40 players. How many did the NOJHL send?
    I can tell you a majority were products of the Rivermen and a result of Tim Claydens hard work (Rivermen had 7 offers and 6 accepted, the seventh decided to try his hand at a pro career in Europe next year).
    So it will simply boil down to whether the student atlhetes want to further their education with hockey and accel at life or finish their career in a beer league IMO of course. But the decision seems pretty simple to me where the good Jr A players will want to play.

  11. Yes your right ,
    They all know .
    That’s why 99% of good players are signed already or committed to a team .
    99% of those good players don’t want acha .
    Acha is a caliber below jr b .

  12. Again you are wrong as the ACHA is getting better all the time plus these players are getting an education as well as playing hockey.

  13. Kim: you really look STUPID in describing the ACHA.
    ACHA not only get’s many players from the MWJHL but also from YOUR VERY OWN NOJHL. So are you saying that YOUR VERY OWN NOJHL is a junior “B” League.?? Yes I guess that is what you are saying!!!
    You qualify as “Dumb” and “Dumber” with your description of the ACHA!!

  14. Any truth to the rumour that the NOJHL is going to change there name to the MHL? ? ?
    Thats what I hear the new name will be the MHL which of course stands for the “Mazzuca Hockey League”

  15. Kim you can keep changing your name but you still know nothing about hockey. We all see through your thin disguises, with hidden agendas.
    Fitting though for the title of this article, it is what Mazzuca does best “smoke and mirrors”

  16. hurry and approve the new league. I’m sick of all the negativity and bashing on here. so you loud mouth bashers and dolts can spew your sh $ t on your own league’s page. Not winning any support here. Just turning me more against it actually. negative negative, bash bash. seriously . if something or someone is good , they A , never brag, and B don’t put down others to build themselves up. Go ahead and rip this post. As you will. But your constant negative crap in the comment sections is very old

  17. for the record . I do in fact hope the new league is successful. there are some very good and knowledgeable people involved and running it, whom I know very well. I just have no support for how many things are being said and conducted in the comment sections of RR’s work, not very cool or pro.

  18. I hear you so you are saying the bragging your
    commissioner does and bashing everyone in sight
    also the announcing the moving of the bobcats
    well before the season was done is ok.
    Also I am sure that if you can read that just as
    much bashing comes from the NOJHL people

    1. well well,

      As I believe you have good intentions, so too is bayinfo a good person of good intent.

      That’s all I want to say. Two wrongs don’t make a right. If certain individuals connected to the NOJHL Office and the ownership of NOJHL teams want to use numerous aliases and make inflammatory remarks about others, it just shows me how shallow, small-minded and vindictive they are.

      They know who they are. As do I. Leaders they are not.

  19. Read in KL newspaper this am confirming Sam Wilbur on to Boston NCAA and Ryan Sherrer on to Wisconsin NCAA…All FIVE Gold Miners moving on to NCAA crediting the community and the junior program as the MAJOR reason for attaining the next level..Will certainly not work against the recruiting efforts of Marc Lafleur and my friend Tom Sinclair .. two brilliant hockey minds with very strong U.S. and Canadian connections backed by a very good Organization and just an OUTSTANDING Sports community..Is this a Dynasty in the makings?
    Congratulations to ERIK as well …Nipissing has just got themselves a Very Good Hockey Player INDEED….Good Luck to our ESKIS as well but I would also really like Timmins to have their own team to help our young players move on to higher levels….

  20. if this new league carries the same talent level of GMHL , it will be short lived regardless of who is involved. I have news for those parents who want their children to play ncaa hockey. Division 3 is available to any average hockey player whose parents are willing to foot the bill. You don’t need a new league to attract scouts at the division 3 level. I am tired about hearing about a new league with no substance . When they actually sign a kid who could have played in a better league then people will start to pay attention. Until then , even the promotion of randy russon is not going to carry this league. Let me tell you i went to watch the elliot lake training camp a few years ago when they had it in sudbury. All the players that Ryan Leonard originally took that were former GMHL players lasted all of a couple of weeks in the nojhl. And these were the elite players in that league. I expect to see more of the same from this league., average american players whose parents are willing to dole out in excess of $5K yearly for their kid to play hockey. Don’t tell me i am wrong, Show me.

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