Suspicious suspension of NOJHL owner

February 27, 2014

This one reeks of vindictiveness.

If I am Espanola Rivermen owner-governor Tim Clayden, I am consulting with a lawyer on this one.

Two days after giving written notice to fellow Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League governors that his Rivermen would be looking to play in a new league come the 2014-2015 season, Clayden has been fined $5,000 and suspended indefinitely by commissioner Robert Mazzuca.

In an e-mail to Clayden and NOJHL governors on Wednesday night, Mazzuca announced the fine and suspension to the Espanola owner “for comments made in the media that are prejudicial to the league, that are detrimental to the best interests of the NOJHL and that are in violation of Section 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 12.1 and By-law 7.”

Clayden, in a candid, lengthy interview, had made his feelings known on a number of issues in a column that was first posted on on Wednesday.

The timing of the suspension is both curious and suspicious, if you ask me.

Clayden informs fellow NOJHL governors and commissioner Mazzuca that he is looking to be a part of a proposed, new International Jr. Hockey League under the umbrella of the American-based, Amateur Athletic Union, speaks his mind on a number of issues via the media and is then quickly and abruptly fined and suspended indefinitely — and without so much as a hearing.

It seems to me that Mazzuca acted in astonishing haste in dishing out a fine and indefinite suspension to Clayden less than 24 hours after the Espanola owner made comments in the media — and less than two days after Clayden advised Mazzuca and fellow governors that he was moving his team out of the NOJHL after this season.

This just doesn’t seem right.

What you think about “Suspicious suspension of NOJHL owner”

  1. So…..TC gets suspended by the Commissh without a hearing??? Hows that for WILD WEST JUSTICE! What a friggin joke.

  2. not sure which comments are detrimental or prejudicial??
    He speaks of the realities of owning a Jr A hockey club in a league that is spread out and not recruited.

  3. seems to me the fine and suspension are justified. When i first read randy russon’s interview the first thing that came to mind was oh, oh, there is going to be a fine and suspension. It is in the rule and you can look up the references the commissioner made to which rules were violated. If Clayden is leaving the nojhl announce it at the end of the season. Do you think the 21 year olds on the espanola team care about which league clayden is joining next year. All this was in bad taste and judgement. Just my opinion but obviously the league shares it.

    1. The timing of this says it all imho. Claydon announces he is leaving the NO then speaks his mind in a interview with RR and then gets suspended all in a 2 day period. Like Claydon or not this has a bad oder to it.

  4. Clayden is the same guy the NOJHL fined 3 months ago for violation of an NOJHL Regulation. Is there a pattern here?

  5. Luc I am not sure why u think players are not recruited. Give the Bobcats about 2 more weeks as we are just finishing up on a few things regarding schools and acceptances. I will promise you that 5 possibly 6 players have and will be all committed to play NCAA Div 3 for next year and we have been staying quiet but maybe 1 possibly 2 who have outside chance at Div 1 but nothing confirmed just asked to send in character reference letters. The guys going Div 3 had many Div 3 options its in their court which program they choose. Its how much work that will be done for the player from the program to get them to the next level. I just read Randy’s article on NAHL and where most players go we are not far off …………… I can tell you Marian, Finlandia, Aurora, Becker, Bethal, Westfield State,Morrisville and New England College have for sure gone out of their way to watch some games of ours this year and there has been more just ask my players they had the chance to talk to there assistant coaches and now head coaches. This league is moving forward and a great league for development don’t just ask a certain few. We have had players miss games recently as they have gone on college visits to help make up their minds.

  6. Good on the league for taking action. The timing of Clayden’s announcement is suspect and his comments, particularly from an owner, IMHO are unacceptable. You want to leave for whatever reason, so be it. But to speak disparagingly of the league as he did, there should be no surprise when once again the commissioner pushes back.

  7. The Hanging Judge Rob Mazzuca!
    There is no way that Tim Clayden or ANY owner or ANY coach or GM deserves this type of treatment from a Comisshioner of a League. Mazzuca has just shown me how Spiteful he really is.
    The NOJHL is going downhill under this Leadership. First we lose the Soo Eagles and now we are going to lose Espanola (League Leaders in Attendance) and the Trappers are being kicked out of North Bay…Do you see a pattern here under Mr. Mazzuca leadership?

  8. Hey think about right now Mazzuca you fined and suspended a guy that creates revenue for the other local teams by his fans creating half the crowd at their arenas.What are we looking at here about an 8 month season now another night next to santa in cochrane.Try breaking it down now 3 day road trip twice a year at roughly $7,500.00 a pop with fuel being more expensive up north (which is wrong but that’s life) so two of these trips a year.Food and lodging extra expense these kids are athletes so certain food should be picked. So a quick est of $16,900 x 6 trips $101,400. Sudbury trips $11,400.00 Mattawa $13,050.00 and Blind River $6,000.00 factor in misc road trip costs,with hst who knows but roughly $148,000.00 in travel expenses. Sorry Randy if I go over the line like someone else on here. Mazzuca is killing this league very quickly now. What a moron. Can you blame anyone for being pissed at such tyrancy in the front office. Warning to team management don’t go against the communism of the NOJHL you will be sorry. So is the NOJHL funeral going to be held at Lougheed’s so I can send an arrangement to them. Yabba dabba doo Mr. Mazzuca

  9. Yep I see a pattern of league getting better , more kids will want to come when u have great guys running teams that care about there players &futures. And I will agree with Mr Leonard on schools. There have been many schools attending games this year . Also for the 20 year olds I know personly that 3 different Echl and 2 different Sphl teams have been to games .

  10. It is pathetic actions and archaic thinking of the NOJHL like this, that is making TC do what he is doing. The NOJHL should be doing what they can to keep their strongest team in the league (fan base, income) and not trying to do what they can to punish them at the slightest drop of a hat. If NOJHL continues to disregard the fact that hockey is evolving and continue in their old ways they will become merely a memory in the very close future……Some advice NOJHL embrace and evolve or get filed away with the dinosaurs!!! Trigger happy Mazzuca lost a lot of respect in my eyes after this childish outlash. Maybe some new leadership is what the league needs to maybe survive.

  11. So it’s ok for abitibi and kl to do a road trip to soo br and Esp spend all that cash , but not ok when it’s reverse ? When I never heard a peep from soo , suds or anyone else just espanola.

  12. No Marcel but to move another team to the far north is ludacris oh well RIP NOJHL sad to see you die like this.

  13. Mr.Fan not really just factoring in costs to show estimated how much teams spend. Marcel I must be drinking the wrong beer as my dreams are not as extravagant as yours 🙂

  14. Mr. Mazzuca: You don’t believe in hearings? You just fine and suspend an Owner on the same day that he says something without even talking to the guy? VERY POOR LEADERSHIP…Then again the NOJHL has become a DICTATORSHIP under you Mr. Mazzuca! You already handed in your resignation once already this year Mr. Mazzuca – I heard you admit it on Randy’s Radio Show the other night. Please re-consider and RESIGN FOR GOOD THIS TIME!

  15. Agree with suspension or disagree… the main issue here is that an owner.. not a player, has been suspended and fined without due process… that is the most disturbing aspect about all of this… the commissioner/president does have some leeway in how some aspects of the league are handled, but in light of suspending and fining an owner/govenor without a hearing smacks of personality rather than responsibility…

  16. Hmmm correct me if i’m wrong but isn’t the commissioner supposed to be working for the owners of the teams – seems like the employee fining the boss here. I agree with many of the comments on here today that the actions of the league as a whole especially from the office of the commissioner have been very and most often hard to understand .

  17. From what I know of Mr. Clayden he is a “class act” all the way. I seen him at a game in the Soo and even tho his team got beat pretty good by the T-Birds he was talking it up with the Soo Fans and was very complimentery to the Thunderbirds Players.

  18. Somewhat Dcky33.. He has powers that doesn’t need league approval to enact… he has the power to fine and suspend players for penalty infractions but it has always been the case that unless it is s a clear-cut violation, he should/has to at least hear/hold a hearing..I remember Joe Drago suspending an owner for leaking league documents to the press without a hearing… in that case there was no defence.. in this case, there was no conversation or hearing just fine and suspension….in short, the commissioner works for the board of directors as a whole but not the individual owners per se.. one owner cannot tell the commissioner what to do but the board or at least a majority can..

  19. very well put Hawkyscout…….Mazzuca could not have handled this more poorly!!! He has continued to relentlessly target Tim Clayden all season, even after claiming himself that Clayden is one of the top jr hockey promoters in Canada. As a small business owner and an investor in a NOJHL team through advertising, this process or lack thereof has left a very bad taste in my mouth and I am ashamed to associate myself and my business with this league. This will definately scar NOJHL in a big way for the rest of there short existence, for myself and other contributors throughout the league. Mazzuca’s tyranical Stalinesque hold on the league has been a major contributing reason why this league is flailing and I strongly urge Mazzuca to reconsider his resignation!!!

  20. ELBobcat
    Let me rephrase my comment.
    Not as recruited as the other leagues.
    Good for you if you advance some athletes to higher programs.
    Can you answer this….
    Will you see more or less scouts in Cochrane than you saw in EL ?
    Anyone see any scouts in KL, ABI this year? There are players there worth scouting.
    I go to some CCHL games often, I see 6 to 8 Div 1 scouts just about every time I go.

  21. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rivermen elevate Scott Ginson to VP of Operations and partner with

  22. Well, did Mr. Clayden really think that after making comments like those he made in Randy’s article would go unanswered.

    Come on….it’s obvious that he had a bone to pick with someone for some reason. He had nothing nice to say about the NOJHL and spoke of playing hockey in the U.S. He even went so far as to suggest that Canadian hockey players would benefit from having U.S. hockey players on their team. He says the league will suffer if U.S. players are not allowed to play in our league.

    Anyway, I could go on and on about this article and in my opinion Mr. Clayden wanted a fight and he got. Thing is he brought a butter knife to a cannon battle.

  23. Luc your in love with the CCHL… Don’t get me wrong is a great league, but players that play in are league are playing the highest level hockey they can… Including your son,

  24. Hey blue liner really a butter knife to a cannon
    fight I think that Clayden has the cannon by
    taking his team and the highest attendance in the
    league else where that will hurt the NOJHL
    in no time

  25. How sad that the agendas of some become so personel . The NOJHL is not fun any more and fans are fed up . Just compare attendance this season to previus years. Turn out the lights on your way out Mr. Commish.

  26. Didn’t Clayden get suspended from the OHA a couple of years ago for tampering with documents? But I hope the NOHA or a group reviews the situation and makes the final decision.

  27. Trouble
    That’s an insult to every player in the NOJHL. There’s some great players in this league but because of geography, they are not recruited by NCAA scouts as much as other leagues. Leave my son out of this…..sorry your son got cut. Don’t take it out on him.
    JR hockey is a business and the business owners are tired of losing money !

  28. finally someone brings up a bit of history, by reading this youd think he was a saint who just appeared on the nojhl, he has been the NOJHL and the OJHL for over adecade, certainly not his first blemish in either leagues! He got talking about one side of the story and that was as close to smear campaign as your going get!

    Sound like many people, luc included, think the league should abandon the east and two of the leagues top 3 teams in attendence and on ice! maybe lock Leonard in a dead market so the one team with a business model like no one elses can try to make more!

    No one shed any tears for the Eskis, the team with the worst travel budget for the last 15 years! Eskis welcomed Elliot Lake, Espanola, Manitoulin Wild, despite the fact it would only make their expenses worth! The accepted it for the good of league and worked harder! but then again, its never been about anyone making a nickel in IF!

    I said before, TC is a business, an in the business of hockey, and i respect and understand that, but the NOJHL has been a round longer than him, serves more than him, and i bet not 2 of the 8 clubs are going to object to the suspension! i mean do you really think Mazzuca acted alone on this? cmon people!

  29. in my opinion, Mazzuca has run this league to the brink of implosion.
    It has become his PERSONAL sandbox in my opinion.
    There is no rhyme or reason for anything he does.
    He throws the book at the young Shankar kid from North Bay but Joliecour in Sudbury apparently THREATENS an official and Mazzuca apparently feels there is no need to add supplementary discipline???? Or am I wrong?

  30. Yeah alot of inconsistencies with Mazzuca oh well good luck with a 4 or 5 team league and call it the North Pole Hockey League,santa claus can run it then

    1. Not a problem Hockey Guy, we’ll be sure to send you a Christmas card. You just have to promise to share hockey life sanctioned under the AAU, the same league which sanctions jump rope and baton twirling…

  31. Mr Mazzuca is doing a great job . He his being very fair for everyone. He just works as a group and dont care about anything that the group don’t agree on. When you bring a franchise to a new town it don’t matter who brings it , it will always have a great fan support the first few years . And mark my word guys by September you guys can all tell me I was right when there’s a minimum of 8 teams and up to 10 .

  32. Marcel..we get it you’ve had a bad relationship with Tim Clayden…..but if you with a straight face can say this league is in good hands with Mazzuca at the helm well then I think you are delusional.
    I’m sure I’ll get some smart ass reply but in my view, Mazzuca is a joke.

  33. Hello there Mr. Randy Russon. I am with one of the Teams in the MWJHL.
    I am told that the “IJHL” will have a Canada Division and a USA Division 6 Teams in Canada and 8 in USA & there will be a breif inter-locking schedule. for the 2014-15 season.
    I want to add that You do a great job covering Junior Hockey.

  34. Birdwatcher , honestly I am telling you that kids are in great hands with Mr Mazzuca . Cause if u know me I don’t care about what money they bring in , what’s the cost for this and that , I care about on how the teams promote players, teach players ,take care of players , school billets teaching them to be respectable young men’s . Owners coaches gm that look at kids with $$$ sign on there foreheads really tick me off And Mr Mazzuca is good at promoting and helping kids.

  35. Marcel..I sent a Blog thanking you for your comments and stated my equivocal respect for what you do for the players and their hope for advancement especially those who demonstrated their expressed desire to keep on playing but unfortunately my blog which was not disrespectful to anyone was NOT POSTED as well as others in the past..Maybe RANDY can explain why….In any case I have chosen to no longer participate in the games going on….Good Luck and Good night

    Sincerely,The ICEMAN

    1. Iceman, posts are deleted or edited at my discretion and on the advice of legal advisor. If you don’t like that, so be it.

  36. Nojhl has no future, especially with “it’s my ball” Mazzuca at the helm…….good luck with your four or five team league!!! one more year as NOJHL (best case scenario) then those teams will be part of the new IJHL or other leagues…’s plain as day and unfolding before our eyes!

  37. Nojhl as a very good future . Lots of kids want to come to this league because of all the good work put in by commissioner and owners.

  38. Am I alone on this……After attending last night’s game Vs KL Miners I’m I the only one that comes to the conclusion that the attendance figures are inflated. The attendance was said to be 511 fans. There could not have been more than 225-250 at last night’s game, I’ve notice this on other occasions.

  39. Congrats to Tim Clayden on securing a huge corporate sponsor. Saw his players sporting new jackets, bags and toques all from MOLSON’S

    Great job

    1. Will be interesting to see if sponsorship continues once the team is no longer sanctioned by Hockey Canada. Get it while you can, I guess..

  40. Did anyone happen to catch the Kirkland Lake-Espanola game on from last night?

    Well, the offensive language that came out of the mouth of Kirkland Lake coach Marc Lafleur was simply atrocious.

    F-bombs galore directed at his players.

    Multiple, multiple use of the F-word in just about every way, shape and form.

    If I hadn’t heard it myself, I never would have believed it.

    Shame on you, Marc.

  41. shame shame on Lafleur who likes to act like he is holier than thou!! All these Kirkland Lake fans always critisizing other coaches, managers & players … well, well, well, “Saint Marc” isn’t so perfect lol.

  42. Marcel, a few questions for you:

    Word around North Bay is Clayden fired you for doing things with players and supplying players with things that are against Hockey Canada policies. Is this true?

    Some are saying you lost the sports store in North Bay because of back door deals and not paying suppliers, is that true?

    Also, did you give some players prescribed drugs without a prescription?


    Did you tamper with teams behind Kirkland Lake’s back to try to move your son and another player?

    Just asking Marcel, that’s all. I am not accusing, just asking.

  43. I’m glad to answer !! First one I never worked with Clayden – I worked with Guy Blanchard in North Bay. I left for Thunder Bay K-A Wolverines when I was still working for Guy . And yes me and Guy are still good friends . I left on good terms .

    2nd question == store I closed cause I bought it as a pass time after I retired from the bush in 2006 and it was not my thing . It was to demanding and I just got out of 20 years of logging at 17 hour days and 7 days a week. So now I’m completely retired again . Just helping kids .

    And who in the right mind would even ask such a stupid question about drugs ????

    People in this world know me . If there’s someone against drugs they know it’s me .

    And the last but lease I never add to tamper cause my kid as always been with coaches and owners that kept there word .
    Thanks for asking tho I’m very happy to clarify all that for you 🙂

  44. Some talk around town about a new Junior Team being formed in the Greater Sudbury Area. Any one here of this?

  45. Marcel if your so good as you say you are, then why for the past 4 days have you been harassing Tim Clayden, Espanola and other staff members?

  46. Can u explain ??? When did I say I was good . I try and help kids with best advice possible . If I don’t know I will ask someone that does . I am not harassing Tim clayden . I am pointing stuff that’s been going on for years that kids and parents complain about . Trying to help kids with there future for there best exposure. That’s all

  47. Does the best advice possible come with a price tag that includes going on Facebook, and stating that your an licenced advisor?

  48. You should try Facebook , it’s the cheapest communication out there , parents and kid love it . U need to be liked to do such a thing . I don’t think it would work in your case , just my opinion . And everyone knows I’m not a licensed advisor . I help kids for free no charge . Remember I’m retired I do this for a pass time..

  49. Homespun if you look at your questions on top so far you’ve been way off on me and you still are. Just saying , u know .
    Maybe it’s time you meet me for coffee so I can in light you a little on what I do cause you are the only one in this world that really don’t know what I do , just saying .
    License advisor what is that .
    I help kids did u ever see me say I’m license advisor or anyone ever say that , I don’t think so .
    Facebook is the cheapest way to communicate with kids and parents .
    Maybe you should try it that way you would be more accurate with what u come out with , in my opinion .
    Half the world is on there and when I add a kid it’s someone told me to add him or it’s someone that added me cause of someone I helped .

  50. Wow marcel….homespun is the only one in the WORLD who doesn’t know what you do
    ..WOW you are a very important man..

  51. Bird watcher in the world of hockey . I guess I’ve got to explain everything in details for people like you.

  52. Attention NBT1975:

    The only Cheese we care about is the kind our KL players put top shelf and bulge the T-WHINE with, behind your goaltenders…..

  53. I wonder if the Beavers will be around next season at all. They seem to be forgot about – may be they can join the new League?

  54. Every one who I know in hockey and that are quite a few are talking about this Espanyola team coming to play in the AAU and I think that is great to combine Canada and the US juniors in 1 league.

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